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  #1  
Old 11-03-2010
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Are You On The Fence?

I wrote this on CF & copied pasted it here for those who are on the fence of when to leave. It's not about me, it's about YOU.


ARE YOU ON THE FENCE?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This comes up now, and then on CF. Let me give a wee bit of insight from my point of view. I believe it is Zeehag's signature that says LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE MEANT TO BE LIVED, or something like that!

I have lived my life in this way since birth it seems. My mother always worried where I would end up, or how I would end up. I have never been a regular to the time clock, and pretty much lived the life of a vagabond. Telling myself at 45 I could get a job, and work 20 years for retirement.

That job never came along, and is there such a thing as a retirement anymore? The world is not a safe, or guaranteed place. My ex always said in another life I must have been an explorer. I am always wanting to see what's around the bend, or over the horizon. I have always been of the go now crowd, and more than ever I am glad I have been. We all get through life differently, and my way is not for everyone that's for sure. Recently I have had a new appreciation for my beliefs.

So for those of you on the fence of when to slip the dock lines. Here is the reality of what happened to me. Most here know I left Florida in May headed for Hawaii, and then home to S.F. In an attempt to leave Panama while feeling perfectly healthy, and capable. I became extremely ill overnight. Unfortunately it was the first night out. As always I pushed this feeling aside thinking it was motion sickness. Something I very rarely get.

I started feeling this tiny mass under the skin on my neck several days before we left. I thought nothing of it. At 59 things show up on our bodies. That first night sailing it started to grow, and within 3 days it was the size of a golfball.

The pain was excruciating, and kept me from sleep. I would lay in my berth as Melanie was sailing the boat, and worry. Still hoping it would be something that would pass such as an ear infection. After a day, or so I was finally sleeping from exhaustion, but it was in very small increments. At the end of 3 days we had finally passed Isla Malpelo, and I had fallen into a stupor of sleep. I could not do my watch, and Melanie was single-handing the boat. The ITCZ can be a most uncomfortable place.

Through my stupidity I put us in a bad situation. Melanie was feeling the results of sleep deprivation. She woke to a freighter bearing down on us. She woke me, and as I looked into the binoculars the freighter filled the lenses. There wasn't time for fear to set in. We tacked, and tacked flawlessly. Just in time to watch the hull slip by in complete silence as I remember. We were so close I could see well lit hallways, and individual doors slipping past.

Then the fear, and anger set in. I was mad at myself, and I was mad at Melanie. It only took minutes before I realized that Melanie held no fault, it was mine. Something I thought nothing of. It turned out to be something very significant, and I went from what I thought was healthy to extremely sick in a matter of days.

I showed Melanie my neck, and explained what had been happening to me over the last several days. I explained we were an accident waiting to happen, and we needed to turn back. According to the grib files we were a day, or so away from the trades headed to Hawaii. It was not a hard decision to make, but it was a sad one for me.

To my point of being on the fence. Your health can slip away immediatley with no warning at all. I am fortunate is all I can type. We flew back to the states, and I am in the S.F. Bay Area. Unfortunately Mel is in Florida working, and being seperated is tough. I am getting cancer treatment at UCSF. The mass grew from golfball size to the size of my outstretched hand. From fingertip to wrist, and from thumb to small finger.

I have recieved 3 chemo sessions. One lasting over 5 hours, and the others over 2 hours. The mass has shrunk to less than half it's size, and I can again raise, and lower my chin. I can once again turn my head to the left. The day of the first chemo I could not put a cap on my head without severe pain. The next day I could wear my cap, and a week later I feel fantastic. I have not experienced side effects of the chemo, and I continue to stay busy, and ride my bicycle.

Today I recived the best news of all. My abdomen has been declared clean. It looks like some radiation, and MAYBE some more chemo will put me back on the boat soon. Just in time for the trades to turn to Hawaii.

Please remember this is not a story about me. It's a story about you, and your decision to leave the dock. Hone your skills of sailing. Make sure you can afford the boat you have, and it won't deplete your funds. Make sure you, and the boat are ready, and then sail. SAILING IS NOT ALWAYS A SLICK MAGAZINE COVER, but what it truly is, is Magic! It is rewarding, and for me it is life itself. Well, that & my little brown love Melanie!......i2f
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2010
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I2F - Glad to hear things are getting better for you, I do hope you are back on the boat soon. As for the on the fence part and slipping away, I really shouldn't read this sort of thing at work....

