One of the hardest things to escape from is the dreaded schedule. Cruising is thought of as a life without worries or cares. Each day comes as goes without stress or concern. You raise anchor, raise sail, and go where the wind blows you; once you arrive, you are there!
You shouldn't have to worry about getting there by a certain date, or a specific hour because you are already home and you get there when you get there. This concept may seem far from reality to those living on land, but it is how the cruisers mind works.
This even spills over to onboard projects. I'll frequently start a project and work on it until I'm finished. If I don't finish it today, I'll keep working on it tomorrow! When I'm all finished with that project is when I move on to the next one.
While this mentality and lifestyle is low stress, it is actually really hard to grasp onto to. This setup works really well if you are completely independent of the world around you. The moment you reach out of your little bubble, you are wicked back into the world of schedules.
When Maddie and I set off on our voyage, we thought the schedules would cease as soon as the docklines were removed. This was far from truth.
When we cast off, we went to a boat yard to freshen up the bottom. The boat yard wanted to know when we would be arriving: introduction of our first schedule. Once we were out of the water, each day was costing us money so we had a strong financial incentive to work fast and get back into the water. When we were nearing completion, the boat yard now wanted a date to be splashed: Introduction of our second schedule. After we were floating again, Maddie signed up for an art contest a few towns away and up a long river. The contest was on a specific day and at a specific time: introduction of our third schedule!
Once the art contest was over, we thought that we would be freed from schedules and would be able to sail along without any cares in the world. Then we got a phone call from a local newspaper that wanted to interview us about our planned adventure. They wanted to meet us near Annapolis, MD on a specific date and time. We were so close to being free from the schedule when our fourth scheduled item was introduced to us!
Maddie and I discussed the ever looming schedule and we decided that we would have no more of this life. We wanted to be free from the schedule and we were not going to make any more time dependent plans! Then we remembered that Maddie has a family reunion in a week and we will need to tie up in a marina since we will leave the boat for an extended period of time.
The problem with marinas is they cost money, and a week can be an expensive amount of time for a cruiser! We looked around and most marinas are $2 per foot per day, or $90 per day in our case. We found one marina that would only cost us $45 per day, but they were 120 miles away to windward and we only have a few days for traveling. We might not make it and I would hate to miss the reunion! So we kept looking. My dad joined in the search and found a small marina very close to us that would cost $13 per day! This of course was the winner in the marina search and we called to make arrangements with them. Naturally, they wanted to know what day we would be arriving and this meant that we were once again tied to another scheduled item.
The reunion is only 1 week long, and after that, we have no planned or scheduled items on our list. We have made a pact to not plan anything with a date attached to it. We will make plans of places to go visit, but never when we will visit them. This will allow us to visit these places without the stress of a schedule and to explore the waters around us carefree!
Maddies parents then chimed in that they would like to visit one of the destinations with us. Instantly, the question of "when will you be going there?" came up! We had a choice, we could either become a slave to the schedule once again or tell them that we didn't know but would keep them posted. Her parents live on land and have jobs to go to. They are only available to travel to this place on the weekend and need to be back for work on Monday. We decided that we will get somewhere that is a few hours sail away from the destination and wait for the weekend to arrive. They can simply join us that weekend and we will sail over to the destination. Then on Sunday, they can ride the ferry back to shore and back to civilization.
This was a good compromise, allowing us to get away from a schedule yet still make plans with friends and family. We both agree that the family reunion will be the last scheduled item on our list, and after that it will just be a list with no dates. This is the hope and the plan, but will it ever be our reality? Will we ever be able to get away from schedules and time commitments?