Putting ourselves out there

Did you see the NYTimes magazine article around a month ago about “swatting”? It horrifyingly describes a type of online harassment where SWAT teams are called to an individual’s house. In real life. Like, open the door and face down machine guns. It’s a joke, right? Sooooo funny.

Here we are, world! At Abuela's birthday celebration; photo courtesy C. Blakely.
Here we are, world! At Abuela’s birthday celebration; photo courtesy C. Blakely.

The reality is that being online, in any format–YouTube, Facebook or this here blog–opens yourself up to all kinds of possible abuse, running the gamut from snarky comments to identity theft to credible, real-life threats. So why are we putting ourselves out there?

We are not social media dwellers; we have serious concerns about creating a virtual life for our kids; we like our privacy quite a bit. But: we would not be doing this trip without the existence of family sailing blogs.

When Michu and I met, we both claimed that what we really wanted to do was live on a boat and travel. I remember running into our friend Jo in a restaurant a few weeks after he returned from a circumnavigation, and telling him as much. His response: well, what the heck are you doing here, spending money, when you could be saving it for a boat? Of course he was right; we weren’t serious about saving to go cruising. We had no plan, just a hazy idea about “someday.” And then, the usual pattern–marriage, mortgage, work, kids–became the rhythm of our lives.

During a blessed double-kid-nap one day, without intention or motive, I googled something like “family sailboat cruising blog,” and ended up at Twice in a Lifetime–back when they were Once in a Lifetime. Well, that was that; after reading their entire blog front to back, I was on a mission to read about families cruising, and our fate was sealed: Totem, Del Viento, Wondertime, and the infamous BumfuzzleWindtraveler showed us how to get from Lake Michigan to warmer climes; Toast made us laugh; Knee Deep taught us we didn’t need a $200K boat to make it work.

We’re bad at documenting stuff; we’re hoping this blog will force us to record our trip. We want our family and friends to know what’s happening while we’re traveling. But also, we feel kind of obligated to give back to the place that got us here. There are great, comprehensive resources out there for families interested in getting started with cruising: Beth Loenard, the Pardeys, Voyaging with Kids; but really, every family’s adventure is unique, and we hope ours can inspire other families to break the mold.

2 Comments on “Putting ourselves out there

  1. Four thoughts in response to your post:
    1. Totally with you, I’m not even on Facebook, but still blog.
    2. Looking back after five years of blogging, I’m so glad we’ve done it. I have this great record of our adventure I wouldn’t otherwise have. And I wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t public; it’s a lot of work and I’d have slacked long ago if there was nobody to know I’d lapsed. Also, we’ve met great folks we’d never have met were it not for the blog (you included!).
    3. Just because you blog doesn’t mean you’re opening your life up. You do so only to the extent that you want. Pat (Bumfuzzle) once told me that people think they know him and his family and everything about them just because he’s blogged so prolifically for so long. But it just ain’t so. Definitely same in our case. We don’t share a whole lot more than we choose to share.
    4. In my mind, what we do, making aspects of our life public, is one of the positives of the information age. I know that we are affecting people by sharing our story, I hear from some of them. We aren’t spreading hate, so I can’t think of any negative aspect of this, only positive.
    ps–even if you don’t share it, take a good pic of your kids with the boat the day you cast off. Why/how the heck did we not do that?

    • All true! And posting something on the blog makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something towards our boating goals, even when I haven’t crossed anything else off the list. Michu’s technical posts are helping me learn about our own boat’s systems, too–which is nice!

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