Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sell, Rent, Store, A Year Later And Where Our Decisions Have Taken Us

So, many times I have read the questions on the sailing blogs, Facebook groups, and cruising forums that ask, should I sell everything and move on board? Or, rent our house to transition? What about my things? The years and years of accumulation? What do I do with aunt Gladys silver bowl? Jacob’s grade one art work? Grandma’s marble top dresser that I have lugged around for years and been keeping out of obligation, not because I liked the piece? There is a lot of preparation and stress that went into making these decisions, but mostly for me, they were emotional decisions. So, a year later, I want to look back to where our decisions have taken us. 

Getting organised: Or what we did first in a nut shell.  We sold the house, sold the business, sold the contents, mostly, stored minimal treasures, we whittled our belongings down to the necessities. The plan was to cruise for five years with sporadic visits. What happened was I got homesick, ok, that's another story, and if you knew me, you probably wouldn’t have believed it, but I did. I wanted to come home and see my kids and granddaughter. Now, because of other unexpected factors, we have been home for five months.

We are now, yeah! Preparing to leave again, so one year later, three countries, one fantastic cruising season, one trip home, this is what I’ve learnt. 

  1. I wished that I had, had the opportunity to seriously cruise for a period of time, before all our decisions became a fait d’accoplis. Not because I wouldn’t have gone, I definitely would, it is just that the experience of previous cruising would have made me plan better, or differently and I would have known what to expect. We weren’t ignorant to sailing, we were ignorant to cruising, big difference. 
  2. I would still sell my house, a good financial decision for us, but I missed a place to call home and I wish we had planned a for space to come home to. Family and friends are wonderful, but life goes on for both them and you. You don’t want to be hanging around like stinky fish and after living alone on the boat with just hubby I relished my privacy, long lazy morning coffee, uninterrupted afternoons of wine and books. All I have to say is that I am very thankful to good friends that were kind enough and generous enough to rent us a fully furnished private space for us to call ours. We did end up buying some property while we were home, to build a small summer cottage. Which leads me to my next insight
  3. I don’t miss work, but I miss the money. I would have stored more and prepared for a return had I known. Many things I kept, I now know that they were just things, but some things I got rid of I wish I had kept, like a car. If you stay home for any extended time, rentals are crazy, we come from Manitoulin Island, Northern Ontario and a car for a few months was a necessity. Also, we found that replacing household items is expensive and because we are not working buying huge amounts of stuff that previously we had accumulated over years seems out of this world. Squabbling over a $10 rake, versus a $12 rake would have seemed ludicrous a year ago.  
  4. I love and miss my kids and enjoyed all our time together, but I did learn that after the initial first weeks of “boy I missed you and gee mom, I missed your apple pie," they are adults and didn't need me 24/7.  Hell, I think they are happy to see me go, so they can go back to doing their own thing without my watchful eye, but with one caveat 
  5. Communication: before we left Bell Canada rattled my chain, I know I am company bashing, but after spending my whole adult life, giving them my money I am done, so we left with no cell phone coverage. We purchased a track phone to use in the US, but, we couldn’t phone cell phone long distance and our kids are in Canada with cell phones so that didn’t work so well. There was limited communication in Cuba, Mexico no problems. We actually got used to no phones and liked that we didn’t have a phone bill. The internet is easy accessible so we had Skype, magic jack, Facebook,  all was good from our end. The bottom line for others was that if there was an emergency, we were hard to reach quickly, also, sometimes the kids just have to talk to you, not a day from now or on a grainy screen. We need to do better about having a phone for emergencies. Sometimes a mom just has to be a mom and be there to listen. 

Honestly, I don’t know what is right for you, your family, your money situation, your adventure. I can only reflect on how it’s working out for us.  The most important thing I learnt is that even though we didn’t do everything perfect, we can go back and correct the choices we made to enhance our cruising lifestyle and still have the freedom to go home comfortably. That's another thing, after coming home for an extended period has only made me want to be back on the water and cruising even more.  November 12, DevOcean here I come. 

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