You Have To Be Happy To Spread Happiness

Over the years we’ve been voyaging, we’ve occasionally heard from people who accuse cruisers of being parasites—wandering the globe without giving back. And, yes, we’ve run across some cruisers like that. We call them “user cruisers”. They come into town, take from the generous locals (sometimes from people who have less than them), and then leave, all the time complaining about how economically poor they (the cruisers) are.

John and I try very hard not to be “user cruisers”. However, according to one friend in Norway, we are sometimes too much the other way. She said that by choosing a community to stop at, we voyagers make that community feel special and worthwhile and our arrival brings a breath of fresh air—novelty, interest, news from elsewhere—and so people want to give us something in return. By being too independent, we deprive people of the chance to share with us. So we’re working on getting that balance right!

The other day we heard from Tassio, who has commented on the site a few times. Tassio and Claudia are a young couple who have managed to buy and outfit a boat (it wasn’t easy) and are now voyaging, with the goals of creating art, living sustainably, and spreading happiness. But, Tassio says, in order to spread happiness, you have to be happy.

And that in turn reminded me of what our friend in Norway said. So if voyaging brings you happiness, then, as long as you extend that happiness to others and give what you can (tours of the boat, reciprocal dinners, a small thank you gift), I believe that you are giving back—i.e. making the world a better place, even if in a very small way—and you aren’t a “user cruiser”.

How do you give back? Please leave a comment.

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Phyllis has sailed over 40,000 offshore miles with John on their McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, most of it in the high latitudes, and has crossed the Atlantic three times. As a woman who came to sailing as an adult, she brings a fresh perspective to cruising, which has helped her communicate what they do in an approachable way, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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