Back in the 70s it seems everyone wanted to travel. Apparently every second person I met was saving to go to the UK or Europe, and many's the time I fell for some girl who had already planned her life out in advance, and who had no hesitation in leaving me behind. I had already made it from Melbourne to Sydney and liked the place, so stayed there for 10 years. Everything and everyone else seemed to be in transition, but I wouldn't have swapped my time in Bondi for the world.
Looking at Sydney now nostalgically, I notice that the little 2BR flat I had for $60pw all those years ago now costs over $400pw to rent, and that anything with even a glimpse of the ocean will set you back $400-500k to buy, no matter how small.
My first thoughts of sailing started with the above meanderings, which then segued into wondering where I could afford to live when I retired. I've never had much money, live frugally in a boarding house with 7 other people and at 58yo have more debts than I'd care to mention. Thus far life hasn't been good to me financially.
The light at the end of the tunnel is a small inheritence I will eventually receive when my father passes on, and since he has collapsed and been taken to hospital twice in the last month it can only be a matter of time. I don't mean this heartlessly, but after all he is 86 and has had a cancer operation in the past 6 months, so I have to plan for the inevitable. However, the amount won't be enough for city living, and I don't exactly fancy living in the country for very long. I've driven and hitch-hiked enough of it to know there's not much to see or do in the GAFA
Now I've not ever been a boating person. In fact my leanings are more towards homebuilt aircraft made of fibreglass, truth be known. Burt Rutan is my lifetime hero. But the older I get the further that dream recedes, due to the medical requirements and expenses of flying. Yachting, on the other hand, can be done until you're sick of traveling, and in fact when someone gets to the point when they can't be bothered to take another trip on a yacht they're probably sick of life completely.
Recently I bought a copy of Phil Bolger's "Boats With An Open Mind" and while reading it, mine promptly opened to the endless possibilities. I scanned eBay and yachthub.com and saw the large numbers of reasonable yachts that people were offloading for not much more than the price of a secondhand car, until finally the bell went off. Of course!
Now I haven't done much traveling at all. Two trips to New Zealand, a week in Florida and 3 months in Belgium, that's the whole extent of it. I always said I wouldn't go to Europe unless someone paid me to go, and the trip there was such a situation. But hey, the more I consider the options for world travel by yacht the better this looks.
First, buy a modest house to fulfil my father's wishes and the conditions contained in his will. I'm thinking of somewhere like Kempsey, mid North Coast of NSW. Cheap, easily rented. Buy a (26ft to 35ft) yacht and put it up on the hard for 12 months to paint it and outfit it for cruising. Finally when she's ready, store all my remaining junk (it has already been in paid storage for 3 years) or even give it away, rent the place out and go.
The beauty of this plan is that I could pretty much retire to a life of permanent travel on the income from the rent, particularly if I stay for extended periods in SE Asia where living expenses are cheap. Since I won't be earning a wage in Australia the income tax on the rent will be miniscule, but meanwhile the property value will increase to keep pace with inflation. This probably wouldn't be a good idea in the USA right now, but it's certainly a solid financial plan in Australia.
The major upside is that I get to have permanent ocean front views from wherever I go. These days you won't find that on land most places without a spare million. And if I get sick of the view or the neighbors I can always raise the hook and sail away ...
Anyone see a fault with this plan? Yeah I know, preaching to the converted.
I love it.