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Old 08-24-2012, 03:26 PM   #1
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Good morning to all.
I do a little introduction. I am new to the forum.
With my family (my wife (27) and Little Max (1.5)) hope to soon go live to the sea I am a systems engineer and she is a dentist.

Our plan is to find a boat in USA or the Caribbean. And one of the issues we are creating uncertainty, as our economy is not very baggy, is the subject of making money while we travel.

Could you
, which they had experiences related to the topic, tell us what you think. And if it's reasonable.

From already thank you very much and sorry for my written English

Greetings all, having a great day.
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:02 PM   #2
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Thanks for bringing up this topic. Often wanna-be-cruisers have asked the questions of how do I afford to cruise or extend my cruising time and unfortunately most conversations focus on the important aspects of being frugal and don't really get into the nuts and bolts of how to really LIVE a cruising life—meaning long term cruising which does require an income source.

Both Annie Hill (Cruising on a Small Income) and the Pardeys (Cost Conscious Cruiser) in their books address the fact that one needs to think about generating income/working while at the same time being the advocate for economy. Hill does a better job of addressing the idea that one must have sufficient resources aboard and systems in place in order to optimize the cruising lifestyle whereas the Pardeys focus on making do with as little as possible to greatly simplify the lifestyle to a point that it is very, very cost effective to cruise. Even so, the Pardeys also address the need for income and the reality that many cruisers will stop and work in various places. The statistics that I believe they discuss in one of their numerous books is that over their 30-some years of cruising, they spend many months each and every year WORKING.

So even to the idealistic cruiser who thinks they're going to give up all worldly extras and magically live a cruising life, there is the truth that we must have income to make this happen. Retirees may not be so interested in this discussion because they went the path of working many years, saving, investing, and now it is possible for them to enjoy cruising in retirement. However, there are many, many families interested in cruising NOW while their children are young not just LATER when the kids are grown and gone. These families are much less likely to have a nest egg from a trust fund, inheritance, or any other manner of “easy” money and they are very likely to need to find ways to bring in the income while living a cruising life. So thank you very much for bringing up this topic!

These discussions of working while cruising often end up including discussions of doing things which aren't exactly legal—for example working w/o a work permit in the country you've landed in and/or offering charter on your own vessel without the proper licenses, permits, taxes paid and/or insurance for your passengers. Here on Cruiserlog, in the past, we've taken a very firm stance on the idea that we try to discuss and encourage our members to do things which are both LEGAL and ETHICAL. So, I'd ask anyone posting here to stick within these guidelines, please.

We do have some members who have experience with rental income from properties they owned before their cruising days and which are managed by property managers and/or family/friends while the cruiser is abroad. I hope that these members will come along and share their ideas on this. I do note that most people who have rental incomes do so because they're a bit older and have had the time to accumulate sufficient assets to invest in real estate. It is likely that someone not already fully invested in rental properties may find other business ventures which can bring in the same or similar ROI with the same or similar personal involvement while cruising.

We also have a couple members who've cruised for a bit and worked for a bit as they've traveled. For someone with an established profession whose skills are in demand this may be a great way to do things. It sounds like you may fit into this category. Cruising for a year or two and then working for a year or two in a different country w/work permit.

Finally, there are scores of businesses that you may be able to establish which will be location independent for you—especially if you can provide your services via the internet or can partner with local businesses in particular places.

My own perspective: My husband and I had many goals and things we wanted to do which had nothing to do with sailing/cruising for many years. Even so, we had a goal of living aboard and sailing by the time we were in our mid-40's (we made this goal when he was 21 and I was 19 and we were first married). We did set up certain aspects of our life investing/saving so that we'd be able to achieve that goal. Because of that, we do have a small income from those years of working/investing which is really sufficient to live a cruising life. However, we are very interested in life, technology, and continuning to grow personally. So now this year, my husband and I have begun the process of investigating what kind of business we'd like to startup that is really location independent so we can continue to engage in it while we're living our cruising life. We are exploring everything that we have skill, capacity, or interest in.

