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  #1  
Old 08-19-2008
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The "infrastructure" of modern life (advice needed from cruisers!)

We're about a year out from going long-term cruising. I read a statistic that modern American life today takes as much paperwork as running a small business did in the 60s, and I believe it. We're trying to get the nuts and bolts of our lives as ready to go as we believe the boat is. We've got our bills on autopilot as much as possible, set up on-line banking and a mail-forwrding service. What other kinds of things should we be thinking about? How do other cruisers with no fixed land address (other than the mail service) handle perscription meds, car insurance with no car, jury duty .... what else isn't even on my radar yet????
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Old 08-19-2008
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Eryka...we were lucky to have a family member sort through all the non-automated stuff and keep us posted by e-mail. A lot of folks have used St. Brendan's isle for such matters. Most stuff can be handled with an e-mail or a phone call. Didn't have perscriptions so can't comment on that.
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Old 08-19-2008
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Thanx Cam, St. Brendan's is who we'll be using also. We're not lucky enough to have a family member to hold down the fort for us in the US while we're gone.
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Old 08-19-2008
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Eryka, We aren't using any family support although it's there if needed. We've been away from our former homeport dock for six years and we have had one call for jury duty, but a call to the clerk of the court identifying our distant location was a quick release. We do rent a car on occasion and cary non-owners liability through State Farm. Not many agents will write a non-owners policy, so it might be best to remain with whoever has been your long term agent. We use the collision coverage that is available through the rental with our credit card company. Our prescription drugs are purchased at three month intervals. I believe most mail order prescription services fill for three months. We're using St. Brendan's Isle as our address out of Green Cove Springs, Fl. This is particularly convenient for us as it's in the county of our long term residence and pre-existing voting precinct; however, they will establish your legal residence through their service. We are cruising Maine to the Carribean, but we find it best to use Fed-Ex outside the US. We typically sail faster than the Bahamian mail. We have adapted to recieving our mail once or twice a month. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 08-19-2008
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Eryka-

One thing to consider is having someone you trust having a durable power of attorney to deal with things for you if they crop up while you're not reachable.
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Old 08-26-2008
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Belated thanx for your help.
Cpt Force - do you mean you use FedEx direct from the US, or have St. Brendan's accumulate your stuff & they FedEx to you? Our insurance co. is allowing us a waiver to get a 6-month supply of meds at once, woo-hoo! BTW, in our situation our State Farm agent said we'd do as well to keep our oldest car just so we'd have continuity of insurance and not lose our >10-year good driving record, but we're still researching.
S'Dawg - good idea. The friends we'd most trust with this will also be cruising when we are, though <*grin*>, in fact we'll be buddy-boating down the ICW to Florida until they turn right to go through the Canal and we turn left to explore the Bahamas. I hate to pile on yet another 'favor owed' to the friends who are already generously giving us long-term storage for things like grandma's quilt and my mom's desk, but that may be the answer.
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Old 08-26-2008
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Glad to help... the durable power of attorney can be very useful for things like renewing your USCG documentation, dealing with bills and credit card disputes, etc. It, obviously, has to be someone you trust completely and implicitly. And it beats having to try and fly back from the middle of nowhere on an emergency flight, which can get very difficult logistically and very expensive.

When I leave, I'll probably have two people take care of this for me, one being my sister and the other one of my friends.

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Originally Posted by eryka View Post
Belated thanx for your help.
Cpt Force - do you mean you use FedEx direct from the US, or have St. Brendan's accumulate your stuff & they FedEx to you? Our insurance co. is allowing us a waiver to get a 6-month supply of meds at once, woo-hoo! BTW, in our situation our State Farm agent said we'd do as well to keep our oldest car just so we'd have continuity of insurance and not lose our >10-year good driving record, but we're still researching.
S'Dawg - good idea. The friends we'd most trust with this will also be cruising when we are, though <*grin*>, in fact we'll be buddy-boating down the ICW to Florida until they turn right to go through the Canal and we turn left to explore the Bahamas. I hate to pile on yet another 'favor owed' to the friends who are already generously giving us long-term storage for things like grandma's quilt and my mom's desk, but that may be the answer.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 08-26-2008
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It has gotten a lot easier due to the internet.

We have two accounts we set up with debit/ATM cards, where we leave 6 months worth of expense money. One is BofA, which has high fees, but offeres billpay services--we only use it when we are in the US, but it is a backup for our Fidelity acount, which has low fees and better interest. Both are separated from our major accounts, which have much more limited access to protect from fraud.

We now leave a beater car at my brother's with insurance, but have gone several years without a car. The insurance companies have let us come back at preferred driver rates when we showed we had been out of the country.

We have been using a family member to sort and send the mail, but they tend to burn out after a year or two...

We get prescription meds 3 months at a time, but sometimes it is a worry forwarding them to overseas addresses. So far, no problems

The family member who is taking care of our business gets a power of attorney and is listed on the BofA account.

We use Turbotax and online filing for the annual tax PITA. Much better now than when we had to trust an American tourist to take the returns back and drop them in the US mail.
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Old 09-18-2008
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Its really difficult trying to go cruising with one foot on the dock ain't it.

We use a UPS Store for the mandatory street address for the vessel documentation and for mail. They bundle it up and forward it to us from time to time. Banking is handled on-line. Most banks nowadays are pretty good about that but some are better than others. Mine allows me to manage my portfolio and get cash as needed easily. Of course we have a VISA ATM card for miscellaneous expenses and cash and several credit cards, including AMX for emergencies. Our local banker (Very small town) takes care of our annual property tax bill for us.

We have eliminated all monthly bills. We use a pre-paid cell phone here in the US but Magic Jack or Skype is good enough for most telephone needs anywhere internet service is available; certainly sufficient for the First Mate to check in with her mother from time to time. Email is our primary means of communication.

We are not young but we don't use prescription drugs.

In my opinion, the biggest impediment to cruising successfully is trying to take your land-based life with you. The more you can divorce yourself from that, the easier and more satisfying cruising will be.
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Old 09-21-2008
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A problem we ran into when we were last cruising (about 3 years ago): we had pulled in to get work for awhile, to replenish funds, and tried to open a bank account for convenience when cashing paychecks and paying local bills.

We gave St. Brendan's as our address, and the bank recognized it as a mail forwarding service. They told us that Homeland Security regulations stated we could not have a bank account with out a bona-fide street address, in other words, a domicile. So unless you live in a house, you can't have a new bank account.

We listed the marina at which we were temporarily staying as our street address and everything was okay. We closed the account when we left.

Homeland Security, in my opinion, is getting entirely too arbitrary in its 'one size fits all' regulations. But I don't know what to do about it. Maybe if all of us wrote our congressmen...

Fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing.
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