The Minimalist Sailor

Brought to you by Project BlueSphere

Home sweet home!

All is right as rain!

splendidI’m sitting on Splendid, swimming in the sea, and listening to the monkeys in the trees from my hammock on the foredeck. Carla did really beautiful fiberglass, painting, fairing, and varnishing work in the aft cabin. If we can make the whole interior look like that Splendid will be one pretty penny!

My mother in law and family are coming to visit close to the end of the month and then my Father will visit for a few weeks, so cool! It’s awesome to have so much Love around!

I have to be honest, I haven’t been motivated to write lately as I had some negative comments regarding our lifestyle. I wrote a blog regarding it and have been on the fence about posting it, but here gores:

01/06/2015 Sitting on a plane.

I’m in Miami sitting on my plane waiting to return to Panama. Believe it or not I didn’t fight with TSA this time. I passed through a complacent American as all that was important to me was to get home peacefully and without incident. Why is it so hard to ask for a regular search so I don’t have to go through the scanner, I waited for over 15 minutes and caved as it was getting late.

These last 4 months have been amazing. Joyful, Loving, exciting, sad, stressful, crazy, and scary.

I’ve reconnected with family that are very important to me, weathered horrible storms, and spent far too much time away from my wife and home. As usual I’ve learned so much and feel I’ve grown substantially. I am however incredibly grateful to return to Splendid and the peace, tranquility, and timelessness of my life in Paradise.

hippoI’ve had a few negative comments lately regarding “living in the matrix”, and accepting donations for my writing and efforts producing my films. I must say it really upset me this time, I found the tone of the comments offensive, not constructive, and haven’t been motivated to write since.

Having one toe in the matrix, and both feet and the rest of my body out does not make me a hypocrite . I’m a hypocrite because I’ve been flying on planes and eating in restaurants? Carla and I combined consume less than 5 gallons a month of fossil fuels when home, I have to explain myself to no one!!

I want to clarify something. I’m not anti-society. I’m not against the mom and pop shops, organic farmers, or people who strive to make life better for themselves and others, nor technology that moves us forward in a positive and clean way.

I do however miss the America I grew up in. I miss the excitement of NASA being the headline on the news, and I miss the freedom to travel within my country without being poked, prodded, and scanned. It just doesn’t feel like home any more. When I return to the United States I see, and feel all the changes all at once. Most of my readers live with the changes day to day and I don’t think they feel so dramatic?

The matrix is “control” and is the antithesis of freedom, it’s not society or humble living!

I’ve dealt with many negative people and comments over the years, and I’m always willing to hear them as I consider myself a student, not a teacher, and I’m more than willing to learn from others. I will admit I don’t like people pointing fingers at me that consume far more than I do and call me or my wife derogatory names. If you want to make comments here I do ask you employ some manners, respect if you can manage it, and to comment gracefully. If you want to pick fights with people stick to facebook. Project BlueSphere is my living room and is a venue where we discuss topics and not choose sides.

I suppose I got upset this time because one of the comments came from a friend that I believe had a difficult time trying to go cruising. I’ve never said what I do is easy, or is for everyone. Nor have I ever said or implied that my way is the only, or “best” way. It is simply my philosophy that I share with others because I believe it works. Voyaging is hard work and takes a dedicated sort of man. Please, please, please read the introduction and philosophy pages above.

minimalism_design-t2My philosophy of minimalistic voyaging, is voyaging at, or below one’s level of means and skill.

The first thing that will ruin your voyaging experience is not being in control of a boat that is too large for you, or not being in control of the systems you have chosen to have on your boat. If you can’t maintain a generator, diesel engine, water maker, or refrigeration yourself, you must learn to live without these things until you take the time and learn how to repair and maintain them.

A big boat with lots of gear at a great price is in no way an opportunity for a voyaging platform. It is most likely a nightmare opportunity, and only an opportunity for the sort of captain that has the experience that can handle it.

