Sunday, October 13, 2013

From Dream to Reality: how we plan to afford it.

As I write this post, we are nervously anticipating the signing that is scheduled for this Friday on our 1995 Fountaine Pajot Venezia. Although this is a brand new blog that I started this year, this is actually a 7 year old plan that has required a huge amount of dedication, discipline, and work.....

We were in Honduras when we first came up with the idea. After our shark dive (we are all PADI certified scuba divers) the boat was taking us back to shore when we passed a 40 foot mono-hull; it was just sitting there quietly at anchor. My wife and I looked at each other and we both kind of said, "Hmm...I'd probably do that." From that moment, the dream of living a sailing lifestyle continued to grow from a simple idea to a full-blown life changing plan that was formulated over the next year or so. Although how to afford it has changed a little over the years and the plan itself has even been put in jeopardy by my own doubt, as it stands today, we are in agreement over the decision to move aboard.  The owners of that boat probably have no idea how they changed the course of our lives that day. 

Justin making his way through the black-tip reef sharks on our 2006 Honduras vacation
So what do you do when all you have is an idea?……you plan, and you read, and you research. The first thing I did is started browsing the internet to see what had to be done or if it was even possible.  Do I have to be a captain before they would let me skipper my own boat? How much money does a boat even cost? How many other people have actually done this? And the list goes on.

But to give credit where credit is due, the first story that I came across during my search was Patrick Schulte’s.   If you aren’t familiar with his story, then you owe it to yourself to read his four year journey around the world at ( that he and his wife achieved with little to no experience in his 35’ Wildcat catamaran. It has been my inspiration from very early on since we ourselves also have no sailing experience, but do share a similar dream that they once had. A trip around the world? Maybe not. But sailing from Florida to the Caribbean for a few years? That's what the plan is.

But I was an aviation mechanic with no license, and not much money in my savings account or in my 401k - this is going to take a long time.  I have to switch careers in my late 30’s to one that will allow me to be much more flexible. One that will allow me to work awhile.....quit.....and come back to after 6 to 8 months. The only logical thing to do was to go to nursing school after a friend recommended it to me (although that was much easier said than done). It would allow me to do exactly what I needed (I think)...I could even do travel-nursing for a few months at a time. To ensure that our lifestyle never changed while I attended school, I used all my vacation and personal time (and then some) and was able to escape nursing school with my original career still intact just in case the nursing thing didn't work out.

Ready to save lives
In the meantime, we also needed monthly income that would regenerate and continuously bring in a monthly income when neither of us would be working. Now we didn't do this specifically for when we owned a boat, it was something we did because we have always enjoyed the outcome – we started collecting rent houses and even flipped one for a modest payday (we've been flippin' houses and "Renovating to Rent" long before it was on every show on DIY and HGTV). We have four of them now or five if you count the one we are currently in. We buy at a low price and in less than perfect condition, renovate the entire house, and then rent it. That way, the properties will continue to give us a monthly income forever. Fast-forward to 7 years later (7 long years later) – I have now been a nurse for 2 years, and will have 5 rent houses working for me when we move aboard. My kids are all out of school and are just waiting for the time we pull the trigger on a purchase. We have a nice nest-egg of money in the bank so we can pay cash for the boat, and another one in my 401k - if I decide to pull it out for emergencies (I think I can make that money work better for me anyway.)  But the big question is will we enjoy it?  We have no idea, but the way I look at it is this: I would rather do it and regret it, than regret not doing it. We can always sell the boat and come back and renovate houses, but we may never have the opportunity again to fulfill a dream.

Check out the latest going's-on about Catchin' Rays here:

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to get started on your journey! Way to make it happen!