She’s not my Elvis but she’s definitely a hottie!
The universe is conspiring.
After spending years talking about quitting our jobs, selling all of our possessions, buying a catamaran sailboat (specifically a Lagoon 380, 410 or 420) and taking off on an around-the-world trip, this summer sealed the deal. We went sailing.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it would feel to sail on a catamaran. Would I hate it? Would it feel any different than sailing on a monohull? Or would I still be sea-sick the whole time? Would I die? Would we feel cramped and hate each other? Would we ever really do it?
We’ve considered chartering a Lagoon catamaran to “try it out” in Florida or Caribbean, but those charters cost thousands of dollars. And when you are trying to get out of debt and save money, spending that much seems counterproductive. So when we made a trip to the Texas coast for Matt’s sister’s memorial service, I found a catamaran charter for a few hundred dollars.
The website showed an older Gemini cat that was a bit smaller than what we would purchase to sail, but I thought this would (at the very least) give me an idea of what sailing on a catamaran would be like… because the only other sailing experience I’ve had was as a teenager on my dad’s boat when he was learning how to sail (we were pretty sure we were all going to die the entire time.)
I booked a four-hour sunset sail.
When we arrived and walked around the marina to the dock, in the spot where we were to meet the captain for our charter, there sat a Lagoon 410. A Lagoon? Maybe that’s not for us… maybe there is another charter. Why didn’t I book the Lagoon charter? The woman on the boat called out, “We are just finishing up and we’ll be ready for you!” Matt and I both looked at each other with an excited look that screamed, “OMG I think this is what we are going to sail!”
Sure enough… we were going sailing on a Lagoon 410! Their Gemini was wrecked a few weeks before (a speedboat just rammed into them), and their friend was letting them borrow his boat (Did I mention it was a Lagoon?) to finish out their charter season. Such horrible luck for them. Such AMAZING luck for us.
We climbed aboard. And we motored out of the marina through a pretty long channel. Are we actually going to sail? Like with the sails up? Why are we still motoring? I was worried I wouldn’t get the full sailing experience! But as soon as we entered the Inter Coastal Waterway, the sails went up and the motor shut off. We were sailing. On a catamaran. A Lagoon catamaran. (Okay, WE weren’t sailing the boat. The captain was. But we were sailing!)
It was Magical. Happy. Giddy. Cathartic. Freeing.
I was not sick. I didn’t even think about being sick.
But I did think about everything else…. Can I cook in this galley? How cramped will it be around the table? What would it feel like to live in this space? Are the boys comfortable getting around the boat? Okay, I lied, I did think about being sick. Will I feel sick if I go below deck to the cabins? So, I answered all of my questions… right there on the charter.
- I faked like I was cooking to see if it would work… Yes, I could totally cook in this galley.
- I sat at the table in the salon… it was a little tight, but the table out in the cockpit had plenty of room. And quite honestly, we’d probably be outside most of the time anyway.
- The overall interior space was bigger than we remembered on the 410, and plenty of space for the boys (and whatever comforts from home they would want to bring.)
- The boys were awesome. They loved the trampoline. They loved being independent. I think they would be excited to have “jobs” on the boat. And they absolutely LOVED the kayak and Stand-Up Paddle board (SUP) that we used when we pulled up to a remote beach to anchor. (Note to self: purchase toys for boat.)
- After specifically going below deck to test my motion sickness, I must say, it wasn’t the worst… The only time I felt a ping of sickness was when I was trying to re-tie Austin’s swimsuit after he used the head and he was still wearing his life jacket and couldn’t see to tie the drawstring. The combination of looking down and concentrating on tying with the motion while below deck sent a quick wave through me. But that quickly dissipated when I returned back up on deck. It didn’t linger, which was a great thing!
We spent a bit of time at an island beach, where we were able to see a ton of hermit crabs, let the boys kayak, SUP, and swim. The captain said we could spend more time at the beach or we could sail some more. We chose to sail! I loved it.
On our way back, I told Matt, “Well that just cost us a couple hundred thousand dollars! Now we have to buy a boat!”
With a new year, I think most people take stock of their lives and ask themselves… where are we now? where did we expect to be? what is on the horizon? We are just like everyone else! And so, I present Around ‘n Circles’ progress report and 2013 goals.
