Posted in: Breaking Free on Friday, January 20th, 2012

When Ben and I decided to keep this blog of our seachange we wanted it to be a complete and completely honest account of our journey.  Downsizing in a fast paced, money hungry world is not as easy as we thought it would be.

The Porsche hasn’t sold as quickly as we needed it too, it’s still sitting under the house collecting dust and the Stagea can’t go on the market yet.  The proceeds of these sales were going to get Tygress ready for long range cruising, and provide a financial safety net for a year or so.  Without that money and until we have it, we may as well be becalmed, for there is little wind in our sails now.

The money from the VSP payment hasn’t gone as far as we thought it would or needed it to, leaving us close to the line and unable to go any further than the marina (yet).  The boat, that was to be a symbol of our new found freedom and the herald of a simpler life, at times feels like it may very well be the sinking of us.  Sometimes we worry we bought too early (well mainly i worry, Ben is resolute in his faith that we have made the right choices) that we should’ve waited until the car sold.  But we were desperate, and myself particularly worried that if we didn’t get the boat as soon as possible, all these plans, like so many others, would amount to hot air and pipe dreams unfulfilled.   So we bought and naively hoped the car would sell quickly and relieve the pressure.

It hasn’t and the pressure grows.

To counter these worries, we check boatsales.com and boatpoint.com to reassure ourselves that we did the right thing. That we bought the right boat at the right time.  And so far we haven’t found any suitable alternatives, Tygress really was meant for us.  If we’d waited we’d still have no boat and someone else would’ve snapped Tygress up.

We cannot insure Tygress until certain survey report issues have been rectified which will take, you guessed it, more money we don’t have.   We’ve been unable to shift our furniture to Bundaberg in the truck we planned on hiring.  February’s marina fees are coming up.  Scotch, that once flowed in abundance, has now become a luxury item.  Times are indeed tough.

Ben is feverishly working to save us, he works to this day on a contract under difficult conditions (Photoshop would make his life much easier), for less money than he is worth (mate’s rates) trying to bring in the next instalment of cash.  Cash that we’ll use to get his boating licence, to repay the generosity of his mother and to satisfy certain credit institutions of their need for repayment.  It won’t be enough and more contracts are on the horizon.

To save money, which is now a main focus and criteria of all decisions made, we hope to be able to take our salty, sea-faring neighbour’s offer of sail training up.  Three months ago we would’ve baulked at the idea of  training anywhere else other than a certified sailing school (with their large fees).  But Ben is a veteran of the world’s oceans for over 30 years and has been a wealth of knowledge so far, and our confidence in him feels well placed.  We haven’t’ seen him so far this year, and we find ourselves missing his Swedish accent, his live-aboard camaraderie,  his keenness to share what he knows and his insistence that it’s all a lot easier than we think it will be.

So for those of you considering your own seachange we have some sage words to offer.

  • It will take more money than you think it will
  • It will take more faith, persistence and hard work than you think it will
  • It will test your relationship more than you expect it to
and because of these things it will be more rewarding than you ever hoped it could be.  To struggle through adversity to bring your dreams to reality indicates that you are earning them, earning the right to dream them and earning the right to transform them through your blood, sweat and tears into a bright and shining reality.




No trolleys…again!!

Posted in: Featured, Moving Aboard on Monday, December 26th, 2011
More stuff to move on board

As usual there were no trolleys in the bay when we needed them!

This is probably our second last load for the boat. Mostly it is linen, books (gotta have my books) and kitchenware or ‘Galleyware’ as it will be now known.  Also coming is our beloved stove top coffee maker, oodles of plastic containers for food storage (cardboard is a no-no), a mini food processor with low power requirements (Ben likes to get a little fancy in the kitchen so a few cookbooks and specialist culinary tools are in order) and lots of other bits and bobs I’ve been amassing in boxes.  It’s a surprisingly heavy load, getting it to the marina was no problem as we still have our Stagea station wagon (for sale soon if you know anyone looking for a great family car) but as usual when we got to the marina the trolley bay was empty.  My positive attitude waned a little at the prospect of lugging it all by hand to the boat. Even a relatively short 600m walk is off-putting in the summer heat let alone one where your being a pack mule.  I re-evaluated again the necessity of everything I’d packed.  But it had to be done, harden up love.

It was worse than expected.

