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Old 09-21-2010, 07:10 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Hello all!

I have a big question for all you guys who went away all those years to accomplish a dream of freedom and open sea... The question that hurts the most I guess, as I'm struggling to find anybody talking about that...

What's after?

Me and my wife are dreaming for too long now to jump on the crzy project of collecting every single penny that may be hidden under the sofa, sell everything and buy a 30ish footer that could help us escape Quebec, its winter, the jobs and basically live the dream for a couple of years. Even if I would have tons of questions about almost every aspect of the project, there is actually only this one that I need an answer before putting a "on sale" sign in front of the house.... What are you doing after guys? Just to give you a bit of context, my wife and I are just about to turn 30, so a bit young (and poor) to actually retire in the bahamas, and we're both in a profession that changes really fast, which makes it hard for a "come back" 2-3 years later. But more importantly; after such an experience; how can you cope again with the routine, the stress and a mailbox always full of ads trying to sell you a "Razor with 6 blades! How Amazing!" ???

Thanks a lot for any answer.


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Old 09-22-2010, 12:00 AM   #2
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Welcome Winchman and your Wife,

Note that you are both about to turn 30 - HARD to condense an answer to what happens when one returns to a life on land.

The experience of many cruisers is that they regret selling real estate to enable a cruising life to be realized.

Over time land property gains in value - whereas a boat is a wasting asset which requires continuous maintenance and upgrading to minimize its diminishing or depreciating value over time.

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Old 09-22-2010, 04:09 AM   #3
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Ah, just to play Devil's advocate...some folks think that the housing price appreciation of the last couple decades was an anomaly that won't return soon anyway. Here's a recent NYTimes article on the matter.

Follow your dreams. If you want inspiration, look into what Dave and Jaja Martin did with their young family by reading their book Into the Light or getting the documentary film Iceblink about their lives (with their three kids) ashore after spending a decade or so at sea.

Go to Bumfuzzle.com and read about a young couple who circumnavigated the world in the 2004-2007 timeframe and what they've done since. By the way, they're getting back to sea with a new baby and a new boat.

While sailing around the Sacramento Delta, I just recently met a wonderfully inspiring cruiser by the name of Bob Van Blaricom. He and his wife Jane are the most amazing couple. He is 80 and she's just a tad younger. They've been working and cruising off-and-on in a very manageable fashion their entire adult lives. Bob has written a wonderful book Time and Tide about his sailing experiences. It is available as a free .pdf download here although it is well worth buying a hard copy, too.

There are many other people who have made the transition back-and-forth between cruising and working.

Figure out what it takes to be happy and do it.

Regarding work--My husband and I are in our late 40's. We're too young to "retire" but we have taken a sabbatical and are progressing towards the goal of combining our cruising life with our well-loved working lives. Don't take a job just because it pays the bills--work and do the things that excite you. Your passions need not be relaxing hobbies but rather can be the work that you do.

Fair winds,
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 09-22-2010, 02:00 PM   #4
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Hi, Sam

Husband and I are two who retired early and after almost 20 years returned to the States to live. I don't think that any two cruisers can fit into the same mold, so I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but here's our story.

We didn't start out to go very far, that just happened. We liked visiting new places more than being the old hands in a more familiar place, so we just kept going. Slowly, though. We spent four years in the Caribbean, we explored Australia for several years, we spent 7 months in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, for example.

We finally sold sv Watermelon and returned to the US permanently in 2003. It was an extreme shock which we still haven't quite come to terms with.

Why such a shock? I think mostly because we had spent so much time in most of the places we stopped that we saw more than the tourist destinations. We shopped in the local stores and so we had a better idea of what the locals paid. T-shirts cost a dollar or two, and when we went back to the US, the same T-shirts were $15.00. I worked hard to keep costs down, rarely paying more than a few dollars for items of clothing, and my sister in the States didn't blink twice at $30.00 sweatshirts and $20.00 T-shirts. In a family of five people they had six television sets. We had one, and it was tiny. We occasionally watched television in some of the places we stopped, and when we saw U.S. programs in these countries we suddenly saw just how much of an hour's programming was commercials. Broadcast TV elsewhere, when they showed US programs, had up to 15 minutes of an hour to fill.

The US seemed to us to be narrowly focused on material "things", and it has made us uncomfortable. Worse, I lost patience with the appalling ignorance of the rest of the world demonstrated by too many people in the US. I'm a bit calmer about it lately, but I am still uncomfortable with many aspects of US life.

Don't get me wrong, I love my country. It has enabled us to have the financial independence to have spent the past 24 years traveling. Our curiosity of the rest of the world hasn't diminished at all. Two winters ago we criss-crossed the US by train, visiting most of the states we had not seen before. We'll do it again, I'm sure.

And I think that's what makes us what we are. I love sailing, but our cruising was pretty much our looking over the horizon. Waking up in the morning and saying, "what's over there?" and then heading there. Coming back to the US and a more limited form of cruising hasn't changed that essential part of ourselves, we just do things a bit differently than before.

I guess my advice is to encourage people to see cruising as a positive movement towards a goal, not the goal of heading away from something that seems less desirable. Am I expressing it clearly? Does it help you at all?

Whatever, you should feel confident that your choice is the right one for the two of you.

