Once more, a friend asked lately if cruising feels like real holidays or something else - she is well aware that living off the grid can be a bit challenging. We had quite a discussion about this and came to the following point:
Cruising is not a vacation. It is a way of life. Cruising is not one long party. You have to be sober to make good choices and decisions
Living on and moving a boat is full of efforts. Daily. First the boat needs to be in good shape, the technical stuff to be maintained, or you simply have to fix broken things. Then you should know the weather before you head off. At the same time it was wise to know where you actually would like to go and have as well some "emergency" stops handy in case the weather changes or something breakes while underway. Let's not forget knowing the local rules for immigration, which port and so on. . . To cope with that we have several checklists, project lists or simple shopping lists handy - just that we do not get lost between all this tasks.
So overall, when we're not sailing we may spend a big portion of our time doing things like that, I guess more than 50%. That's maybe why we do not have a real holiday feeling, even it's the best lifestyle we experienced so far!
It's way different than working in a cubicle: First there is no boss (except the Admiral of course) and not much dealing with deadlines. Add a big portion of exotic challenges for buying spare parts (usually done in Spanglish at some hidden back yards) or shopping groceries in markets in the most stunning locations of this planet. You may end up in a merengue bar, even though you actually went out to buy a valve to fix that ever leaking tap. And if you stay on the boat to finally change the valve that you bought some folks show up the next day with beers and a story you have to hear. No chance - that damn tap will leak for another day or so...
That's our life: We plan careful but most of the time life has different ideas. As of now, since we're invited for lunch by a local family I shorten up with a quote stolen from Mark Twain:"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."