The Minimalist Sailor

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The beautiful people

Hi, I’m back. I’ve been thinking a lot and I’d like to share it with you. There’s something I have discovered during these last few months and it is that more and more young people (usually couples) are coming out to live full-time on their sailboats. People from everywhere! Spain, Brazil, France, the States… And I’d witnessed the same phenomenon all around Argentina before I moved to Splendid, in little communities in the mountains and in the countryside, far from the big urban centers. There are some things these young people seem to have in common:

The couples I’m talking about are in their mid 20s 30s or 40s.
They come from a middle or upper-middle class upbringing.
They have one or two university degrees.
They have traveled a lot. They have also read a lot about other cultures or history.
They were making good money and loved their jobs when they decided to leave their countries.
They have a good relationship with friends and family back home and visit whenever they get a chance.
They love film, literature, music, nature, food, wine, swimming, etc.
They are in good shape and look very healthy.
They dress simply; they do not buy things they do not need or replace things that can be fixed; they speak clearly; they look at you in the eyes; they like to make new friends and learn new things but they tend to be honest and clear with people instead of just being polite and condescending. Social etiquette is usually reduced to honesty and fairness.

What I’m getting at is that these people who have left the system seeking a better life already had a wonderful life. They had choices. They were successful. They were considered “fortunate” back home. They were probably considered “beautiful people” in their places of origin.

But still they left the world they knew behind and now they just lead a natural life in the country, growing food and raising their own children. Or they buy or build a boat and travel around with the wind, go to the reef to get fish, cook with simple healthy ingredients, play music, meet people from different cultures, lie all afternoon in the hammock, do cannonballs and laugh out loud when they dive into the ocean, lead a healthy lifestyle and use natural medicine. They live in harmony with the world around them.

Just like the Kuna Indians. The beautiful Kuna people.

Sure these young “yachties” have laptops. They watch movies set up in New York, Kyoto or Reykjavik and drink chocolate almond milk. But their lives are really not so different from other indigenous communities if you think about it.

Who is more beautiful? A Hollywood star with the most expensive clothes, cars, beauty treatments and personal trainers, an Italian sailor with a ragged white shirt sipping a glass of 2-dollar wine on the deck of a 2,000-dollar floating home, a Patagonian artisan wearing dusty sandals and picking wild raspberries on the side of the road or a Kuna fisherman playing like a child with a crab on the sand? It really depends, doesn’t it? Depends on how happy or full their lives are. How much they love their friends. How much they appreciate the gifts life has given them. How well they eat, play and sleep. It is really not about the money at all.

Who would you rather be? Who would you rather hang out with? Which one CAN you be? Can you be a millionaire and spend your time doing the things you like and use your money to help others be free and happy? Probably not.

Can you move away from this system that is falling apart and set an example for others to just stop being a part of it and stop supporting leaders and corporations who are literally destroying our beautiful planet and all living creatures on it? Yes, you definitely can.

And I’m sure you can come up with one hundred excuses if you try. But we can all be less greedy and more respectful. We can all consume less and protest and inspire more. We can all be more creative, gentle and generous. We can all expect the best from others and be kind to all living beings.

There’s a movement of people who seek alternatives in the natural world not because they can’t “make it” in their Western societies but because they have realized a natural life is more fair for everyone and everything, it is far better, more fun and much easier for most of us than what the Western societies today have to offer.

Money is just paper (it really is!) and if you have to do the same thing for hours everyday for most of your life then it makes you a slave. You’ve got only one life to live that we know of. What are you waiting for?

Live your life. Enjoy this wonderful planet and all its creatures. Go back to the natural life that was taken away from you when all those stupid people killed and tried to silence the wise indigenous voices that can still be heard as soon as you leave cities and sit under a tree and let the wind play with your hair.

Sailing is just one option. There are other options too in the country, in the mountains, near rivers and lakes. It works. Lots of people are doing it and trying to spread the message! Breathe, dance, sing, write, swim, cook, share, read, sew, build, tell others what a great time you’re having since you decided to stand up for yourself and just leave those ridiculous commitments, obligations and monetary “satisfactions” behind.

Quit shopping and couch-potating. Do you really like hearing police reports and watching car and diaper commercials so many times everyday? Use your time for the things that fill your heart and make you dance with joy.

Quit working “under” someone else. Work for yourself. Do those things you consider important and relevant. Create.

Quit working for money. Work with wood, fabrics, ingredients, words, pencils and smiles instead. The things most of us love doing or feeling do not require the use of money at all. And you pay others to do things that you can enjoy doing yourself when you have the time and which keep you fit. Learn how to build and fix the things you want to use. Walk!! Swim!! Climb trees!!

