Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Decision

In the spring of 2002, I was faced with a dilemma. Getting ready to graduate from college, I was listening to all of my friends discussing their plans for where to live after we left Maryland. Most were looking through apartment rental ads, and a few were thinking hard about buying their first house. Remember, this was the era of loose mortgages. I caught a different sort of bug though.
I bought a sailboat.

I can't exactly pinpoint a single idea that led me to make this decision, but some thoughts come to mind. I know I believed living on a sailboat would provide me four distinct opportunities:

1) Independence

In order to afford a nice apartment where we were going (Charleston, SC) most of my friends had to live together with at least one other roommate. While the idea of a roommate isn't bad at all, I personally prefer being able to do as I please, when I please. And where I please. Living of a sailboat would provide me the opportunity to live by myself. It would be my home, so I could decorate and equip as I felt led to, and most likely never have to worry about painting my room white again when a year lease was up.

2) Mobility

I realize this seems simple, but there's something to said for having a home that is mobile. Since I was just entering service in the Navy, the reality of moving from duty station to station was looming. A sailboat would mean simply letting go of the dock lines and pointing the right direction. By keeping my lifestyle minimalist and simple, these moves would be easier to tackle.

3) Affordability

I'm not sure how I convinced myself of this, but I think some spreadsheet magic showed me that by living on a sailboat, at a marina, I be saving money of my peers, both by socking some away into the boat as well as reduced total expenses. This was partially true. One purpose of this blog is to describe some changes in the world that would have benefited me when I undertook this path, as well as describe some of the things that did work and how they saved me money.

4) Adventure

Ok, I'll admit it. I figured if I lived on a sailboat, I mean, "Yacht", that women would flock to my vessel and the life of Jack Sparrow would be mine. Well, that was partially true. I did have a number of adventures. In the end, I'd say my time living aboard was a key aspect of the successes I've had. Employers were often more impressed by the fact I'd taken a chance and lived this lifestyle than any professional accomplishments I had. And I had both a head full of memories and a couple folders worth of great pictures from places I've been and experiences I've had.

Everyone has unique reasons for making the decision to live board a boat. Heck, everyone has unique reasons for every decision they make. But if the four themes above stir something deep in your heart, maybe it's a direction you'd be interested in pursuing?