The Minimalist Sailor

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Living the dream

Hi there everyone! I’m back : )

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks: first I visited my brother in the States (my dad met us there as well) and then my mom came with her husband to spend a few days on Splendid. I love seeing my family, things were not always perfect but we have all worked hard to leave the past behind and now we enjoy each other’s company a lot. I’m very Latin in that aspect, people come first, status, comfort and possessions come far behind. If I’ve got lovely people around, some food and a place to sleep I’m really sorted.

Alex and I have been living together for eight months now. It’s crazy how fast time goes by and how easily we’ve become family too. He got along really well with my brother and his wife and my mom and her husband were delighted to see how we live and how natural we feel together. They loved Alex, he made them laugh a lot. They were also surprised to see his love for nature. They know me and how sensitive I am, but they did not expect such a big, strong guy to be so sensitive as well. In only four days they saw him save a huge snake that was in the middle of the road at night, get really upset and angry at a woman who was cutting down a tree… He’s very affectionate with me too. They had deep conversations with him (I had to translate some of it, but they actually communicated pretty well). It was so nice to spend our lovely family time with Alex this time, we cooked, sang with the guitar, went swimming to the shore, we went snorkeling, exploring with the dinghy and talked about our lives for hours. I was proud of him and I was also proud of them. I am surrounded by amazing beautiful people. Alex always says how lucky he feels, I feel the same way.

I have to say it’s not easy to go to the city, it has not been for years now. Especially when I go to the States, just the freezing air conditioning everywhere and the shock with the heat outside makes me ill after a couple of days. Then there’s the crazy noise, the amount of cars everywhere, the crazy shopping, the artificial food, the ads on the radio (man, I started bringing my mp3 player and headphones in the car not to hear those people yelling at me!! “call 5670-2345, that’s 5670-2345, 5670-2345, call now 5670-2345!” how can people listen to that everyday, it’s crazy!!). It’s so different when you live in the countryside. Luckily my brother lives in a very quiet area and we spent most of the time there, I used his guitars to record some music for the movie and also we kept going to the airfield to fly his planes, drink iced chai tea and sit on the grass. They have a nice life too, he works from home most days doing what he loves, he does not have a set timetable, he can take days off when he wants to travel. They enjoy sports and nature, they spend time cooking their own meals, play music, go to the movies… You know it doesn’t matter where you live as long as you make your own choices and don’t forget what life is all about. Money is paper. Power and status is for the weak and insecure. Having time to be with the people you love, doing the things that you love is priceless. And nature is incredible.

The other day Alex was saying how western man is proud of the digital era, how he discovered the use of zeros and ones and applied them to image, sound, etc. But if you look at a seed, it can be buried with a pharaoh, planted 3,000 years later and a fruit tree still comes out of it. Talk about technology! Or how live beings can reproduce or how we can self-heal with the power of our mind. A raspberry is art. Plant your own carrots and buy real seeds, they tast soooo much better! Nature is incredible. So many people forget to enjoy it.

It’s funny, a few years ago I realized that I was working all year to go either to the beach or to the mountain on holidays (and my holidays were wonderful! 2 weeks in the winter and 7 in the summer!!). I always cried with emotion when I had to leave nature to go back to the city. And I thought, I’m an idiot and moved to the mountain. Now I only went to the city for 2 or 3 weeks a year to visit my family, go to film festivals, etc, and the rest of the year I lived in Patagonia, the beautiful place people went on holidays to. This year I had decided to live on the beach for a few years, learn how to surf, swim everyday and escape to the city when all the tourists came for holidays and look at me. Not on the beach but living in the water! In the middle of the Caribbean, enjoying love, nature, food, films in the cockpit, actually MAKING a movie with my best friend and lover. It’s amazing what happens when you take the only step that matters: a step towards your dreams and out of the rules imposed to you. I don’t even have to go to work anymore. I sometimes have nightmares in which I am back in the city and have to fight with my posh employers for a fair salary. I wake up and realise I’m still here, floating and working with wood, paint, the sewing machine, when I feel like it. Drinking rain water and eating fruit from the jungle. And what big effort did it take? Just picking up my stuff and leaving. I’m so happy here. I miss my family and friends often but visiting is my first priority with the little money I make (my family also helps) and I always make new amazing friends wherever I go.