I hope this lengthy reply to your post will get things going and I hope that other members will share their own situation/perspective and where they are with their cruising goals and life.

Fair winds,
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:47 PM   #3
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Dagnabit RedBobeep, now there you go and totally ruin my up-and-coming treatise on investing in a little skiff off the coast of Somalia.

Other than that, Plan B is to perhaps gather as many skills as you can to keep yourself afloat and going without having to pay for outside services. This would include a full tool-bag and some basic trouble-shooting and analytical skills to isolate and fix upcoming issues yourself. It would save you a lot in the long run and I'm sure I could not be on the water without those skills. Sure, it is the "$ saved=$ earned adage".

Generating NEW revenue may be tough with your skill-set as I would imagine both the instruments and back-up services you might need would be difficult to provide. Better to work hard and long in one place with license and premises etc. to make it worthwhile.

Myself, I found that I still need to do some shuttling between locations to make this work. Far from ideal but it is the Plan C and it seems to work so far.

Selling beads and trinkets is certainly not going to do it. You will need to sell your skills at whatever the local economy (or lack of) will allow. Fixing pearly-whites is probably a very sought-after need amongst cruisers but how do you market yourself off a boat?
Without getting into legal snafu's?

Ivo s/v Linnupesa
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:18 PM   #4
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Har, har,

As a dentist, one may be able to get a work permit for some of the island nations where dentists are few-and-far between. There are not-for-profit dentists who travel among some of the South Pacific and islands in Micronesia to offer services, I know. Must be a need--the question would simply be to find a couple places where the local government would sponsor you for a bit. And, of course, yes, there are always the cruisers who need dental work, too if you happen to have your work permit in order for a particular location.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:16 AM   #5
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For the Dentist my best suggestion is to get your degree certified by the French authorities so that you can be allowed to practice on those Islands that their law applies. Also look at other countries requirements before you go and have as much set up before hand as is reasonable and affordable (certification process cost money, copy of transcripts, apostille, translations as needed [certified]). Also picking up secondary skill sets with certificates helps as well. What type of systems engineer are you?

There are many ways to earn income while cruising. You and your Lady have her professional skill set which is in high demand in many places in the world and with a little bit of paperwork and documentation could easily get you locum work in many places in the world. With the advantage that clinic space would most likely be provided. Depending on what type of systems engineer you are there is different possibilities for you as well.

As stated above adding any skills you can as you get ready to go and getting certified in them will aid you greatly (the paperwork is for any long term job that would require visa's to do). Short term jobs and dock side work or one off's happen a good bit and you might be surprised how those can blossom into many different positive direction (though care is needed as they can go the other way as well).

Best of luck and hope all goes well.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:14 AM   #6
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From a general perspective, the level of income required is directly proportional to the sort of lifestyle you intend to lead. I know this is somewhat self evident, but pliability in planning doesn't necessarily transplant itself firmly in reality.

I want to earn enough so that I don't have to touch the 'pot'. I have spent years looking at this and have determined my own particular wants will be met by earning $20,000 per year. I have no debts and I do not intend to calculate my rental income into the equation. I would prefer to allow that to accumulate remote from my lifestyle, against the time when I get too old to sail my floating home.

I can earn money through my lifetime profession as a journalist. I expect no more than $10,000 per year from this based on my last four years of freelancing and relaxing. To earn another $10,000 is not so difficult. The worst thing that can happen is that I will need to leave the boat for a few months a year and fly back to Australia to count nuts and bolts in a big hardware store, or stack shelves in a supermarket somewhere. Four months equals $12,000 in the pocket.

That is not my preferred option, but as I have said, that's the poorest one and all the others are better. I think perhaps the biggest impediment to earning whilst cruising, is inertia. It is difficult to excite oneself about working, when one is living the cruising lifestyle.

