When we first moved aboard Nine of Cups, we listened carefully and attentively to everyone because we assumed they had much more experience and were therefore, much smarter than we were. Some were, some were not. We found that lots of folks told us what we should do and many more spouted off about what we shouldn't do. Advice, as always, is cheap and many times unsolicited.
"DON'T go to Maine!" they told us in Texas. "Too much fog, no place to moor or anchor, too crowded, too many lobster traps...blah, blah,blah". Oh, had they been sailing in Maine? Hmm...not exactly... but they heard it from other cruisers. Aha! and therein lies the rub. Hearsay may be helpful or harmful, but first hand experience is the key. Even then, one person's nightmare is another's adventure. Yes, there were plenty of lobster traps in Maine and yes, there was a lot of fog. It was also incredibly beautiful and a fun, learning adventure. We found secluded anchorages in some areas and there was always a mooring to pick up, sometimes for free. It was definitely not as advertised by the nay-sayers.
Of course, right from the git-go, people were a bit negative about our hare-brained scheme to sell up and sail off. “Are you crazy? 24X7 with your spouse? Plus, it's scary out there. Big storms, big waves, pirates.” We managed to sell up, buy a boat, move aboard and sail off despite advice to the contrary.
Through the years, we've received lots of negative admonitions … usually from folks who had little to no experience about the place we wanted to visit. “Don't go to Cartagena, Colombia!” “Don't go to Ecuador.” “For heaven's sake, don't sail down to Chile … or sail down to Tierra del Fuego … or go to South Africa … or circumnavigate New Zealand … or … “. Ah, well, 14 years later, some are still skeptical and we say “each to his own”. We choose our own path.
For sure, we listen and try to learn from others, but we've learned to be cautious, even wary, of the source. We offer the following thoughts on naysayers. Consider your own needs, likes, dislikes. Be prudent, do some research and decide for yourself what's reasonable and what's not. Don't be a dock potato...leave the marina and see some of the world from a new perspective! And for those of you who aren't sailors … this advice applies across the board. Remember, life's an adventure. Don't sit safely in your rocking chair and knit mittens worrying about every little thing. Get out there and take a hike, take a trip. It doesn't have to be far. Take time to discover what's in your own backyard and don't let those naysayers tell you any different. (Hmm...was that unsolicited advice? Probably was. Take it for what it's worth!)