Don’t worry, we won’t end up like this if we don’t take every piece of advice given.
If you’re a member of Facebook, chances are, you’re probably part of one of the million and one subgroups about sailing. I know I’m in at least six of them. I love these groups, they can be a wealth of information. Any question you have about sailing or cruising, just post it in one of these groups and you will most likely have 10 responses within an hour. I’ve used them to ask questions in areas I’m not particularly knowledgeable about, or even go the opposite direction and dispense the knowledge I do have to others asking questions.
Any time I post a question in one of these groups I am extremely grateful to anyone who replies. I take into consideration any information given to me, even if my broad question provides answers that don’t apply to my situation personally. So if you have seen me in these groups and helped me out with a problem, or hell, even just liked the comment; thank you very much for taking the time from your schedule to lend me a hand or acknowledge that I need a little help.
With that being said though, there is one thing that sometimes happens while I’m reading the responses that will immediately raise my blood pressure and leave me wishing for a squishy ball to squeeze the hell out of. It’s when people give advice as if it’s an absolute. As if it is either the only solution to my problem, or they know me so well that of course their answer is going to apply to me and my life. Well guess what? Advice is just that. Advice. And because it may work well for one person or even large groups, it does not mean it will apply to everyone.
I’ve never been one that likes being told what to do, so when I’ve gotten out of my 9-5 world and into something a little more freeing and without the same conformity, I DON’T like someone telling me ‘This is how it’s going to be’. I guess this makes me an outlier among outliers. I will fully admit that Matt and I are not your typical cruisers. On average we’re 30 years younger, live on quite a different budget, and view different things as necessities.
Let me enlighten you with a few ‘helpful’ statements I’ve been given…and why they just don’t work for me. Plus, they’re all things I’ve heard multiple times. The first one or even two times, yeah, I can let it go. Although somewhere around the third or fourth time my eye will start twitching. And keep in mind, in the manner they were given, these were not suggestions.
- People eat everywhere in the world. Don’t waste your time and storage fully stocking up with provisions in the US. Instead, buy your food in the Bahamas and support the local economy.
While I won’t argue with this statement itself, I will only say that it unfortunately doesn’t always fit into our lifestyle. Provisions in the Bahamas are usually at least 50% more expensive than in the US. We’re 34. We don’t have a full retirement fund, social security, or pension. While the idea is great, we have to be realistic. And while we love to support the community when we can (like the fish fry we went to in Long Island), we can’t just shell out money like that. Truth is, most cruisers out there don’t. But the pretentious attitude of those that try to push it on others just irritates me.
- Don’t even bother bringing dresses or anything fancy with you. I can promise you will NEVER use them.
I may have left the city behind when we stepped foot on our boat to sail away in 2012, but I still like my fair share of glitz. Are fancy dresses necessary in this lifestyle? Absolutely not. But I still like putting them on every once in awhile, even if it’s just to wander through the dirt roads of Belize. I’ve actually recently come to the realization that I spent too much time in our first round of cruising in jean shorts and t-shirts because I thought I had to. I miss dresses. And you’ll be seeing me in them a lot more our second time out. (Heels though? No. You’ll still always find me in sandals or flats).
- You have to listen to Chris Parker before you plan on making any passages in the Caribbean.
Sorry, nothing against you Chris Parker, but I have never listened to a broadcast. It’s on waaaay to early in the morning for me, and I’ve had zero issues with other forecasting routes. Passage Weather has always been our go-to when we have internet, showing me what’s going on in any particular area of the world. And those combined 11 weeks we spent out in the Atlantic were handled just fine using Weather Fax through our SSB.
- You have to have cabinets in your salon to maximize storage.
Ok, maybe I haven’t heard this one yet, but I know it’s coming. Because it suits us and our style better, we’ve decided to forego wall cabinets in our salon, and we’ll be fully relying on storage under the settee. But because of the pilot house aspect of our new boat, we now have more storage than we know what do do with, and we like the clean lines of keeping our salon walls bare instead of putting up cabinets to gain a little extra storage. It may not be typical or even sensible as far as maximizing boat space, but we like it. Besides, this is our boat, and we’ll arrange it to how it suits us best.
Now I don’t want everyone to freak out and never give me advice or tips again. As I’ve said, I LOVE the help and ideas I get from these Facebook groups. And if you’re thinking to yourself “I hope it wasn’t when I told her she should do XX or YY that pissed her off”. No, chances are extremely slim that any of these comments came from anyone who even follows this blog. You’ve all been so valuable and I’m so happy to hear your thoughts and advice.
But I have to know…am I alone here? Has anyone else had cases of where they were given a piece of advice as if they had no choice in the matter but to accept it? I’d love to hear the ‘absolute’ advice that didn’t fit into your lifestyle.