Happiness = ??

We have been spending the last week finally getting settled in our new beautiful boat. After being homeless for the last two months, I can not even tell you how good it has been to start to settle in and feel like we have our own space again! This summer has taken quite a toll on us, and even though we have tried to keep our focus on the positive, especially in our blog posts, the truth is the last few months have been incredibly stressful on many levels. Even though we have had the great fortune of staying with wonderful friends and visiting some of our favorite spots in New England, it has still been unbelievably difficult to work efficiently, stay on top of things, and feel stable with such unsettled conditions. Add on top of that the challenges of Cap’t K. getting sick with Lyme disease, the loss of a pivotal family relationship, an unbelievable number of very expensive and inconvenient car repairs, as well as a few other unexpected financial setbacks,…..in short, we’ve been dealing with a lot of stress. We have been experiencing the downside of our gypsy life.

I’ve even been questioning whether we are doing the right thing. Maybe we should just settle down and “be normal”. Get a life, as we’ve been told by some to do. When we were at the bank getting the money out to pay for our boat, we saw a sign in the bank that said “Nothing brings happiness and a sense of freedom like a great rate on a home mortgage.” We thought, “Wow, that’s quite a statement, equating unparalleled happiness and freedom with being in debt for 30+ years.” We were lucky enough to buy our boat without a loan, and so we are free from a mortgage, and that feels like a sense of freedom to me. However, we are seriously strapped for cash now, and that doesn’t feel so free, and that is definitely not making me happy….it’s a tradeoff either way, and some days I’m not sure which choice is best. Would we feel happier if we were settled with normal jobs and had a great rate on a huge mortgage? A few years ago, we almost went down that road. We were both working full time jobs, and we put in an offer on a house. We offered the guy the amount he was asking for. And he rejected it. So we didn’t get the house and eventually went down this gypsy boat path instead. Now the value of that house is a fraction of what he had been asking for, and we feel pretty lucky that we didn’t get it, because if we did we would owe way more on the mortgage than the house is now worth. Lots of people we know are in that situation, and they aren’t too happy about it, and they definitely aren’t experiencing “freedom”!

What is happiness anyway? It seems elusive sometimes. In the end, we are about as happy as we decide to be with the deck of cards we’ve drawn. Sometimes this whole sailboat adventure seems to be an experiment in exploring what happiness is made of. We have made our choices, taken our risks, picked our cards, and now we have to play them. Some days we feel pretty happy about it all and other days totally suck. Whether we like it or not, it comes down to the fact that for now we have chosen this road and we just need to keep going down it, even though it sometimes feels super scary and stressful. So our next move is to get ourselves south, park it somewhere, and get jobs for the winter. I’m sure you were all hoping for something more exciting than that, but hey, this is our reality right now.

We didn’t plan on getting on this boat and heading south with no money in our pockets, but that’s what is happening. The same car that conspired to keep us in the harbor back in our last post has also conspired to eat up every last cent we had been saving for our trip south. Now we just have to PRAY this boat will get us to where we need to go without expensive repairs as well!

So…we are preparing to head south. Destination, south of the frost line. Florida will enter the picture at some point. Money making opportunities will be a deciding factor. As soon as the car sells, we’re outta here. It’s getting cold! The forecast for the next week is rain, rain, and more rain. Good thing we just got our foul weather gear mailed to us from Florida! We also got all our charts, and we are starting to study them to plan our route south. We REALLY, REALLY don’t want to be stuck on the ICW again all the way down the coast. We feel more confident in our sailing skills now than we did last year, so we are planning as many legs as possible on the ocean to avoid both the cost (of fuel) and the extra time it would take to stay on the ICW. In fact, we are looking for crew…anyone out there interested in sailing part way down the coast with us? We have room now for another person!

Meanwhile, our cats are also getting settled on the new boat, and they seem pretty content about it. Here are a few pics:

Slomo in the cockpit

Standing Headroom!

the new galley!

20 thoughts on “Happiness = ??

  1. Pam

    It would appear that the Lord has been behind you all the way when you had a small boat. It appears that He worked everything out for you to get the big boat. I am sure that He will see you through no matter where you are.
    Don’t get discouraged, it is just another challenge. That is what life is a seriess of challenges, which make us depend on God more. If we didn’t have challenges, when would we feel the need for God to be in our life.
    Buck Up! Don’t let anyone steal your joy.
    Where can I send you some money? I want to help.
    Love Pam

    Reply
  2. John Defoy

    Pam, your absolutly right!
    Follow your dreams and the money will follow!
    Boat ownership require some amount of money and lucky for Wee Happy you are there to help them out.
    Regards,
    John Defoy

    Reply
  3. Jay Gordon

    No one is happy all the time. Everyone has to decide the trade offs for themselves. I love the concept of a bank telling anyone what happiness is. I think they meant happiness for themselves! “Low rate”, yeah, now try to qualify for it!
    I do worry about the many bloggers I’ve seen who, with little or no money, go cruising. They risk ruining their work records and loosing out on home equity that they will need later in life. On one hand, you stand to make out big time if you bought a house now ( I think…) and are very lucky you didn’t get caught in the housing downturn. On the other, looking for a job in that same economy is gunna suck!
    If you park the boat, it can be low cost housing and consider that you might not need to go all the way to florida. The Great Lakes have nice full cites where you can stay the winter. There are also lots of choices in bewteen. Everyone wants to go to florida and that will make it expensive and harder to find a job.

    Reply
  4. svgeminidreams

    Happiness is being yourself! Allowing others and society to control your expectations is false fulfillment. Their pressure to conform you to their beliefs may even stem from the beliefs of those that pressure them since childhood. We all fall pressure to those outside forces from time to time (being in PC is mine at the moment). Most people choose to take the “American Dream” life and all it’s debt with the two story house, two kids, two cats, a dog and pretentious friends. I know I did for a while.

