let me first introduce myself. My name is George and I am 32 years old, never stepped foot on a sailboat so far. To make a long story short, I am thinking about cashing out everything I have, get a boat and sail around the world (oh another newbie doing the romance approach) - well, not exactly.
(You can skip the philosophical part in grey ^^
I was thinking a lot, and while most people leave this decision to a period when they're in their 50's or 60's, I would prefer to do it now, while I am still young and physically fit. I smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day, I don't eat regularly, and the last time I did any "sport" was .. well a while ago, and I guess with my current lifestyle I might not be even able to sail when I am 50. This is partly all a result of the work I am doing.
The decision came one day when I was deeply thinking about my happiest period of time, in my whole life. I soon discovered that being alone, traveling and putting myself into new situations while mastering them makes me happy. I like it quiet. I can spend hours just watching the stars on a remote mountain, or traveling into less known villages in China getting to know their people and lifestyle. I love exploring "stuff", from people to magnetism, from astronomy to history - I believe at the end, when we die, we do remember those days we explored the most. Ok, enough philosophical stuff -
My goal is to set sail in June 2016, probably from South-East Asia where I first have to find a suitable boat. That gives me almost one year to undergo various mandatory training programs, get various certificates and make sure that I won't kill myself on my first journey. I added diving, engine repair, and advanced survival to that list as well. The last thing I want to do I going out unprepared and risk my or someone else's life.
I am doing a lot of research, and it seems that a vessel about 32 - 40ft would suit my needs. Budged is set to $20k + $7-10k for repairs, retrofitting and making it seaworthy. I know it's not a big budged, but it seems "average". I put safety as the number 1 priority, and thats where I am having trouble narrowing my search down to a specific manufacturer or model. For example, if I would would buy a car, I would prefer to buy a 10 year old Audi or Mercedes instead of a brand new Kia or Hyundai. Yet in the waste ocean of boat manufacturers I am lost - I see nice looking 32 footers for 10K and bad looking 30 footers for 30K - I would really appreciate some recommendations based on my budged from experienced sailors. If I buy something, I usually always buy the best, even if that means that I have to wait a bit more. I don't like compromises, especially when it comes to safety.
Now after all those things are set I have plans to spend my first year in the South China Sea (Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia) and head downwards to the North Coast of Australia. After that during the second year hopefully being able to do some Island hopping Eastwards (Fiji, Samoa, French Polynesia) and make my first major crossing to South America. Head upwards, cross the Panama canal and head to the Caribbean. From there set sail down to the Brazil and cross the Atlantic - yes, a lot of wishful thinking.
I think of financing the whole trip by continuing to do my regular work (graphic design / photography / web-development) while anchored, since it would be near impossible to do it when I am sailing. That means at least a week per month working, in order to get enough money to "make" the month (about 2-5k, depending on project). Worst case scenario will be $2k per month, but especially SE Asia is very cheap and I can save up a lot here.
I would love to make some friends, sailors, especially in South East Asia that can assist me with some questions, itineraries or just for a little small talk over a beer or two. I am currently living in Chongqing (China), but I plan to fly to the Philippines soon to start learning how to sail, etc. In general, I would like to hear some advise from anyone that can or can't understand me, especially from people critical of my plan.
PS: Excuse my English, it's not my first language