One of the harsh realities of the full-time cruising life is dealing with the guilt associated with not being around for family. Choosing an alternative lifestyle such as ours, seems like an easy course. Sail around the world. Experience new countries and cultures. Send postcards to family and e-mail greetings on birthdays and holidays. Post blogs and photos to let everyone know what we're doing. But obviously, as we've traveled around the world over the past 15 years, we've escaped many of the day-to-day worries and trials concerning aging parents that our sibs have had to deal with. We've missed grandchildren's recitals and school plays. We've not had to deal with family matters or make some of the hard decisions that would have consumed much of our time had led a more traditional life. When something catastrophic happens, we do our best to get home when necessary. There's always a subtle feeling of resentment when we swoop in after a long absence and try to make things better. We overcompensate sometimes to make up for all the time away.
Some readers have commented that they enjoy reading about the real aspects of the cruising life, not just the fun parts. If you're thinking about the cruising life, this is something you should keep in mind. It's not always as easy as you might imagine to stay in touch and participate. It's hard to face the trips home when you're feeling like perhaps you should have stayed around in the first place to help, instead of being on a perpetual vacation.
We've known lots of cruisers who cruise half time and spend the other half at home to be with family. We've known others who have swallowed the anchor in favor of being closer to family full time.
Do we regret our cruising lifestyle? No. It's not that we don't love our family, we do. It's that we've chosen to enjoy our lives in a non-traditional manner which doesn't necessarily allow for lots of family time. Our family is so spread out over the USA … Las Vegas, Denver, Washington, DC, Boston … that even if we were resident in the USA, we probably would not spend as much time with all of them as we think we would.
Have we heard lots of complaints from them? No. After 15 years, our family is pretty much resigned to the fact that we're not around most of the time. There's much to be said for teleportation.