The Minimalist Sailor

Brought to you by Project BlueSphere

The good old bartering system

On Christmas Eve, pretty late at night, I took my phone out to send good wishes to my family and friends back in Argentina and I was surprised to see that we had received a pretty angry comment on Alex’s blog. I was not shocked by the negative energy at that particular time (we all know barterChristmas can be a tough time for some) but I did feel surprise to see that this reader felt that the bartering system belonged to the “would it not be nice” realm when bartering is a very, very common practice around the world. It’s the simplest way to exchange things you do not need anymore for things you do need with others. Most people do it in one way or another. People who, like us, do not enjoy money, or going to work everyday, use it a lot more often of course. But it is not fantasy, it’s simple and frequent, it took me by surprise that he would think of it that way.

There was another comment in which another reader felt uncomfortable with our dislike for the “matrix” and the monetary system. I thought it would be a good idea to try and explain, once more, what we mean when we talk about minimalism.

Alex’s blog title was “living on a micro income” as opposed to “living on no income” and we speak of “minimalism” (minimal consumption) as opposed to “no consumption”. We have never said we do not earn, use or enjoy a little bit of money to buy the things we need. We show our boats and equipment through pictures and words of love, you see that we wear regular clothes, travel to visit family, watch movies, we do not pretend to live on a hand-made raft, wear rags and navigate relying solely on celestial navigation. I really do not see where the anger or discomfort could be coming from; what we say apparently makes them see something they do not like in their own lives. Once again, that is why we are here, for all those people who need a change.

I feel that this is a great opportunity to talk about what we feel is important. We keep writing about these things, trying to encourage others to come join us, even though it actually goes against our own interests and comfort: the more people take to the sea, the more rules and obstacles our lifestyle will encounter. We only keep insisting on it out of the love we feel for humanity and the need to share this beautiful life of freedom we have found with others.

For those skeptical ones out there, let me explain once more that Alex’s (now our) website has been running for over ten years with free access for anyone who was interested in reading. Alex spends the time and energy to answer, literally, a couple thousand emails and comments a year, if you have ever written to him, you already know that you always receive a response in a matter of hours, every single time.

These two men mentioned the “contradiction” of speaking of minimalism, or being against the matrix, when we have sponsors on our website. And that a bartering system belonged to the “would it not be nice” crowd. I understand most people have not had the chance to travel somewhere away from their own communities but the bartering system is very much alive and exists in every country in the world. Bartering is not a childish concept out of a cartoon or a fantasy land. Bartering simply refers to the exchange of one thing for another without the use of currency, and it is a system we have all used numerous times throughout our lives and since the beginning of time.

Children always exchange food or toys they are bored with for different, new, more interesting food or toys other children bring to school. As you move away from the bigger, more crowded and organized urban centers toward the outskirts or more rural areas you will see that thousands of people prefer this type of exchange with neighbors to buying or selling things for money. If one farmer produces eggs, they will sell some of them but more often than not they will also bring some to other farmers or neighbors and exchange them for meat, dairy products, wool, firewood, clothes, crafts, etc.

When we talk about preferring the bartering system this is all we are saying. We constantly find opportunities in our environment to exchange construction materials, boat parts, or groceries for work, supplies, art, you name it. Nobody is talking about a fantasy land in which money or manufactured goods do not exist. If you have been reading our blog for long enough you know I row a Dyer Midget dinghy. We got it in exchange for an old Kubota engine we had lying around and $200 cash. We’ve invested many days’ work on it, fixed it up and now it is worth $1,500. Which doesn’t mean that if we do not need it anymore we would be salivating to see fifteen $100 bills.

I don’t want fifteen $100 dollar bills for my dinghy if I don’t need it anymore. I would much rather give it away to another sailor who really needs a dinghy and see their smile. Giving things away at the right time is the most wonderful feeling in the world. This is how we got our amazing 10 foot Trinka. Someone we did not know saw the opportunity and gave it to Alex and rocked our world. Now we both have a rowing dinghy and can row to different places at the same time.

Now, say that instead of giving it away at the time I really wanted something material, like for example now we would love to learn how to kite surf. We’ve been interested in it for a couple of years but still haven’t had money to buy the gear. This is a good example. Say a neighbor from another boat had some kiting gear they do not use anymore and they really loved our Dyer Midget. It’d be a great opportunity to do a swap. Everyone’s happy, nobody spent a dime. It is that simple. This is the bartering system.

