When things get in the way of your dream, you have to start taking a hard look at what's standing in the way. A dream worth working towards takes a lot of time, hard work and discipline. The typical obstacles of cruising are eliminating debt, creating a savings, and generating an income while traveling. Once those are removed, it's "smooth sailing" right? Well, not so fast.
We've eliminated the above by selling our house, paying off all debt and generating income from rental properties but we still have a huge obstacle that often stops a large group of folks from actually achieving their dream ... change and the unknown. I guess I should also include ... embracing the idea of becoming a "slacker".
If you've been following our Facebook page lately, you know that we've been prepping Nirvana for spraying her deck with smooth and non-skid paint. We've got her as ready as she's gonna get, but the weather has to cooperate. Low humidity, no rain and low winds are necessary to spray the primer and paint. For over a week, we've been waiting for the winds to die down a bit. Since we haven't been able to spray, Ken took a last minute renovation job from a long-time client. Why not make the money if we can't spray, right? Well, as luck would have it ... today is perfect for spraying but Ken's gotta finish the job .. and keep his commitment. By the time he's done, rain is in the forecast. Looks like another week at best.
All of this juggling of working on the boat and trying to make a living has been extremely stressful. At what point do we quit our businesses completely? At what point do we tell ourselves it's okay to be "unemployed" and start dipping into our savings while fixing our boat?
We've come to the part of the dream that's probably the hardest ... quitting work and "taking a chance". I think that we've come to a crossroads that a lot of people avoid. It's time to "shit or get off the pot". It's gettin' real!
Unless you're financially wealthy, turning the dream of early retirement into a reality is scary. There are so many unknowns ... will we stay healthy, will we have enough money to last throughout our lives, will our boat become a money pit, will our boat sink?! Will we be viewed as "failures" if things don't work out as planned? Will we be called "losers" because we quit working before 50 yrs of age? Will we regret throwing away the comfort of our routine? But, there comes a time when you have to take the plunge into making the dream a reality ... or continue making excuses.
We figure that while there are risks in moving forward with our plan, there are risks of staying behind as well. We could still lose our good health on land or get in a debilitating accident. Ken's construction work is very physical, and he can't keep doing it forever. Bad things can happen no matter how you live, so we may as well live on a boat and travel. If we have regrets with our plans, at least we won't be living with the regret of never doing it .. and wondering if we should have. As far as being a "failure" ... we figure the real failure would be in not going for it. Being "losers" ... how could we be "losers" by retiring early, yet being self-sufficient? We won't be living off of the government or hand-outs from others (we will accept a donation for a cold one, but that's not how we're supporting ourselves ... we'd starve!).
The "comfort" of our daily routine isn't so comfortable anymore. There's a new life chapter awaiting us, and the routine is no longer good enough. We have more to learn and experience.
So, we're faced with the question .. has the time come? Should we quit our jobs? Even more pressing .. should Ken quit his? As a real estate agent, I can work from home and don't need to be in an office. There's no real obstacle in me continuing to be available for a seller or a buyer. Truth be told, it's not that often anyway. I've lost the passion to build my business, and instead I'm passionate about working on our dream.
It's hard for Ken to turn down work and long-term clients, so the door hasn't been shut completely. However, we've agreed that he needs to start turning down jobs and choosing the ones that he takes carefully. Once we're not fighting against timing the weather and paying boatyard fees, it may not be that hard to pick up a job every now and then in between working on Nirvana. Heck, maybe we'll pick up a few construction jobs while cruising.
I've often read that the hardest part of becoming a cruiser is leaving the dock. Again, unless you're wealthy ... I'd have to agree.
Here's to working a whole lot less ... at least for money. Hmmm ... that doesn't sound right and is gonna take some getting used to. We need to do as the picture above states ... smile, move on, and never look back! Oh, and to those already cruising ... feel free to remind us of how great it is!
Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!