Meeting up with like-minded people
There is an interesting thing that happens when sailors meet while cruising. Because they start out with so much in common, they tend to form instant bonds. Not always. Sometimes you run across people you want to have nothing to do with - but that's a matter of personality. More often you meet like-minded individuals who have lots of stories to tell and lots of advice to share because they haven't been sitting in their armchairs, noooooo, they've been out there doing things. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things out on the world's oceans and their shores.
If you are sailing a circuit, chances are you will meet up with the same people over and over as generally everyone is heading in the same direction
with the trade winds and currents. We weren't prepared for this when we first started cruising. We thought we'd drop anchor in some secluded cove and go ashore and meet the locals. We had no clue that we'd get to know cruisers from all over the world, all heading in the same direction sharing experiences the whole way along.
And so, after a while, cruisers tend to get to know each other pretty well. Many strike up lifelong friendships and visit each other's homes after swallowing the anchor. They have a great deal to say for themselves as their lives have been rich with experience. Their lives are not just about work. They are balanced between a healthy dose of work to allow them to play and live full, rich lives measured in friends and memories not in dollars and cents.
Most important, those experiences colour the way they look at the world and the lives of those in it. Some things become less important and other more so. And it becomes much easier to distinguish between the two. Sometimes they even band together in groups like the Ocean Cruising Club, made up solely of sailors who have completed nonstop offshore passages of 1000 miles or more. It's a mile marker that distinguishes those who plan from those who do. It's not just a hop to the Bahamas or Bermuda from the states. Anyone who has done it understands what it means for someone else to have done it, too. And there is no way to comprehend without having been there and done it.
We know we are blessed in our friendships and our lessons learned through experience. We appreciate what life brings us and try to share with others around us. We are comfortable in our own place in this world. And we are grateful to have chosen to live it this way.