“Being an adult is knowing who you are and having the courage to be that person”. Are you living the life you love? Are you being the person you really are? Are you listening to the voice inside of you? That’s all that matters.

Updated: November 30, -0001 — 00:00

7 Comments

  1. Very well said Carla – words to live by for sure. Reading comments from you and Alex lately has made me realize even more that i am stuck in a place that i do not want to be. I need to find a way to make some changes, and your words and the blogs from Alex will hopefully help me along the way. Thanks!

  2. Jmon,

    It takes guts to have a look at your own life and realize it’s not what you want of dream of. Nobody is going to offer you freedom. You have to have the guts to take it as well. Not everything will be roses at first, it takes time to build something new, but we must at least give it a try! It will be worth your effort.

    We write this blog because we believe there are many people out there that, like it happened to us, have been thrown into a lifestyle they have not really chosen and which does not make them happy. I think that some people find their way within capitalism and lead the lives they chose, but the system is based on the concept that many need to do the hard work for a few to enjoy the results, and I don’t mean the few with the most money because there’s a lot of suicide, cocaine, anti-depressants, etc among “successful” wealthy businessmen.

    In my case, since very young I realized I loved my “free” time (out of school, university, work) and I’ve always been an A student (I’m pretty brainy and have a good memory so its not that I didn’t fit, I was actually among the favorites and enjoyed the classes and also later my work as translator and language teacher) still I always felt the balance was wrong. I never had enough time for my family, my friends, reading, playing my guitar, cooking, drawing, swimming, taking photographs, dancing, all the things that I loved doing and that were actually more natural than living inside my own brain and following directions. Human beings are not brains. We have spirits and bodies that need to be nurtured and enjoyed. We are social beings. We live on a wonderful planet with animals, plants, landscapes we don’t really know.

    There is something very wrong with that even if we lived in societies without inequality, violent media, etc. When you look at what the system has become (traffic jams, fear of one another, concentration of wealth, starvation and obesity, stress, etc) then when you look at it objectively the whole thing is pretty ridiculous. What are we doing?

    We work most of our time and when we get paid, what percentage of it can we really use freely? Not much, most of it is “obligations” you HAVE to pay someone else EVERY month of your life. And, do you have a better life than a fisherman who lives on an island, eating what he catches, gathering fruit, taking naps, caressing his dog and little children who make tents with sticks and rocks? Not really. Is it better for a child if the parents make money so that they can have the last playstation, a smart phone and expensive trainers than if their dad works with wood occasionally and they live near a clean river and they can climb trees and chase squirrels? Climbing trees, swimming in the river, playing with sticks and chasing squirrels is not only a lot of fun, it’s also absolutely free and a lot healthier. Children are not brains. It’s not ok they would rather use Facebook or watch TV than ride a bike. And it is NOT more fun for them. It’s marketing and adapting to the artificial environment they are brought up in.

    Living in nature (a small town, in the mountains, a river bank) is cheaper, healthier and more gratifying. Living on a simple sailboat is practically free. It’s up to us to take the necessary steps and initial effort to live the life we want, with less obligations and more choices. It doesn’t come in a package with a brochure. It’s your life and it’s up to you. Be strong and find your way to make it happen!!

  3. Sorry everyone that I write so much!! I don’t know how to be brief, I get carried away. This is going to be another long one!!!

    Curtis,

    What do really mean when you talk about money? What do you buy with your money that is really good for you and what percentage of it do you spend on different taxes, bills, insurance, objects that make you lazy and fat, information that makes you sad and scared, possessions that make you look like the ads you’ve been spoon fed since you were a child, food that has added chemicals that make you sick, etc?

    It’s really up to you to decide how much of your free time your current life and possessions are worth.

    I have a 250 dollar computer, an 80 dollar guitar, a great 300 dollar camera, a 100 dollar surfboard, a notebook, a couple of pens, used books i generally exchange with other travelers, and practical comfortable clothes. These are all my possessions and I don’t exaggerate because I’ve been a nomad for 13 years. I carry my possessions, I know what they are. You can pay for all my possessions with ONE minimum wage month salary.

