First…. get a million dollars. That seems to be our favorite saying around here whenever Mike and I start dreaming about our little cunning plan to live the cruising life on board a sailboat. This is a saying that reflects the daunting task before us: to uproot our lives and set sail to exotic (we hope) locations before we get so old our teeth fall out. It seems like if we just had a ‘million dollars’ the distance between our lives now and the life we want to lead would almost disappear. Heck, with a million dollars we could probably set sail tomorrow! Well, almost.
We’re classic. Really, we are. Both in our mid ‘50s, after 31 years of marriage, child rearing, home ownership, and careers, the wick of the proverbial ‘candle of time’ is getting short. Also, we’re sick and tired of working. And I mean that to be inclusive of all kinds of working, including keeping up with all the stuff that owns us like the house and gardens and all the detritus of an American life lurking in the garage, attic, and various other areas with closed doors.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re part of the lucky few who really do enjoy their professions. We live well. It’s just that if someone walked up to us and gave us a million dollars today, we’d retire. Wouldn’t you?
So what makes this worthy of a blog? It’s not like this situation isn’t repeated ad infinitum in households of 50-somethings all over the US of A. We’re no different than any other couple our age in that way. Except that we have a plan! Cunning it may be, but it’s, well, complicated. There are lots of steps and they are not as straight forward as all the self-help books lead one to believe.
Here’s the crux of the matter: In 3 years, after our son graduates from Western Washington University, we want to be in a position to rent out our home and set sail. It sounds easy, no? No. It does not. Like I said, it’s complicated. First, we have to ‘downshift’ our lifestyle: reduce the amount of stuff we have accumulated over 31 years. I understand this is a “freeing” experience. At this point, I take other people’s word for it.
At the same time, we must prepare our home to be a rental, or decide to sell. This alone may take the better part of the next 3 years as we make needed upgrades and finish projects that have been waiting around twiddling their thumbs. We’re talking refinishing floors, replacing flooring in the office, finishing the tile in the laundry room. You get the general idea. Oh yeah, I forgot finishing painting the trim in the family room. This requires a ladder taller than what we already have, which is why it remains unpainted after 10 years. (Okay, it’s primed so you can’t really tell it’s not painted unless you look closely. We’re not THAT pathetic.)
So, again, why the blogging? I got serious about thinking about it while reading the book Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell. The book describes how Julie makes a goal of working through Julia Child’s cookbook on French cooking by systematically creating every recipe in the book over a period of one year. What struck me, other than the sheer genius and insanity of such an idea, was the support she received from the followers of her blog. It kept her on track; it motivated her when she wanted to quit. That sounded good to me!
I figure this is a good way to keep us organized, set goals, and if we put those goals in print, follow through with them. Our little cunning plan will take a lot of energy and direction. We need to carry on with it in a measured way, accomplishing one small task at a time. So this blog is entirely a selfish exercise on the one hand.
On the other hand we think we have something to offer the reader. I have noticed that with few exceptions, people who make these kinds of huge life changes talk about them mostly after they have accomplished their goals. There are plenty of interesting blogs written by people who are already living the cruising life. Lots of their stories are punctuated with the advice that one should ‘Go now! In the boat you have!’. Thanks for that. Give me a million dollars and I’ll ‘go now’. I get the point, but it’s not realistic for us. I believe there are many, many more people who are like us and need to take some time to extricate themselves from long and fruitful land-based lives than there are who can drop everything and go. So we will write things we think will be helpful to others who are in our same ‘boat’ and we will hope to entertain you as well . We hope you will subscribe to our blog (and we do not sell your email address to others) and keep reading.