Those who are out there are not here.
You will not see billboards or ads portraying a down-to-earth, affordable sailing lifestyle. It won’t come up on the news, and unless you are already immersed in the sailing world, no one will bring it up over dinner. That’s because there are no big budgets behind it, and it usually isn’t a big money maker. It’s just people doing it, often rather quietly. You might have to look outside of your daily life to keep your sights on your dream.
It takes a little work to remember that. To filter through all the messaging we receive daily about what we should value in life, about what paths are possible, this takes effort. To that end, I offer some resources of inspiration on boat-life practicalities:
Good Old Boat Magazine — Sailing Stories — Making the most of older (and more affordable!) boats.
Latitude 38 — Changes in Latitude — Letters from those cruising all over the world
Books by Lyn and Larry Pardey — Multi circum-navigators on engineless small boats, 24’-28. Masters of simplicity and reliability. “Go small, go now.”
Youtube: Sailing LeaLea — Older couple transiting California to Hawaii to Alaska and back again on a 27’ Albin Vega. Absolutely prolific.
There are many, many others, but it’s easy to become overwhelmed. I suggest keeping it small and simple for now. Small and simple is accessible.
Keep focus on what’s realistic for you.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a million-dollar yacht unless that’s not something that’s accessible to you right now. Is your dream to own a large, expensive yacht or learn to sail beautiful places and have once in a lifetime experiences? If it’s the latter, you can have it with so, so much less expense and much, much sooner than you might think.
Immerse yourself in those mentors and sources of inspiration who are doing the thing you want to be doing, in the way you can do it now. Set your sights on what’s within reach for you. Surround yourself with those who are living their sailing dream in a way that is within your current budget.
I know people who already own boats, boats that need a relatively small amount of work to become sail-worthy. Instead of working on the boat they have, they spend much of their time watching the big sailing Youtube channels and dreaming an unrealistic version of their own dream. They had their dream within reach when they purchased the boat, and that dream became corrupted over time.
With the big Youtube sailing channels tending to be dramatic, sexy, and polished, it’s easy to become stuck in a loop of dissatisfaction with that worn and weathered boat you may already own, and the unsexy, somewhat boring list of boatwork tasks. But if it’s the boat you already own, one big obstacle standing between you and getting out there may be a simple resetting of your sights.
Porn is the perfect analogy. Sure, it can be fun to watch, but it often presents an unrealistic and highly idealized version of reality. That excitement and drama usually function to decreases satisfaction with one’s real life.
So if you have the dream, calibrate your sights and cultivate your sources of inspiration to include those who are doing it in a practical way accessible to you. It may not be highly polished, it may not come with the tanned, sexy crew in skimpy swimwear, but even if that’s what you want, you are apt to get it if you turn your attention to the practical steps already available to you.