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To-Do List

This was our To-Do list while we were waiting to purchase a boat. Now that we’ve purchased our boat we have a significantly different To-Do list that focuses on getting Horizon (and ourselves) ready for life afloat. We’ve left this list here so you can see what we focused on while preparing to begin cruising. For a more current view of things, check out What’s next?

Sailing and Boat Related

Family and Health Related

  • Tell our family. Dan’s brother Kyle and his wife Becca are planning on coming with us, but the rest of the family (namely our parents) don’t have a clue.
  • Get LASIK eye surgery. Again, we know this isn’t technically necessary, but our insurance will be paying for most of it, and it should save us some serious glasses related hassles in the future. Plus, we just want it.
  • Potty-train Carter. While we know cruisers survive with cloth diapers, Michele is just not interested in hand washing poopy ones. Thanks but no thanks.

  • Learn how to cook (better and more). This includes learning how to make foods from scratch and not just pasta roni and boxed cakes. This also includes training our habit away from eating out for every single meal.

Scuba Related (the most fun)

  • Buy scuba gear for Dan.
  • Get advanced and rescue certified. Michele got her advanced scuba certification and Dan got advanced and rescue certified on our Bull Shoals scuba trip.
  • Dan get dive master certified. This one is a minimum for us, since that puts him in official pay-scale range for dive shops.
  • Buy scuba gear for Michele. Probably will purchase this slower than Dan because he will need it sooner for his classes.
  • Dan get instructor certified. The eventual goal and our fallback plan for money on the boat. PADI instructors are certified to teach PADI classes anywhere in the world, which is a bonus since that’s where we’ll be.

Money (the reason for the wait)

  • Pay off car loans. Sold!
  • Pay off student loans.
  • Build equity in our house.
  • Have at least a year’s worth of cruising expenses to start our “cruising kitty”.
  • Secure at least $1000/mo income from rental properties. We currently have four single family homes. (We average about $200-300 profit per month per house after accounting for vacancies and subtracting 10% for a property manager… we don’t pay a property manager yet, but we will when we are cruising.)
  • Have at least 6 months reserves for each rental property. This is required by banks to get a new rental loan (and also for our sanity).

  • Save in order to purchase and outfit a boat.

  • Save at least $50,000 in cash. This is the big one that we are waiting on, along with Dan’s scuba certifications. (This is no longer our plan… when we hit $50,000 we decided to buy rentals and investments in order to support us for a much longer time.)


  1. Wow! Just stumbled upon your blog and I am really into it basically because you are young professionals who seem to be good with your money just like my wife and I but also, because you have an approach to achieving your sailing dream in a realistic sense that sets you up for success…We have more of a 10 year plan that includes paying off all debt (school & house mainly, no other debt). Of course, 10 years is a long time but I figured it’s something to live for plus it gives us motivation to live for living debt free so if we don’t end sailing, at least we have no debt! I like the way you are going about things though as I feel the failures of manyu younger people who go cruise are due to just doing it like people say to do so…but I believe if you are foing to take such a drastic change in your life, I think many things need to be in line if you are going to succeed and really enjoy yourself…I think you guys are doing it in a way that will set you up for a ton of fun…Instead of worrying about working at a given port, etc etc, you guys will be worrying about what to choices you have in food or wine, etc etc…I think it’s the way to go and not so much be worried about how you will end up paying for your next meal etc

    Have fun! I will be reading and watching!

    • Thank you so much for your comments! Ten years might seem like a long time, but you might be surprised how fast it can go when you have a goal that you are working towards. We had a similar opinion about all of our preparations as we were waiting as well; if cruising didn’t work out, at least we would be debt free and own some great investments. Initially, we were very tempted by the idea of just going quickly, but realized that we would be able to enjoy the journey much more if the necessity of getting a job at the end was not always hanging over our heads. Good luck to you!

      • Yeah, I feel ya…We did a bit of a different approach on the boat thing…We just went from a Tartan 27 and found an amazing deal on a Tartan 34C that we just had to bite on…We thought eventually, we would buy our future boat when we’re ready but when the opportunity came to us to buy the boat with cash we actually had from the next town over over from us, we had to…Even better was the fact that it was the boat in my top 3 list of boats to actually do it on…So we sold the T27 in pretty much a day and bought the 34 for less than we sold the 27…I am working to launch it in a few weeks so that we do our usual summer sailing here in the Southcoast of Massachusetts…The plan is to continue to sail/cruise summers and upgrade the 34 to our liking little by little…We figure in due time, we will be ready to go without having to save the money to pay for the boat and the usual things many do where they look for the right boat and pay a big lumpsome and then refit…a bit of different approach for us compared to what I have seen others do but, different strokes for different folks…Good luck on your move! I’m jealous you guys are actually chasing summer while we in New England painstakingly wait for summer to reach us!

        • I think that is a great way to make sure that you have everything done that you want without having to worry too much about draining a “boat savings” account too quickly. That was actually a big reason why we wanted to move to Florida with Dan working instead of just quitting our jobs with a hunk of savings. It’s always nice to have that extra flexibility in the finances!


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