Monday, November 21, 2016

Getting Resourceful
By Michael

If you're not so into life
in the USA under the reign
of a P.G. president who
mocks people with disabilities,
Sara's book offers an escape.
(Oh, I'm sorry, the P.G.
 is for Pussy Grabbing)
Cruising is a rich and inexpensive way of living. And while we’re blissfully free of domestic encumbrances like insurance, mortgages, car payments, utility bills, phone bills, and replacing a roof, we aren’t living without costs. We still have to buy groceries and shoes and alcohol. We go out to eat on occasion. We pay for taxis and buses and occasional marina expenses. We pay for internet access wherever we are and given all the regular wear and tear we put on Del Viento, we regularly open our wallet for blocks and pumps and filters and running rigging and haulouts and much, much more.

So our way of living requires some money. Like many folks, we started cruising as newly unemployed people with some savings and no income. We knew this model was not sustainable (we’ve even proven it!) and so began looking for an income source.

It seemed there were two options for us: Either return to the rat race or get resourceful. Not one of the four of us has (yet) expressed an interest in the former.

My resourceful friend Mike (aboard Galactic) does science (and writes stories for the sailing magazines). My friend Meri (aboard Hotspur) has taught school along the way, so far in at least American Samoa and Vietnam (and she writes stories for the sailing magazines). Her husband, Jim, runs a paper airplanes website. Besides co-authoring Voyaging With Kids with me, my friend Behan and her husband, Jamie, (aboard Totem) offer personal coaching for prospective cruising couples and families. Jamie is also a sailmaker. All of these folks have been out cruising (with kids) for more than 8 years; as far as I know, none of these folks are independently wealthy.

I’m not a scientist, teacher, sailmaker, or coach, but I like to write and I love to edit. Before leaving we were building a small audience with this blog and I’d already sold a couple of stories to magazines, so freelance writing was where I put my focus. Since we’ve been out, Cruising World and other sailing magazines have been receptive to my story pitches. Then I co-authored Voyaging With Kids and wrote Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines. Then early this year, I was hired on as the managing editor of Good Old Boat magazine (a magazine I love and recommend to anyone with a fiberglass sailboat who does most of the work on it themselves—most cruisers). Today, these income sources provide the means by which we get by.

But getting by doesn’t mean saving for big contingencies (like travel home, off-the-boat excursions, and new engines). We wanted another income source, but we also realize there are only so many hours in the day and the cruising life is a demanding one in terms of time (picking up groceries for the family is always more involved than a trip to Safeway with the minivan).

So, we’re pursuing two ideas.

As an extension of my writing interest and as a means to parlay my love of editing, this year I started a publishing company: Force Four Publications. I used this company successfully to launch Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines. Last month, my friend, freelance writer, and Voyaging With Kids co-author, Sara Johnson (formerly aboard Wondertime) launched her new book, How to Move to New Zealand in 31 Easy Steps, under the Force Four Publications imprint. (So my little company has doubled in size!)

As I alluded to in a recent post, we left Del Viento in Fiji and came to the States for a short time for a big reason. That reason is the second idea. It’s a rather pedestrian endeavor, but major in our little world. Details soon—I want to give it the attention of a full post.

So we were sailing between islands in Southern Fiji when I
spotted this pretty Alajuela 38 under full sail about 5 miles
away headed right at us on an opposing course. We both
maintained our heading and I got the camera out so I could
take and pass on a photo to the unknown sailors. Well, I'm
snapping away but stop because I heard the guy aboard yelling
at me. He was yelling, "WE LOVE YOUR BLOG!"
It was such a cool experience, total strangers from the UK.
A couple weeks later we got to meet Ruth and Duncan of
Impetuous Too in an anchorage south of Latoka. We only
had time to chat from our dinghy, side-tied, for a few minutes. Ruth
was clearly pregnant. They looked rested and healthy and relaxed. We
learned later that only a few hours afterward, she gave birth to Ravi, their
first child! Check out their harrowing post from a few months ago.


  1. Love hearing about how you are managing to extend your cruising dreams! Looking forward to hearing about idea number two! All the best to Del Viento and her crew!

  2. Hey Michael, great way to build reader suspense there!

    But, point of order: in the Trump era, suspense is suddenly very déclassé.


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