Sure you are used to certain things but what percentage of the things you are used to are good for you? Try to make that balance. A huge comfortable couch, a nice car, steady pay, a lovely dinner in an cool restaurant (fill in with your own positive things) vs. traffic, media manipulation, street violence, unhealthy food and urban infections, diseases and disorders, having to pay many bills, not looking at or greeting people who walk by you, never having time for the things and the people you love (fill in with the negative things you’re used to).

Wherever you live you will have to secure a roof over your head and buy the food you can’t produce. But you can buy a boat for the price of an average car and fix it, property is not so expensive away from crowded or snobbish areas and you can build your own cozy shack for a lot less than your yearly expenses and rent/mortgage. And there are many things you can make with your hands or services you can provide for a few hours a week that will get you all the food you need.

It’s not about being extreme of course. We all love watching silly movies and playing Sudoku. We all love chocolate. We all have families. Some of our friends are supporting their relatives back home from here with canvas work, chartering, something they do on the internet. It is possible to live a very similar life but without so much stress, factory farming, ridiculous consumption in areas that are not overcrowded and where people greet one another with a smile or a nod as they pass by. You can still have a surfboard or a bike. But you don’t really have to be nervous and feel trapped. And if you worry about your children’s future, do you really think they need an expensive education more than they need to grow without violence and brain-washing? Universities prepare you to serve the system, not really to be free, happy, kind and healthy.

It is really that simple and it is only up to you. Making it work for your own circumstances. There is always an alternative. If you find it, broadcast it! Tell others!!

Humankind is all of us. It is our responsibility to stop the ravaging of the planet and all its creatures, including all the human beings who, rich or poor, do not lie in the sun, smile and dream at least for an hour every single day.

I really hope this that I’m witnessing is only the first spark, the beginning, of a fantastic, majestic, unstoppable global change.

Love from paradise.

Carla.

Updated: November 30, -0001 — 00:00

9 Comments

  1. Spain! Que lindo!! Tengo muy buenos amigos alli : )

    gkmainsail I am full of hope!! I know there will always be insecure, unhappy people who want to accumulate wealth and power to feel better than everybody else, but I think a lot of lovely people are waking up and speaking up.

    I forgot to write there is also a huge movement of people who are dedicating their time to “healing” their societies from within by teaching practices like yoga, meditation, martial arts, breathing techniques, eastern philosophy or working to solve and prevent conflict in rough areas (also in prisons, corporations, schools) through dance, literature, play and drama. There are countless NGOs bringing awareness and a base for people to get together and have a real impact. It is truly beautiful.

    Thanks for the support!! Have a lovely lovely year!

    C.

  2. fantastico,great clear words.it is the beginning,is it not?keep having fun and all the best from spain

  3. Ditto with gkmainsail. And all the best from Greece. We southern Mediterranean folks are prime candidates. But having your coconuts in a vice-grip make it sorta tough. And it hurts as well!
    Soon, one day, we shall join y’all. Getting there with baby steps…
    Ciao girl and thanks
    Peter

  4. Thanks Peter, Carla here from Alex’s user ; )

    Keep your eyes and heart on the dream! If you’re focused doors start opening in that direction. When the time’s right you’ll be surprised how easy everything gets. Be patient and be strong!! Differentiate real obstacles from excuses. Make yourself proud everyday. Surprise your loved ones and strangers every chance you get. Life will respond, immediately with so many smiles and possibilities!

    Love from the Caribbean! We dream about going to Greece at least once a week! Who knows!!

    C

  5. Hi Carla / Alex

    I am a beautiful person (In the purely financial sense of the word, certainly not the physical)! I fit most of the criteria you have outlined above, I type this from my office desk, I am 41 years old, I own my own aviation company, have 2 houses, a largish 36 foot motorboat i use for weekends, a sailing boat for fun, 3 cars and no debt – I am British but am living what you guys would call the American dream. But! I can tell you categorically whilst i don’t have the “Where is the next dollar” coming from worry i certainly wake up every day feeling like my life is slipping through my fingers. I wont knock being comfortable, I have worked dammed hard from nothing to buy myself options, and the “System” has worked for everybody on this website who owns a boat however cheap it is – people in third world countries dont even have an option to give it all up, and that’s because they have NO system at all! Likewise somebody with a $1500 boat would be considered rich to these people. So the system, however floored allows us to dive in occasionally to top up the kitty and allow us to put enough away to pay the bills, buy those chandlery items we need and put food in our stomachs.

