Saturday, April 8, 2017

Choice and thinking outside the box

Cruisers tend to be people who think outside the box. Being adaptable seems a common trait, as well as not being afraid of change.

We decided to change our course for a while with our choice to stop traveling and buy a land based home. We don’t feel anchored down by our house. Not only did we opt to buy a house in an affordable area, but we also know that we could easily rent out our house when we decide to travel again. In choosing where to buy, thinking out of the box guided our decision. Maintaining a balance in work/play is essential in our life. Our home base in Berkeley, CA did not meet the criteria of affordability and living a balanced lifestyle if we wanted to live on land. A great innovative public school system in walk able distance from our house was another important element in our choice. I watched some TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson, and was intrigued by his thinking about creativity and education. He mentioned IB (International Baccalaureate) schools as one example “that encourages personal creativity, self-sufficiency, and initiative in a way that a lot of the other standardized systems simply do not”.  While we have no experience with this type of school yet, we visited the public schools in Shaker Heights which offers the IB program from kindergarten to high school, and we liked what we saw. When we discussed our future travel plans with the principal, he was all aboard, and mentioned he had successfully worked with another sailing family!

Even in the few months we have lived here, we can get a sense of community that is here. Our neighbors keep a street roster, which is actively used, and we got a warm welcome when we arrived. There is a walking ‘school bus’ on our street, where parents rotate to pick up and walk all the young kids on our street to the school. We have had a mid- winter street happy hour where we got to know some of our neighbors. We needed a ladder a few days ago, and just like in the marina where people help each other out, within 15 minutes after I sent an email to the whole street, I got 5 responses. Word is out that the Easter bunny will visit our street, and an egg hunt will be going on in the small yards on our street. It’s the kind of community we were looking for once we decided to buy a home.

Is it all perfect? No, no place is. The weather is something to get used too, coming from the year round mild climate in the Bay area. People do tend to hibernate here in the winter, and we have been sometimes the only ones playing outside in the snow on the street (in the weekends we have seen other kids also sledding on the golf course 500 yrs from our house). I also miss not living on/next to the water, and only time will tell how I will cope with that. But the biggest difference between a land based life (in lots of places) and a cruising life is the fact that you are surrounded by few people with more unscheduled/free time, without a regular full time job with fixed hours.  

Seven more weeks and the Bliss crew will be traveling again. We will be flying to San Francisco, house sitting for friends for 10 days in Berkeley, and then pick up our rv Betsy to do a cross country road trip. Haven’t figured out the exact route yet, but we are flexible and are in no hurry. As long as we are back for the big block part on our street!

also mid winter, fun at the farm
and yes, temp differences of 30 degrees per day sometimes!

snow plowers piling up snow up again our gate

fun edible book festival at great independent bookstore in town

tasty west side market in Cleveland

on a walk on another sunny winter day 

this is our cross street

garbage pick up in our yard, the little ones go in the drive ways,
dumping in the big garbage truck waiting on the street

on my 10 min walk to the supermarket

welcome gifts from our sweet neighbors on both sides