Long Passage Musings and How We Got Here (part 1 of 2)

In about ten days we head out for the longest, furthest ocean passage that either of us undertaken. Of course we have been vigorously preparing, constantly discussing adjustments, changes, and even more upgrades. The list gets shorter and then we add more items, or make a new list. Since Kelly and I spend almost all of our time together, we are confident that our close proximity is not an issue. We are not likely to be seasick – but being below in a boisterous sea can sometimes challenge our resistance!

In retrospect , our preparation has been going on for years, beginning with the decision to set a date for setting out on a long sailing trip. Around the world? Believe it or not, this hasn’t been the priority. But sailing away to visit the world is the plan, likely in a warmer direction. We refuse to plan too decisively, in terms of specifically where to be when, if considered too far in advance. The concept turned out difficult to explain, so we would just keep that part simple and show people a plan to sail the world, and really focus on the larger task of just getting started. This was our main focus. So how did we start? You’ve seen prior posts about the details, but more now on the big picture.

We principally targeted the responsibilities – eg. what to do with a large home, and how our children would deal with our reduction of financial support. Two liberal arts colleges took most of our income, so we needed income for a while to keep the gears going. When would a change be appropriate? Final college graduation was set for June 2020. So setting the anticipated departure date: June 2020 became our first and most critical date and focal point, then more than four years away. Wow, making just this one decision of when to leave was a major initial milestone. With each successive intermediate milestone to come, the impact hasn’t subsided, but continues to build momentum.

Family game time at our Georgetown apartment

With increasing frequency we’d discuss the large-scale, and short-term schedules. We’d constantly revise lists and budgets (still do!). Some important tasks would seem to go on and on, with patience waning. For example, while searching for our seaworthy vessel (or selling our beloved race boat, Squibnocket), or after a difficult day at work the days just passed too slowly. Here’s a large scale list we had initially used:

  • 2017: set budgets; purchase seaworthy sailboat; sell race boat J/80 Squibnocket
  • 2017 – 2020:
    • Cruise locally, Maine
    • Training in offshore prep, safety, celestial navigation, etc
    • Refit, upgrade, equip for voyaging
  • Jan 2019: Kelly retires from work
  • June 2019: Oldest graduates; sell house, downsize, get apartment
  • April 2020: quit job (!)
  • April to June 2020: Youngest graduates; downsize again; move aboard
  • September 2020: departure south

Perhaps you’ve already noticed something strange about our timeline? Aren’t we presently in 2019, and yet we have already departed? We pushed the schedule back during February 2018, as one of our sons decided it was best to hold off on finishing college. We fully support his decision – best to wait until ready. After serious discussion we decided to advance the schedule, as the priorities had changed.

We became more focused and dialed-in, tightened-up our schedule quite a bit. Maybe too ambitiously. Within a month we were interviewing realtors, finishing home projects, starting to discuss with family and friends. We dialed in details that were previously put off until the following year. We now considered the finite nature of our careers, our homes, how the children and direct family would deal without us. Life will change significantly!

Are we ready to go yet?

Part 2 coming soon!

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