I awoke from a dream at 2am this morning. It wasn’t the type of startling dream where you are falling or someone is chasing you; it was worse. I dreamt that I was standing on a dock at a marina admiring a small sailboat that a couple of friends just bought. When all of a sudden a massive cruising sailboat broke loose from its upstream moorage and smashed into the dock I was standing on crushing the smaller sailboat. The large sailboat started to sink and drag down the dock we were standing on with it. That’s when I woke up.
While that dream does not sound very scary, it really hit a nerve with me and I lay awake for a good hour analyzing what it all meant. For me, it wasn’t about the destruction of the boats or the risk of bodily injury that was startling. It was witnessing the destruction someone’s hopes and lifelong dreams being destroyed before my very eyes.
When you purchase a sailboat, as we have done a few times (money pits!), you also buy into the collective dream of sailors. That shared dream consists of leaving the safety of the dock in your floating home, sailing over the horizon, and exploring the unknown as nautical adventures have done for 1000’s of years. Even if you had no intention of crossing oceans when you purchased a sailboat, the cruising bug will eventually bite and you will find yourself looking at bigger boats and thinking about how amazing it would be to cross an ocean under the power of the wind. To explore tropical islands and meet fascinating cultures. To live free! While living the cruising lifestyle sounds like a great dream, experienced cruisers have a description that better describes the realities of living that dream. To them, cruising means repairing your boat in exotic locations.
As I lay awake this morning pondering the meaning of dreams and symbolism, it donned on me; why is taking a break in your career to circumnavigate the globe in a small sailboat considered socially acceptable and adventurous, yet, taking a break in your career to circle the globe using a much safer mode of transportation, airplanes and ground transportation, considered irresponsible and risky? When two sailors meet for the first time the topic of taking off cruising or even circumnavigating is often discussed. For sailors, it is a natural progression and the ultimate goal in sailing; much like climbing Mt. Everest is to climbers. But when someone says they really enjoy traveling, why does the thought of taking a year or two off to travel non-stop rarely cross one’s mind? Why must long term travel be confined to the gap year before college, or for retirement? Who set the standard that we are only allowed two weeks of vacation a year? This is just wrong!
So, I guess my dream was just telling me to travel more, but don’t take a boat!