And for me, personally, that kite gear would be much more valuable if that sailor had made it him or herself, shaped the board with their own hands, decorated it, sewn the kite, etc, than if they had walked into some store and paid for it. This is what we mean as well. I don’t prefer O’Neill or Billabong to home-made if both are of similar quality. I prefer home-made because it has the love and magic of a human individual shaping their dreams with their time, effort, creativity and love. We are not driven by money or how much things cost. We don’t order the West Marine catalog and dream of spending thousands of dollars on new shit, we love finding opportunities with like-minded people in which the things we need come to us in magical ways, like Eleanor, or the Trinka.

A couple of months ago, a neighbor gave us his Lectrasan we would need if we went to Europe or the US and Alex and I agreed to paint his decks in exchange. Alex also fixed his rotten deck for an old 2-horse power outboard engine. Alex is going home in a few days and I’m staying for two more weeks because an old friend of his has a roller furling in storage, exactly the one we need for Eleanor and they need some canvaswork done (two sailcovers and a dinghy cover). We all agreed that it was a fair trade, all parties are happy, and nobody has had to go to work in the system to make pieces of smelly green paper, pay taxes that are used for things we don’t agree with, etc. The beauty of living minimally is that I do not have a job, bills, timetables. I can stay and do it.

Now, talking about our “evil sponsors” we also have a bartering arrangement with them. Whenever we really need some product or boat part, Alex contacts the company he feels he trusts the most. If you take the time to look at the companies there, some of them are family companies, not multinationals or mega enterprises. Some of them is just one guy. We choose companies run by one guy over the big ones whenever we can. Every single time Alex chooses a sponsor, he offers to advertise for them in exchange for that which he needs and nothing else. Sometimes it is something that costs $30 or $100. We like the idea of getting their product in exchange for some exposure so that their good products can reach other people who need it too. We have never received a dime from them, feel free to contact any of our sponsors through their links. But, on top of that, Alex always tells them that he will only recommend them if he feels the product or part is useful. If you’ve been reading for some time you’ll know that he has also criticized those same companies when something went wrong (like when our depth sounder stopped working and the company would not tell us their color code for us to fix it ourselves). We only exchange product for advertising, there is no money changing hands. This is bartering too.

Our main source of income for a long time were Alex’s movies. When he relaunched the website he had thought about charging for downloads but soon he thought it was time to share them for free and so he did.

Of course we need some cash every month to buy certain products at the supermarket, for painting supplies or to buy a couple gallons of gasoline to power our sander. Alex wants everyone to have access to his website and that is why there is a button for donations, sometimes we get $40 in a month, sometimes someone sends $100 and it’s like Christmas, you know, and sometimes we have the Google ads somewhere and that gets us another $50 or so dollars a month, which for our lifestyle it is a lot of money. Sometimes we charter, which is a beautiful way to get to know new amazing people and show them first hand what we do, and that also brings us money we need to fly to Argentina to see my family or to buy Sunbrella or something else which is out of our reach. We sometimes feel we should make longer instructional videos and charge a little so that we can start having a regular income to start saving for our old age or in case we have a medical emergency (we do not have boat or medical insurance).

But really, I don’t know why these guys got so offended. We do wear hoodies, rubber flip flops, eat gouda cheese, navigate with the aid of an autopilot so that we can read and enjoy the view, and watch movies. But most months we literally only have $200-400 in the bank and spend it on groceries and paint supplies and that is it. We have no car, properties, savings or credit cards. We always choose to eat the meat we catch, support local farmers and bartering with neighbors and friends when possible (you’d be surprised to see how often that happens, it’s really most of the time).

Do not feel attacked, we know some people dream of having piles of money it is just not our case and we speak up for all those people who are unhappy, in broken homes, and find they never have time to do the things they love to do and to see the people they love. Getting a boat, learning to do most of the maintenance yourself and dropping consumption to a minimum gives you the freedom to choose what you want to do when you wake up, to go where you wish, to choose when to work and when to rest. That is all we are saying. Nobody is talking about Gotham City or Little House on the Prairy. This is real. It’s out there for anyone to take it. That is why we go on and on about it. We have found it simpler than we thought and want to help every single person out there who needs guidance or support.

For anyone who is still skeptical, you’re welcome to keep asking if you need more information, and you are also welcome to come visit and see it for yourself: we do live on a “micro income” and consume as little as possible, which can be defined as “minimalism”, and we are healthy, inspired and as happy as the happiest clams.

Updated: July 29, 2015 — 16:03

20 Comments

  1. Carla, your gift is your clarity. That was very well put. As I’ve said before I’m doing my best to be debt free. I need to get back to work and get the gears going again. There is an absolute freedom in being debt free. No longer will I have to break my back to pay someone I basically borrowed money from who’s charging me 14% or higher for the privelege of just sign and buy. Once it’s complete…never again…never, ever,ever,never ever again!!

