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Posted on Oct 24, 2012 | 0 comments

Divemaster!

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.

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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 Aug 22, 2012 | 0 comments

I can see clearly now

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.

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Posted on Aug 2, 2012 | 0 comments

How-To: Inform the Fam

Dan’s mom, Shelly, and Carter at the pumpkin farm last year.

Step 1: Put a big sign in front of your house that says it is for sale.
Step 2: Wait for your family to freak out.

Okay, this is exactly what we didn’t do and hopefully anyone reading this blog will try to avoid this approach as well.  We were not looking forward to telling Grandma and Grandpa that their adorable grandson would soon be living on a boat out of easy cuddle range, however we decided that it would be very unfair to put our house up for sale without letting them know first.

Let me just insert a little history here to help everyone understand why we were hesitant to tell our parents. First of all, we have a very good relationship with Dan’s parents. They live only a few blocks from us, which means that we see them a lot. It will be a major change for us (and them) to not see each other basically every day. Secondly, sailing off on a boat is not the first time that we have told our families that we are moving somewhere else, but it will be the first time that we actually do it. We wanted to make sure that we were far enough along in the planning and preparation that we would be taken seriously, as well as have as many answers to their questions as possible. Finally, over the last year we have been trying to prepare them for the idea of cruising by talking a lot about sailing and other people that we have met who are currently cruising.

To be honest, I think our general preparation worked to make the idea sound feasible, but I’m not sure that we overcame the obstacle of being taken seriously. We told Dan’s parents at dinner at Cracker Barrel (his mom’s favorite restaurant, mine less so) that we were putting our house up for sale in August and that we planned to move to Florida as soon as possible to find a boat to live on. And then…nothing happened. It was extremely anticlimactic. Eventually they did ask some of the basic questions like “What about pirates?” and “How do you make sure Carter doesn’t fall in?”, but the overall mood was so subdued I almost wished someone would cry or yell or something. It felt like being a kid again…

“Hey mom! I’m going to be an astronaut when I grow up!”
“That’s great, honey, now wash your hands for dinner.”

Since that day, a week and a half ago, there still hasn’t been much reaction. Things have been mentioned in an off-hand kind of way, but no more questions or concerns have been voiced. I have a feeling that may change once we are actually leaving, but for now I just don’t think that it is real to them yet.

Note: some of you may have noticed the lack of information on my family’s reaction to the news. That’s because we would like to tell them in person, but we haven’t been able to get up to Chicago to talk to them about it yet.

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Posted on Jul 25, 2012 | 0 comments

We’ve had a busy week

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.

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