The Minimalist Sailor

Brought to you by Project BlueSphere

The radio inside your head

 

[Note: this is a long post. Way longer than usual. Do not attempt to read if you’re not in the mood.]

Sometimes I wonder why there are not a lot more of us out here. Although I know many prefer life elsewhere, I’ve also come to learn that lots of people who are unhappy do not leave because they are afraid, mostly of having less money or not having money coming in regularly. As if money was more important than life itself.

It’s ok apparently to not see your spouse and kids all day. And it’s ok to eat fast food that kills you slowly and to lay awake in bed at night worrying about loans and bills. Or to live so far away from nature that kids cannot tell a potato from an eggplant, or to meet a 25 year old who has never eaten a fish with bones or an orange with seeds in it. That’s ok. But God forbid you might live on a sailboat in the Caribbean, watching dolphins from your deck and reading books under a tarp with the breeze on your face, no bills ever, and live on a budget, doing odd jobs now and then. Oh, I couldn’t do that! Not knowing when I’ll make money again? That’s crazy!

If you’re not happy where you are right now you gotta let go of the consumerism you’ve been taught. It’s so much better to go fishing than to support factory farming. So much better for everyone and everything! You stay fit, balanced, happy, tanned you don’t need money, you take the weakest fish, clean the gene pool, everybody wins. If you fish more than you need you save it for tomorrow or you can exchange it for fruit, flour or rice at the local store. No money being exchanged. There’s always something you can pick around here too: coconuts, almonds, bananas, plantains, limes, plenty of edible seaweeds. Even if you buy from the veggie truck. You know how much you gotta pay for 10 bananas or 10 oranges? One dollar.

Am I a hippie? Maybe. But I have to say that I feel that my simple pleasures and disgust for organized religion, mass media, traffic, shopping malls, fast food or cosmetics make total sense. I want to spend time with my family, I want to go to bed with a smile and wake up when my body is ready, excited about all the things I’m going to do that day. I like not knowing what day of the week it is. I want to cook my own meals, with love for the ingredients nature so generously provides (note I said “nature” not Wholefoods or Walmart. The more you move away from big urban centers the easier it gets to buy from the local farmers).

what-is-life-660I want to be inspired by the nature all around me. I don’t want to have to have to cover my ears because of loud noises, sirens or alarms, I don’t want to breathe in car fumes. I want to hear the wind in the trees. Again, am I a hippie? I don’t know, I feel everyone should want these things.

Peace? No hunger? No child mortality? No violence? No alienation? Basic rights, right? But a slow life full of family time, nature and home-made meals should also be a basic human right. Nothing wrong with culture of course, I love visual arts, cinema, dance, live music, all the things cities provide. And I make sure I enjoy some with the help of the Internet and I also travel to enjoy those things once a year or when we go to the city to get boat supplies. But I remember the moment I decided to leave the big city forever. I would look at the pictures from my holidays at the beach or in Patagonia the whole year and count the days till I could go there on holidays again. One day I realized what was going on and said: “Screw this! I’ll move there and come here on holidays!”

Moving to Patagonia was the best decision I’d ever made. The first day I went to work (I taugh English to children) I walked to the bus stop slowly on a breathtaking cool summer afternoon, picking and eating wild raspberries on the way, feeling the cleanest breeze from the mountains on my face. I had a book in my hand as always but I couldn’t read: I could see the deep blue lake and the snow covered mountain tops from the bus stop. There were yellow and red flowers on the bushes on both sides of the street. After a few minutes the bus came. There was no queue, the bariloche (1)elderly got on the bus first, the families with children second, then the rest of us moved slowly toward the door and got on without saying a word, it was all so nice and civilized! And everyone greeted the bus driver and he said hi to every one of us and also exchanged some jokes with the regulars. I was surprised to see a few people standing even though there were empty seats. People just didn’t fancy sitting. Soon after that one day I realized that I was doing the same thing. You just don’t get as tired when life is slower. It seems more work to sit down and stand up again after 15 or 20 minutes than to just stand and watch the view out of the window. Also, some other person might want that seat soon so you leave it available.

