11/19/2009, Brisbane, Australia
Picture: Your Author Hamming it up on Honeymoon!
Congratulations on packing for the last time for a long time. One of the best things about cruising around the world with your house is that you get to go a lot of different places without having to unpack and repack! However, deciding what to bring on a trip like this can be tough and intimidating but after the last year, I think I can help. Keep in mind that we had a never-ending summer on our trip through the Caribbean and South Pacific. Some places cooled off at night and a couple of islands very far south were even a bit chilly but overall we have been in HOT weather. Also please note that my Style Notes in italics are my own personal opinions are not meant to offend anyone. Take them or leave them as you wish.
Apparel & Accessories:
SWIMSUITS: I cannot over emphasize the importance of swimsuits. You will wear them almost every single day. Bring a variety of shapes, colors, solids and prints. If you do not like your body in a bathing suit, get over it. Remember in ten years you will look back and know how good you looked and you missed it! Also, always maintain deletion rights to any unflattering swimsuit pictures, it happens to the best of them.
Style Note: Tankinis are out. Choose from bikinis or one pieces.
SUNDRESSES: Tied with swimsuits is the importance of the sundress. Nothing is cooler, easier to throw on or makes you look way more put together than you feel. These are great for day or night, over a swimsuit or alone. Again, bring a variety of shapes, colors, solids and prints (long maxi dresses are great for windy times and don't worry you will get used to the dingy exit in dresses).
Style Note: Knit dresses (the soft material used in t-shirts) are best as they do not wrinkle and are easy to wash. Do not even think of bringing anything that must be dry cleaned or ironed, ridiculous!
SHORTS, TEES and TANKS: Bring several pairs of shorts, including at least one pair of longer Bermuda shorts for the few islands that insist on modesty. Tank tops are great as they are cooler but bring at least a couple of short sleeve tees or shirts that cover your shoulders, again for the modest islands.
OTHER CLOTHING NEEDED: Other items I would recommend are a couple of pairs of sweat pants, a few long sleeve shirts, 3-4 cardigans to wear over your sundresses for chilly nights, a light rain jacket, a pair of white jeans, a few swim cover ups and work out clothes. On a technical note, you will also need sailing specific foul weather gear (with any luck you won't need it much).
SHOES: You need a variety of flip-flops. You need casual flip-flops and dressy flip-flops. I recommend a nice metallic-goes-with-everything color for evening. You absolutely do NOT need a pair of heels. Personally, I think women in heels at a beach resort look ridiculous. Being 5'10" I might not understand others insistence on heels, so if you must bring a pair, bring only one. You will also need a pair of hiking shoes, tennis shoes and reef shoes. Typically you will be barefoot, especially on the boat where leaving any mark is highly frowned on by husbands.
Style Note: Crocs are an abomination to fashion. That being said, many if not most cruisers wear them. Personally, I would rather wear nails stuck in the bottom of my feet or hot coals taped to my heels but that is just me. Crocs offer comfort (so I hear) and a non-skid sole but I still think it is the fashion equivalent of strapping dish sponges to the bottom of your feet. Why not just wear pajama pants to dinner?
HATS: Very important, especially if you don't want to come back with a leather face. Baseball caps and visors work best. I started out with the large brimmed fashionable beach hat but this does not work on a boat. It will not stay on and is hard to store.
SUNGLASSES: Again, you will wear these constantly so bring a few pairs. You will need at least one "glamorous" pair and one sporty polarized pair for spotting reefs. Lightweight sunglasses work best as you wear them all day long.
JEWLERY: You just need a little. Bring your wedding & engagement rings but know they will sit in a box much of the time. It is not wise to sail with them as you might catch it on a sheet and lose an important finger, and besides, you will not want to wear them on islands were the per capita income is less than your annual Starbucks tab. A few pieces of costume jewelry are all you really need, a few necklaces, a bracelet or two and some earrings.
Style Note: Most islands will have their own jewelry designers offering amazing bobbles you can't find at home. The price is usually negotiable.
BAGS: You will need at least one large all-purpose beach bag. Other than that a few tote size day bags are great to have. Most likely you will stop carrying a handbag at night and just give your lipstick to your husband. I could never have imagined this at home but out here you just don't need that much.
Style note: don't bring any nice leather bags on the boat, they can mildew and be ruined. You won't need them, trust me.
TOILETRIES: Whatever products you cannot live without, bring a supply that will last your entire trip. Most likely you will never see it anywhere. If you color your hair, it is not a bad idea to get a box of color for emergencies. I once had to go five months without highlights and it was not an attractive situation!
MAKE-UP: You will wear less make-up than ever on the trip. During the day it is just too hot for make-up and at night most have a very natural look. Bring your favorites but I would not waste too much space with it.
HAIR CARE: Bring a hair dryer but know you probably won't use it very often. Most of the time it is too hot and it uses a ton of power. I have learned how to style my hair in the cabin fans and it works pretty well. You do not need a curling or straightening iron or anything like that. You just won't use it. Stretchy headbands, headscarves and ponytail holders are crucial. You will live with your hair up for much of the time.
