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Posted on Oct 10, 2012 | 0 comments

A Sense of Loss

Dan recently took this photo while on his day off with Carter


Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a leadership seminar through my department at work. There were many excellent points discusses throughout the entire course of the seminar, but the portion on change is what really hit a chord with me. Hmm, I wonder why? The speaker, Chuck Stoner*, spoke specifically about the fact that every change in life comes with a sense of loss and grieving, even when the change is something positive that we are looking forward to.

When change comes, there is always a different path that will never be available to us again. Dan and I are currently standing in that divergence of choices and the other paths that we will be walking away from are so clear to me I can almost physically see them. I can see Carter at his first day of kindergarten, baseball game, and a host of other things that every mom cherishes and it does fill me with a sense of longing for that path. I can see that our grandparents are getting older and know in my heart that there is a very real possibility that being gone for 5-10 years or more means we might not get to see them again before they die. We may miss births of nieces and nephews, friends’ weddings, and a lot more events that we can never get back once they are over. We will be moving away from Dan’s very close-knit family that we spend time with multiple days a week.

All of these things and more impose a real weight to the decisions that we are making. They give more value to the good life that we are leaving behind to follow our dream of cruising. Does that mean that we will regret the choice to leave? I don’t think so. The excitement of moving forward and doing something new is far too great for us to look back wistfully for very long. But it does make me appreciate the time we have left a little more.

Follow your Dreams. Follow the Horizon.

*Dr. Charles Stoner and his speaking partner Tom Bower gave one of the best seminars I have ever attended. If you ever have a chance to go to one, I would highly recommend it. Also, you can find some of Chuck’s books on business and leadership here.

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Posted on Jul 21, 2012 | 0 comments

What Do You Believe

Playing horse is just one of many great ways to spend some time!

If you listen closely enough throughout the course of your day, you will probably hear a mention of “spending time” more than once. “I spent some time going through that report…” or “I’m going to spend some time with my kids this weekend…”, you know what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, I think that too many of us don’t actually realize the consequences of what spending our time actually means.

Americans, in general, are not well known for our ability to save money. We like to spend it as it comes. (Not exactly the most prudent choice, but we’re not talking about what’s advisable, just what is true.) However, it seems that the opposite mindset is true of our time. For some reason our society has decided that if we work like maniacs now, we will be able to retire when we are at some unknown “older” age… at which point we will have “earned” enough time to relax and enjoy life. We have, unfortunately, picked the wrong commodity to try and hold on to.

In a program called The Truth Project, a recurring question that is asked is this: “Do I really believe that what I believe is really real?” That question has plagued me ever since I first heard it. People say that time is our most precious asset, it’s the only thing that we can never have more of. But do we really believe that’s true? Because if we really believed that, wouldn’t we do everything that we could to cherish every second and be a little more judicious with them?

My son was born almost 20 months ago. They have truly been the fastest 20 months of my life, and I’m sure that the months are not going to start rolling by any slower in the future. It’s about time for us to start spending them a little more wisely. Dan and I are in the process of finding out what it really means to live what we believe. I hope you will find out for yourself.

Follow your Dreams. Follow the Horizon.

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Posted on Apr 28, 2012 | 0 comments

Meet the Crew: Carter

So why can't I go in again?

Carter is our smallest-in-stature, biggest-in-attitude crew member. I’ll refrain from any 2-going-on-20 cliches, but this kid definitely thinks he is running the show around here (and he might be right!) He loves all things “boy”- trucks, cars, trains, and of course boats a.k.a “buhts” to him. Since he was only about 2 months old, the best way to get Carter to relax has been to take him outside. He will be in a terrible tantrum mood, but as soon as you get him outside he will play peacefully for literally hours.

Carter not only has the love of the outdoors going for him, he is completely obsessed with water. Talk about a boy meant for the ocean. He’ll splash in anything he can find: pools, ponds, dog dishes, and (as a mother I am ashamed to admit) the occasional open toilet. Yuck. He will even pour out drops of juice on the floor just to rub them around on his hands. He LOVES water.

