North Sails NEWS

YOUNG CRUISERS: TAKING CHANCES CREATES OPPORTUNITY

A Story About Living Each Day to the Fullest

By Caroline Gentry Rowell

Imagine, if you will, it is the late summer of 2010. I am 21 years old, just graduated university, have taken a respectable office job and just moved into my new, cute and cozy two-bedroom apartment– as my parents threatened to never help me lug all of my stuff in a U-Haul again. Well, now picture three months later, when I come blazing into my parents’ suburban home, telling them that I have met someone- more specifically have “fallen for” my college sailing instructor and… I am quitting my job, breaking my lease that they reluctantly cosigned, hopping on a plane to St. Maarten, and planning to sail the Caribbean and Pacific…with him. Honestly, I am still wondering how my dad didn’t have a heart attack on the spot?!

“I eagerly wanted to trade stability for adventure. So here I went…”

Had we only been dating for a couple of months? Yes. Did I know how to sail? No, I was too busy being wooed to grasp more than the basics of rigging a 420 and had never sailed before college. Was I scared of the unknowns? Duh– but I knew that I had to do this or I would always look back with regrets (and we need none of those in our lives). I can still feel the butterflies, a mixture of excitement and nerves, and remember the tears as I told my family and friends goodbye before I boarded the plane. But I knew that this was me living my dreams– I eagerly wanted to trade stability for adventure. So here I went…

It’s been ten years. That aforementioned “sailing club president” is my husband, we have a beautiful almost 2-year-old who is growing up spending his time between the mountains of North Carolina and cruising the Bahamas, and we hope to inspire others to live out their dreams and trust the unknowns (especially if they involve sailing/ cruising).

In the past 10 years, we have collected enough memories to last us a lifetime. Our travels have taken us all over the globe where we have had the highest of highs and the absolute lowest of lows (as many cruisers will also tell you). We have met our best friends bought a business, made new towns feel like our hometown, retrofitted boats, grew a baby in paradise, but we have also lost mentors, been away from family for holidays, and been struck by lightning, all on this cruising journey.

“Change is uncomfortable, the path less paved is bumpier, but life is so much sweeter when you live each day to its fullest.”