There are many, many people who have been where we have. We are definitely not forging new territory out here – the path, or water, is well worn. This is a great thing in that we can learn a lot from the people before us. However this knowledge is a double edged sword…
It seems everywhere we turn, someone is giving us advice: “Oh – don’t go here – not worth it, don’t go there, nothing to see…Stay away from this anchorage – the people are all terrible hustlers…You’re going to Grenada? Well, you know about hurricane Ivan right…Why would you go to Martinique – it’s horrible…etc. etc.”. Rumors of theft, rude locals, rolly anchorages and more pour (unsolicited) from the mouths of well meaning travelers who have been here before us. While we definitely appreciate the advice (which is almost always in the form of a warning) – we have learned not to take it all the time.
The thing is this: your experience is exactly that – yours. What one person despises – another might love and visa versa. What is paradise to one might be hell for another. Just because one person had a bad experience doesn’t mean you will too. Same thing with boat advice. What works for us, might not work for you. What you think is “essential” might not be for us. To each his own, as they say. We dealt with this when we were refitting our boat. If we had taken all the advice given to us regarding what we “need” we’d still be at the dock working on her…it was actually overwhelming at times.
When I was 18 I backpacked through Europe with a friend. We went to Amsterdam and had the absolute WORST time. It was awful. Rainy, busy, and frazzled it seemed we just couldn’t get a break. We took wrong turn after wrong turn. Our visit coincided with a British “Bank Holiday” so all the hostels and hotels were full. We had no where to stay, and ended up trudging down the streets with our heavy packs sagging off our backs in the rain looking for a 24 hour cafe or an all night disco we could camp out in. No joke. Luckily for us – a local (and former world traveler) saw us, took pity and let us stay with him in his home. He was a lovely host and a wonderful person – but we had been tainted. We couldn’t leave Amsterdam soon enough. The story, full of follies and foibles, is hilarious now – but at the time, we were miserable.
Does that mean you won’t like Amsterdam? Of course not! And I would never, ever dissuade anyone from going there. Amsterdam tops many people’s list’s of “favorite cities”. Our experience just wasn’t right. That happens when you travel from time to time. It’s life.
So – while we do appreciate the advice we get (we really do!) – we will continue to take it with a grain of salt, weigh our options and go our own way. It’s important to see things through the filter of our own senses and not let our expectations be jaded by another’s. Like Margot Bennet said,
“As time passes we all get better blazing through the thicket of advice”.
When it comes to cruising – it’s definitely a jungle out there!!
Brittany & Scott
- Yes. I love Fleetwood Mac and now have “Go Your Own Way” in my head.