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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 09-16-2009
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How to leave.

It's a dilemma that has been written about many times before - you thought it would be easy, just sell the house and all your stuff, get on the boat, and cut the dock lines to go out and live the life. But time passes by, it takes longer than you thought, there is always another project, always another excuse for not going. It isn't that you don't want to go, it is just that it never seems to be the right time. In the end an honest analysis brings you to that crucial understanding, it is never the right time, there is always another thing that needs to be done, it will never be an easy decision to make.

Cutting the dock lines and actually leaving, it seems easy enough in theory, but in practice a lot goes on in your mind, what happens if the boat fails ? Will you end up handing out shopping carts in your old age ? What if you don't like it, or you get tired of doing it ? In the end it is all about fear.

So for those who have done it or are trying to, what are your thoughts on this, how did you cut the dock lines and actually leave ? This isn't as much a question as it is just a way to get some interesting discussion going, but I would enjoy hearing from some of the people who have done it what it was like when they finally cut the lines and left, and how they got to that point and made the decision to actually do it. I would also like to hear from people who are working to make it happen and what issues they are facing, etc. Let's get some interesting discussion going!
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2009
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Never make an irrevocable decision.

My family went through the same trepidations as did most everyone we met along the way. The consensus, not just with our family but everyone with whom we spoke, was to make plans for a finite period after which everyone re-evaluates the decision and either keep going or return to land. You don't know for sure until you try.
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Old 09-16-2009
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I have left twice, and there was no questioning myself, or putting it off. I was like a kid anticipating Christmas, and eager for it. It couldn't come quick enough, and it seemed every day an eternity!

The first time I left S.F. alone, and as I was going under the Golden Gate I asked myself if I was sure. It was the only moment that I had doubt. I had only been sailing for 18 months. As I looked over my shoulder at the bay, and S.F. I answered myself YES!

The second time was also leaving S.F., but it was via jet airline to St. Maarten where Imagine had sat alone for 9 months while I was waiting for the sale of my business to go through. This time there was never a moment of doubt, and for 9 months I was stir crazy to get going.

Possibly this winter will be the third time? Unfortunately, because of the economy there are numerous loose ends I am trying to get in order. I have the experience of leaving twice, and I look forward to slipping the lines once again. I know my vessel, I know my skills, and I know the world is out there waiting for me to explore it once again.

As the saying goes. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself. Cruising is not a slick magazine cover, but that cover are the rewards. Along with being self suffecient, resourceful, and being your own person. With that comes a lot of responsibility.

A friend once asked if I was ever scared. I told them there have been some scary times. I was once thrown from the boat while single-handing, and drug back onto the boat by my harness. I was thrown across the salon with my head split open as the mast hit the water. What scares me most is not leaving, and missing everything that is offered in the cruising life. Including the hardships!... ....i2f
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  #4  
Old 09-16-2009
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We decided in mid-October of last year to take two years off. Six weeks later, we were leaving. We didn't leave any time for us to reconsider the decision - we only had time to plan, execute and go. I think that's what helped us - we were heads down right up to the day we left the dock.
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Old 09-16-2009
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We plan on leaving in a couple of stages. First stage will be leaving for most of the summer cruising the inside passage to Alaska and around the outside of Vancouver Island. And then back home to use everything we learned to do the second stage, a winter trip down to Mexico and then use that to plan the third stage, which isn't planned yet.
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Old 09-16-2009
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Not having had the experience myself, what seems to be the problem is this fear, probably something our culture instills in us, that you only get One Chance at your career, One Chance at living your dream, One Chance at marriage, etc. So you feel like no matter what you absolutely must not give up on your One Chance because once you do you've got No Chances Left.

That's why I think i2f's experience is so interesting... it's pretty clear that he was successful at some point, gave it all up to go cruising, and then came back and repeated the process. I obviously don't know the details of how it was all accomplished but the point is that it's clearly possible to start over, maybe even from scratch, and still put together a decent life for yourself with financial stability and a bluewater future.