    I’ve been researching sailboats…Oooh that reminds me….I did a search on Yachtword with some decent parameters…damn there’s a lot of boats out there in the 14k-18k range!! I am seriously happy about that…although I’m still a few years off.

    If it works for you, and makes you happy, then my friend…rock and roll. You and Alex are the only ones who get to write you life story. That really applies to all of us. It all boils down to if where you are in life is the place that makes you happy, then the detractors and nay-sayers can go suck a lemon. Whether that place be a tropical paradise on a sweet sailboat,living on the cheap, or driving down A1A in a 100k dollar Mercedes. Your happiness may be naother persons misery. And that is totally cool…….

    Happy New Year!

    Ken

  2. Me encamto tu articulo, Se ve que lo escribistes con tu corazon, te felicito
    Feliz año nuevo. Sid Waters

  3. Thank you so much, Ken, for your kind words. And great to hear you’re getting ready!! Yes, it’s a good time to buy a boat in the States, they’re pretty cheap compared to other countries and also there’s plenty to choose from, great variety. You know sailboats are so personal you have to decide what is important to you before you choose. But it’s fun to look, isn’t it?

    Gracias Sid también por tu apoyo!

    You guys have a great great New Year! Full of love, and dreams, and projects! : )

  4. Carla,
    The posters that you’re referring to, I believe, are trying to comment on the hypocrisy of feeding off the “matrix” while vilifying it at the same time. I’ve been following Alex’s blog since the beginning and watched his transformation from a fed up American wanting to get out of the rat race by selling his belongings and sailing around the world. Along the way you see it’s a very hard transition from the drawing board to actual application so many people have stepped in during the years and helped make that happen for Alex. He’s gone from paying his way by selling items he earned while working in the “matrix” to now many years later just flat out excepting money from people still working and earning in the “matrix” while riling against it. You two have about $200-$500 to your name but yet you just bought an expensive sailboat, rebuilt a diesel engine, did a mini refit, put the boat on the hard for storage, flew around on airplanes to and from various locations and the list goes on and on. Where does all this money come from? One time website sponsors, bartering, charters, delivering boats, website donations or making sail covers? No. It comes from people living and working in the “matrix” that have saved and sacrificed to hopefully pay for their retirement or to finally be able to afford something like you are doing right now. I like Alex and have sent him money, a laptop and other stuff because I really want him to succeed because many people aren’t doing what he is doing and do you know why? Because sooner or later family or friends or whoever just stops supporting that person’s lifestyle. Almost every convenience that you now enjoy has been paid for by someone else monetarily (taxes) or through service. GPS, Aids to Navigation, rescue at sea in case of emergency, seas safe from piracy and even the very stability of Panama is due to people paying taxes and giving service to their fellow human beings. You two are not just asking for handouts but being productive with the blog and various previous mentioned money makers which is why I think Alex has lasted this long. I’m not hating on you guys but trying to inject some reality into why these two posters said what they said and probably what quite a few of your readers think. I have a challenge for you guys for 2015. Don’t take any money, goods or services (plane tickets etc.) that you haven’t earned except from your blog, bartering, sewing, charters or various jobs that you have. Don’t accept any loans from any of your families or take money from individuals that are going to help you move your boat down to Panama. When you guys move a boat people pay you right? So when people are going to help you move your new sailboat to the Caribbean you should be paying them, right? This is not hate or anger because trust me I’m on your side. I want you to succeed because you are a voice saying “Hey you can do this, you can disconnect from the rat race just like me!” But, how are people that don’t have money going to pay for this exodus? The harsh reality is it’s almost impossible without a substantial support from everyone, money and charity wise. Good luck in 2015 and I really hope everything works out for you two.

    Sent from my iPad

    1. Dear nukids2, sorry I don’t know your name : )

      To be honest with you I still don’t see what the problem is. We are not radical, that is the whole point. We accept donations because we are providing a service that takes a lot of our time. We consume little, not nothing, so we need a micro-income. In order to keep the website running and have a life as well we offer the possibility for those who feel like helping out to do so. I feel I’m repeating myself like a freaking parrot.

      We traveled with buddy passes a follower offered out of love because it was our anniversary, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen Alex just yet. It bothers you because… My brother lent us money until we can sell Splendid and I should explain myself to you because…? If crew members chip in for fuel is because they come to learn from Alex, or to get advice, or to help Alex out because they’re lovely people and it bothers you because…? I’m lost I don’t know what we are talking about anymore.

      I do not like the monetary system, I really don’t. That is why we live in an Indian reservation most of the year without consuming much. If I could turn back time and stop the white man from taking over the Indians in this continent, I would gladly do it. I like the Indian way of life a lot better. I wish my family and I were part of a nomadic tribe and traveled by foot gathering fruit and doing handcrafts with plants and went fishing in the stream with my dad as a child, living in nature, singing chants and dancing and never set foot in a shopping mall, supermarket or a fuel station. But that is not possible. There is a ruling system and it is what it is. Sailing is a nice way to be half in, half out and it really works for us and for a lot other people. We work for the system very little and we take from the system very little. Nobody is saying anything else here, nobody is being radical except from you. If this website is not giving you what you need anymore, don’t be silly, there are so many blogs out there, find the one that does make you happy.

      Have a wonderful new year with your loved ones and don’t over think it, don’t be paranoid, we really do not have a hidden agenda. This is who we are, regular people who found something beautiful and want to share it with others.

      Love,

      Carla

    2. nukids2

      I know your trying to “inject some reality” into this discussion but so am I.

      lets clarify Something. I’ve been going over all of our old emails. You offered to send me a hard drive (not a laptop), and did after I spent months with you giving you personal advice and researching boats for you. I never asked for a cent. You offered to buy me a hard drive when mine crashed as I was spending so much time with you, no?

      Against my recommendation you went out and bought a 50’ cement boat and had a nightmare of an experience with it. If anyone “expected” something for free I believe it was you asking for free advice, which is something I am always happy to give because that is what I do, and that is what Project BlueSphere is all about. I enjoy helping people find their way to the sailing life.

      I spent countless hours trying to help you realize your dream only to watch you buy the worst boat possible (cement) and crash your project.

      You realize I have to pay for internet and emails when it is something I don’t like? Do you also realize that the Western boating (WestMarine) philosophy is something that makes this lifestyle unobtainable for most? That is why I research, field test, and have the sponsors that I do. I advertise for March pumps because I believe in the product. I can afford a $150 centrifuge pump, but would rater promote the best pump possible so others don’t have a hard time with looking for a centrifuge pump, or wasting their money on crap from a mega boating store. I also advertise for Manson anchors because I live on the hook every day of my life and don’t want to see my readers buy something inferior.

      I don’t really understand where you are coming from? Why is it I would pay someone to help me move my boat? I get paid to move boats? I believe it is a good opportunity for some, like yourself, to barter for experience who cant necessary afford a charter, or have avenues of getting on a boat? Should I charge them $500 a day instead?

      All my major expenses are related to maintaining this website, computers, cameras, plugins, not to mention my time. “Expecting money”, really? If you don’t get anything from my words, pictures or films, please don’t send anything, I’m not expecting it in any way. And I never sold my things off during the beginning of my journey, I gave them all away more than a year before I left.

      In no way do I invest my time in Project BlueSphere for my own personal gain, it is a drain and I do it for the people who get something from it. I tell Carla that when I’m older I want to retire from it so I can live further in peace and not have all the technology around. I can’t stand having to maintain (pay) for an Internet connection and a computer, not to mention making the power I need to run them.

      Unfortunately I need to maintain a foot in the matrix in order to help get others out. If i was up to me I’d be living by oil lamp and not have a phone of any kind, these are all stressful things for me.

      Our lifestyle is about balance. We talk about living on a “micro” income, bartering when possible, and having little. I know your dream came crashing to an end, and I really am sorry about that, but this lifestyle does work for many.

  5. I really, once again enjoyed your post, Carla. Hope you don’t let some negative opinions bother you too much. Alex and yourself are an inspirational part of my life. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks. Dave

    1. Thanks Dave! And lovely to hear you enjoy what we do ; )

      No worries, instances of true exchange of ideas are always nurturing. When someone is being obnoxious I get bored. But when what I say or so does not seem to be clear to someone, I’m really happy to make good use of that opportunity and explore and share ideas further.

      It’s lovely to hear encouragement too! We’re only human. I thank you for that.

      Have a lovely New Year!!

      Love,

      C.

  6. Alex & Carla,
    I’m Mike Carla and its nice to meet you. I was worried Alex that you would see my post as confrontational or negative and think I don’t understand you or your lifestyle but I do. Yes, I bought a sailboat and it was a tough journey sailing it up the Inside Passage to Alaska but one that I was ready for expenses and time wise. I wouldn’t change anything and I would do it again. It’s a great sailboat made for the high altitudes but the damn thing was too long and heavy for me. Why do you say my dream came crashing down? I chose after two years of sailing and living on the sailboat to sale it and move on with no regrets. If your dream of buying, refitting, rebuilding the engine and moving of your new sailboat didn’t work out would I say your dream came crashing down or you failed? No. At least your tried. So, I’m not some crazy guy lurking your blog trying to throw water on your dreams or anyone else’s but what I’m saying is it cost a lot of money to do what you do, a lot. I see the minimalist lifestyle you and Carla are trying to live but it takes a lot of people working and paying taxes in the matrix to support you and that’s what I’m trying to get across. Again, I didn’t say making money or bartering is bad but I do challenge you to follow in 2015 what your blog is about, to live within your minimalist lifestyle on your own and paying for it on your own. I don’t regert helping you out in any way or even sending you money when you got stuck in Jamaca with your old girlfriend and her child or the laptop or computer parts or whatever because of this blog and you advising me on buying my own sailboat. Thank you, again. Consider this as a friend to a friend that I write this and not a troll just trying to give you trouble. I look forward to reading about your minimalist lifestyle in the coming year. It’s nice to meet you Carla and I really wish you and Alex the best of luck in 2015.
    Sent from my iPad

    1. Mike,

      From your last email it sounded to me like you were quite disillusioned by the whole thing and you didn’t have a good time. I interpreted it as ending your journey as you had been planning to retire cruising?

      Cement is a terrible idea for a sailboat hull, steel is the ticket for hi-latitude sailing. Have you ever seen what cement does on a reef or rocks, it crumbles. I don’t know one professional sailor, or sailor with any experience at all, that would ever condone, or encourage anyone to buy a cement boat. I was quite disappointed to hear when you bought one after all of our discussions, I did not say you failed.

      Nine times out of ten I see people’s cruising dreams come crashing down because they buy boats far too big for their experience, and complicate their boats with complicated systems that they don’t know how to maintain. Have you read the philosophy page? I’m not asking you to follow my philosophy, and I am not trying to push it down your throat, but that is what this website is about, minimalistic voyaging. There are plenty of other bloggers with plenty of other philosophies for you to pick and choose from.

      That’s neither here nor there. I’m not up for any “challenges”. We have such a tiny carbon footprint and consume so little I don’t feel I need to prove anything to anyone.

      In 2015 I have a big move to make and need to get Eleanor outfitted for our future. I need a new rig, autopilot, she needs paint, and want to make a new set of sails with Carla and get Splendid sold.

      Do you think we get big money in donations or something? My website, If I’m lucky, brings in $150 a month. I don’t understand your challenge? What do you want me to go without?

      Sorry but I don’t see the “hypocrisy” in our lifestyle. If I could go back in time a few hundred years I would, but the system we have in place now is where I live and need to strive to improve on it and inspire others to do the same. Technology is a double-edged sword. I want as little to do with it as possible but believe it is also the only thing that can dig us out of the very deep hole we are in.

      Alternative energy is something I try very hard to promote along with minimalism. That means wind generators and solar panels (technology). Perhaps you don’t know what the matrix is when I refer to it? It is the system that controls your mind and keeps people fearful and dependant on consumerism. It is the cage that keeps us afraid, complacent, and obedient.

      I’m not an extremist that doesn’t want an LED light in his life. I have friends like that who are purists and have a sculling oar in place of a diesel engine. That is yet another philosophy that doesn’t work for me, I wish it did.

      I believe in a balanced healthy lifestyle at sea. We live on under $300 a month, I shoot fish (when I’m home) every week for protein, and we live over 90% on solar power. Sure I’d like to be 100% on solar power but I would have to sacrifice writing for my website and burning 7 amps an hour on a computer. I have many readers that enjoy my efforts on the website and I find it worth the 2-5 gallons (depending on sun) that I need to burn to keep the website alive. Carla and I row long distances not to burn fuel and share our green lifestyle as much as possible. I just bought her gloves for Christmas as her hands got covered with calluses from rowing during my absence.

      Can I challenge you to live on under 5 gallons a month of fossil fuel? (That includes your electric bill). Can I challenge you to not have a car, prepare all your own food from scratch, row or ride a bicycle every single chance you can? If I did would you find it offensive?

      You see, it offends me to see people waste so much. It offends me to see one person driving an 8-cylinder truck with nothing in the bed and an empty cab.

      This website is for people who want to transition from that to something cleaner, simpler, and whole. I had a series-7 BMW in my old life. I would never waste so much again after seeing so much poverty in the world. I have friends who barely have money for food. If you really want to get on the topic of “hypocrisy” I’m all about it. If you want to try and point that finger at me and think I won’t get offended you’re wrong. Call it like it is, I don’t like bullshit, I don’t have time for it!

      I have made many mistakes in my life and publically try and share them so others may learn from it. If that is in any way hypocritical so be it, call me what you will. I am very confident in what I do, what I promote, and what I share with my audience.

    2. Hi there Mike! It’s nice to know your name ; )

      I know you and Alex have known each other for a long time and that is why your discussion includes things only you two know about. But I personally really hope you don’t take offense or feel attacked because I find this exchange interesting, I see there is a point in listening and responding. We are both going to think about what you said and try to respond to your concerns in another blog.

      I am trying to understand what it is that you’re referring to when you talk about us sticking to what we can produce by ourselves and I guess you are talking about not asking any sponsor for anything or accepting any kind of donation. Let me tell you, donations are not substantial. Our lifestyle would not change much at all. Most months we get nothing, or $40, when something happens and we need cash we might get a little more. We raised close to a thousand when we bought Eleanor but it was unprecedented and spectacular, it’s the first time we get more than $50 in donations in a single month in the three years I’ve been with Alex. Now when it comes to our sponsorship, we do get some equipment every year that an average sailor would have to pay cash, but to be honest with you, be it donations or sponsorship I don’t see the hypocrisy or contradiction there because that money coming in through Paypal or gear is actually the result of the hours of service we provide through the website, it’s “payment” for hours of work, we do not rub a magic lamp and an epirb appears, we write, answer comments and emails every week, we have learnt skills or developed a philosophy through years of travel, effort, practice, active research and we run a website people read and that is why the company sends it to us. It is the fruit of our effort, I don’t see why it would be better for us to pretend we have not earned the access to that.

      The comfort we have today on Splendid, and soon on Eleanor (which still needs to be paid for) is not how someone starts their journey, it’s the state of affairs of someone like Alex who started with very little money and knowledge and dedicated 100% of his time to learn, try, fail, succeed, share all his knowledge, build and maintain a website that provides him with sponsorship, etc. The beginning of his trip was with simple means and so will have to be for anyone who starts. That’s what the philosophy page talks about, you start simple and build up. When I started traveling I did surveys on the phone abroad, delivered Guiness pint glasses, worked in rice fields, I’ve been traveling for 15 years. Now I can enjoy some comfort but my leaving the system started from the bottom.

      We are here to help people who want to do so move to a more natural, low consumption lifestyle but they’ll have to start from zero, like we did, and build up from there. We don’t need to not accept gifts now to prove a point. We do not hide who we are today like we definitely do not hide where we come from. We both started small and it took guts, pain, fear, laughter, tears and we finally found peace, love, beauty. We are trying to help others get there but there’s no magical formula. Things take time and effort.

      We’ll keep writing as usual. Your questions and concerns are always welcome when they come from a place of true curiosity or with the aim to help us be clearer. I always always appreciate a good exchange of ideas.

      Have a lovely day, Mike! Hope this all helps. Love,

      C.

  7. Wow, appears to be some sensitivity to the matrix contradiction? Maybe the reality is just life can be challenging at times for us all, especially when I have a lot on my plate, so I agree carla, unhappiness in one’s life can promote outward negativity, which is not fair to those on the receiving end. I don’t know if it’s possible these days to not be involved in one system or another. If ur on a deserted island with only one other person, there’s probably a boss and a follower. It is what it is. That’s not why I have followed this site for 10 years. I love the the adventure. Am I jealous in some way because I’m not doing it? Yes. Do I admire your coconuts for staying the course? Yes. Do I despise having to work everyday to pay bils, and wake up to do it over again, agsin…yes! But, I am proud of what I do, and the matrix comments simply offend me because I work hard for this system. Probably like you defending yours. I’m glad you defend it, so please respect mine. That’s all.

  8. Part b: I have been thinking about the source of my negativity. Here’s the deal I think. I started reading your blog when u landed in the Bahamas on Namaste. I could relate, a troubled guy who lost his girl and said screw all this, I’m going sailing. For years I followed closely, and couldn’t wait to read the next day during your pacific crossing. Being selfish, I wish u were still on that boat in far away lands telling tales….then life happens, which trust me I know all about, and things change. I imagine a sizable piece of your follower pie back then were mid life crisis guys like myself, and you represented a way out. I’ve never followed another person’s life like this, for so long, so I guess it’s natural to become attached in a weird Internet way. Again being selfish, the story has shifted to a life that seems more like mine now, which doesn’t fill my void, so hence the negativity. Sorry for allowing my personal expectations translate into a form you didn’t deserve.

    1. Capt. Ron,

      thanks so much for taking the time to write and soften things. It really means a lot. We are truly driven by love and negativity is hard to handle, especially for me, I get defensive and I hate finding myself in that trip, battling to be right. Being right sucks. It’s much better to converse with someone when both learn things and become better people, when your view is widened, when you can hear the real voice inside the other person, their hopes, their fears, the voice of their experience. When you battle to be right, you hurt each other and nobody gains anything but the feeling that you’ve been petty, unfair and insecure. It really means a lot to me that you’re back here and we are talking. I think most arguments are also based on misunderstandings, and when one asks instead of becoming aggressive then a true conversation starts: If someone just listens and nods, there is no conversation. It’s great to hear words of encouragement but it’s also great for us when someone’s got real questions because that’s when we grow.

      It was thanks to your comment, and Mike’s, that Alex and I realized there’s been a change with the launch of The Minimalist Sailor that goes beyond the functioning of the website. Alex is in a different place from where he began, and his old loyal readership who have been reading for many years might find it hard to understand where he’s at if we don’t take the time to explain it in detail. Alex has a lot of comfort now that he didn’t use to have, and it’s the result of years of doing this thing. At first he was a regular guy starting from zero with a lot of dreams and a lot of obstacles. A single guy looking for freedom and adventure. But he will be 50 in a month. And he finally found his Westsail and his Trinka, and his wife, and even a dog!! So this new website has a different concept. Now he’s an experienced sailor that can help others with actual information and experience. And he can help people start from zero because he’s been there, but that’s not where he is now.

      And he realized that he had not been that clear as to what he was talking about when he talks about the “matrix” that is why he responded to you now. 90% of our friends and family go to work and live in cities and towns, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Now what we do not like is watching the news and hating who the news tell you to hate. To blindly consume and get in debt for things that make you fat instead of happy. I told him the other day, listen to your readers, we have to see what they mean, they’ve got a point. My brother also mentioned that, we paint a picture that is not realistic if we are not clear. A person who sells his car and buys a sailboat but does not know how to fix anything yet cannot live like you do today, with skills and even sponsors! Of course, that is why we have to be clearer, this helps us make a better website, we have lots of ideas, and I promise you there’ll be plenty more adventures for you to follow from your cozy home! We are both adventurers and by no means are we retiring or settling. We have to get both boats ready, sell one, pay our debts and I promise you, we’ll get out there, meet more native peoples, make more movies and music, travel the world, start a new journey with our random acts of kindness you’ll have a chance to participate in as well, and we’ll keep helping people who are unhappy find healthier ways to live, wherever they live. It’s all about love and freedom, we want to be contagious, we want to connect with you. Don’t ever think your questions and concerns are not welcome. As long as you choose a nice tone, we’re here for you Capt. Ron and it’s great to hear your voice : )

      Keep reading and keep talking!

      Love,
      C.

  9. I think the confusion lays in the fact in no way am I anti-society and you don’t understand what i’m referring to when I refer to “the matrix”. The matrix is control. Its the mega-corporations that steal opportunity from families, it’s the 2-party system that turns Americans against each other, credit card companies that force debt down the throats of students, religions that separate mankind itself, and media that keeps everyone afraid.

    Its not mom & pop shops, organic farmers, and technology that guides us to a cleaner future.

    it is control, and the whole point of “the matrix” is most don’t see it.

  10. It’s so disappointing to hear such a tear-down of what Alex is trying to do.

    Today we live in a world crisscrossed by laws, borders, maritime regulations, international and trans-global trade, and a myriad competing tribes of humans that overflow onto land and sea. We live in a time where the resulting interconnectedness and self-organizing, laterally stratifying behavior is only accelerating. Under these conditions it’s impossible to live 100% off the grid. The world simply does not make allowances for someone trying to pay their Visa stamp in coconuts or buy a plane ticket with dried fish. (It’d be funny as hell if someone tried though.) The same is true of chart plotters, Yanmar engines and computer hard drives. Under these conditions, Alex has decided to use the passion of his life to earn himself the money he needs to live. What’s wrong with that? You have to be real petty rip into someone for using the *donate* button instead of some socially accepted avenue that whitewashes the transaction.

    As far as rallying against Alex’s dislike of the matrix, well, that argument is just weird. People are born into a system that pays for their schooling, the roads they walk every day, the police that keep them safe, etc, etc… Then you make the argument that since they enjoyed the benefits of said services, pretty much without a choice, now they owe society something. There’s a word for that friends; indentured servitude.

