Relationships adrift

We have announced to our extended family that we plan to sail for 2 or more years, and homeschool our four children. Reception has been mixed, ranging from beating-of-the-breast disappointment to cautious excitement and support.

Gwen Hamlin addresses the question, “How to best tell our family we are sailing away?” on the Women and Cruising website. She suggests assuring family members that you will keep in touch, and provides lots of ways to do that, including Facebook, emails, postcards, and so on.

Her suggestions point to a level of maturity, and continuity that is not exactly demonstrated in all of my relationships with family.

We are not all masters of assertiveness. I bet there’s a sailor on the blue right now who has ended a dysfunctional phone call, or awkward silence, feigning shoddy sat phone reception. The call would have sounded something like this:

I f-f-feel reception, I repeat, reception, is poor. Do you hear the static? I should go. I said, ‘Go’. ‘Golf’ ‘Oscar’….

Our family is a mixed bag of personalities. At one extreme we have flag-waving, family reunion t-shirt wearing, go-getting organizers. These are people who arrange impromptu parades at campgrounds. (I’m not making that up.) Some of them scrapbook. They send letters, stickers and packages.

At the other of the spectrum we have bitter folks whose better judgement is sometimes affected by alcohol.

Acceptance has played a part in our recent downsizing efforts. But, it is one thing to accept that objects you once held dear are now longer needed, to accepting that some relationships will morph when we set sail. How we will maintain significant, but strained relationships aboard our boat remains to be seen. Gwen Hamlin’s article provides a good starting point.


  1. Just having this blog should help a lot. As much as family members might dislike not seeing you and the kids for long stretches, they also enjoy all the photos and stories as well as having something to brag about to friends. (I hear our blog is very popular at my grandparents’ retirement village.)


  2. We had one family member who was unhappy with our intent to RV for a year. Our year turned into “indefinite” – and that family member just spent the weekend camped next to us…in their new RV..that they now fulltime in..;)

    Liked by 1 person

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