The other day, I received a Facebook message from an acquaintance who in the course of our brief exchange, said, “You sure post a lot from your ‘remote locations.’” Their quotes around “remote location,” not mine.
It wasn’t the first time I’d received an offhand remark about my posting frequency on Facebook. And truthfully, it wasn’t news to me. I know I post a lot. But I would like to offer some perspective.
When we moved onto the boat, we knowingly left behind our friends, our family, coworkers, and our community. Everyone that you interact with in a given day. It was one of the hardest parts of our decision, and we’ve come to realize how valuable even the briefest interactions are.
Dropping Claire off at preschool and having a quick chat with the fellow moms or dads. Aaron having a beer with a collegue after work. Even the predictable banter with the same barista at the local coffee shop each day. They are all little opportunities to connect with others.
If you think about it, when was the last time you emailed someone, not to coordinate schedules, but to catch up with them and ask them about their day/week/month? When was the last time you took the time at the end of a long day to call someone and check in? Or how often do you schedule video calls with friends and family? Honestly, back in “land life,” we hardly ever did.
I get it. Life is busy. We used to be in the daily grind of never enough minutes in a day. But whether it’s top of mind or not, you share your day with others – mostly in face-to-face interactions. And if nothing else, you share the events of the day with your spouse.
When we are in a bigger port, we are fortunate to interact with a few people in a given day –maybe the owner of the market or the server at the restaurant. Sometimes, we’re blessed to meet other cruising couples or families and plan outings together. But other times, we are in remote locations and don’t interact with anyone else the entire day – or multiple days. And as far as sharing your day with your spouse, well, Aaron spent the whole day with me. Nothing to report that he didn’t witness himself.
Phone calls are 20 cents per minute from the Bahamas and while it won’t break the bank, it’s an additional charge, so we try to reach out to friends and family for calls on Skype, Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp. But, understandably, most people don’t want to set up new accounts on apps they don’t already have, and using these apps requires a coordination of schedules on both ends that can be tricky – especially for us, when data can be hit or miss.
For the fellow cruisers we meet, we seldom travel together for more than a few weeks before parting ways. Some have cell phone plans, some don’t. Some check their email, some don’t.
But one platform that everyone seems to check, that for whatever reason loads even in the most remote places, with the slightest of data connections, is Facebook.
Cruising is an amazing endeavor. It is the best decision we ever made for our family. In our three months in the Bahamas, we have been rewarded more than I ever could have imagined in the richness of our life and the variety of our experiences. But it is also, at times, extremely lonely.
Facebook is our connection to family and friends back at home. It’s a way for us to see what’s going on in our old community. It’s a way for us to stay connected with the friends we meet while sailing the open seas. And it’s a way for me to share our day, even if it’s just to the social abyss.
I post not to collect likes, or count comments – certainly not to clog anyone’s feed.
I post for the comfort it brings to me, knowing that even though friends are hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away, they’re still right there, on the other side of that screen.