You know what else I found there that I’d been looking for for a long time? People were like me. They liked to meet without having to pay for it. It drove me crazy in the city that I always had to see friends in a restaurant, a bar or a coffee shop, pay for taxis, meals, drinks, etc. I wanted to see them, to share an experience, to do something with them, without the distraction of “service” or “products”. I wanted to get together in a park or in someone’s terrace. Make some tea or cook together and just have fun, talk about life and look at a sunset. But that was never a popular option. It was “easier” if someone else set the table, chose the ingredients at san-carlos-de-bariloche-2the market, cooked for us, opened and poured our drinks, brought the check, cleared the table, and did the dishes.

I like choosing veggies at the market, I look for the ones that look *happier* and not GMO. I also like to pour wine for a friend and toast to life. It’s lovely to be at a friend’s kitchen, take our shoes off, put a jazz record on and chop the veggies together while the water boils. Choose the spices together, try the sauce and come up with what’s missing. Set the table and put a flower or a candle just to make it cute. Eat and then sit on the floor of the balcony and watch the stars laughing at silly stories. When we went to a restaurant all that intimacy was gone. People would be checking their phones constantly, looking at people on other tables, waiting for the waiter to see us so that we could order another drink or some pepper and, on top of that, all that costs money, we all had to work extra at our jobs to pay for those people to do all those things for us.

In Patagonia things were so different. People only went to a micro brewery or a restaurant maybe once a week, at the weekend usually. Most times we would meet at someone’s garden or go for a hike, a picnic at the lake, cycling, rowing, it was beautiful! Yet I still had to go to work, pay for bills, wait for the holidays to be able to travel. So I went to bed unsatisfied. Not unhappy but not fulfilled either. Then I traveled to Panama with my huge surfboard, met Alex and life became what I alwaysBariloche-HRes knew it a should be like. I found the freedom I had always been looking for in the sailing community and lifestyle.

Nowadays living off the grid is the only way I feel part of nature and everything then feels natural: I work when my body feels the energy to work, at whatever time the energy comes, and you’d be surprised how often that is, we are not lazy by nature. During those days of the month my cycle makes me feel sensitive and irritable, I stay in bed all day and eat yummy things, watch movies or read cool stories. Also, every day I can tell when my body needs fruit, nuts or protein and then I eat, that. I dive into the ocean whenever I’m too hot or when I miss it. We meet with friends on each other’s boat or at the reef. I swim, paddle or row to visit them. All of this is free but also so beautiful and so healthy!

So what is money good for or necessary nowadays? Groceries other than fish and the fruit we can collect, some propane, visiting family and friends who live far, buying phone cards. How much do we have to work for cash in a year to cover that? 30 days? With chartering not even that! With labor (sewing, painting, fixing stuff) perhaps that, a full month. So you see, it’s the opposite of city life! You work one month and you live another eleven minimally but with total freedom. Of course you spend time working to maintain the systems on your boat or fixing them when they fail. But that keeps you active, clever and fit. And it’s your home, your magic carpet, of course it deserves your love. Even when it’s bad, you know it beats the office or being stuck in traffic and that’s exactly what we say to each other when we’re fed up with a project.

Do you go to bed with a smile or do you worry and make long lists in your mind of the things you have to do and don’t want to?

If you’re tired or unhappy know that when you stop consuming unnecessary things life becomes healthier, better and easier. You don’t really miss the things you can’t afford.

What’s the big fear? As long as your boat floats the worst that can happen during a period when you have no money is you might have to change your diet to fish and rice for a while. And start eating all those cans you had forgotten about. It’s not that bad at all when you live in paradise.

What’s the big deal with having money all island-in-san-blas-with-palm-trees-and-white-sand-beachthe time? Alex and I have some money in little plastic cases. But they live in a drawer most of the year. We only need money when we run out of groceries or supplies and go to the city (every six weeks or so) or when the veggie truck/boat comes and then we need to pull out one or two $10 bills. The rest of the year we forget money exists. It’s a beautiful thing. And most countries have socialized healthcare or very affordable medical insurance plans and free or affordable higher education if that’s your excuse (not to mention our body’s incredible capacity for self healing and our mind’s capacity for learning by doing or just reading)

Here’s the most important thing I’ve ever learned: you are not your mind, your mind is a part of you. It is your mind’s job to warn you and tell you about everything that can go wrong. Mine does it too, all the time. It also has the most horrible thoughts and ideas sometimes. And it has beautiful dreams and ideas as well. But nobody’s mind is a total optimist. It is a radio that never stops transmitting intense good and bad things.

