No, it isn’t a shark. It’s a spoonbill from Mermet Springs.
You might have noticed a new check on our To-do List… With a second trip to Mermet Springs in three weeks, I’ve finally earned my PADI Divemaster certification. It was quite a relief to finally be finished, to be honest. Kyle and I had been working nearly every weekend since May… taking tests, completing practical exams, assisting pool classes, grading quizzes and tests, guiding tours, assisting with student training dives, and anything else a dutiful dive shop slave does.
We will definitely still be doing most of those things, but at least the rush is over. We didn’t want to say no to any opportunity to complete a part of our certification requirements due to the fast approaching winter (and no diving for the warm blooded… water so cold your head wants to explode isn’t fun). Each time I assist with new students I am amazed at how far I have come in such a short time. From worrying about not banging into the coral/rocks to flawlessly floating through a submerged Boeing 727, I’m a much better diver than I was a year ago when I was in the Caribbean. I love being able to help students discover diving and improve their own skills.
I still have much to learn about diving and teaching diving, especially as I hone my skills for the instructor class, but it feels great to have attained professional diver ranking.
So where do I go from here? The eventual goal is for scuba to be able to provide some supplemental income while we are cruising. The best way to earn money in scuba is instructing and leading dive tours. As a divemaster I can already lead dive tours, but I am severely limited in the independent instructing I can do. Next up are the Instructor Development Course and the Instructor Exam.
What does this have to do with putting our house up for sale? He is standing on the counter… in the house, obviously.
After weeks of preparation, repairs, upgrades, and cleaning our house is officially on the market today. Honestly it is a surreal moment for us. We’ve been working towards our dream for over a year and our progress so far has been almost completely intangible. Until now. When we said things were starting to get real, we weren’t kidding.
Our plan is to sell our house and find a job in (preferably) Florida. We would like to be able to take an entire season preparing both ourselves and our future boat. There are going to be adjustments that need to be made both to our future boat and to its occupants. We will be downsizing from a 2400 ft² house to around approximately 400 ft². It sounds rough, but that is actually the size of Michele and my first house. I hadn’t thought about that until we were looking at deck plans of a potential boat and I mentioned something about the size (or lack thereof). She said, “Dan, that is around the same size as our Gift house… it won’t be a problem.” (side note: Michele and I had a house on Gift Avenue and always refer to it as our Gift house.) And shes right… when we lived in the Gift house we both knew it was smaller than pretty much any other house in existence, but it worked for us. We didn’t feel cramped. We just used our space wisely.
It is very easy, for me especially, to get caught up in the details… the day to day lists of stuff we need to get done to make our dream a reality. It helps to take a step back every once in a while and take stock of the situation. We just listed our house for sale so we can go live on a boat, that’s pretty amazing.
Follow your dreams. Follow the Horizon.
I realized a few days ago that it has been a year since Michele and I first talked about cruising. Looking back, I’m amazed at how much we have been able to accomplish in that time. It also puts into perspective what we have ahead of us. Up to now, much of what we have accomplished has been intangible. We’ve learned how to sail (we’ll never be experts), rid ourselves of tens of thousands of dollars of debt, and many other things, big and small, to prepare ourselves for the cruising life. Now, however, we stand at a precipice… where our preparations will transition from intangible and easily reversible to life changing. A few minor touch-ups notwithstanding, our house is ready for us to put it up for sale. I’ve had several successful interviews in Florida as well as locally (more money). Basically, things are starting to get real. Really real.
Both of our LASIK procedures went wonderfully and we can see 20/15 now. The clarity of our vision is amazing. Unexpectedly, the change in physical vision prompted me to take stock of our preparations, goals, and dreams. Now, more than ever, we are committing to following the dream. Sure, it’s scary at times… but its extremely fulfilling living life intentionally. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Follow your dreams. Follow the Horizon.
P.S. We’re done with the cheesie eye related post titles… sorry we put you through that.
Zoe during better times
It’s been a hectic week! We weren’t kidding when we said There is a Lot Going On Around Here.
As a follow up to Good Bye Awesome Car, Hello Future our second awesome car has been sold! We have been looking for an opportunity to sell it, as eliminating our last car payment will really boost our savings. We’re now driving my parent’s Jeep which they are selling us for a very good price that we think we should easily be able to recoup when we sell it. Parting ways was much easier this time… each step forward is a step closer to cast-off day. The bedroom has been painted, the carpet is on the way, and I’m done with the classroom portion of Divemaster training. Next up is assisting with classes and student training dives.
Of all of the progress made this week, perhaps the most momentous was telling my parents. My family is very close (we live 2 blocks away from them)… so we weren’t exactly sure how they would take the news that we are planning on moving thousands of miles away. More on that in our next post.
On a much sadder note, our dog Zoe passed away on Saturday. Although she was only four years old, she had been battling Addison’s disease for three of those. Steroids twice a day for three years allowed her to live an active life but also took a toll on her small body. Even though we understand the necessity of giving up our dogs before leaving for life at sea, this was definitely not the way we had planned on saying good-bye. It also has given us just a little reminder of the good things that we will be leaving behind. Even fulfilling your dreams can be bittersweet at times.
Follow your dreams. Follow the Horizon.
Now that Michele and I’s cruising plans have been put into high gear, getting ready to “retire” and begin cruising is hard! No really, it is. Let me list a few of our current projects for you…
- Get the house ready to sell
- New Fireplace Mantle DONE
- New Bedroom Carpet IN PROGRESS
- Carpet removed DONE
- Carpet pad removed DONE
- New carpet picked out
- New Paint in Bedroom IN PROGRESS
- Remove hideous 90’s wallpaper border from Bedroom DONE
- Finish Crown Molding in Kitchen DONE
- Paint the Shed IN PROGRESS
- Become a PADI Divemaster
- Assist with Open Water Diver classes IN PROGRESS
- Attain 60 logged dives IN PROGRESS
- Become better sailors
- Join local yacht club DONE
- Sail as often as possible IN PROGRESS
- Sell my Saab
- Meet with potential buyers IN PROGRESS
- Get LASIK eye surgery
- First appointment DONE
- No contacts for 3 weeks IN PROGRESS
- Surgery August 17th in Chicago UPCOMING
Dealing with the above (and more… part of which I’m really excited about, but it isn’t ready to show you guys yet!) while trying to continue in a job that my heart isn’t in anymore has been weighing on me recently. When it gets bad, I close my eyes and remember standing with Michele on the beach. The sand, wind, ocean… they all comfort me even tough they are a thousand miles away. Michele and I are doing our best to bring them quite a bit closer, however. The sacrifices we make now will allow us to cruise more comfortably (and sooner!) in the future, and I’m glad we’re making them. But life is not always mai tais and mini umbrellas… but at least it is exciting to be making progress in following our dreams.