We can't all work IT based jobs which ignore geography and location, and finding your income source may be either more difficult, or in fact easier than you imagine. However my tip is firstly to determine your minimum requirements as far as money is concerned, add 25% to that figure and make that your base target.

We'll never be rich but we sure can be be happy!
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:00 AM   #7
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"It is difficult to excite oneself about working, when one is living the cruising lifestyle."

I dunno. There must be something wong with us--we have figured out that we love working somehow someway. The work we did to rebuild our boat (2-1/2 years) was really a great and enjoyable experience--we thought we were ready to kick back and relax...but when we started sailing around a bit (2-1/2 years) and doing the relaxing part...we were quickly bored and craving...huh...uh...WORK!

Either physical or mental--projects, projects, projects...seems to be something that makes us tick and we're just "going with it" for now! 6 years into our break away from life we've found that we're just regular little worker bees.

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Old 08-25-2012, 05:36 AM   #8
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I should have distinguished between working at life which pays dividends other than financial, and working for the cash reward, which jades me somewhat these days.
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
I should have distinguished between working at life which pays dividends other than financial, and working for the cash reward, which jades me somewhat these days.
Important difference, yes. When someone absolutely HAS to work to bring in money to live on, it is often difficult for that person to realize that they derive a lot of pleasure from the work they do. After they have a choice of doing whatever they please, then they may realize that "wow, I really LIKE that work" and "I'm not just doing it for money."

It's really great when we are living the life we want to live, doing what we enjoy, and we are able to fund it with work that is all part of the fun. That is the best of all worlds and I hope that everyone here can find a way to their own balanced life.

Fair winds,
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:37 PM   #10
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Very well. Thank you all. I have read carefully a couple of times the post.
You change our uncertainty on hope. We are a young couple who manages all the time to change your life based on the needs
Fortunately our needs are very basic, we just want a healthy and pure lifestyle. And also take Max to know true ideals!!

From what you've written, outside the specific topics, rescued two important lines for me. One, I think, the economy is the same as on land, you have to move to find opportunities, they are there.
The other, that if one is willing to put aside material needs for peace and good life, not that hard out there survive independently.

Why do I say this?, Well, before planning this trip I have traveled to many places and adventures I've always lived the way you raise. Looking at the opportunities. And even before reading them, supposed once established on board, continue the same way

Going further into detail, my skills are really varied. In IT I specialize in high-level infrastructure (data centers and stuff) and after that as a project manager and IT management. Enough for my 30 years, in fact, is one of the reasons why I want change. Looking from outside the forest to discover how to improve it (but that's another topic ). And in my spare time, I divided between outdoor sports, literature and sports sailboats restoring: D (And there were a lot of savings).

Then, drawing your attention, I would also consult a topic related. Average costs of living on a sailboat. The food already, is what's in the supermarket and fishing. But there are some average calculation is made or something to be able to prepare a budget estimate?

Of course, then I'll ask opinion about the boat, the size, place to buy, etc etc but that will come with the time.

With my family are very grateful for your help. I hope to have the opportunity to repay the aid.

good winds to all.
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Old 08-25-2012, 02:41 PM   #11
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AH! I forgot. To the comment of how to work as a dentist in a sailboat ...
I'm investigating a portable kit for my wife. We are also interested in social work. Not everything is money of course. Then, take your skills to people who need it will be an important part of the trip.

Any experience in this welcome. I will keep you informed of the progress of the project "dentist on board."
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Old 08-25-2012, 04:22 PM   #12
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To Wedbopeep: my, how philosophical you waxed about all that work and happiness. Though I had to take cover and shelter in place during that barrage of philosophy. ( 11:39pm ? You DO busy, don-cha? )

Do agree with you 100% that satisfying work makes happiness and I manage to stay very busy with that. Just running a boat means being busy, there never is a lack of tasks.

To Luka: The budget issues are hard to define and you just may need to plunge in and "cut and try". Cut it severely and try living on that.