So again, without actually knowing anything myself, I'm gonna suggest that the secret is not necessarily to stick so hard to your One Chance (the "never make an irrevocable decision" strategy), but rather to be prepared and willing to start over from scratch. And able, of course. You've got to have something to offer society so that when you get back from ten years at sea or whatever, you actually have the chance to start from scratch instead of, as it was so terrifyingly put, hand out shopping carts in your old age
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Old 09-16-2009
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I left broke, then with a fat wallet, and now somewhere in the middle. The second time I left. I met an aquaintance in a grocery store. My life long friend told him I was selling out, and leaving. He told me how envious this particular group was of me.

I explained that all you have to do is throwout that 25 yr old living off of him, sell the cars, and house, and he too could go. This expression came to his face of sadness as he said. "I just wouldn't have the balls to do that."

His fear of fear keeps his dreams dead. I have seen it many times living on my boats. There's nothing wrong with not cruising. It's not always a pleasant life. but at least admit to yourself you won't. I see people with bravado saying. As soon as I get this, or we accomplish this, and suddenly years, and decades have passed. Just about anything you give up. You can buy back, and I am proof. What you can't buy back is time, so if you have a dream. Any kind of dream not just cruising. Then now is the time to start, so what if you have to return? Those memories will last a lifetime. Those what ifs are tough to live with.. ....i2f
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Old 09-16-2009
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Here we go!

We're leaving in less than a month (right after Annapolis boat show)! Here's how it went for us: sold the house when we were relocated from Michigan to Washington DC and moved aboard full time. Sold most of the possessions, retained in storage sentimental items (grandma's quilt; Mom's desk, etc). Lived aboard while working fulltime and upgrading the boat at night, learning everything we could. Retired early at the end of August, sold the car on Craigslist, donated our business clothes and winter clothes. In some ways this is the inverse of labatt's scenario of leaving in 6 weeks - we've been working toward the goal of sailing off and never having to work again for 7 years. (Could have left 7 years ago but money would have been tight and we would have had to come back and work.) So one way we fought the "one chance" fear was to work long enough to make sure that money wouldn't crimp our options in the future. The second thing we're doing is retaining our marina slip for the first year, planning our first cruise for 8 months (Chesapeake to Bahamas and back)and then deciding what we want our future to look like. Maybe we'll be snowbirds, maybe we'll continue on to Trinidad or across the Atlantic, maybe we'll put the boat on the hard for hurricane season and explore Arizona in an RV - keeping our options open and trying it in small pieces.
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Old 09-16-2009
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A lot of the problem is between the ears ...

We are in an interesting situation. Our original plan was to take off sailing at the end of summer 2010. Then my wife got downsized and we had to make a more-or-less instant decision to leave within a couple of weeks. The early departure meant that we were able to get out of our docking contract for 2009-10 that was $9000 (thank you Liberty Landing Marina). The result was a summer cruise that was more of a matter of doing work on the boat while anchored (or in one case, hauled) in strange places).

There was a real and a perceived mental adjustment in all this. I had my head around the idea of leaving in 18 months and knew that I could get everything done in that time so I was comfortable with that schedule. Now I find, with 2 days before we start heading south, that 99% of the work preps are done - and really, who has 100% done anyway? We will be spending almost a month in the Chesapeake and will be able to finish the last details. I did not really need 18 months to get ready and this is on a big, complex boat that needed a lot of modernizing and upgrading.

I think you just have to make a decision and stick with it - realizing that there will always be uncertainties about your decision.
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Old 09-16-2009
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For those that have gone, or have put a lot of work into getting ready to go, how do you deal with the social/family aspects? Is it problematic that you will be away from family for extended periods of time? Do/have you made frequent trips back ($$) to be with family for important events? Or is this just part of the hardship of the lifestyle?

Seems this would be the sticking point for me and my mate.
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