The most common question we get is “Why”, or what led you to this absurd or crazy decision to start a cruising lifestyle? Ok so maybe the question isn’t always this direct, but there have been a few occasions where it has been. The answer to that question is simply, we have completely lost our minds.

The WABAC Machine

Now having confirmed all your suspicions, let’s adjust our setting on the “WABAC machine” and take a look at how we got here. For those of you not familiar with the WABAC machine, not to be confused with the Internet’s Wayback machine, it comes from a cartoon segment in the 1960s on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. In that segment, Mr. Peabody and Sherman used this device to transport themselves back in time to visit some important events in history. For our purposes here, we will use it to transcend the manic madness of this decision in search of the trigger that set us upon this path. For disclaimer purposes, this is this author’s perspective. So I use the term “we” completely out of context. We have discovered that the catalysts that precipitate one to make these kinds of decisions are about as different as Argyle socks: you might find one that is similar…but never exactly alike.

Argyle Socks

Argyle Socks

Several years ago, I began to contemplate what I would do with my time once I decided that I was tired of working the 9-to-5, or in my case it was more like the 6:30-to-6:30-dinner-7:30-to-9:30. Outside of general hobbies (of which I have many), I really enjoy travel, experiencing the wonders of culture, being in the majesty of nature, and the serenity of calm. In this, Deanna and I are largely aligned. I also recognized that we often sought opportunities to sail when we were near coastal waters. It dawned on me, that sailing checks most of our aspirational boxes. That was the mindset that began to percolate the steaming cup of our “Why” going into this. We would soon come to learn that there is so much more to this lifestyle than casting lines and hoisting sails.

Out with the Spaghetti

I am not sure what sparked our interest to become sailors, I suspect it is different for each of us. For me, interest began to germinate around the idea of trying to determine how to travel and have these experiences after we retire. Shortly after that, traveling via a sailboat slowly began to materialize before us. What we are really talking about is a nomadic approach to minimalist living. Now just wrap your head around that for a minute. Nomad – living by traveling from place to place, and a minimalist life – which is freeing yourself from clutter. Not just the clutter of “stuff”, but perhaps some philosophical clutter of attachments we have learned to cling to throughout our lives. Looking back through the WABAC machine, those concepts are like waffles. Nomadic life is in one box, minimalist living is in another, and I specifically was way down in the corner box loving all the stuff I had collected over the years coveting all the fancy little bits and bobs, the nice cars, and the big house. These three concepts were in no way, shape, or form connected. What I would come to learn is that they are all like spaghetti… they are all connected and something was going to need to change.

Learning vs Understanding

The next several years were about understanding. I will use the word understanding versus learning because it took awhile to really grasp the significance of the change we were about to embark upon. Sure, we needed to learn more about sailing. We needed to learn about life on a boat. We needed to learn about all of the dynamics, systems, preferences, expectations, and idiosyncrasies of living life in a “tiny” house. Understanding all of that is what is beyond the written, taught, and shared. Understanding is the blossom of wisdom that will flourish and grow over the years.

All Boats are Not Created Equal

I have been on many boats in my lifetime. Some of those boats have been sailboats, ski boats, power cruising boats, military boats, paddle boats, kayaks, rescue boats, cruise liners, and rafts. I have even been in a submarine on the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland back in the day (ok maybe that does not qualify as a boat as it is really on rails, but it has been known to sink in the past). Coming into this I figured I had a pretty good idea what I was looking for. I am here to tell you that all boats are not created equal. As you have read in other posts, we enlisted the help of Kim and Simon on Britican to help us taste what life might be like living in a tiny house on the water. We have benefitted from the counsel of Wayne Goldman with Atomic Tuna Yachts who helped us purchase Erin Skye. We treasure the wisdom of Behan and Jamie on SV Totem for the sheer depth of their patience, knowledge, and experience. They helped us understand that it is ok to not know everything, that it is ok to ask questions, to learn from all of those around you, that boat karma is a real thing, and that the only thing constant on a boat is change. Without all of these insights, choosing the right boat for us would not have been possible.

Hearing the Music

So how does all of this relate to the original question of why? We started out thinking we had a good idea of the change in our lives that was before us. It seemed pretty straight forward. We knew the things we liked and the things we wanted to adjust. When I peer back through the WABAC view finder, all of this plays out in my mind in scattered images and a simple yearning tune. A tune with echoing piano keys lazily plucking away in some haunting melody of wanting and needing a different path. Somewhere in the  cacophony of rhythm, I feel an instrument resonating deep in my soul, fluttering my stomach, and pulling on my heart strings.

In the beginning we wandered through this kaleidoscope of hues and a mesmerizing tune trying to determine a destination unsure what that would be. I felt a need to be and do something different than I have for the last 40 years. Some notes were high, some were low as we roller-coastered through the emotions of this change, our successes, and failures. We feel the vibration of confused loved ones surrounding us, becoming part of this melody, some grappling to understand the path we have chosen. Each note sometimes struggling to build on one another.  Changes in our lives looking for the next accompanying note to complement this arrangement. A wavering arrangement always contemplating the possibility of an exciting horizon. 

As this tune has grown these last few years it has become less complicated, lighter, clear. The smiles are perhaps less guarded, the laughter comes from a deeper place these days. The notes bring shivers of excitement, thrills of wonder. We have made vast changes, shed great clutter, some treasures. We have gained a measure of simplicity. We also experience the reverberation of leaving friends, loved ones, and perhaps the hardest… family, even close family. These are some of the choices we all make. Now is the time to experience it and really listen to the music we have created. Revel in the solemnity of what is now underway, acknowledge sacrifices we have made, and communicate the experiences with those who have sacrificed to let us go.

There is much to this world. Although we have traveled greatly, there are so many more things to experience. It is our hope that we can find a means to do so with each and everyone of you. Be it through this blog, photos and video as we can capture it, or perhaps we can meet up somewhere along this journey and share a few laughs and smiles with each other across the table. We choose to appreciate the past, live in the present, and to pursue a path less traveled for new experiences to share. We hope to add a little color to these experiences, and perhaps a little of our perspective. Be it near or far, we hope to see you there.

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Written by James