    I think if you gave Carla and Alex the choice of sailing Joshua Slocum’s spray, (an awful, awful boat by modern standards,) without borders, constraints or any kind of modern encumbrance, I think they’d jump on it in a second. But unfortunately that is impossible. Too many shipping lanes, petty little tyrant nations with an inflated sense of self importance, and people desperate to just scrape by in a world too full of humans.

    The challenge and success of their efforts is the realization of a nomadic and independent lifestyle in a world teeming with interdependence. Frankly, I think that’s worth a few bucks out of my retirement. How about you?

    1. Hey Andy! Thanks so much also for taking the time to share your voice. You’re a good writer, love your portrait of the times. It is pretty scary isn’t it? How 1984 certain things have become and how readily people accept the spoon-feeding. But I also feel there’s such an over-abundance of EVERYTHING that it is impossible to catch up, or to define anything anymore. For a few years now I have found myself thinking Tao, or Buddhism, accepting that two realities can coexist, that two or more parties can be right at the same time, that our cut of that reality is so subjective there ain’t much point in arguing. Also, to be honest, I don’t have the time. Life is faster than ever, possibilities expanding at a speed that is crazy, millions of songs recorded everyday, everything online, you just can’t collect records anymore can you? It’s insane. You’ll never hear about every punk or Indie or jazz band out there. It’s just impossible, there are too many. Of everything. It’s so overwhelming that when I wake up every morning I just want to sit on deck looking at the water to see if I catch a passing stingray. And as soon as I’m awake I put my surfboard in the water, dive in, and just lay on top of it with my face in my hands and drift. Until I want to paddle back. You know what I mean? I just can’t discuss politics, or philosophy, anymore. I can tell you about a great book I read, but there are a million other great books I am sure I’d love out there. They just keep on coming!! My wish, my hope, and also my belief is that there are a lot of people like you and I out there. We are growing too. There’s a true understanding of the system from an almost spiritual place, not so intellectual anymore. We can feel the hordes of consumers, we can see them walking into Walmart almost like a cartoon, and then we look the other way and there’s a sunset. And we just watch the sunset. I get tired of thinking about the matrix, it bores me now. There’s so much else going on. A lot of people finding ancient Eastern wisdom, it started like a trend, but it’s kinda sticking, which is fucking great. Babies that are weirdly bright and full of love that I meet everywhere. There’s been an evolutionary leap, I can feel it, a lot of people hear the universe now before they act. It might not be the majority, but we are lots of people, man. Hang in there, it’s all good!

      And thanks for you speaking up for us, I really appreciate it too. We did feel a bit attacked there for a minute, we were a bit sad about it. It was nice to read your comment. We’re just regular people of course, we do get hurt and we do like to hear kind words validating what we do. Thanks! Have a lovely day and make this a great year in your life. No fear. DO ALL THOSE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO!!

    2. Andy, we would jump on Spray in a heartbeat :)

      I don’t get it either. Carla and I are positive people and really enjoy our simple life. If anyone doesn’t like it they can easily unsubscribe or pick fights on facebook.

      Peace

  11. You two crazy kids live the life you want, the way you want to live it. Some will think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, others will think you’re nuts. At the end of the day, the only people you really have to answer to are the people looking back at you when you’re brushing your teeth.

    Alex, you are correct. For those who don’t like this site, the people, or the message, you DO have other options.

    Peace, Love and Happiness!

    1. We are truly happy, you know? Especially since we found each other. Having a significant partner who is driven by the same things you’re driven is priceless. You get inspired and you aim higher, you push further, you sleep better, you laugh a lot more.

      Not to say things are always easy, relationships are complex, but once you find them it is so worth it. Because your partner is the best mirror, they look at you with the love you don’t feel for yourself sometimes. They make you whole, they take care of you, they become your best friend in the world.

      That is the first blog I ever wrote (in this website) was about relationships. In a life at sea, you not only move away from consumption and fear and closer to nature, you’re also usually either single or in a very close, healthy relationship. You spend 24/7 with your partner and with very little distraction. Things are very real.

      At the end of the day, like you said, the only opinion that matters is that of the people looking back at you when you’re brushing your teeth, in our case, there was one person for decades, now there’s two. This is something I also want to inspire people to do. Not only to have less stress, a closer relationship to nature and their own spirit. I also want to inspire people to not be afraid of being alone until they find real love. It’s out there. And it really comes to you when you’re ready.

      Thanks so much for your kind words, they are very much appreciated!!

      Love,
      C.

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