Some thought the world would end today. But from what I could see this morning, the Starbucks-fueled population of New York City barely humored the idea as they streamed into subways and out of yellow cabs with their half-eaten breakfasts in hand. These people were on a mission, and that didn’t involve humoring an ancient Mayan calendar, even for a second.
Being in New York this week, I’ve grown somewhat jealous of the cruisers we’ve met who seem to have completely cut ties with their former lives by selling their homes, quitting their jobs, liquidating their assets and — aside from maybe putting a few things in storage — ridding themselves of any excess burden before boarding their boats with little more than their duffel bags, a bunch of tools and a big sense of adventure.
Our situation is a little different in that we essentially retreated from the day-to-day running of our companies (two English language schools and seven-and-counting teacher training schools) to live on our boat and travel as far as we could go. And while we promised and believed we would continue to have some regular involvement with our companies because — 1) we couldn’t wait until “retirement age” to sail away without losing our sanity, and 2) our amazing and enthusiastic staff were more than capable of growing and managing our companies in our absence — it turns out that entrepreneurialism is an increasingly difficult concept to grasp as you drift farther away from land, where life revolves around the wind, the weather, and the next thing on board to fall apart. And there’s always something falling apart.
In fact, sailing south has turned out to be a lot less leisure and a lot more work than we ever imagined. And, therefore, since we’ve left New York, our promised regular check-ins with our staff have become brief monthly sessions by email or Skype. And the longer we’ve been away, the harder it’s been to pencil these infrequent meetings into a calendar writ in water.
Which is why, when we arranged to go back to New York to see my family for Christmas, we also scheduled a two-day work session in Manhattan (which blurred into three days), during which we managed to deal with end-of-year finances, have meetings with our staff, and catch up with the close friends we’d left behind just a few months ago.
And though the world didn’t end today, stepping into the high-octane world of New York City kind of ended the world as we’ve known it on our windward travels south…for a brief moment in time. And I wondered if not having cut our ties to this other world has hindered our metamorphosis into truly carefree cruisers.
Who am I kidding? Of course it’s hindered us.
But then again, the alternative would have been to delay fulfilling a dream. And some dreams are just too important to put on hold. After all, who knows what tomorrow has in store?
If the world had ended today as the Mayans supposedly predicted, I believe I could’ve said with confidence that I harbored few regrets.
The challenge before us, I suppose, is to continue living that way.