The “C” Word

Self-reliance helped catch several MahiMahi between Galapagos and Marquesas.
Self-reliance helped catch several MahiMahi between Galapagos and Marquesas.

Sailing between Galapagos and the Marquesas, an uncomfortable 24-day crossing for us, I reflect on features missed of my life recently left behind. Departing California for Mexico and the South Pacific on a 42-foot sailboat, life significantly changes as one would expect, but exactly what changes and how these changes affect a person one cannot know until engulfed in the new circumstance. In the cost-benefit analysis, we would only leave if, by leaving, we calculate a better overall outcome for ourselves, ultimately gaining more than we forfeit. But I find one particular adjustment difficult to make: “Convenience,” specifically the lack thereof.

Convenience is seductive. I miss her. She gets me what I want, when I want. All I have to do is figure out what I want, something I’m exceedingly good at, and she comes through for me. Dressed in Amazon Prime, 24hr grocery stores, next day parts from West Marine, Jack’n the Box drive thru, the big box stores, Costco, Walmart, Target, or the mall; she gives me what I want, when I want . . . and I am capable of wanting so much.

Car is great too; a cozy cocoon, it entertains, it comforts, and it takes me where I want. It asks little of me. Entertainment, I miss too: movies, television, theater, art galleries, music, opera, dining out, etc. It, too, asks little. I merely have to decide what it is I wish to see . . . Car takes me there.

Convenience has a bathroom near your bedroom, a large shower, washing machine, dryer and dishwasher. She’s water, power, gas, phone, sanitation, and Internet. She’s so there, so ready to serve. I miss Convenience.

I left Convenience for a more challenging relationship with Self-reliance. This new one taps me for everything I’ve got: brain, heart, body, and soul. I don’t demand of her . . . she demands of me. Convenience never asked for anything. Each day with Self-reliance, I’m spent. I bed and rise early. I’m uncomfortable, and yet somehow I no longer seem to need to work out or visit medical specialists. I no longer ache. I’m thinner. I’m fit. With Self-reliance, I don’t get to buy things. I must watch what I spend, and try not to. She requires that I wait to get the things I want, and/or do without. Entertainment under Self-reliance is simple too; cards and board games with wife and sons, watching together a video on a 9” screen, meeting new and fascinating people from around the world of all walks of life, walking or swimming by exotic animals and plants, hiking active volcanoes, picking unusual produce from a local farmer’s field, but mostly, just solving problems. I chose this new relationship because she’s supposed to offer my family and me more substantive rewards, but who knows? It’s too soon to tell. Still, the other relationship was pretty good. Learning to live with less is not as much fun as learning to live with more. I miss Convenience. Fortunately for me, she harbors another easy-going quality: Convenience never gets jealous. No matter how long I’m away from her, she’s always willing to take me back.

10 thoughts on “The “C” Word”

  1. Hey Eric and Leslie. I really enjoy reading your stories and watching your adventures. Maybe I can catch up to you guys on one of your stops.

  2. Well, Eric, we are over here wallowing in Convenience, and envying you. Reminds me of a story I read as a child, about one kid who lived on a boat, and the other who lived on land, and how they envied each other’s lives. Something about “the grass is always greener….” (but nowadays, it is NOT GREENER here, due to the drought.) We love you all and are glad that you are there. I think it is healthy to “be without” in order to learn what really matters to you.
    Just sop it all up, xox, betsyandgary

  3. Here in our winter quarters by the Salton Sea, Convenience is 50-miles north or 50-miles south. And Internet orders are quickly delivered. I thought we missed Convenience!

    I’ll bet what you do not miss is TV commentators taking over an hour to tell you thy do not know anything yet! Or, endless TV talking heads discussing what someone said about what someone else said!

    And I bet that ISIS, who just took 14 lives in California, has not reached you yet.

    Stay where you are. You don’t know how good you have it!

  4. Hey Trent, it’s Reed from Cabrillo. Sorry I haven’t written in a while but I got caught up with school. I saw an article in the paper about you skyping with Cabrillo. Too bad I wasn’t in that class. I was wondering how it’s going on the boat and how your new school is. If you have any questions for me about how it’s going over here you can reply. I will try to check this site more often or you can email my dad at
    Thanks, your friend, Reed.

  5. We are wrapping up a month without refrigeration, restaurant, store and more – on the hard. Apataki is beautiful, the people are generous and friendly but Convenience is missing. Hope to catch up with you in late January. Gregg

  6. Hi guys…We hand it to ya. The courage and perseverance. Experience in life – truly once in a lifetime. We love you and are thinking about you on this very special day — and always.
    Love ya…Merry Christmas…Claudia and Kevin

  7. Well Eric you look 10 years younger. There is something to be said for that. You’ll get over it! The boys also look like angels,

    .Just don’t miss Vava’u. Tonga!

    Dan & Lidia

  8. Wow, we so enjoy your writings!!! The “C” word…ahh she is so sweet and accommodating. I have to say I enjoy her also! Self-reliance can be a powerful tool in our “tool box” of life. You can’t place a value on Self-reliance. This will carry you further, teach you more, sustain you when you wonder if you can do it, builds character, gives you confidence, courage etc….This is what your sons are learning and that will take them much farther in life than Convenience will. Hope you each enjoyed Christmas in some special way. 🙂
    Hugs to all, Paulette

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