Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The sailing dream, a year later

I write a lot about debt reduction and frugal living, but don't be fooled. This blog is really about our dream: sailing.

A year ago, when we decided we wanted to reduce debt and save so that we could buy a boat one day, here's what I wrote in my journal:

Trent and I both love the water. He grew up swimming, fishing, and boating. I grew up decidedly on land, but when I spent a month on a tall ship back in 2004, sailing got into my blood. To this day, I get shivers when I think of sitting up on deck in the middle of the night and looking up to see the masts reaching up for the stars. I also liked a lot of the things that other people dislike about boats: the constant cleaning and maintenance, the lurching around in bad weather, the challenge of making dinner while your food is sloshing over the edge of the pan...

It would be so cool to do something so different, something that would allow us to travel as much as I want us to travel. And why not?

Although our devotion to this dream occasionally waxed and waned in the months following, we now find we're even more excited about sailing than we were 12 months ago. This is not normal for us. We usually move from idea to idea at breakneck pace. We usually live in the moment. We usually live for now, not for the future. But the sailing goal has such a strong hold on us that we're willing to give up a lot of the instant gratification we're so used to. Since June of 2008, we've paid off almost $19,000 in debt and surpassed our savings goal by 150%. We ramped up savings and frugal living in January. We've cut back on vacations (no vacay for us this summer), going out to eat, cable, home decorations, and book purchases. We've taken almost every job contract offer we've received. Though it's sometimes a major drag, we've basically changed how we live because we want so badly to achieve the sailing goal. That's how much we want it. 

Oh, and we learned how to sail, and we loved it.

We know we'll never have the money to buy a new, 70-foot yacht and sail off to Tahiti for the rest of our lives. However, we do think we'll be able to buy a used 32- to 40-foot sailboat in 4-5 years, live on it, and cruise down the ICW to the Florida Keys and maybe the Bahamas. We're hoping we can continue working online; this would allow us to basically dock for several weeks at a time, make some cash, and then move on. I'd love to try the live-aboard lifestyle. I think it would offer us the challenge we're looking for. We'd have to work together, all three of us, to overcome problems and obstacles and to live successfully. We'd have to be self-sufficient. Based on what I've learned so far about who our son is (high energy, can't sit still, loves being outside), I think this would really benefit his growth and development, too.

I know this will seem weird to some people, but it's just a different way of life, and we want to try it. It might be cramped, it might not always be comfortable, and it might not be as secure as a house on land. But neither Trent nor I feel especially comfortable in our current situation, either. We feel like outsiders in suburbia. Our house is little but cozy... There are a lot of things to do... People are friendly and helpful... yet we feel like we're not exactly in the right place. We want to get off the beaten path, if only for a couple of years.

So we're planning and preparing. It's going to be a long process. I'm learning a lot about myself and my family right now, though. I'm surprising myself, for one thing, by being able to work for a future goal instead of going for whatever I can get right now. I'm learning that the simpler life gets, the better it seems to get... Yes, I'd love a vacation, but I've also been enjoying those nondescript evenings at home with my husband and son, playing with cars or watching a movie. I've been enjoying baking my own bread and pizza. I've started reading more... I'd definitely slacked off on that, but now it's something I do when I have time to fill. I'm learning that buying stuff won't make me feel better. I'm learning to wait to make decisions, especially decisions involving our money.

So that's where I'm at with sailing. Basically, this is the thing that gets me up in the morning, and this is the thing that makes me want to sacrifice most of the "extras" I've always assumed I needed. I'm so excited about how far we've come, and I can't wait to see what we'll be able to accomplish toward this goal in the next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment