I’m the type that sees life itself as an adventure. I left my home country almost 10 years to go to grad school in another country. When I finished, I left for country number three (this country). I live with the presumption that I live with a sense of purpose or that my life has meaning or that I make a difference in some way. I mean this in a very individualistic sense. For instance, a voter in a democracy makes a difference, but it is a difference as part of a crowd or as part of a system and not as an individual. This is not what I am talking about. It is probably apparent that my thoughts are not entirely crystalized on this subject. Perhaps a better way of explain it is an attempt to live an examined life, that is, why do I do what I do. Another important point is that I do to some extent create my circumstances. The contrast would be in doing whatever is expected, living up to expectations, never challenging oneself, reacting to circumstances, and just trying to fit in. I hope these random thoughts made at least a little sense.
The original retirement plan was to move to some cheap place to live that didn’t suck too much. Preferably it would be within walking distance of many things but it certainly did not have to be big. In fact smaller would be better as it would leave more time for more interesting things than cleaning and housekeeping. One potential problem is that I am not comfortable with stagnation – at all. There has to be a learning curve, and for a house this learning curve would naturally have to be found elsewhere. Therefore I was never quite satisfied with the idea. Being the home-owner of a generic cookie-cutter seems like a non-scary nightmare. I am NOT a homemaker.
The second idea was to get an RV, specifically to build an RV. I quickly found out that unless one drives a $100,000 RV bus, one is just a few steps removed from the homeless on the persecution scale. This may be wrong but all the sites I read about stealth camping suggested as much.
The third idea was a combination of the former two. Get a tumbleweedhouse and park it in an RV or trailer park. This could even be done as a snowbird. If people didn’t understand (I’m so used to this that I have come expect it), the house could simply be driven away. Of course this came with its own problems. Aside from building the house, there is no learning curve.
Now I don’t know how I came across the idea, but how about living aboard a yacht in a marina, anchored of a tropical island, or just cruising on blue water. Sounds unreal, but apparently many people do this and they’re not all full of money. Boat living can cost as much as you want but frugal estimates rank at $600-$1000 per month which are very familiar numbers to me. While some people never leave the slip (harbor), others spend time cruising. Some people even sail around the world. I am quite taken by the fact that one can take a $30,000 boat and sail it across the Pacific or the Atlantic, just like one would take a car and drive it across the US (only somewhat harder). Skippering a boat also has some aspects that I have been missing from modern life, namely, accountability and self-reliance. If something goes wrong, it is plain clear where the buck stops. In “real” life, the buck is often passed along. As I read in some boating forum, sailing is actually closer to reality, because unlike this world, there are immediate consequences for mistakes, and one can not talk or pay one’s way out of mistakes. It also fits a lot of my other values. On a boat there is no clutter and so consumerism becomes so irrelevant that it would be considered crazy. The focus is on functionally, personal ingenuity, and skills rather than appearance. Sailing is physically demanding. If one can’t hoist a main sail, well, then the boat doesn’t move. Forsooth, one’s body actually becomes more than just a sloppy vessel for carrying one’s expert brain around between the job, the car, and the couch/bed like on our present (degenerate) world.
The only problem. I have no clue as to how one sails!
Update: I wrote this over two years ago. In the mean time, we have actually moved into an RV, and we have been living here for about 1.5 years. Living in the RV has become very routine. Sometimes I find myself getting bored; I need to move into something else. I think it’s becoming clear that settling in one spot forever will not work for me. While I occasionally state my dislike of travel, I do enjoy moving from place to place.
I have also learned how to sail. In that regard, I have learned that I am perhaps not as adventurous as I thought I was. Facing 10+ foot waves in a 30 feet boat in near gale conditions teaches one things that are hard to grasp intellectually However, while sailing around the world is out of the picture (maybe until I become vastly more experienced), I am longer wary of buying a boat afraid that it might sink if I don’t operate the marine toilet properly.
Originally posted 2008-04-03 07:32:47.