One of our biggest motivations for wanting to live on a sailboat and travel is to give our son the opportunity to grow up with an open mind. To experience humanity instead of being just a passive member of it. To learn by touch and feel instead of by being told. Carter may not want to live on a boat for the rest of his life, and maybe we won’t either, but that’s not our ultimate goal for him. We want him to know that anything is possible, no matter what his horizon is.

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Posted on Apr 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Familiar Waters

Sailing right were we are

Recently, Tillerman of Proper Course issued a “writing project” to complete his Top 10 list of best places to sail with one of your own. The challenge was open ended, the destination could be a favorite vacation spot, local secret, or anything in between. When I first read it, I thought “we haven’t really sailed anywhere too exciting” (though our first attempt was fairly exciting in itself even without an exotic destination.) But then I realized that I did have the answer to his question. What is the best sailing destination? It’s wherever your boat is floating right now.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m sure that there are much preferable places to sail a boat than the Illinois River, or some little lake by where you live. But isn’t the point of sailing to just be on the water? Anywhere? To throw off the lines and feel the wind in your face, even if it isn’t tinged with sea salt? Is the joy of the water dependent on the type of sand beneath it? I certainly don’t think so.

We are just beginning our journey to start our lives as cruisers and we still have a long way to go. We’re never going to learn to sail unless we go sailing, and if that means getting our feet wet in the muddy river with a channel hardly wide enough for decent tacking so be it. Sure we’re looking forward to the white sand beaches and trade winds in the future, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have some amazing days of sailing right where we are, enjoying the same sun setting below the distant horizon.

Those far off destinations might be fantastic, but you have to start wherever your boat is right now… you certainly won’t get there by sitting in front of a computer screen thinking about how nice it would be to be staring down at crystal clear waters in the Bahamas. White sand beaches, crystal clear water, and the trandwinds at your back beat a muddy river any day… just don’t forget that sailing in a muddy river beats sitting at home any day. Where’s the best place to go sailing? Right where you are.

Follow your dreams. Follow the Horizon.

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Posted on Mar 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Life’s Regrets

Years ago, before I had even heard of the idea of cruising, I was terrified. I was terrified that I would wake up one day at the sunset of life and regret. Not regret what I had done, regret what I had not done. This is where Bronnie Ware comes in. Bronnie was a nurse that cared for people during the last days and weeks of their lives. People tend to gain clarity during their last days and often look back on the life they have lived. Bronnie was there to experience this with her patients. She blogged, and later wrote a book, about her experiences.

In her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing Bronnie explains how we can live better lives by addressing these top five regrets:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
It seems natural that unfulfilled dreams would be the greatest regret. I still have plenty of things that I want to accomplish in life. The key to this regret is not failure to achieve your dreams… it is the much more disheartening failure to pursue your dreams. To rephrase the famous saying: it is better to have pursued your dreams and fail than to not pursue them at all.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
Bronnie says it best herself:

All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Be yourself. Much easier said than done. Are you afraid that you will not fit in to the mold others have crammed you into? Who cares? Life is far too short to worry about the negative people in your life. Cherish and nurture relationships with the people in your life who care about you instead. You are much more likely to pursue your dreams when you aren’t worried about what the next person in line thinks about you.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
This ties in to regret #3 for me. Do you spend more time with your family and friends or fake TV characters? How about your work? Prioritize your time. It is the only resource you can’t get more of.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Happiness is a choice. Live your life intentionally and you will be better for it. Do not coast (maybe you could cruise!) down the river of life. What makes you happy? Do that. There are many best selling books just about this subject including Live Like You Mean It: The 10 Crucial Questions That Will Help You Clarify Your Purpose / Live Intentionally / Make the Most of the Rest of Your Life and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

As Michele and I work toward our goal of becoming live aboard cruisers, it helps to look back on what started us on our journey. It helps add perspective and provide motivation when we are dealing with the daily grind of saving money, learning to sail (ok, not so much a grind but a jump off a cliff), and many other non-cruising activities.

Cruising might not be for you, it isn’t for most people. But please… for your own sake, do what is for you.

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