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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Shaping Up and Shipping Out: Planning Our Great Escape


It began with an innocent, but not so innocent question

“Do you want to go sailing with me in the San Juans?”  The question moved our budding friendship to something much more.  But that’s another story.

Fast forward seven years. 
An aircraft mechanic gets frustrated by the wrong ratio of red tape versus turning a wrench, my husband was itching for a career change.  Returning from a hiatus of many years of success at a top fortune company, my job search efforts resulted in a series of near-minimum wage and temp contracts doing unrelated work that I mostly sucked at.

Worse, we’re a couple California kids, born sun-seekers, who moved to an area further north, naively thinking it would give us a foot in the door to transfer to warmer climes with the same company.  Try as we might, we were not happy.

Once again, my husband broke the ice with another innocent question… 
“What if we just took off, sailing, starting in the Caribbean, then maybe circumnavigated?” 

Would I go with him?
Yes!  But when?  And how?  Ummm, did I mention that I don’t know how to sail? 

After much ado about planning and saving for ten years, for five years, for three years… We agreed on three, maybe two years.  Then, pulled the timeline up.  Twice.  Reading Beth Leonard’s “The Voyager’s Handbook” sealed it.  We realized our biological clock was ticking, loudly, not for a baby, but our great escape.  We studied in earnest what separated the dreamers from the doers, the wanderers from the wanna-bes.  We talked to folks from both camps.  It seemed to boil down to determination, picking a date, then figuring out what we could save in that amount of time for our boat purchase and “cruising kitty” (our living expenses while sailing), than making our plans fit our budget. 

Then, we found our boat, and the dream became very real.