The Big Decision Q&A

Should I quit my job and go cruising? 3 more women respond

Judy emailed Women and Cruising with the following question as she and her husband contemplated going cruising. We forwarded her email to several women who might have thoughts to share with Judy.  Beth Leonard, Sherry McCampbell, and Kathleen Watt responded to Judy and we printed their responses here in our blog. We have since received three more responses to Judy’s question from readers of Women and Cruising. Read on …..


My husband and I are thinking of living aboard a sailboat in four to five years from now. His daughter is grown and just purchased her first home while my daughter is a freshmen in high school.

I suppose it is harder for me to take to the idea of living aboard because I have a really great paying job and I feel I need to help my daughter with college. I am only 39 so leaving my career is harder than I thought it would be. Any advice for me? My husband is 47 and more than ready to leave tomorrow. He is self employed and can build or fix anything so he will not have a problem finding work along the way of our adventure.

I look forward to hearing from you if you have time or advice.

– Judy and John

143_16 Harriett writes in:

Hi Judy and John,

It’s probably too early to decide – 5 years is a long time and you may feel differently by then. Or your daughter may get a scholarship or change her path.

If you can fit sailing into your current life, that would be a good start to finding out whether you want to even try it.

Also, there’s nothing wrong with a “try it and we’ll see how it goes” attitude.

All these thoughts come from my own experience, since my husband and I left to go cruising at 45 with the idea that we’d do it for 2 years and see if we liked it. Twenty years later, we still consider ourselves cruisers, although we’re ashore right now caring for elderly parents.

At your age, we both had jobs we loved and our son was in high school. Within 5 years, he got fired by new management and I got laid off in a corporate downsizing, our son quit school and joined the marines and we sold our “weekending” boat to buy a bigger one.

So, we sold our house, which was not located where new jobs would have been, stored everything we couldn’t bear to part with in his father’s basement and moved onto our bigger boat for a couple of years of cruising. After that, we never went back.

The first year we were in shock, but we’ve learned that living with less and having time to enjoy the cruising world really suits us. So, go sailing, see if you like it and reassess it all in 5 years. Meanwhile, save for your daughter’s education, just in case you want to go.

You only get one life – and only you can decide how to spend it.

143_15We received this from Tracy:

This the question that only you can ask yourself.

I can only comment from my viewpoint. I have been cruising for five years now and love it, I am not the greatest sailor (I get seasick and occassionally cabin fever) but I love the fact that I take my home with me, met amazing and inspiring people, see remote and stunning areas and the lifestyle is rewarding.

I think it is harder for a woman to make the decision as we are the homemakers, the mothers, etc. We look for security, both a home and family.

Before I went cruising I badgered other women cruisers, sailors and asked lots of questions, especially about cooking, space for me (it is a male dominated world), being scared, handling a boat by myself, beauty and being feminine aboard, etc. I asked everyone who would answer my questions until they were answered-no matter how silly.

We have three children, we left the youngest when she was in her last year of high school, she had a strong supportive peer group and we had family close by. We talked to the school and they supported leaving her behind rather than taking her with us. The other two were self sufficient. Yes life was difficult having no family home but they learnt a lot. We were only a phone or email away, family support was nearby. My justification was that I was only a phone call or email away and 24-48 hours by plane from anywhere in the world (of course dependent upon if I was mid passage (but how often is that).

Leaving work was difficult, I had delayed my career due to having children, I was beginning the career progression, getting into management and strategic planning and enjoying it-although the stress levels were not pleasant. I was making a difference and enjoying the fact that I was advancing in my career. My husband;s mother died when she was 45 and we said that we would travel before we got too old and ill. So we set a date and kept to it.

We need to work as we travel as we are well before retirement age and need to earn our cruising kitty. It is interesting that I have been able to pick up casual and relief work at the level that I left-I thought I would be changing beds, washing dishes or cleaning toilets. I have not left my Country yet but feel that I would pick up work if needed or travel home and find something short term to save money.

I was very scared about resigning and selling my home-I was giving up my security but the cruising lifestyle, moving about-the gypsy life suits us. As Beth Leonard states it does not suit everyone. All I can say is what you decide is best for you do not feel you need to conform sort our what suits you.

Kind regards,

Southern Cross BVI 21 Apr 08 D (Dierdre) offered this thought:

I have read or heard more than once that:

“The greatest disappointments in life can be NOT doing something.”

Having gone out and tried, means you have those memories to carry you through difficult periods we all face in life.

Good luck and fair winds,
D Wogaman
sv Southern Cross

About Ask Your Questions

When we receive a question from Women and Cruising readers, we send it out to women who we think might have relevant experience to share. These women often email the questioner back directly, but if everyone agrees we will also post the questions and answers/responses here in the blog. We may change the name or some details of the question to protect the questioner’s privacy if requested.

Beth Leonard, Sherry McCampbell and Kathleen Watt also responded to Judy’s question. We will be posting others responses as we receive them.

If you have thoughts for Judy on her big decision

Email or leave a comment below. We will send your response on to Judy, and may post it here on the blog too if you agree.

Do YOU have a question for Women and Cruising?

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1 comment to Should I quit my job and go cruising? 3 more women respond

  • Go, Go, Go, girl – I lived the cruising lifestyle for five years on my own 43ft sailboat, sailing from the UK, across the Atlantic, Caribbean, Pacific and all the South Sea islands, and home to New Zealand. A wonderful, wonderful experience. If you ever want to discover how to become close to and part of our Mother, the Earth, then this is the way to do it.
    Check out my website above and read my blog. You will read in my profile my favourite quote: ‘you will NEVER regret doing it, but you will ALWAYS regret NOT doing it.
    Take the plunge and get wet – you don’t want to die wondering do you?
    Good luck and great sailing

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