The mind is just a tool for you to use wisely. Your heart also has a voice that tells you to be free, to do good, to trust and love everyone even though sometimes you shouldn’t. You are not your heart. And you’re most definitely not your mind. You can choose to ignore what it says when it’s being a 1_PRINTSCREEN-2177coward or when it’s being mean. When you hear your mind complaining just switch it off, consciously think about something positive. Bad thoughts return? Do it again: think about someone you love. Very soon you’ll see how easy it is to take control over it. Your mind is a tool and it belongs to you, not the other way around!!

Become whole. Trust your spirit way more than your mind or your heart and you’ll set yourself free. It is a conscious decision. A gift you’ll give yourself. Be more balanced, not so passionate, work towards being more centered and true joy will flood your mind and your heart like warm, yellow sunshine.

Learn to listen to the universe. It is a voice inside of you, the one that feels like an ancient whisper, full of wisdom. It is impossible to confuse it with your passionate heart, your stupid ego or your crazy mind. A life of love and freedom is possible and available to anyone who’s willing to embrace simplicity. Money sucks if you ask me, I wish I could trade even more and use money even less, or never.

Nature is beautiful. Having time to live with the people you love and doing the things you love is beautiful. Free yourself! Am I a hippie? Most probably. But what’s wrong with that?

Updated: July 29, 2015 — 18:49

33 Comments

  1. Thanks my dear to be so clever and lovely. What a gift I´ve got being your father! At my 80’s I am always learning from your wise remarks. I love you!

    1. I love this post Carla. There is a lot of Truth in your words. Much Love for you both <3

  2. Alex you must write a book, you are a wonderful commentator,love you

  3. Thanks, dad!

    And thanks Susan, even though you thought I was Alex hehe we still have to fix something on the website because when I post a blog it says the author is Alex even though it’s here in my folder. If you follow from Facebook it’s very hard to know. Even my dad who know me very well only realized it was me writing after reading for quite a while.

    Sorry about that!! We’ll fix it as soon as we can!!

    Love,

    C.

  4. Cheers Carla,
    I suppose to some folks, money represents a type of freedom… Cold hard cash can buy freedom but not happiness …

    Y’all live a beautiful life that really inspires old farts like me to dream of a life out there… thank you for sharing…
    Kindest regards,
    Danville

  5. Thank you Scotty! Lovely to hear from you! Thanks for sharing : )

    And thanks Danville as well. I hear you and I know we are all different, that is why I always talk about those who are unhappy or stressed. Those who, like Alex and I, knew at age 4 or 5 this system was not for us. So many people find the monetary system uncomfortable, vicious even at times, but don’t know how to get out of it. Those are the people we try to help and inspire.

    We are always happy to hear different views though, and try to understand the other sides of the spectrum so I’m glad you took the time to share as well.

    About money and freedom I just don’t get it (and again this is absolutely personal) because for me freedom is getting up when I’m ready (usually 9.30ish) and doing whatever I want the rest of the day, everyday. Not “having” to go anywhere, pay anyone or live according to anyone’s rules. When I “make” money, say when I have a canvas job, when I teach something or when we have a charter (all things which I enjoy deeply) my freedom is gone during those hours. I’m making money, if that happens more than a week every three months I feel I’m working more than living.

    And once I have money, it also forces me to use it. In a way I also feel consuming goes against my freedom and health (if I have a car I burn fuel into the planet, I support nasty oil companies and war and I don’t walk, that is why I’m 39 and I’ve never had a car. If we buy an expensive boat that needs no work or love then we don’t get to restore it, which is both creative and keeps you fit. If I go to a restaurant well I just explained that in detail in my blog). I like making my own clothes much better than buying them, cooking better than processed products, rowing better than outboards, paddling my surfboard better than rowing even. Loving, chatting, dancing, snorkeling, cooking, swimming, surfing, reading, writing, riding a bike, watching downloaded movies, playing or listening to music, sewing, walking, sailing, sleeping, kissing it’s all virtually free. Everything I love doing does not require money, it requires time. Time is what I love having and what gives me freedom.

