Family Magazine

Sat Around with Your Neighbors Lately?

By Behan Gifford @sailingtotem
neighbors
How different would communities be if the neighbors all sat down together to relax and talk for an hour or so- say, once a month? Once a week? In the Miri marina, there’s a nightly bring-your-chair-and-beverage gathering at the end of Dock B.
the marina speakeasy
We didn't solve the world’s problems, but we speculated about the marina's illicit gambling den, shared  great stories, and helped each other from our diverse knowledge base while the sun set. As is the way of stateless sailors around the world, we fast tracked building our own community. During this week in Miri, Jamie and I were the lone Americans in a group of Aussies, but the makeup shifts with the boats that come and go.
sv Ceil
We learned about each other, and where we’re from, about our different priorities and views. Frank questions about our country asked with the innocence of outsiders, lightened from the biased weight of domestic media.
Miri evenings
Mostly, though, we enjoyed the shared brotherhood of cruisers, making fast friends we may never see again. These swiftly formed but fleeting communities can take some getting used to, but are an element of cruising I have come to love. Besides the enjoyment of the present, there is the promise of the future, and the hope that we will be surprised with a familiar place in a new anchorage.
Cruising life aside, though- taking the time to sit around with our neighbors is one of those lessons we'll take away if a fixed point of land ever steals us back. This ritual feels lost in the artificial busyness of modern life. When was the last time you sat around with your neighbors, with no agenda except to pass the time pleasantly and get to know each other a little better?

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