08AlongsidesbdqtrIf you’re inexperienced, a small simple boat is always the way to go. I also believe a boat that needs work is a positive as it will teach you about it, tell you what she needs, and aid in building your confidence before heading to sea.

Depending on others to help you along the way will get you in trouble as quality help is hard to find, expensive, and most often unavailable. It also limits your cruising experience to service-oriented destinations and you miss out on all the remote areas of the world most of us dream about.

Perhaps I’ve just been too sensitive. The last 4 months have been far too loud, I don’t know how I ever did it in my previous life. The traffic, all the shopping, all the rules, products, and fear. I’ve seen way too much television, and listened to far too many radio commercials. All the flashing electric billboards, people pushing signs in my face, handing me pamphlets, and solicitation calls on my cell-phone are beyond intrusive.

So many emotions have also boiled to the surface of my life reuniting with my father. I’m so grateful that I managed the strength to go knock on his door after 12 years of “writing each other off”. It is such a gift to have him back in my life.

He doesn’t know how to use the Internet nor understand what I do. It’s difficult to explain to someone who has never been on the Internet what a blogger is, or how I try to support my community.

ringsCarla also pointed something out to me. My audience is changing now that I’m married. I’m no longer a single-handed sailor. I’m a happily married man living in paradise with a wife who believes in the same minimalistic path that I do. Together we strive to live as close to nature and with as little as we can. We don’t aspire to what most people want from a voyaging experience, so most likely, many people won’t get much from Project Bluesphere? I want to build a niche community, not a large one.

My plane just took off and is flying over the clouds, I can feel the stress dripping off of my skin
like salt-water after I get out of the sea. I feel much more comfortable living with financially “poor” people. The biggest thing I’ve noticed about being in the United States again is people spend so much money. Even the “poor” Americans I know that have jobs that pay close to minimum wage spend copious amounts of money for crap at Walmart, on packaged, fast, and processed food, fuel, cars, smart phones, Internet, cable, and cosmetic jewelry. What is that?

Why not consume less and afford piece of mind? When one thinks in terms of monthly payments, the truth is, you can’t afford it!

chickenbus24 hours have passed from my previous paragraph after spending a night at a friends house in Panama City. I’m now writing on a bus to Sabanitas which is where I met my wife over three years ago. The people around me are poor, don’t smell like products, their clothes are
stained, nor have much. I feel a bit guilty writing on an iPad listening to music through $70 headphones. Perhaps I am a hypocrite in some ways as I’m guilty for having more than others? These are basic, practical tools for what I do, though: navigating, writing, movie making. I do believe my heart is in the right place. I’m going to put my iPad away now.

Traveling is my life. All I want is to photograph, film, and write about the world around me while I live simply in peace with my wife. I don’t want an expensive car, house, or comforts that are excessive in any way. I do try and manage a micro-income through my website. If you don’t like what I do here, please feel free to unsubscribe, it’s free, as is membership!

Sail Far and Live Slowly.

– alex

Updated: January 11, 2015 — 18:55

17 Comments

  1. Glad to see you’re writing again, my friend. Cherish your time in the sun.

    1. By the way guys, this is the Ryan who came to visit, and help me with Eleanor in New York. After he went back to Texas he bought a westsail 32 in California, he is having it shipped home soon. His first boat, and he is walking his path.

      Really proud of you brother!!!

  2. Alex,

    I’ve been reading and commenting on your blog for many years now and I’m sure you recognize me as one of your regular readers. What I want to tell you is something that I really am not comfortable sharing publicly, but I feel I have to talk about in order for you to understand the impact your work has had on my life.

    In 2009 my father committed suicide. Just writing that little sentence down is hard. Even though he was never really around when I was growing up, it affected me in a profound way. At the time I was unemployed, living off the dole, sitting at home and feeling terrible about myself. When I got the call from my step mother my world seemed to disintegrate a little bit. Very dark times ensued. I stayed home, drank enormous amounts of alcohol and thought about suicide. (Not about killing myself, but about the act of suicide.) I became unsociable and people who would visit me told me I’d gotten weird. I felt weird. I became very depressed and a little apathetic to life.