    So I know it’s very personal but other than travel to places the wind on our sails cannot bring us to, or buying fruit, veggies, cheese and grain I can’t produce, I really don’t see what money can give me that I don’t already have. And I much prefer to teach English or tango dancing to a local farmer in exchange for oats than making green pieces of paper made and regulated by horrible people in power elsewhere to give them to the farmer. If I could not touch a dollar bill for the rest of my life I gladly wouldn’t. The monetary system is what keeps a few at the top and many at the bottom, and that’s why I also despise having money, I know I’m playing a horrible game I don’t want to be part of. I don’t want to be at the top if there are others at the bottom. I’ve always tried to propose a different game altogether. That is what Project BlueSphere is to us. The possibility of a different game.

    When people tell me money gives freedom I know what they mean, and I respect that (there’s always two sides of the coin) I just don’t share it. Money, in my personal view, only lets you buy things or pay people to do things for you.

    Life, for me, is learning, doing and making beautiful things to share with others. And I’ve lived by these standards my whole life. But I struggled at times when there were bills and no farmers around. Sailing finally made it all possible, with virtually no effort! And that’s why I’ve become a fervent advocate of it.

  6. I don’t understand, how can “cold hard cash” buy freedom? Freedom, in my humble opinion is not something that is for sale, or that can be bought, it is something however that one must take.

  7. I’m truly touched by the things I read here. I first found your site several years ago, and I’m still entertained and inspired by the things you have done. I’m just a dreamer. Working all the overtime I can, to pay for the things I need… to get me to work again. I’m still hopeful to sail away someday and truly live the life I dream of. Thank you both. I look forward to your next post.

  8. Thank you Dave for taking part, I really hope you make your dreams come true rather sooner than later. Dreaming is beautiful but you can also dream from a hammock on your foredeck in the Caribbean for $150-250 a month. Many of us are already doing it! Find the strength within yourself to just leave. There are beautiful boats ready to go for 5k in the US at the moment. Ask for help, write to other hippie sailors, see how they’ve done it! All my best wishes go to you!

  9. Danville I know you were talking about “some folks”, commenting on how most people see money and freedom and not necessarily how you see it yourself. I wouldn’t like you to feel bad. Again I really appreciate you sharing you your thoughts and making contact!! I just took advantage of your comment to dive deeper into what I was trying to say with my blog. You actually sparked some more inspiration and thoughts so I’m glad you wrote! Please do not take my reply personally!

    Much love!

    C.

  10. I sure do like to read your post’s, I’ve been reading off and on for at least a couple of years and I must say I agree with your view of our American culture, I keep telling my friends half jokingly that it’s all a “sinister conspiracy” by the banks and government. I am a carpenter and I work on huge homes of the very wealthy (conspicuous consumption) and still trying to get unattached.
    just thought I’d say hey.
    also check this out or maybe youv all ready seen it
    http://nomadness.com/

  11. Hey, Bob! Nice to hear from you. Carpentry (on a way smaller scale) is just what I’ve been picking up these last two years and I love working with wood! I’m starting to experiment with carving as well. I find it fascinating.

    I haven’t heard of the website you shared, I’ll check it out for sure! Thanks!

  12. Best. Post. Yet.

    To some, chasing that dollar bill is what it’s all about. For a time I was like that as well. Credit cards with nice fat limits. A good salary for just a truck driver like me. I thought I had it all. What I had was a huge stack of bills. Now I HAD to make that money to pay for all the stuff I bought. Sitting here at my desk in my little efficiency, I couldn’t point to 10 of the things I bought. I was busting my ass just to give it to someone else. Finally took Dave Ramsey’s advice and tossed the credit cards in the shredder of happiness!

    A month ago I walked away from long haul trucking. No new job, nothing. Just said buh-bye! I had enough money in savings to live off of for a while. Secured a local job hauling gasoline here in Fort Lauderdale. This will get me to Stage III of my Evil Genius Master Plan…..Texas. Hopefully get a job on the oil rigs driving a truck. It would double what I could possibly make here at home, and quite frankly it feels like it’s time to move on from Florida. Texas will be the money making stage to buy the boat, and finally be able to just take off for a little while.

    Great post, Carla. Five years ago I probably would have politely disagreed with you. Now I can see exactly what you mean!!!

    Love to you both…..Ken

  13. Great to hear that, Ken! There are no happier stories for us that the ones about guys who actually stop listening to fear and consumption and choose freedom instead. It’s so much easier than you think, isn’t it? It’s just taking the plunge and then everything falls into place. We are such an adaptable species, problem is, that vast majority of people seem to adapt a lot easier to the slavery of 40+ hour a week jobs,, bills and shopping than to tossing the alarm clock and switching to bird singing and living “on a budget” which really means only buying the things you need and not shopping as a sport. We do not suffer here. We do not miss consumption. Life has its ups and downs like before but the ups are totally related to not putting shit in our mouths or having a credit card. The little money thing is one of the most positive things about this healthy lifestyle not the other way!!

    Fair play to you it’s lovely to hear that, please don’t lose yourself in the “getting ready” for it, all you need is like 10-15k for a big, decent boat and the parts and supplies to fix it up and you’re on your way. Our supermarket bill is like $300 a month for the two of us and that’s buying good cheese, soymilk, smoked clams, anchovies, expensive olive oil, expenses can go down to $80 if we eat fish, rice and local fruit and veggies. We can make $300 with a one day charter or a ten hour job on another boat (painting, canvas, varnishing, mechanical work, teaching English/Spanish, whatever you’re good at). You’d be surprised how little you need to live comfortably in the tropics. You need barely any clothes, propane or electricity. It rains a lot of clean water. It’s really quite amazing. Don’t procrastinate. Go for it!!

    Love,

    C.

  14. Awesome insight. My mind tends to work on the other side of the coin too, which can get me in trouble sometimes, foot in mouth syndrome. But i too have a hippie spirit. The usa census in 2013 population was 316 million people. Imagine if 10% subscribed to the cruising away option. That’s 31 million people suddenly looking for anchorages. The atmosphere of peace may be hard to find if that occurred eh. The beauty of this in a way, is that most people are not willing or interested, which for those who do it, may be a blessing. If the economy tanks, a virus epidemic hits, or some other force makes alot of people seriously consider this lifestyle, my guess is those who are doing it now would move to the mountains? I do love this site

  15. I couldn’t have put it better myself! If anything like that happens Alex and I would be heading to the mountains of Patagonia in a heartbeat! That’s the one other place in the world we feel at home!

  16. You are good people Carla, I’m very glad Alex found you and you found Alex that makes me smile.

    Peace be with you.

    Thomas

    1. Thank you so much, Thomas. Hearing comments like yours makes us smile too!!

      Have a lovely year! Full of dreams and projects!

      Love,
      C.

  17. I am reading this post 3 days before Christmas 2014 and am in a happy mood! this is amazing and just the way I envision it! I definitely want to be there one day! right now I live as cheap as I can and shop at the 99 cents store for most purchases. I’ve learned I can live on so much less food just by not eating it! This year I want to eat even more healthy. I wish everyone could see the beauty in a simple life! Even sometimes I think about getting on the Internet and then say to myself “why”? Just to click, click, click? lol. And I go to the beach instead! And just not about finished reading Joshua Slocum’s book “Sailing Alone Around The World”. I will be there with you guys one day! :)

    1. That’s exactly it! You start with the little things, turning off the TV (especially the news), using the computer only when you really want to do something with it, eating less, eating many more things that come from nature and less things that come from a factory or which have packaging. And you start feeling lighter. And you start feeling inspired, and empowered, and you start meeting cooler people who also inspire you to go further, and who have good advice, and fun wholesome conversations to offer and you can’t go back. Things can only get better from there.

      Freedom and happiness are real achievable things. You don’t feel them every single instant of course, we all go through stuff, but it can be an underlying thing in everything you do. It is a conscious decision to focus on the positive and to start doing things that make you better. I’m proud of you! Keep going! And if sailing is your dream, it’s never too late. Take the steps you need, keep your eyes on the prize, and you’ll make it happen.

      Love,
      C.

  18. I am deeply craving this. Just need to figure out how to get from Point A to Point B.

    And I don’t know if would mean life on a boat for me, but I do love what exposure I’ve had to sailing and I have always felt most alive when gazing at water that stretches out to the horizon.

    My job terminates in a few weeks. I don’t know yet where I’m going from here. I have two potential “career” directions (education or IT) and an MS that I thought I wanted to complete (but probably I don’t).

    I already plan to move, but I don’t know where to. I’ve considered two locations in Michigan (free room & free/cheap food at my parents, vs near my son & near water). I’ve also considered other states and other countries. Me gustaria practicar mas el espanol, por ejemplo.

    I went home for lunch and am late headed back to the office. And I don’t care. And none of that matters. Hey! I’ll submit a PTO request for this therapy session :)

  19. Go Nancy!

    Any changes you make towards a better life will be worth it. Freedom takes some effort at first, you have to discover how to do things differently and sometimes it’s not easy at first. But you’ll immediately see how much free time and available energy you have when you make things simpler and healthier.

    Life on a boat is everything to us. But if you find your better life elsewhere just go there with all your heart. I was a teacher for a long time, it was so much fun and so rewarding, but it’s also very demanding.

    I did not understand what you said about therapy? What’s PTO? I’ve never seen that acronym before ; )

  20. PTO = Personal Time Off. I was joking that I can submit my time missed from work as a medical appointment because this blog is good for my mental health.

    I have taught before and yes, I know it’s a demanding job. I don’t know yet what I want, but teaching is one of the options I’ve weighed.

    I have a lot of questions but will try to quiet down on here for a couple of weeks. You have so little time left to spend with Alex before he leaves, and I have things to work on here. But talking/writing/reading through some of this has been helpful. Thanks for your time.

  21. My pleasure, Nancy! Talk to you soon then! Looking forward to your news ; )

  22. Carla, were you already living a “minimalist” life before moving aboard? What was your life like between leaving Argentina and meeting Alex?

    I am working toward a more “minimalist” life. I have obligations right now: mortgage, another small debt, son in school, and a brand new auto loan. But, I have a reliable car now and plans to get rid of the mortgage. Son has 2 years left in school, so maybe that’s a reasonable target with respect to time. Very soon I’ll be out of a job, so that’s either an opportunity or a setback – I can’t decide which. :)

    I live in a 3-bedroom house with finished basement. I’m working on clearing everything out with the intent of being able to fit into a rented room. I’d be content with just a place to pitch a tent (or climb into a berth), but those options cost money too.

    Things keep getting moved around the house but I’m starting to think that I’ll be able to pare my things down to fit into my hatchback. Maybe a 2nd load of heirloom-type things – I’ll need a bit more time so I can ask around the family before unloading them.

    Did you have a houseful (or apartment-full) of “things” before you began your vagabond life? Feedback (from anyone) is most welcome :)

    -Nancy

    1. Nancy, I’m so glad to hear you really wanna make a change and you’re really looking for a way to do it.

      It’d be interesting to see what other people say about it. I don’t know if I can really help you, I was never in a situation like yours, and I never lived in the US.

      This is an older post, I’m not sure people are still reading. Let me write a new blog about it and see if you get some suggestions there ; )

    2. Nancy,

      I’ve been thinking about your last comment and trying to see if I could help but I have to admit I’m a bit lost. There’s been a lot of information and I’m not sure what it is you are trying to do exactly. I’ve never lived in the States, neither have I ever owned a house, car, credit card, never opened a bank account, I traveled a lot and when I stayed in my country I did rent flats when I was working as a teacher but I’d rent for the 9 months of school and then put two boxes in my dads garage and go on holidays with the rent’s money so I’ve always lived quite outside the system. I also have no kids, I have never been in a situation similar to yours so that I could really attempt to give you any advice. Alex has never been too deep into it either, he worked on and off in Hollywood then he worked in finance briefly and left the US.

      The only thing we can really talk about is choosing to live on a boat and the steps you can take to make that happen. Alex can speak about it with a lot more authority of course, I can only speak of what I’ve seen in the past three + years and how easily I adapted to it from a domestic point of you and how much I love so many types of boat work (epoxy, painting, canvas, varnishing). I can also speak of how wonderful having little money and possessions has always been for me, the freedom and lack of stress my life has had since I walked away from it a decade and a half ago when I chose to start traveling without savings or regular income.

      I’m not sure I understand what you’re planning to do or how my experience can help?

      Please feel free to expand. Living aboard and traveling with little money is really what I’ve experienced and can talk about…

      ; )

  23. It sounds like you’re experienced with traveling/living without regular income and with little money. I’m interested in learning how to do that.

    I love the water and have enjoyed the bit of time I’ve spent on/around boats, and that includes enjoying the dirty work that comes with it. I have some physical challenges that may or might not ease up with different work or a more flexible work schedule. I might not be able to maintain my own boat – tremendous learning curve there as well as the physical challenges involved – I don’t know. But, there are other options there, too.

    Or, maybe there won’t be a boat, but I am determined to live more simply. That was the basis for my questions and interest in your blog. I enjoy camping and simple foods/cooking but don’t have experience living that way long-term. I also don’t have experience working freelance or bartering my way along and lack confidence in my ability to step into that.

    I do feel relatively confident that I can find full-time work if I choose to do that. I’m just not sure that’s my path forward from ‘here.’ So, I’m interested in learning more about other options. Thanks :)

  24. Hi Carla,

    I’ve been thinking and maybe I can be more specific now about what I’d like to know about. I would like to know more about your transition from working as a teacher into “walked away from it a decade and a half ago when I chose to start traveling without savings or regular income.” Because this is a transition I’d like to consider for myself but know little about.

    I have my own set of obstacles that you can’t relate to – but I can deal with those. Anyway, we don’t move forward by looking at the obstacles. I think you spent some time “out in the world” as a single woman and that might be something I want to do too. You don’t need to feel pressured about what “advice” you might give me – I listen to myself. :) No one else will know my own experience, so I don’t generally expect others to know what is best in my situation. I am interested in hearing about what works for other people, and I can decide for myself what choices to consider for my own life. So please do feel free to offer any advice that feels natural to you – but without concern over whether it’s “good” or “bad” advice. I will know you are just speaking from your own experience/perspective.

    Several decades ago I did travel alone through other countries with just a few things in a backpack and small suitcase. I have wanted to travel (possibly live) in places throughout Latin America and refresh my Spanish language skills. (It was my college major some decades ago.)

    Throughout my childhood, and again post-divorce, I have enjoyed camping very simply. I enjoy sleeping on the ground, eating simply, getting by with just a few things, etc. I appreciate the self-confidence that is nurtured through living that way, and experiencing that deeper connection with nature/planet/life.

    I will read through more of your (and probably Alex’s) older blog postings in a few weeks. May 1 is my last day of work. A week later I’m selling almost everything I own, or giving it away. About the same time I’ll list my house and hopefully that will sell this summer. Then I might hit the road in my little car and drive whichever way the wind blows for as long as it takes for me to find a direction or a good place to stop for a while. I might end up with another full-time job somewhere (or part-time). I might end with a boat! I might find myself on bus ride into Mexico or on a plane to China. Wherever life leads, I’ll find out as it unfolds! :) As we all do anyway.

    I’ve thrown a lot of information at you again – oops. :) Writing it out is just my way of processing it. Peace, be well.

  25. Hey that’s good, your comments are a bit confusing because you yourself are open to so many possibilities! But that’s a good thing, you will wait for the signs, the doors which open, the invitations we suddenly get, if you listen the universe always responds!

    The fact that you have traveled already and that you don’t mind camping or having simple holidays is great. You’re ready to go, all you need is to wait and see what happens with your house, etc.

    There are many things you can do, it is you who has to see what you would like.

    For me there was no transition. I was at college and working as a teacher and decided to take off and travel. Quit the job, put the university on hold and left. I was 24. I traveled until I wanted to come back, which happened 8 months later. By then I was already in a relationship with a great Irish guy. I kept going to Dublin of nearly three years after that. Then I would come home work for a few months, get bored, wait for the school/uni year to be over and take off again, without savings or a plan, just go, try to survive and come back when I’d had enough.

