Since the time I was in my twenties, roaming the world, backpacking in Southeast Asia and exploring cheap and far flung places, my grandma - and other “real” adults - kept saying (in Dutch)“It is good you are doing this NOW. You gotta do it when you’re young!” When I set out sailing, my grandma - still hoping I would settle one day - once again gave her full understanding and support for my desire for adventure and, once again, stated that I should do it while I am young, even though, “young” is becoming more and more a relative term. On the water, we have met a lot of cruisers who envy that we are sailing the world while we are young, but at the same time, they are happy for us, for being able to “do it while we are young”. The older cruisers fully enjoy their life on the water, but one of their only regrets is that they wish they started this boat life earlier, while they were “young”.
Irie under sail in the Bahamas © Liesbet Collaert
Truth is, the longer Mark and I are cruising the Caribbean waters, the more we realize that you don’t have to be young to do this (granted, much of the manual labor involved must be way easier when you are not approaching 70, but on the same note, we so much respect the retirees and are in awe of their accomplishments). You also don’t have to be strong to live on a sailboat, you don’t have to be male, you don’t have to be white, you don’t have to be of a certain nationality, you don’t have to be rich and you don’t have be anything, really. The water is for everybody and people of all nationalities, cultures, backgrounds, religions, ages, and skills comprise the sailing and cruising communities of the world.