    Around that time I found your YouTube channel. I saw what you were doing and it amazed me, made me forget about my situation. I spent days and days reading about the people and history of sailing, about living aboard and about circumnavigating. It was a breath of fresh air. Soon I realized that it’s something I wanted to do.

    So far I’ve been unsuccessful at getting started in the cruising lifestyle. Family, obligations, lack of money, a few bad boat purchases and frankly a bit of fear have all kept me from getting into it. But the important thing is that you’ve sparked a passion in my life that I doubt will ever leave me. I think you’ve also managed to keep me from spiraling into self destruction and alcoholism. Perhaps even suicide.

    With that said, I would like to thank you for sharing your life with us, with me. It’s helped a lot. It inspires me and it makes me want to fight for tomorrow. In short, you’ve changed my life for the better.

    I’ve said all this so that you know that there is a flip side to the scathing criticism that you’ve had to endure. You HAVE made a difference, you have succeeded in opening at least one pair of eyes to the possibilities of living free.

    So that’s it, that’s my story. Hope you feel better and forget about that bit of nastiness. Life is too exciting for you to focus on a disillusioned asshole.

    Peace, love and coconuts brother.

    1. Andy,

      Thank you, your one of four. I came clean about my suicide attempt on a New Years blog a few years back. I was just unable to function within the system and it almost killed me. My main objective with project bluesphere had alway been to try to find, and help men in the same situation. I feel that I found a magical doorway out and sharing it is what I do.

      If I’ve only helped 4 people in such a profound way in 12 years of blogging I’d say I’m wildly successful!

      Thank you so much for your honesty, it means a lot. Alcohol, cocaine, and depression were a big part of my life after my mother died. After I went sailing and decided I was going to be happy, I’ve never looked back.

      If you ever need any advice on boats, or just want to chat, please feel free to email me, or we can do the phone thing too.

  3. Actually I’d really just like to meet you and shake your hand, should the opportunity ever arise. Let me know if you’re ever in my neck of the woods (Central Florida) and feel like grabbing a bite to eat.

  4. Thank you so much Andy for sharing, it takes guts to open up like that, it takes a special kind of person to seize the opportunity to turn things around and use their pain to help others. But then it’s just the best thing you’ve ever done. The feeling of it becoming useful is like no other. In some way, that difficult thing starts having a purpose, and it is therefore not that painful anymore, it does not seem so random, it has meaning, it becomes part of our shared human existence, humans go through pain but they can heal and help others heal.

    There are many ways to analyze, conceptualize, perceive and experience a given situation, positive or negative. Those who find purpose after pain become amazingly strong, nearly invincible, because the future can only be brighter. Becoming a light for those who are still in the dark is really a gift, not a job. It makes you feel special, it really does feel good and love comes back tenfold. Like with your message. And the messages Alex has received in the past from others who found his work helpful.

    Now you’ve come through the invisible walls and your words are already helping others too. You’ve become a torch too. It’s that easy. Just being true. Just being human. The TV never tires of showing pathology but it is not the norm. The news make you angry, scared and confused. Travel makes you see that which connects us all, nature, inside of all us, just like it is inside a seed or a wave.

    A song I love called “Credo” by an Irish band called Newborn says: “Western neurosis is not human nature. Human nature is harmony, like all other nature”.

    Much love. And thank you!

  5. Hey old friend, long time! Contrarian here logging in (your Gravitar is not working) under a new name … but same guy. :)

    Regarding the negative comments on your last post, when you live on a busy street and leave your front door wide open you’re going to have the occasional unwanted visitor traipsing through your place and screwing up the vibe and messing with your chi. Goes with the territory. Unless you choose to pull the blinds and lock the front door you cannot possibly expect to have any control who wanders in and out or what they say.

    There are many who live a peaceful nomadic lifestyle as you do, but they choose not to put their life of display and share their most intimate thoughts to the world in a blog. They have cut the cord entirely and live outside the Matrix in privacy and relative anonymity.

    You on the other hand have chosen live outside the Matrix, however your blog is still hardwired into the system. You continue broadcast your messages of peace, hope, love and freedom to those living inside a legacy system that largely views those messages as a threat to its existence. So long as you remain “plugged in” to the system and rail against everything it stands for you risk negative blowback.

    That said, personally, I am thankful that you have chosen to live outside the system and continue to broadcast to us from the other side. I have always found your site to refuge in the storm and source of inspiration in an increasingly cynical world. I don’t always agree with your point of view, however I do know that I have benefitted tremendously from watching your life unfold over the years and listening to your words of encouragement, and for this I am grateful.

    1. Contrarian,

      Long time, I always love hearing from you!

      I do keep an open door, and believe me I dream of closing it sometimes. I could live with so much less tech in my life if I could pull that last plug. but some people benefit form my words and I continue to keep writing. Getting comments like Andy’s keep me going. When people open up to me the way Andy did, they usually do it through a private email. Carla is right, honesty makes you a light when you are not afraid to share your deepest feelings, that’s how we grow into something better :)

      I shouldn’t have let the comments get to me but I’ve been quite stressed lately. I was away from home FAR too long. I’m having some breathing/asthma problems and have to venture back to the city to see a doctor tomorrow. So much change lately, and I have to return to the states again in a few months to retrieve Eleanor with lots to do between ow and then. I really wished I had managed to get her to sea and down here, but my path always unfolds as it chooses, I’m just a passenger along for the ride!

      I am looking to spending more time with my father :)

      Peace brother.

  6. I’m tellin ya these post just keep getting better!

    Alex, count me in as one of the people who you have helped “see the light” I hope to one day untie the bow lines, and just sail away. Might happen, might not. However I will never ever live the way I was three years ago. Busting my behind, only to give 80% if it to some bill for something useless the following day. I was running myself into the ground, and shedding years off my life for certain. Life isn’t all about money. My new job pays decent. Not what I made running long haul, but respectable. The best part…the part that makes all the pain I’m in worthwhile….I sleep in my own bed every night, and I have weekends off!

    So keep doing what you’re doing. There are more of us here that love it, and look forward to the videos and stories, than don’t.

  7. Alex,

    So, posting here about my personal life shook something loose in my subconscious, I think. After a couple of especially rotten days at work I flagged down my store manager (I work at The Home Depot,) and asked him if we could talk in his office. I honestly didn’t know what was going to come out of my mouth until I sat down across from him. I swallowed hard, felt my pulse quicken and my mouth go dry. I opened my mouth and I thanked him for the opportunities he’d given me, (and the several promotions and raises I’d received,) and told him I’d be leaving the company as soon as I secured a liveaboard boat. He was a bit surprised but he thought that the idea of living on a sailboat was cool.

    I then spent a few days looking at boats and raising funds. Found a Morgan 30 Centerboard that seemed to match what I’d need. Full keel with centerboard, working Atomic inboard, standing rigging in great shape, 10,500# displacement and an interior that isn’t absolutely trashed – just old and a bit tired. Even has GPS, VHF and some solar. All for $4,500. I think it’s a good deal.

    Tomorrow I’m putting a deposit on the boat. By Jan. 20th I’ll have it paid and be living on it full time. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be successful at this – I’ve had several false starts along the way after all – but I’m very hopeful. And very grateful to Alex and Carla for putting me on the right path.

    Thanks guys. I owe you one…

    1. Andy,

      A gas inboard is a bad idea, stick to diesel or if you really love the boat find yourself a universal drop in replacment Diesel engine. I’ve never been a big Morgan fan but they did make a few good boats along the way. About a year ago my brother in law found a Pearson 35 for 5k with a universal diesel, you might want to keep looking?

      Also you can work and live on the boat at the same time, the new boat will require money till you get her right.

      What part of the states are you in? I’ll take a peek to see what is available.