    Having said all that, the system is without a doubt floored, im not sure I would know how to improve it but it sure as hell must be floored because apart from a very few people i have met who love the materialistic life nearly everybody is looking for a way out! They use the system to buy themselves freedom, the problem is the more you get and the better your lifestyle becomes, the more you feel you need to make you free, it becomes a paradox, an inescapable loop that ends in you becoming the richest corpse in the graveyard! I have loads of friends that intend to give it all up and go cruising but they are all waiting for the right moment, problem is it never seems to come! That’s why we follow people like you guys, you are inspiration to us, not because you live frugally (Again that’s a matter of relativity) but because you had the balls to one day say enough! I need to change my life and nobody lay on there death bed and said “Im glad i paid my taxes and washed the car every weekend and was a loyal employee” I need to keep following you and other live-aboard bloggers whilst I pluck up the courage to throw it all in and join you. And just because it may be a shinier, newer boat, it doesn’t mean that relatively speaking i wont be taking an enormous risk in my life, and crapping myself whilst I make the decision just as you did when you finally said “Enough”. However one things for sure- I want to thank you both for not only taking the time to share your adventures for us all to read but for being a role model for everybody rich or poor on living your life a different way! May you all continue to have – clear sky’s and calm seas!

  6. Wow! What an interesting comment and what an interesting life you seem to have lived so far, Mfurber! (Sorry I don’t know your first name)

    An aviation company, boats, cars, like you say, it really sounds like the American dream, full on. It’s so nice to hear you talk about it with such honesty, you enjoy your comforts and don’t want to give them up, yet you know there’s something wrong, a shadow there behind all of it, you feel it too, the shiny hamster wheel, you run you stroll you jog but you never get anywhere and there’s pressure. You say you feel life is slipping through your fingers, I felt there was never enough time to do the things I really wanted to do, obligations piled up and I wrote lists of priorities while I dreamt of having my feet in the sand with a book and a smoothie (the beach is free, you can borrow a book and a pineapple costs $1) what was I doing going to a job to pay bills and do paperwork for the tax office and buy clothes for work and fancy wine to bring to dinners I did not know if I wanted to attend?

    And you know what I felt? That the more people earn the more they have to spend and take responsibility for (things, employees, property, stocks, etc). I felt the better I did at work the less freedom and more pressure I’d have. And also I started seeing how things were marketed for all economic sectors of the society (the poor bought expensive sports shoes and phones to feel richer, the middle classes tried to impress with special cool looking clothing and gadgets, and the higher classes also fell for the more clever adds for resorts, yachts or stylish furniture or clothing. Everybody is treated like a freaking idiot and we all fall for it. It is kind of embarrassing and quite surreal (very “1984”).

    When I talk about the system, this is what I talk about, not about being rich or poor. The fact that I like my hoodie to say “Roxy” on it because I am learning how to surf, the fact that the thought comes to my mind no matter how natural, free and fun it is to stand on a piece of foam and glide on a green wave I still have room in my mind for product placement like that (this is the niche I belong to, middle class educated and slightly rebellious artists, travelers and wanna-be surfers, there are plenty of products for people like me, I’m sure you belong to a quite different one with products you can very quickly point out as well).

    Work, money, happiness it’s all very relative. I totally agree with you, it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you buy a yacht or a tent or how much you spend on it. It will always be really scary to walk away from “the system” because that’s what we are taught life is throughout our whole lives. You make money, you spend it, objects and manners tell people what class you belong to, you will be happy if such and such, you have to know about politics, follow the news, get married, worry about such and such, blah blah blah. Even if it sucks, everybody else is doing it, surely something different must a lot harder. And it really isn’t. The system is a lot worse but nobody tells you that, because the thing is, when you do something different they are forced to question what they are doing as well.

    Your life is yours and you are totally entitled to make it a great one or totally blow it. Don’t feel pressure to be “freer” either you know? I’d say you’re on the right track if you are doubting what you’re doing even when you belong to that tiny minority made up of the well-off. Fair play to you!

    You don’t have to stop being rich just stop playing the fucking game of feeling good when you let others know how rich you are by buying the goods and services designed and marketed for you.

    Work less, own less, and laugh, share and make a fool of yourself a lot more. Be generous, open, curious, and use your time on this earth wisely. If you already got an aviation company at this age I’m sure you’ll figure out how. Have the guts to be free. And kind.

  7. Hi Carla.

    It was great hearing your point of view, thanks for taking the time to respond. I hope I get the opportunity to sit around with you and Alex some time in the future over several glasses of your home made grog and discuss the world, the system ( read matrix) and all things related. I think it would be fun. I will continue to follow your adventures and both myself and my wife will hopefully see you on an anchorage in the near future.

    My name is mark, by the way..