By the time we’d made the three trips to the boat I was physically exhausted and Ben said I was worryingly red which was true.  I gave myself a bit of a shock when I caught sight of myself in the mirror.  As I was recovering in the breeze and shade of the cockpit what should walk past but a person with one of the distinctive black plastic trolleys!  And not 10 minutes later another one heading in the other direction.  Today I saw two people with four empty ones between them!

Despite how paranoid and crazy it sounds, i’m almost certain there is another, secret trolley bay that we haven’t been told about.  Maybe in a few more months we’ll be considered ‘one of them’ enough to be shown it’s hidden location.  There has to be one.  Because surely not everyone that uses the marina is the inconsiderate type to keep trolleys at their berths for private use.  Ben had a  laugh when he saw I was posting about the trolleys, but after the third carload of stuff you’ve had to lug by hand it’s quite easy to work up a good rant about it.

Getting worked up is a waste of time I suppose.  If I understand the principles of Murphy’s law correctly, by the time we’re finally finished moving stuff on board and have no need for trolleys, then there will be a bountiful supply of trolleys.  I’m sure I’ll be laughing (and hiding said trolleys) then.


Where to start?

Posted in: Breaking Free on Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Where do you start when confronted with the task of packing up almost a decade of accumulated possessions? Most people would say “at the beginning” and I can’t argue with that logic. The problem with tasks this big is that the beginning is an often indeterminable point. I know where the end is, I can see it, it’s just that there’s so much to do between this point and the finish that it’s easy to be overwhelmed to the point of crippling inactivity.

I try to make lists, I’ve started with the second bedroom, which for years has been the dumping ground for all those things collected that don’t have a home of their own. So they end up in the second bedroom to pile up on top of each other and be forgotten. Until today. Today I must decide the fate of each item in that room. For a person who finds decision making mentally draining, the prospect is off-putting to say the least. Traumatic if I wanted to err on the side of the dramatic.

I need boxes, space to put piles of sorted items `Rehome’, `Dump’, `Garage Sale’. I’m finding it hard to part with things, which is silly. Silly when you think that I haven’t thought about these items for years, haven’t touched or moved them, and yet the sudden sight of them again overwhelms me with memories. They begin to take on the importance of relics, relics from my past, tangible links to memories that feel a little more distant each year. They become hard to part with. I’ve had to allow myself to keep some of my most precious items, only the most significant of treasures, so that I may be able to part with the majority of them. I must save some so that I can sacrifice the rest.

The very nature of the process forces you to question and really evaluate the importance we place on material goods. And why we need to accumulate them and why parting with them is so hard. Our lives and flesh are fleeting things, why do we spend so much time chasing things, working to buy more things or working  just to afford the things we already have? I’m starting to see how the possession of things, the weight of our worldly goods, hold us down, prevent us from truly living in the moment.

People can’t be carried with the winds of spontaneity, they can’t zig when the world expects them to zag, can’t live free to the impulse of adventure when they’re surrounded by four walls. Four walls that need a constant stream of money to maintain and to keep ownership in your name. Four walls that need to insured and cared for in your absence. Four walls that will keep you rooted within them for as long as they stand.

But four walls don’t bring all bad, they provide shelter, security and the continuity of home in an ever changing world. Those aren’t bad things, nor is it bad to want them. I’m just not sure it’s how we were meant to live. There has to be other ways to have those things and be more in tune with the world and it’s beauty. There has to be a way to be secure and safe while not losing the ability to roam free, to head for the horizon just to see what lies beyond it. There has to be a way to experience the richness and beauty of life without being tied to a job, a house and all the commitments that go with it.

We think there is. It’s why we’re now parting with 10yrs worth of collected possessions and the four walls that keep them. Leaving them behind for a life less rich in material wealth and more abundant in the pleasures that give meaning to life. A more authentic existence. One open to risk, challenges, spiritual and personal growth. The full gamut of what life has to throw at us.

It’s not an easy process divesting yourself of all that you own, but it’s a life changing one. One that everyone should go through once, and more importantly of their own volition. This is a distinctly different process than losing all that you own through tragedy or misfortune. This in an empowering process driven by choice with you at the helm. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose all that you own without control or choice. I may have to though, depending on how high the waves roll.

Click on the monkey’s fist to read others bloggers on this topic.

The Monkey's Fist