Do be sure you have enough of a "pot" that some bigger repair or issue does not bankrupt you. Myself, I've collected bits and pieces of parts and equipment over time, when a good buy presented itself. Also I follow the 80/20 rule.. 20% of price can usually get you 80% of the utility. There is no need to have all electronics integrated and NEMA'd and AIS'd. People sailed without charts or GPS for a very long time. Do at least get GPS and Epirb and paper charts. With modest and basic food need you are not far off your normal budget for those items, but "island prices" are well above supermarket. Stock up on all non-perishables or foreseeable replacements. Especially on common engine spares, fluids, impellers and such like.

There are some cruisers aka live-aboards that underestimated $'s and are trapped in an un-seaworthy hulk, eking out an existence with no real hope of fulfilling their dreams of remote anchorages. You are not in that category and have the spirit and skills to take life by the horns. Go do it and good luck to all three of you. (BTW: I'd love to re-visit Buenos Aires... wonderful. ) With el nino aboard it will be extra tough on you but you are still young and resilient and don't know any better, so what is there not to like?? Go for it!

To Aussie: good planning is clearly evident. You have plans A-Z and can roll with the punches and have thought through it all. The world is your oyster as a reward.

How does landlording work out? Been there myself and may need to be again, but see problems with it unless you can stay close and on top of it all. Or get that rare dream tenant. Or use a lot of that Greek remedy, choccoboozo or some-thing oozo

Ivo s/v Linnupesa
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:19 PM   #13
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Ivo you're a funny fellow. We can go through life whining and complaining or we can find the ways to be happy in what we do. We are "sold" the dream of happiness being equal to leisure. Then, all too many times, the poor smuck who toils unhappily along all the while saving his money so he may live that dream eventually "buys" his life of leisure and discovers that he is the same unhappy fellow who was working all those years. Far better to figure out that you can take it upon yourself to be happy at all times when ever and where ever you may find yourself simply by being true to yourself and not the silly marketing of the world around you about what you "need" to be happy.

Ah--and our sailor Luka wants to know "averages"...the new sailors always want to know these things don't they? And indeed you can spend as much or little as you have upon you to spend. It is always this way. There are no "absolutes" in life. Ivo has hit it correct to say that you don't wish to get into a poorly maintained vessel which really cannot take you anywhere w/o lots of repair. Repair does cost money no matter how much work you may be willing to undertake your self. Boat parts aren't cheap. There are way too many wanna-be-travelers who are captive by the poorly maintained boat that they purchased to fix up and sail cheaply--only to learn that there is no "cheap" on some matters.

It sounds like Luka has skills that are very portable but might require staying put in a port to work for a while each time he wishes to ply his present trade. Both Luka and his wife have professions that pay very well in the USA and it would be easy for an American couple like them to quickly save the money for a small vessel and a good cruising kitty to get going with.

Fair winds,
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Old 08-25-2012, 10:02 PM   #14
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If you decide not to roam too far from home...

A dentist can usually find work as long as the licensing issue isn't there. If you stick to an area where you can fly home for reasonable amounts of time each year for work you might be OK. The internet allows for plenty of communication home. Perhaps you get a set of dentists and fill their vacations every summer. Let them have the "best" months free and you take the rest of the year off. I don't remember if dentists are licensed state by state or nationally.

Systems Engineer might be a bit trickier. I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you can use the internet to secure temporary contract work a couple months a year, preferably the same months as your wife, perhaps you two can plan on being "out there" 9 months a year and work the other three. Contract engineering can be a good life.

Both those professions allow an income that if managed properly can put you in very modest luxury in many parts of the world. When you are working, you can just decide that you live simply and cheaply and keep your heads down till the work is done.

I can tell you that after months of living free, there are two effects: First, it's hard to change to a more constricted lifestyle. Second, though, is you come in without burnout and knowing it is just for a few months takes a lot of the sting out of it.

An added bonus is that when you are not working, you are not working. You might have to be a bit flexible, though. If a good relationship suddenly needs you, perhaps you have to have one or both of you jump.
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