    As basic guidelines, there are a few things youngish low-budget travelers do. I met Alex at 37, still traveling, so I was young but not that much.

    The boat is great cause you have no bills, with solar power you can live on very little! Of course maintaining a boat costs money but a house is really expensive because of tax and bills a car or a van also eat gas, pay bills and require maintenance.

    Now if you’re not going to live on a boat you have to worry about a roof over your head. Some people drive a van around Latin America, they sell crafts on the way and also live off the money they make by working during high season in bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.

    Other people use Couchsurfing to stay with locals as they travel. It’s cool but usually younger people use it. There’s also Workaway, another website through which people can find work (cash) as they travel. And I also know of Wwoof, for travelers who want to work on organic farms in exchange for food and lodging. Now since you’re an English speaker, a lot of travelers teach English legally in other countries, governments give work visas quite easily if they are for that purpose.

    I’ve done most of the above and I have to say, until I moved onto a boat, I always felt the pressure of paying for transport and accommodation, and I never felt truly comfortable. Traveling on a small budget is magical, don’t get me wrong, they were amazing years, but there was always this little worry at the back of my head, what am I gonna do when this one is over? On the boat, if you have no money you don’t care much, you only eat simple food, swim and read for a while. As long as your boat floats everything else can wait. You don’t have any monthly cost apart from food. It’s a very special circumstance. You don’t worry. You work as you can and you spend as you can. But a month goes by and nothing is piling up. Think of the concept: no bills. No commitments. It’s quite wonderful.

  26. I hear you. It’s just hard to wrap my head around any possibility of living on a boat with my level of (in)experience. Anyway, I just keep re-reading your first paragraph some number of times daily since you posted. Golden. Thank you. I already know it’s true.

  27. I know next to nothing about boats either! I don’t know the basics of sailing, I don’t know the name of a lot of things around me, I’ve never anchored the boat by myself, so many things I’ve never done! And I’m not a fan of sailing either, I like flying, taking trains, buses, anything is more comfortable than feeling seasick. Still if I found myself in some horrible scenario where I’d have to live by myself again for a while, I wouldn’t even consider renting a flat again or even accepting a flat “for free” because then I’d be forced to make regular money to pay for bills and taxes and I’d be a slave again, a hamster on a weekday weekend wheel. I’d most definitely buy a small boat, put it on a safe mooring somewhere moorings are free (like Panama) and just live my life onboard even if I never go anywhere with it! There’s nothing as magical as being surrounded by nature like this, waking up and seeing dolphins swim by while you drink your morning tea and to know that you don’t have to go anywhere or do anything if you don’t want to. If there’s food in the pantry, you don’t need any money. You don’t need any equipment to live happily on a boat really. We often question whether we really want to have a small fridge or nothing at all. The simpler your boat, the easier life is.

    I know it’s all foreign to you now. But it doesn’t have to be. You can learn anything you want, slowly. You can crew for someone cool for a while to learn, or find people who don’t mind having you over for dinner onboard in your area (you buy a nice one) and tell you everything about it. Or just try living onboard a simple sailboat and learning everything from scratch while you keep going to work as usual and get ready. You gotta see what you want and what you like. But in my experience, there’s nothing like this.

    Best of luck to you and keep us posted!

  28. These things you mentioned are among the possibilities I have already tossed about in my head for many months. (My layoff has been looming since late summer 2013 so there’s been some time to wonder what will come next in life.):
    -buy a small boat (no fridge, maybe 20′), put it on a safe mooring somewhere moorings are free
    -Panama (o otro lugar donde se habla espanol)
    -being surrounded by nature
    -crew for someone cool for a while to learn (I have browsed some sites before, yes)
    -living onboard a simple sailboat and learning everything from scratch
    -keep going to work as usual and get ready

    I have been curious about these things that you shared about yourself:
    I know next to nothing about boats either! I don’t know the basics of sailing, I don’t know the name of a lot of things around me, I’ve never anchored the boat by myself

    Thanks :)

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