DAMP RID: This is a must for any boat! You hang a bag of it in your closet and it keeps the inside from getting musty and wet. Your clothes will stay fresh. Bring a lot as you will not see it anywhere and it must be changed out bi-monthly.
Sorry for the long list but I wish I had this info as I prepared to leave. I hope it helps! E
11/17/2009, Brisbane, Australia
Picture: Your Author at the top of the mast in Bora Bora.
As I approach the deadline to hang up my sailing gloves to return to the real world, I want to share the small bit of wisdom I have accumulated over the course of the year. Not surprisingly, cruising offers different challenges and issues for women than it does for men. There are many technical manuals and professional sailing books out there for men to prep for their trip but not much in the way of a guide for the woman unsure of what to pack or if she is crazy following her husband on such a hair brained scheme. When I received a couple of emails from women preparing to go cruising after my hair care article, I knew I had an audience (of at least two).
What will follow is a series of blogs entitled A Guide for Chick Cruisers but first I want to introduce myself by way of a few bullet points that will help you ascertain if my advice might apply to you in any way. I am not your average cruiser, the older retiree following her husband around the world till death do they part. I am not old fashioned and was in no way used to traditional gender roles. I am young, love big cities, require manicures & pedicures weekly, spend 10% of my income on hair care (or so my husband estimates) and basically I loved my real life in San Francisco. I was not looking for escape but just an adventurous long vacation and the chance not to be average. Hopefully the following background, as it applies to the cruising lifestyle, will enable some insight on all of my future perspectives. So a little about me...
1. I had minimal sailing experience going in. I had been on two sailboat trips: one with girlfriends off the coast of Croatia with a professional captain and one in the Caribbean with my husband Seth and his family. Other than that, Seth and I had sailed around on his family's little sailing race boat but only a few times. I had a lot to learn.
2. I love my husband and this is his dream. It has been amazing and difficult, rewarding and frustrating as I guess all things in life worth anything are. As we near the end, I have no regrets having done it and feel a large sense of accomplishment. Cruising across the Pacific Ocean is not like a yearlong stay at the Four Seasons in Bora Bora as the public at large might believe.
3. My husband and I are best friends. This proved to be more and more important as we lived aboard a 38foot boat and faced challenges. Relationships are hard work always but living in this space and spending this much time together is like the Olympics of Relationships, so be ready!
4. I love the water. I swim like a fish and enjoy snorkeling, diving and surfing. I love the sun. I know sun bathing has gotten a bad rap in the last 20 years or so but boy does it feel good! I love being on the water in a boat (as long as the weather is perfect and the waves calm).
5. I love fashion. Not only did I work in fashion in San Francisco (the perfect job which was very, very hard to leave to go on this trip) but I also I love to shop and I love to dress up. Being over dressed for most occasions is not a new phenomenon for me and in cruising it was only magnified by the blatant disregard the majority of women cruisers show in regard to their appearance. Much, much more on this later.
6. I loved my career. I loved working toward goals and overcoming challenges to create product that I was proud of. Lacking this kind of motivating work was one of the biggest misses in this last year.
7. I did not cook much before this trip. In SF, I cooked a few times a month and never had a grocery bill over about $80. No one in their right mind would have hired me as a Galley Manager but unfortunately since my diesel repair skills are even lower, this is the job I got on board.
8. I love exercise. I used to walk 40 minutes to and from work most days and go to either a yoga class, spin class, or cardio-weights combo class about five times per week. The lifestyle on the boat proved very sedentary and I had to work at making an exercise routine work with life aboard.
9. I was not scared. As I prepared for the trip, many people expressed many concerns for my safety. It just is not part of my personality to think of all the horrible, extremely unlikely things that could happen and focus on those. My Mom did that enough for the both of us as I was growing up and thankfully my worrying skills never developed.
10. We had a set end date to cruise for just over one year. I knew exactly what I was getting into and for how long; we always planned on returning to real life.
So stay tuned - the Guide for Chick Cruisers will follow...
Pictures: Tobe and Elizabeth checking out a sleeping Koala at the Australia Zoo.
Life has been good lately. We're officially back in civilization and are feeling good about it!
We rented a car, albeit we keep turning on the windshield wipers when we try to use a turn signal. We have a new SIM card for our mobile phone, although we don't know how we feel about being "tied down" again (so don't call us at +61 04 1155 3954). We've been to a real live mall and even saw a movie (Mao's Last Dancer, which was very good, BTW). And we've even been surfing, which has been very convenient to access from our new home, the Mooloolaba Marina.
But the trip of the week had to be Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. Here we were able to pet kangaroos and koalas, we learned that the Australian crocodile is significantly larger and more dangerous than its American equivalent, the alligator. And we even got to see a few animals that were not part of the permanent exhibit of the zoo, but happen to like the place so much that they choose to live there. These included several wild turkeys and iguanas. One iguana even charged at Elizabeth as it crossed our path, sending a shrieking blonde girl a few feet into the air. It was possibly the best wildlife sighting of the day. If you ever find yourself in Mooloolaba, check out the zoo!