Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easy Money For Cruisers
By Michael

Eleanor at the bow under way, applauding dolphins.
Early this year, Windy and I joined the U.S. State Department’s Junior Diplomat Program (JDP). This is the greatest thing since roller furling--and they’re looking for more cruisers to participate. In addition to a stipend each month ($230, or $115 times two) for our participation, the State Department reimburses our slip fees and any additional costs we incur to obtain Internet access.
According to the State Department website, the JDP seeks to, “leverage and promote goodwill by U.S. citizens abroad, obtain information that can be used to help resident, in-country ambassadors allocate funding to improve relations, and better understand foreign nationals’ perceptions of the United States from a man-in-the-street point of view.”

We simply complete a form each month online, kind of like a survey. After the basics (where we traveled during the month) we check off the types of interactions we had with foreign nationals (retail, restaurant, hotel, other) and then provide a few details about select interactions.
For example, in the notes section of the report we submitted two weeks ago, I reported that I talked to a Mexican welder about the U.S. political race and how Obama is likely to defeat his Republican opponent come November. I indicated that the welder agreed with my assessment and seemed to like Obama. Yesterday I received feedback from a State Department employee indicating this is a perfect example of the kind of anecdotal accounts they are looking for. They said the few junior diplomats they have enrolled today who travel the world on boats are prized because, “they tend to have interactions with people and businesses that are very different from those experienced by casual, short-term travelers.” He urged me to spread the word.

So, I’m letting you all know. Click to access the U.S. State Department Junior Diplomat Program (JDP) Enrollment Form and to get more information. Participant counts are restricted by region, so hurry! (And please forward to others who may be interested...)

And this is part of the reason we are underway:
Hermie. Before they left for the South Pacific,
we promised the crew of Wondertime that we
would repatriate Hermie and Sweetie at the
anchorage where these temporary pets were found,
Los Gatos, about 90 miles north of La Paz. I have
a dentist appointment April 2, and our new sails are
due to arrive about the same time, so we will be back
by then. After another short stay in La Paz, we plan to
round the Cape and begin our bash north to British
Columbia...maybe Alaska.


  1. Hi Michael
    I love your writing and have followed your blog daily. I much admire the courage it has taken for your family to take up the cruising life.

    But this new venture worries me. I admit that when I hit the water in my own boat I will be wary of US flagged vessels in case they are part of this programme which reports the views of foreign nationals to the State Dept. I have developed many friendships with foreign people around the world and would never consider reporting their views to the State Dept. Smacks of a new kind of McCarthyism to me.
    I am just not sure this kind of income aligns with my own perception of the values of our cruising community. It just doesn't seem right.

  2. Excellent pun! Almost took it hook, line and sinker……as a result of being familiar with the Embassy Warden System. You definitely have a clew for writing……have enjoyed reading your stories/adventures along with many other families following their dreams.
    This June we (wife & 9yr old daughter) also begin our sailing adventure from Kemah, Texas to Cebu, Philippines where our retirement home/property is on the water’s edge. Sites like yours continue to feed the desire and dreams for more out of life than most are willing risk from their preconceived comfort zone. Keep your wit and pen sharp, family close, and may you never see the bitter end disappearing below on your adventures.
    Joe, Marilyn, and Mary Ann
    s/v Rainbow

  3. Good luck with your dental appointment Jr Diplomat!

  4. Great April Fools! you had me.

  5. Oh Man! I did fall completely - hook, line and sinker! Now I just feel downright silly to consider that the gov would pay us $230/month to fill out a form/month. If it sounds too good to be true... Thanks for keeping us on our toes!

    Katie and Mark

  6. Mike - you did that so well! It's kind of scary that anyone might think there's some truth to this, but on the other hand it is reminiscent of "good will ambassador" types of efforts, so you had me... What a kick! Keep up the wonderful writing, and safe travels!

  7. I guess the April Fool is the one that thinks Obama would win. LOL

  8. You got us! We were sitting here in Kosrae counting our new $$$!


Thank you for taking the time to comment; we look forward to reading your feedback. Don't forget that you may also contact us directly at (please type DEL VIENTO in the subject line)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...