What is Life Beyond Boating?


I returned from my Camino pilgrimage in Spain last May, and the experience still lingers. Looking at my pictures from the walk, I recall the fellowship among pilgrims, always ready to help each other. It was wonderful.

So it does not surprise me that I am thinking a lot these days about where I am in life right now. And I ask the question: Where am I going? Am I going in a direction or simply living a series of routines? I read that we spend 40 percent of each day on autopilot, going through the routines of daily life without much conscious thought. Get up, brush teeth, shower, get dressed, whatever. We don't think much about it, we just do it. Is that my life right now?

I spoke to a couple this summer who were about a quarter of the way into the Great Loop. They stopped at City Dock in Annapolis for the day. I noticed the AGLCA burgee on their Mainship and introduced myself. They told me the Loop had long been their dream, and when retirement came, they couldn't wait to begin their adventure. Unfortunately, I saw their travels had become somewhat of a dotted-line experience, as they weren't planning to spend much time in Chesapeake Bay, or anywhere. In fact, they were headed to the C&D Canal the following morning. I gather this is common among Loopers. In any case, they told me when they finish the trip, they planned to sell the trawler and move onto the next thing, which implied some sort of bucket list, although I don't know.

In the Florida Keys one winter I met a couple on their beautiful Grand Alaskan motoryacht. When he was in his late sixties, the husband told me over drinks, he realized that he probably had another 10 years of active boating left, at least on a big boat, and that he needed to do something with that realization. So they sold their older Fleming 55 and ordered the Grand Alaskan. He reasoned that a new boat would likely give them 10 trouble-free years, and they could enjoy life afloat without equipment failures and worn out gear. It was intelligent thinking that I've heard dozens of times over the years. The 10-year thing. Let's take advantage of our health, our financial means, and our travel and other interests while we can. No one can predict the future.


What about you? Is life at our age a series of bucket list experiences, or is there a master plan for life when running a big boat is no longer safe for an aging couple. And what about other life and family interests? For many of us, grandchildren figure near the top of this pyramid, taking a larger role in their growing lives to build lasting memories.

Our friends are all thinking about this and the future, about downsizing, getting a smaller boat and/or house, moving closer to family or where it is warmer or offers a better tax situation. How does one navigate this journey of transition to our next stage in life? If it is to be more than a series of safaris, boat trips, and national park tours, how does it all fit together?

I am lucky to keep making new friends, and while we aren't quite at the stage of discussing gall stones and other medical issues, we do talk of this next chapter, this place in life where we are in new territory. We live longer, with better health, and have many more options than our parents and grandparents. It is a gift. We are living in a new world, and for those of us who find this exciting, the world is a glorious place.

Where are you in all of this? Do you have a plan, or just a list? And what are the shallow waters on your chart?  I'd like to know if you would share.

It is all about the journey. Buen Camino.