Thank you for sharing.
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Old 11-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb32863 View Post
I2F - Glad to hear things are getting better for you, I do hope you are back on the boat soon. As for the on the fence part and slipping away, I really shouldn't read this sort of thing at work.... Thank you for sharing.
MY EVIL POINT .......i2f
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Old 11-03-2010
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That's powerful testimony. Another friend of mine had a favorite saying. Life is short, so eat dessert first. I'm still sitting here on the fence though. Five more years of working and saving, unless the fit really hits the shan around here.
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Old 11-03-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
MY EVIL POINT .......i2f
LOL I assumed so.... rawk on! Hoping in 5-10 for me as I have things that I have to be here for.....
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Old 11-03-2010
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Thanks for the reminder, I2F! While I'm not likely to be in a situation where I just "head out", it reminds me to try never to pass up a day or two sailing because I've got work to do. Work's always there.

Glad to hear you're doing well!

Tom
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Old 11-03-2010
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i2f-best wishes to you! Its important to share these stories because, yeah, it could be about you. Yes, YOU, there in your cubicle reading this!!!

We had a similar experience when Dan went to the emergency room with a headache that turned out to be an egg-sized tumor. There's nothing like hearing your doctor say "the prognosis is not good" to focus your priorities and get you off that fence!

That was 4-1/2 years ago and the turquoise water in my avatar provides the rest of the story.
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Old 11-03-2010
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I2F, just keep on keeping on. glad to hear you're doing better.
I just printed your story to hang above my desk.
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Old 11-03-2010
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I've beem wondering/worrying about you!!! Very good to have you back - at least as much as you can. I read that and was scard to get to the bottom in fear it would not have a good ending.

Take care... hope to see you out there.

Brian
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Old 11-03-2010
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Thanks I2F.. Glad to hear you're doing better - hope you get to return to the boat soon!

My problem isn't about whether to leave. I know I'm going to shortly (relatively speaking). My problem is to ensure a stream of income. The boat's modest and on the small side but it's paid for, and I have no debt. Family, friends, and girlfriend are encouraging. But a side effect of being debt free is that it's left me pretty broke. Leaving with $1000 in my pocket like people used to do 30 years, or even 20 years ago just seems like trouble waiting to happen. I realize that you can live very modestly and if all it was was living expenses then you could stretch a couple of grand a long long way. But entry fees, mooring costs when you can't anchor, etc add up quickly, and this stuff costs a lot more today than it did in years past. Not to mention that sailing the boat 24/7 is going to be a lot more taxing on the equipment, things break, parts aren't cheap (jury rigging can only take you so far before you're sailing on a hull made of duct tape and a mast made out of a tree you cut down in Borneo while stitch up your foul weather gear to use as a sail.. )

The point is, I'm all about roughing it, it's part of the lifestyle I foresee.. But there's things you can't get away from, and the reality is that you're asking for big trouble if you try to circumvent the laws of the country you're visiting by skirting entrance fees or trying to work.

So while I'll happily give up my job and cast off, my problem is being able to support myself, or at the very least have a subsidy for those times I'm in countries I can't work. If I had that, my boat would be back in the water tomorrow, and I'd be casting off in a week..

If I was living in the States, or was allowed to work there then it'd be a lot easier to get going - much more coastline and opportunity (or at least coastline that isn't freezing). One option for me is to suck it up and cross the Atlantic and "start" in Europe, where my citizenship status allows me to work, or some of the few EU islands in the pacific.

Or, my second option is the one I've selected so far.. Maintain my debt free status and spend 5 years or so socking everything I can away..

So here's a question for those of you that aren't on the fence and have left - especially the ones that left when they were close to my tender age of 33 without a lifetime of savings to back them up. Assuming you didn't have a trust fund, or size-able equity in a house that you sold, how did you, and how do you continue, to support yourselves?

I don't want to hijack this thread, so feel free to PM me if you don't want to post it here..
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