An eternal optimist, I am not; however I do have dreams of taking 10 days and triple the cost to get the same place a plane could take me in 2 hours. On the east coast, I am talking about Bermuda. We are also a relatively young couple, what it was like to be just out of college... the potential, who would like to do some extensive cruising. Regardless of what boat you purchase as I don't think it matters that much to you at this stage, here is how we have gotten started.
1. Establish the passion, I love the screen shots of a heeled vessel pinching the wind. This does happen, but definately not all the time. After a few charters and day rentals, we have managed to abuse other peoples property and learn sailing in heavy weather, discovered my wife gets sea sick, Real seamanship sailing the same waters as large ships, tugs and fishing vessels, Really long nights where you pray for daylight, heavy weather at night scares the ***** out of me. You get the idea, we have been through a lot and we are both 100% joyed to keep going.
2. Devise a metered approach. We have yearly goals building up to the big trip. These are fun trip which build our skills and knowledge of the boat while keeping things intresting. Cant say much about this we are just starting this stage. I can say I was quite comfortable pushing the big trip out a few years. The boat you use for this is like you first girlfriend ... if only I know what I know now. I am only on my first mine all mine boat, so again only initial reaction.
3. Love you youth and take advantage of it..... you have time, use it to your advantage. belive me when I say being a little older does not decrease the enjoyment. I still listen to SKA and reggae with an extra dose of Bob first thing in the morning as the wake up call "Three Little Birds". If its important to you and you have the passion, you will do it. Awsome you are starting so soon in life.
Reread ERBS posting, I can very much relate. With that said there was a great book I believe by Casey or Sailing Mag which reviews 20 inexpensive boats you can sail anywhere. You can find this and several others on Amazon. Try to go and look at every one of them, you will know very quickly what you like and dont like, get what you like you will have to live with it. With that said, go to it and one day we may meet around the Horn of Africa. Hope this helps.