A few weeks ago my brother-in-law was driving across Iowa on his way back from Chicago. Traffic was stopped on the freeway due to construction but a semi-truck failed to stop. The semi plowed into the traffic and a fire erupted. The truck behind my brother-in-law’s van was hit directly and the woman driving it died at the scene. My brother-in-law was incredibly lucky, despite being briefly trapped in his burning van he escaped without major injury. One minute he was sitting in traffic, the next he was lucky to be alive.
This incident got me thinking about risk and danger. Is cruising a risky lifestyle? Is it dangerous? These are two different questions and, for me at least, they have two different answers. I think cruising is risky, but not particularly dangerous. Of course my experience at this point is pretty much zero so what follows is all talk, but what’s a blog without a few uninformed opinions 😉
I think cruising is risky because there are so many uncertainties, so many unknowns, but that is also a huge part of the appeal. I am no adrenaline junky but I like getting off the beaten path. I like exploring new places. I like getting outside of my comfort zone, but usually only a little at a time. I love to travel but I am no vagabond, I also like to have a place to call home. If that place is mobile, so much the better. Yes there is risk in leaving behind the people and places you know, shrinking your footprint from 1800 sq feet to a space smaller than most living rooms (edit: the living space on ‘Imi Loa is actually smaller than our current master bathroom and closet), giving up a steady income and benefits…… But there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored.
So what about danger? What if we get caught in a hurricane/cyclone, or get attacked by pirates? These dangers don’t actually bother me so much. I figure you do your best to avoid being caught in a major storm but you also put a lot of thought and effort into your storm tactics and gear ahead of time. I’m sure I’ll be plenty scared when the time comes, but with proper preparation we (and our boat) will probably be ok. As far as pirates go, we’ll continue to assess the situation but for now we have no plans for traveling through pirate country. What does worry me is the potential for injury. On a sailboat there are lots of hard bits under load that could come loose and cause damage. This would be bad at any time but out in the middle of the ocean there is no 911 to call so we will need to deal with any injury ourselves (while still managing the boat). We will be taking first responder/wilderness first aid classes to be prepared should something bad happen and of course we”ll carry plenty of medical supplies, antibiotics, etc.
Even with the very real possibility of injury far from help I still don’t think cruising is especially dangerous. It certainly seems less dangerous than driving on the freeway, even if help is only a phone call away sometimes it just doesn’t matter.