      Reply

  8. Well, I kind of shook on the deal so I’m stuck with it. Kinda sucks that it’s not what you would recommend. Honestly, I did read up on the boat and the few reviews I found were very positive. Well, I guess I’ll just continue my streak of terrific purchasing decisions… you know, the kind that makes you do a facepalm and ask ‘why?’

    I’ve always been terrible at making business and financial decisions. But, like you with Eleanor, I just have to chug along and make it work. This is my last shot at this and I’m not going to give up. No way man.

    Right now I’m in the process of asking for a transfer to the Key West Home Depot. If that goes through I will continue having a very nice income with practically no bills. In which case I will be able to afford a diesel replacement for the Atomic, as well as a bunch of luxuries like a new stove, solar and nav equipment.

    Anyway, thanks for the advice. If things fall through I’ll let you know and I’ll listen to whatever recommendation you have. God knows I could use some solid advice.

    Laters…

    1. I’m not saying it’s a bad deal, just focus on making her sound. Gasoline is dangerous on a boat because of the confined space, a leek makes a bomb in the boat that can be ignited by an automatic bilge pump, no fun, my grandfather blew himself out of a boat, and lived to tell about it.

      Find yourself a universal diesel drop in replacement. I was just working on my brother in laws in Florida, nice little engine, or pop for a new beta marine if you can swing it?

      Don’t be down on it, just expect some work to make her right, then your golden :) go sailing !!!!

      If you have any questions please feel free to ask, that’s why I’m here :)

      Good luck amigo. Can you transfer to the boot key Home Depot, not a bad place to be on a boat and I have friends there.

  9. Andy, don’t leave Key West as your only option. The Port Charlotte area has very nice, affordable marinas, and the sailing in is pretty good from what I’ve heard.

  10. Wooooohooooo! Go Andy, well done!!!!

    Morgans seem totally fine!! And the price was great!

    Always remember it’s not about the boat, it’s all about your journey. Take your time, you sound like a capable guy. Learn how to fix things and do it yourself, even if you have money, you will be confident that you will be able to live with little and to go anywhere without being afraid. Also that can become your source of income when you start sailing the world, you can work on other people’s boats with whatever you learn that you do best. Or you can take charters, once you’re confident sailing and providing service. That is good money and usually fun!

    I agree with what the other guys are saying. Check if you can be transferred somewhere cool and keep the job until the boat is ready to cruise safely. Also it will give you time to get sailing practice with no stress. Then you will be able to throw your alarm clock away and wake up when you wake up!

    All the best!! Take your time and everything will come to you. Don’t hesitate to ask, anything, we’re here to help!

    ; )

  11. Thank you everyone for all the great feedback. I’m pretty jazzed. Carla, love your energy. I think you’re more excited than I am :)

    I honestly really like the boat. It’s big enough for what I need and has some features I really like. It’s not the Out Island version that has a real bad rap – from what I can tell it’s one of Morgan’s better boats, but I could be wrong. It’s a full keel shoal draft with a centerboard. Drafts 3.5′ to 7+’. Correct me if I’m wrong but that’s kind of best of both world? Great stability in chop but shallow enough to get into some shallow areas.

    Really, I just need it to work for me for about 3 years while I learn how to sail properly and get a feel for the lifestyle. Oh and pay off some pretty hefty debts. Once that’s done I will have quite a bit of freedom to buy what I want or upgrade this boat to perfection.

    As far as working on stuff myself, I’ve always done it that way. The two boats that I bought, that didn’t work out, I learned how to do fiberglass work on as well as fairing and painting. I also have quite a bit of experience in fine carpentry and know my way around an engine. Never been good at making money but I’m great at fixing and building stuff.

    Also, I will look into other Home Depots as everyone suggested. Thanks for the info.

    Alex, I will probably take you up on your offer and send you an e-mail with questions. I feel bad monopolizing your time but it will really help me out to be able to pick your brain. It’ll save me from making another series of embarrassing mistakes.

    So yeah. Thanks everyone. Really.

    1. Andy, no worries, fire away

Comments are closed.

The Minimalist Sailor © 2017 Frontier Theme
Translate »