  8. Hi Carla great to hear your perspective and enjoyed reading your response! In the past few years I have met a new breed of middle class wealthy people. They arnt chasing flash cars, bigger houses, better clothes. If your saw them in the street they would look quite normal (whatever that means), they own small companies, like myself and they have a different kind of freedom. The freedom of choice. They prefer anonymity, are not flash in anyway and choose to live in nice houses with no mortgage large enough to meet their needs but not a statement. They send there kids to state school and have discovered they don’t need more materialistic posesions, choose nice, middle of the road cars not Astons or Bentleys, they are happy with just being financially free. They arnt tight in fact most are quite generous, contribute to charity , care about there employees trying to create a fun and stress feee environment and and above all else HATE (a strong word indeed) the kind of wealthy people you describe throughout your blogs (who certainly do exists and are dreadfull to be around). This is the group I belong to, and at the risk of sounding a little arrogant I believe they are good, honest law abiding people who try to use there success to improve not only their lives but the lives of the people around them. I am heartened to say that this group is growing significantly, but you won’t see too much evidence because you wouldn’t spot them in a crowd if you tried!

    The reason I say this is because I wanted you to see a different perspective.

    However, that doesn’t mean they are all happy, something is missing in this life of, get up, go to work, go home, repeat. We can’t all just throw it in or else there would be no boats to sail in, no safe anchorages to moor in, and no maps to guide us. I can garuntee anybody reading this, many who would love to change places with me that the view from the top of “wouldn’t it be great to have more mountain” is no better than the bottom, yes it’s a little more comfortable but if you think it’s going to leave you fulfilled, spiritually or mentally you are in for a wasted climb! I always thought if my belly was full and environment comfortable that would be enough…wrong! Carla, Alex everyday you wake up and your only job is to exist, to eat, to love each other to listen to the birds, to watch your lovely daughter grow and become a good, satisfied and happy human being, to feel the power of the waves as you try harness them on your surfboard, to gather food, to feel the sun on your face and I see that to exist is what it means to live happily. The more complication the further away we seem to be to living.

    I saw this first hand when was sailing around the canaries a few years ago and a guy on another boat was shouting and stomping around the pontoon, he was really pissed! I casually went over and askd him what was the problem, he nearly ripped my head off so I shrugged and backed away. Later on he came over to me and apologised for being such an asshole. I asked what the problem had been and he said his GPS had stopped working. “Where are you heading” I enquired and he said he was just going from Porto Calero, Lanzaroti (where we were) to Gran canaria. I asked him if he had a chart and he looked at me like I had called his wife a b£?@h. It’s 2012, who uses charts! He replied… I couldn’t believe that he was so reliant on modern technology that he delayed 4 days of a 2 week holiday to get the GPS fixed… but it proves that whereever you are we have become to reliant on things. But I don’t need to tell you that,you already know which is why both of you are actually living the American dream whilst I pretend to!

    Apologies for the long reply, it will be my last…promise…. So look out for a lagoon catamaran, flying a British ensign with a 6,2 chap and his 5,2 blonde wife waving like crazy next to you someday in the future. It will happen…..it MUST happen…

  9. Hey Mark! Sorry that your first comment did not appear right away, I need to “approve” them before they are visible. Alex has internet on his phone but I don’t, I only check email once maybe twice a day so sometimes I take some time and then it seems like your comment is lost. Sorry about that. And never apologize for a long comment, I don’t get many so it always feels like Christmas and I’m the queen of long-winded!!

    Like you say, it’s always interesting to hear about other lifestyles and perspectives and I’m happy to hear you’re surrounded by cool, generous people who enjoy their time on earth while trying to help others. It’s also great to hear that even though you have so much you enjoy you are still looking for something “more”. When we stop dreaming and doing things which are challenging, exciting and important then life does not make much sense, does it? At least that’s when I feel truly alive, when life is an adventure filled with emotion, love and learning opportunities.

    The lovely little girl in the videos is Guin, Sam’s daughter. Sam was Alex’s girlfriend a few years back and they lived on Splendid for a couple of years. I met Alex two years or so after they split up. We’ve been together for two years and married for two months. It’s our first marriage and neither of us has children. Please don’t feel awkward, in the website if you look at “latest video log” for example, it is still a video from back then, Sam was also slim an had long brown hair so I think many people assume that the videos are current and that that’s me. We haven’t been able to update the gallery either, Alex has been so busy setting up his new website (The Minimalist Sailor), that we’ve had no time to focus on pics and videos on this one.

    Anyway, keep the dream alive!! As long as you are aware, you will be the one making the choices, and the winds will take you where you need to go. Hopefully we’ll get to wave at you guys from our deck in the not so distant future!!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    C.

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