Sunday, February 20, 2011

The How Of It All
By Michael

A few weeks back, I wrote here about an article I wrote for the personal finance blog, Get Rich Slowly. The article is about our decision to turn our lives upside down and is titled, "Sailing Away from the American Dream." That article is out today.
Our decision to drop out and sail the oceans of the world on a boat (more thoughts on this here) is the basis for interesting philosophical discussions with folks, especially other families, who are not so inclined. But before those discussions can take place, the big elephant in the room is the how of what we are doing. How in the world can we quit our jobs and live without working? The assumptions people have are usually expressed in questions that come up right away: "How long are you going to do this for?" and, "Is it your boat?"
If I answer, "Indefinitely," and "Yes," I'm bound to explain that we have not inherited a small fortune nor won the lottery. I usually offer that we are of modest means, but that we've been good savers and that the cruising lifestyle can be much less expensive than what most imagine. 
But the details about how we are making this possible usually go unanswered. Hopefully this article on Get Rich Slowly will provide those answers and thereby motivate others able and inclined to follow a similar path. Also, cruisers aboard Just A Minute provide their well-put perspective on the topic in their recent post, "About Money."

While I plan to supplement our cruising kitty by selling my writing, it may be that we find we need to stop along the way to make more money, by working in different places. If so, that will be a part of the experience—and we will embrace it. For us, this is a lifestyle change, an opportunity to expose our girls to an awful lot they could not possibly be exposed to in the lifestyle we are leaving. We are eager to take what comes and to do what we need to do, like we have done the past 14 years, and like at least a billion families do the world over, everyday.



  1. Hi Michael,

    I just popped over from your post on Get Rich Slowly. I can't wait to hear more about your adventures!

  2. Came over from GRS and I confess to being intrigued. One question that causes consternation as our family contemplates even more changes than we've already begun is what do you do with beloved animals? I notice that you've crossed out dogs and chickens, but still have cats. Where will they go when you become sea-faring?

  3. Hi Erin,

    We are lucky to have good friends who have offered to adopt our aged cats. Many cats do live aboard boats, but ours are older landlubbing cats. We decided the most humane thing was to find them a caring retirement home. We will be sad to leave them.

    Here's a post I wrote about our animal situation:

    Thanks for visiting!

  4. Just read your post in Get rich slowly, and I wish you a safe and wonderful journey! I have done what you are now doing - although without the kids. Now safely back home for six years after 3 yrs on the high seas. I mean no harm, but have some advice to share. 1: you will spend wonderful time as a family, but as much time working on the boat. Keep up the spirit, and you will be fine. 2: You will find less time to write that you hope for. I am a writer myself... Stay focused, and try selling material outside the sailing mags. The sailing mags get tons of articles, also try travel and divings magasines, and all sorts of speciality mags. Take good and original photographs! 3: You will change (grow, perhaps is a better word) underway. Change is fantastic, but returning to the homeland can be hard on many levels. 4: Maintain a focused crew, and make sure all grown ups on board are capable sailors, or wanting to be one. 5: Take it easy, find your travelling rythm. A writer may need more time on each place.

    I wish you the very best of luck. It is a fantastic andventure and lifestyle!

  5. Lots of luck to you. Sounds like an exciting adventure.

  6. I too came from GRS, and your post seems like a good omen for my husband and I who signed a lease on our house the same day your article was published. We plan to live aboard our boat for at least a year. We won't be cruising (unfortunately!) but will certainly be making a lot of life changes.

    I plan to fill the cable void with lots of library books (shouldn't be too hard for this library addict!) but it got me thinking of what I would do if we were cruising and didn't have access to a library or wouldn't be sticking around long enough to return the books. Knowing the shelf room of our boat, I wouldn't want to tote a huge library around, and I'd probably go through at least 3 books a week. Will you be buying Kindles, or do you guys have another solution?

    Much luck to you, I would love to follow in your wake! Hardy har har ;)


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