Have you ever had a thought that scares the shit out of you? Something that you believe is not impossible? Something that questions everything you’ve ever been brought up to believe but intrigues you nonetheless? I had something like that creep into my consciousness a few years back. It was along the lines of “Let’s go Sail Around the World”. It scared me; Being completely self reliant on a small boat in the middle of the ocean. Being at the mercy of the wind and waves. Being fully responsible for your own life.
At first I met it with “Yeah, some day when I retire” but then it got more urgent. Ashley and I started talking about, incessantly. We dreamed about the kind of boat we’d want, where we’d go and what the experience would be like. And although “The Dream” always stayed at the front of our minds, it always seemed to be in the distant future.
Let’s rewind a few years. Fall of 2009. We had just bought our first house. A townhouse. Ashley was away on business so her dad, Bill, helped me paint and make it habitable. I remember eating lunch with him while taking a break from painting. He’d had this cough all fall and again, during lunch, he had a big coughing attack. I was embarrassed for him – He could hardly finish. Probably asthma or minor acid reflux said the doctors. A year later and he’s dead. Cancer had decimated him both mentally and physically. Within 6 months of diagnosis, Bill wasn’t the same guy anymore. The wind had been taken out of his sails. He was scared. He wanted to build an amazing house on his property, perched atop a cliff with a 180 degree view. Everything had been going so well; A big loving family, a successful business and a very healthy amount of time at the Summer and Winter cabins. And yet, it had been swiped out from underneath him within a few months. Shit had gone horribly sideways and not to plan.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but things had changed. My outlook on life was no longer the same. There was no guarantee that I could grow old, get rich and do what I want. Time was of the essence.
That was 2009. Five years later, an (un)healthy dose of corporate life, and a bunch of ‘growing up’ brings us to 2014. That same townhouse is going on the market this spring. We’re selling everything; The car, the motorbike, our (winter) clothes and all the stuff we’ve managed to accumulate. We’re buying a boat and setting off on our big adventure. Next Winter we will be living on a boat with few possessions, little cash and each other. We’re scared. We don’t know what the future holds but, at the same time, we feel alive. Things are real. There is no more ‘perfect time’. No more waiting around. No more frivolous vacations or toys.
Buying a boat worthy of offshore sailing and (possibly) lack of work is going to require a lot of initial upfront capital. As with us, money was always the biggest roadblock in achieving our goal. But there’s more to it than that. The hardest part has been committing fully to this dream. It’s easy to play it safe and that’s exactly what we did; We paid off the debt, saved a bit of money and went on a healthy amount of vacations. After all, wasn’t this a time where we should treat ourselves after the death of a loved one? And although that answer is yes, there are shades of grey. We were right in the middle – Taking little risk and playing it safe.
As with most, I’m scared of the unknowns. Terrified. And there are many unknowns: We don’t know how long we’ll be able to go for. Maybe we’ll have to sell the boat and move back to land. It’s a very real possibility. We don’t know if we’ll hit a submerged container and lose our boat in the middle of crossing the Pacific Ocean. But the one thing I do know is that this is The One Thing that I want to do. It’s the Right thing to do. How? Because it makes me feel at peace getting our house ready to sell. It feels good to sell my motorbike. I love talking to people about it. We are constantly in discussions of “Does this fit on the boat” when buying anything.
Part of the reason we haven’t shared this story, except with our closest friends and family, is that it often gets met with skepticism or criticism. So here it is. This is our coming out party and I hope the crickets are listening because there are likely many of them.
Both Ashley and I have never liked to ask for support. It feels as though we’re cheating at life or mooching off others. Our attitude has always been; If you don’t climb the mountain yourself, you can’t accept the glory. This is about to change and we’re going to likely ask for your (non-monetary) support. Perhaps it’ll be in helping us spread the word to sell our house or simply believing in us or maybe we just want you to come for a visit.
Follow us on our journey as we embark on this adventure. It’s going to get bumpy.