    I draw and write in my notepad. I use one ballpen every 3 or 4 months. My guitar, surfboard and books have no cost and give me great joy.

    In my computer I watch movies and some tv shows that I download for free, with the great added value they do not come with ads or news flashes. In my cheap laptop I also record my own music, listen to mp3s, translate, store photos, write blogs and check email. From all these things I like doing in it the only one that costs money is the access to the Internet, which comes up to the total amount of 15 dollars a month in Alex’s pay as you go phone. We pay when we want to.

    Electricity comes from our solar panels, again, initial investment less that a month’s salary then it’s free forever.

    The camera is digital, no cost. Batteries are charged with solar panels.

    How much flour, salt, oil, rice, beans, spaghetti, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables can you eat in a month? We spend together, on average, 250-300 on food a month. We don’t buy processed foods because we don’t like it.

    Our fish and water are free. So are coconuts and mangoes sometimes.

    I don’t use any beauty products other than cheap shampoo and I feel beautiful.

    Cooking gas is 20 dollars every four months.

    We don’t pay any taxes, insurance, rent or services.

    So, we float in the breathtaking Caribbean sea together doing all the things we love (tell me what we are really missing out on by having moved to the water) and our monthly expenses are, for the both of us, 300 on food, 15 on Internet and 5 on gas.

    Then there’s always something to fix on the boat which we do ourselves so we only pay for materials. And we have the occasional 10 or 20 dollar meal out. If we go to the dentist it costs 15/50 bucks.

    Sailing is free if you go with the wind. We pay 300 a year for the cruising permit.

    It’s really not that hard to come up with that money for anybody. You work sometimes and you pay for your real expenses.

    We refuse to work everyday for most of our lives to live with traffic, stress, fear, artificial food, air conditioning, commercials, taxes and insurance. It really makes no sense.

    And if we have children, we’ll educate them in nature, also enjoying movies and computers of course but swimming and fishing and surfing and hiking. In many countries (such as mine) if they want to go to university, the best one is the one that belongs to the state and it is free for everyone.

  4. I always feel like I should be more polite when I reply to comments but I get passionate. I speak English but I’m Latin, we have a different way of communicating. I really hope you guys didn’t feel attacked!! I loved it that you were interested and willing to share and participate ; )

    Guys I guess all I’m trying to say is realize your fears and see to what extent they are true or not.

    We live on little while having lots of comfort. What’s the great fear, economically speaking? If you have a roof over your head then you’re pretty much sorted. We’ve met people who have a good life here with much less than us. If you find it hard to get work at first well you eat rice, beans, fish and some veggies for a while and all you need is 50 dollars a month! If something breaks on your boat, as long as it’s not sinking, you can wait. You row to shore for free. You don’t need electricity to have a good life either. And you can easily do odd jobs with whatever you’re good at or just cook at backpacker boats if you have to. Still you make money for basics in very little time.

    The key to freedom, if freedom’s what you are looking for, is only paying for what you need. When you move away from western societies you realize how little you really need and how much more free time and peace that means.

    Start little by little. Take your time. Find your own way.

  5. curtis403@msn.com

    Hello Carla,

    Great blog on what it is all about. You make it sound so easy to just go with a new direction in life. Like so many of us i struggle with family responsibilties and of course money. I guess like most of us followers we are all woring towards are goal of leaving one day to find true freedom. My biggest concern is money and the lack there of. I know you and Alex get a very small amount from the web site and video sales but more then likley not enough to feed your selves and pay for your personal needs. How do you do it? How do you afford a trip to the states or to see family? I know alex has worked in the states for short periods of time to make some extra cash.
    thanks for your blog you said it so well.
    http://www.livingaboardboats.com

  6. Congratulations aunt Carla! ;) Start planning on being around North America next summer.

  7. Woooohoooo! Yeeeeeeehaaaaaa!!

    That’s my brother everybody!! He and his wife will have their first baby!!

    Best news one can ever receive. Theirs is a home of love, tenderness and freedom. What a lucky baby and what radiant new parents!

    Los quiero mucho!!

    C

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