On April 6, 2012, Matt and I committed to a five-year plan: To get out of debt, sell our possessions, buy a boat, save $$, quit our jobs, and sail around the world. Estimated departure: November 2016. Although five years seems like a life-time away when we would love to hit the
road big open sea NOW, and it is easy to think about how much longer we still have, I’m instead going to brag about how much we have already accomplished.
In 2012, we:
- Refinanced our home. It cost us $0 (literally – our loan balance was exactly the same before and after refinance – no “rolled-in” costs, and we paid $0 at closing. And we skipped a monthly payment, which we put towards debt.) The downside was it took sooooo long for everything to get approved (like almost a full year.) The refinance saves us $400/mo which we have added to our monthly debt payments.
- Went boat shopping. Twice. We opened our eyes to boats we may not have considered before. The boys even “fell in love” with a boat… something that we weren’t sure they would ever do.
- Started downsizing. We started selling stuff we don’t need on craigslist. We created a room to store stuff we can sell at our next garage sale. We’ve stopped accumulating more stuff! We’ve adopted the mantra: “If it won’t fit on a boat, we don’t need it!” It is amazing how much less stuff we have purchased after reciting that mantra. (We’re not perfect, of course… I got a new bike recently, but we do have four more years and the boys LOVE riding their bikes!)
- Paid off half of our debt. This includes paying off an unexpected $11,000 expense to repair a leak in our slab foundation and replace the floors (none of which was covered on our home insurance.)
- Traveled. Not around the world, but we did spend some time in other parts of the country… including Kemah, TX, Miami, FL and Denver, CO.
We are on the right track. And that feels good. Five years will turn to four. Four years will turn to three. And before we know it, we will be months away instead of years. Although we have moments (often) of wanting to “just go” – the reality is that the timing of leaving in November 2016 will be great for our boys. They will be 10 and 11 years old, just starting middle school, and can avoid the traditional middle school angst (bullying, puberty awkwardness, etc.) and will really be able to enjoy, learn, observe, and immerse themselves into new cultures. They will be able to sail the boat, perform chores on the boat, and just be more self-sufficient than they are now. It will be the perfect time. (Although if we happen to win the lottery, tomorrow will be the perfect time, too.)
This year, we are expecting big changes for us. Here are the top five things we plan to do this year:
- Sell our house. Yes, last June we committed to putting our house on the market in April of this year. What seemed like a long way away is now only three months away. And we have a lot to do in three months, including home repairs, touch-up painting, landscaping, de-cluttering, staging, etc. By selling our house, we will accomplish three things: a) we will eliminate our huge mortgage, which will give us more $$ to put towards debt (and into savings eventually), b) we will eliminate the fear of not being able to sell when we need to, and c) we will be able to downsize even more and get rid of most of our stuff.
- Move. Obvious, right? I mean, if we sell our house, we have to *move* – but we haven’t actually decided *where* we are moving yet!! That might be something we need to decide pretty quickly. We’ve had six good months to think about it. And we’ve definitely narrowed it down to a handful (maybe two handfuls) of cities we’d be excited about, but the actual decision has not yet been made.
- Get out of debt! Whew! We are 12 months away from being debt-free. 12 months! We have to really stay on track, but we can totally do it… We just have to stick with our budget and make it happen.
- Travel. Even though we are not ready to take off on a boat around the world, there are still plenty of places right here in the U.S. we haven’t seen. Hopefully we can see a few more places this year.
- Earn more money. Not exactly sure how we will do this yet… new job? new business? new revenue stream? We have a few ideas, but nothing is fully developed yet. Good thing we have a year to figure it out!
At the beginning of this post, I said most people try to figure out: where are we now? where did we expect to be? what is on the horizon?
Where are we now? We are 9 months into a five-year plan. Financially, we are on track. Emotionally, we are antsy and ready to go. I think the move this year will help us feel like we are making progress.
Where did we expect to be? I think we expected to be right where we are actually. Maybe a little less debt, but unexpected repairs set us back a tad. I think as long as we keep our financial goals, we can keep on track with our departure date, and that is our main goal. There are some things we are finding we need to be more realistic about, but learning is part of the process.
What is on the horizon? Decisions. We’ll be making them this year, and those decisions will set us on a path. Every decision we make sets us on a path. It is how we got to this point in our lives that we are counting down to a date when we can take off around the world. But this year is a turning point for us. We are excited to see how the new path to our goal will work for us.
Here’s to 2013 and reaching goals!