What I’ve Learned My First Year In

Monday August 12, 2013

8.12.13 (1)

Leaving our mooring in Muskegon for the last time.


Now that Serendipity has been out traveling for one year, I felt compelled to make a list of things I have learned over our last 12 months of travel.  This post is not meant to be advice to future cruisers on what works and what doesn’t while living and traveling on a boat (that’s coming later), but rather, things I have learned about myself and the lifestyle of cruising.


  • I thought that by leaving Michigan in the middle of summer and continuously heading south, that I would need few to no warm clothes.  I was oh.so.wrong.


  • Memory foam up in the v-berth, although 10x more comfortable to sleep on, also makes it 10x harder to make the bed.


  • Friendships are made fast, and with bonds that will last a lifetime.


  • If your battery bank can spare it, en electric water heater, like the Bodum one we own, will be one of your best friends while traveling.


  • It is surprisingly easy to find yourself wearing the same outfit for two days in a row.  Sometimes three.


  • Sitting on the opposite sides of the salon and ignoring your spouse (intentionally or not), is almost as good as being alone.


  • Just because you are constantly tired or hungry or nauseous, does not mean you are pregnant, and you can stop taking an at home test every month ‘just to be sure’.


  • Before we left, I envisioned passages as a time to get a bunch of things done.  Instead, due to my (non-debilitating) seasickness, I get nothing done.


  • It takes approximately six months to get used to the fact that the steps on the companionway must be used as extra counter space while cooking, instead of having a meltdown because the boat is too small.


  • It IS worth it to have a microwave, even a 600-700 watt one, because leftovers are so much more enjoyable without the extra pans to clean.


  • Listening to some of my favorite music can pull me out of a bad mood almost instantly.


  • Many port officials still seem genuinely surprised to see a woman listed as captain.


  • A harness and leash, as silly as it may look, is the best thing ever for a cruiser with a cat.


  • I can not get on board with the non-shaving thing.  Even if I was alone on a deserted island with no one else to see me, I would find something sharp and keep my legs smooth.


  • Matt thinks the davits are useless, and we would have been better off without them, exchanging the one solar panel that sits on top for a a wind generator.


  • I barely go through half the clothes I’ve packed.  And yet, I’m still happy I have every item I do.


  • Friends can help force you to get out and explore after you’ve been stuck in a rut of sitting around on your ass day after day.


  • No matter how many times I try, I can not seem to ‘equalize’ by plugging my nose and blowing out when I dive below 10 ft of water.


  • Ten days is really all I can handle out in the middle of nowhere.


  • It takes approximately nine months to become a master of the Tetris game that is your storage area.


  • I really really need to learn to cook.  Actual, from scratch, big girl meals.


  • I kid you not, one of the things I missed the most once we were out of the States was access to Pandora.  (I could not find any internet radio stations that worked in the countries we were in!)


  • If a chart says to seek local knowledge, which you do, but something still feels wrong?  Trust your gut and turn back around.


  • Cruising really does make you bipolar.  One day you’re up, one day you’re down.  One minute you’re ready to burn down your boat, and the next, you couldn’t imagine living a better lifestyle.



Important memories from our year cruising:


Leaving our port for the last time to sail out into the unknown.8.12.13 (2)

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Making lifelong friends along the way.

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Picking up a boat cat in Georgia.

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    Taking Serendipity into a new country for the first time.

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