Badges |


We bought this boat with the intention of circumnavigating the world. Our plan was to develop skills and save money for the first five years and then cast off the docklines for a life of adventure. Ten years later, it is ironic that we are still in a marina with extra lines attached to the dock to make sure that the boat is secure. There is no casting off of the docklines except for weekends and holidays.

Through navel gazing and experience, we realized that we are cruisers, not circumnavigators. We love nature and beautiful, peaceful places. Swinging on an anchor after a day of being on the water is one of my favourite things. I don’t have to defend this to those of you who live in a house in a subdivision. The ability to get out on the ocean on a sailboat probably seems adventurous, but periodically, my fellow boaters judge me and conclude that because I am not going offshore, that I am less of a sailor.

Judgement requires that you make an assumption about someone’s motives for an action. It brings your bias and experiences into a situation that usually has nothing to do with you. The ego likes judging other people. It makes you feel superior – all puffed out and important running around yelling, “Look at me! Look at me! I am better than you.”

Can you imagine a world where our interactions come from a place of compassion with no judgement? But be careful here – the ego understands that compassion is a worthy ideal and will sometimes hide judgement within the guise of compassion. “Oh, that’s too bad. I am sure you wouldn’t have liked it anyway.” Drop the judgement. Let the ego be naked – it will free your soul.

If this was Girl Guides, the “Offshore” badge is the highest badge that you can earn and only a few kids ever achieve it. Does it make you less of a Girl Guide if you don’t get it? Do you enjoy sailing any less because you don’t have the badge? No. Similarly, a sailor without the “Racing” badge isn’t a bad sailor; she is a sailor who sails for different reasons.

There are many different ways to enjoy the water: coastal cruising; offshore cruising; crewing on someone else’s boat; renting a kayak; or admiring boats from shore. All of these activities are wonderful if they bring you joy. Hopefully, the more people enjoy activities in nature, the more inclined they will be to take good care of Mother Earth.

This isn’t a competition to see who can get the most badges. This is your life. Do what feeds your soul, not what someone else thinks will feed your soul.

2 thoughts on “Badges”

  1. Badges! Life is good with or without them, I would agree. Being true to ourselves and living the life we each desire, not the life that may be expected of us by peers or family is a personal badge in itself. Good for you both for realizing and savouring what it is that speaks to you! Living aboard, and cruising is a wonderful life! May you both continue to enjoy!

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