Fair winds,

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:42 AM   #5
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We have not started cruising yet ourselves. We have moved around 1/4 or the World and across countries and large parts of the US. We have had to downsize just to live and currently looking at doing it again as the kids have way too many toys. I mean it is crazy.

Right now our goals is my health (which is on the mend but not constant), my lady getting her degree and getting a few of our business' either to the fully mobile stage or to the income stage that a buyer will be asking what they cost (interesting but that really does work). We have three kids with us and already are getting home schooling material for on the boat as well as if needed while the degree is being finished (We believe in education NOT indoctrination). We plan on using our skills and abilities as we cruise and adding to them to increase not only our pleasure in life and ability to do things, but also to deepen the tool box of skills and experience.

What afterwards? We are looking at options, being that we hold two passports there are options open to us and Sarah's degree as well as mine can open doors in teaching or other options. So it is planning. With the realization that all plans must change when they come in contact with reality.

This most likely is more meandering than focused though but hopefully it helps you.

What you see in the Universe, sees you.
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by winchman View Post

I have a big question for all you guys who went away all those years to accomplish a dream of freedom and open sea... The question that hurts the most I guess, as I'm struggling to find anybody talking about that...

What's after?
G'day mate & Hi there fellow 'Canuck'. Big task in front of you both - BUT - if you divide it up into sections - it is not difficult at all. I admit it must seem that way from time to time - hence your subject. Read my profile & you'll understand part of the story. 'nuff-said. I have a mate that wanted to do important sailing with his lady. They sat down without looking at each others answers & wrote down 1 to 10 the most important things they wanted to do in the next 30 yrs with their lives. They then compared the results - on the very first go - they got 7 out of 10 of the same desires & the first 4 were in the same order. My Lady of 47 yrs do that - 1 to 10 - 'thingy' at least twice a yr just to make sure we are making the best (there is no correct, right or wrong - just - difference) choices that are considering the 2 of us together - as one. Wow & it works. Now to the vexing question -' to boat or not to boat'. You've just got 3 of the best bits of advice from the 'best of the best' cruising families that you could/want/needed to ever get. Million dollar value advice from extremely knowledgeable people who have - - been there - done that & still are - - & all for free. They will never tell you - how knowledgeable they truly are but I will & just have. Wise words of advice all by good people in the know. Head & remember.

I had a similar dilemma in Vancouver in 1958 - because I didn't - 'fit the mold' either. I hadn't learned yet that - 'Every reality begins with a dream' - that said - here I am at 70 - live in Australia (for the past 50 yrs as my home base) followed - 'most' of my dreams & am going to go back sailing within the next year (need to spend 6 months earning some more money) & MY 'star' is still burning brightly !!. I bring to your attention that there are several cruisers in these 'forums' that work in the IT field very successfully from their yachts. If they CAN then YOU CAN !!! - you don't have to be a 'rocket-scientist' nor a 'brain-surgeon' to make your destiny work for you. I've now learned that - - if you WANT TO then you CAN !! Think - I may - I can - I will - - Take one step at a time with a complete program laid out in front of you both. Then - - JUST START SOON & JUST DO IT NOW !! . If it's is meant to be - you can be sure - - it will be. Gawd - bloke - I did it so I'm sure as all heck you can. Grab every star you see going by & hang on like all heck. It'll surely be worth the ride & - what a ride - it is. It WILL work for you two if you make it work. So work at it, with determination & self belief. Do let us all know how you two are going so we can learn & share, please. Ciao from down-under, jj

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Old 09-23-2010, 10:45 AM   #7
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One thought that just came to mind,

I had a Prof' during my graduate years that asked us to answer one question in detail for 10% of our final grade in the class. The question was, "What after the degree?". Now to some folks that seems silly as with a professional degree you go into practice correct? Yeah, your right, but where? In what way? On your own or working for someone or opening a partnership? What office protocols will be used? what do you consider as acceptable overhead expenses? This might seem like it does not apply to cruising. Let me shift the window if you don't catch it. A plan needs a next step, the one beyond the arriving at the finish line. Most cyclist when they finish a race are completely spent. Why? They gave everything they had at the 100m if they had it to give. I have been peeled of my bike when I raced more than once.

Same goes for Sailing and Cruising. The long plans have to have that next step. Even if it is the horizon. If you both agree to that and accept the responsibilities involved you will get there and beyond.

Best of luck and hope to see you out there. Things are coming together and will have to see how a few things come together over the next few weeks. We may end up owning a nice 48' ferrocement schooner. We will see.

Best Wishes and plan well,

What you see in the Universe, sees you.
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:23 PM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 43

Hello Sam

if you are sailing don't think about the next ten years, everything could change tomorrow. I left a dull life in england and france, bought a schooner, headed for the tropics. based in Philippines, a developing country, I started a yacht charter business, sunset cruises, then an english pub and an asian stir fry restaurant. I had intended to retire aged 50 for a carefree life sailing. I now have 20 or more businesses in the Philippins from construction to farming ducks, goats and turkeys. I am gonna to retire again in the next few months to sail to the solomons and new caledonia to see what turns up there, ,and leave my filippino family to run the businesses.

You can make all the plans you like, but nothing is certain in this world.

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