    You know Marathon could use an organic restaurant with excellent food presentation and acceptable cost. There could even be live music and fire dancing. Not that you need to be tied to a full time job but there are options.

    wes
    Good luck guys hope to see you around south Florida and more.

    Reply
  5. Jay Gordon

    I think the anti-american dream mindset might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The goal of home ownership (in full) gives security and is worth working for. There are many inexpensive options (I don’t think I have to tell yurt owners that) but a place to stay that costs you nothing is essential for retirement. ( a boat will never be that as any boat owner can tell you) Kids, dog, cat, friends, expensive cars, clubbing, cell phones, cable, internet, – don’t need ’em. Those things are what eats up your money.
    I agree that debt is the enemy. However, lack of savings and equity is a close second.

    A restaurant? Talk about debt.

    Reply
    1. wh-admin Post author

      I definitely agree that home ownership is a great thing, and it is something we look forward to having when the right situation presents itself and we gypsies decide where we’d like to settle down!!
      And yes, a restaurant would be a level of debt that we are not interested in taking on right now!! (even though it is true that Marathon could use a good healthy food restaurant!)

      Reply
  6. John Defoy

    This is the great debate between freedom and security. To much of one, not enough of the other…
    All of us reading there adventures, are either retired, working, most of us in debt and none of us is has free as we would like to be.
    What to do, what to do!
    I agree with M. Gordon, some amount of money is preferable for retirement and secure a futur. But how much freedom are we ready do sacrifice to acheive our goals of financial independance.
    Living the life, the dream, is something that will cost either now or later in life. Now would you rather work now or work later? And lets keep in mind that all the planning in life, does not garantee that we will be alive or healty to benefit the money set a side.
    Happiness is a state of mind, regardless if you work or travel the world with no money in your pocket.
    John.

    Reply
    1. wh-admin Post author

      Yes, it is great to see this topic being debated. Thanks for your input! I honestly don’t know which is best, freedom or security….I wish it didn’t have to end up being such a choice between the two. I have been experimenting on both ends of that spectrum for quite a few years now and haven’t quite found the right sweet spot between the two yet. It may be a lifelong question, and I know that it is one that has different answers for different people.

      Reply
  7. Cheryl

    Congrats on the new boat! She looks great, so happy for you. Sorry to hear about the Lyme disease – take care of yourself with that. I think it would do you well to not look too far into the future right now. You don’t have to sign a contract on what you will do for the next 30 years. Savor this time, and I would be willing to bet that in 10 to 20 years you will look back and not be sorry that you did this. Things will work out, opportunities will present themselves – they always do for smart, creative and good people like yourselves.
    One possibility for making some cash is to go more commercial with your blog ( check out Windtraveler and World tour with Alex and Taru) You could reach a whole different group of people than these blogs do, and you have a lot to offer with your writing and experience. Good things will come to you both ; please keep blogging often, I’m sure your audience is growing and we love your story. Where’s the donate button?

    Reply
    1. wh-admin Post author

      Thanks for your comments Cheryl! It is a good reminder that our current situation is temporary!
      Also, thank you for the suggestion about expanding our blog, it is something we have been discussing anyway and it is always interesting to check out other sailor’s blogs!
      I did not intend for this post about our financial difficulties to be a plea for donations, however if people such as yourself feel so inclined, the donation button is back on the sidebar of the blog! Thank you!!!!

      Reply
  8. Steve

    Hi Guys,
    I wish you well on your next adventure, off shore or the ICW (again). If you decide to come thru the Chesapeake and would welcome a point out to good moorings, gunk-holes, or local sight-seeing, feel free to drop me a line. Also, we would look forward to having you stop by for dinner and to recharge your mental batteries if required. Contact me offline if interested, otherwise I too look forward to following your trip.
    Regards,
    Steve

    Reply
  9. Pam

    How to be Happy in Life! KIS keep it simple!
    As long as you own your stuff and your stuff doesn’t own you, your going to be happy. Also, you need to be content sometimes with what you have.
    Don’t try to keep up with the neighbors. K you are a wiz with computers that alone should support the two of you, whether you do it privately or for a business. (Use me as a reference if you would like) L your extremely talented and I am sure that your able to find work to wherever you are.
    The debt this country is in now, having money in banks is that always the best thing, look at all the people who worked all their lives and lost everything in that last bank or broker deal.
    Everyone has to do what is good for them. It is not the circumstances that make your life, it is what you do and how you handle the circumstances in your life. Your going to always have problems, but you will always have resolutions and most of all you will always have good friends who will stand by you and help and support you. You seem to have a lot of them from what I see. You have gotten lots of good advice but its your decision your the one who has to live your life. I own two houses, its no picnic believe me. I would sell one of them but my brother wouldn’t appreciate it.
    Keep Smiling. Friends keep giving them advice you may say something that they haven’t thought of yet….who knows. They are using us as a sounding board, be honored to be used this way. Remember to say what you want in love we have two very tendered hearted people here coming off of some real hurt. Love to you both!

    Reply
  10. Velocir

    Hey guys!

    Keep it up! We are about to set sail in a couple days on our own Albin Vega we have been working on for the past 3 years! Check out our blog (www.velocir.com) and if we are in the neighborhood when you come down, drop by for a beer. Your journey has helped us keep inspired. Take care.

    Fair winds and following seas,
    Grant and Amelia
    SV Velocir

    Reply
    1. wh-admin Post author

      Hi Grant and Amelia,

      Best wishes on your adventure!! I hope our paths cross along the way somewhere, it would be great to meet you! Where are you setting sail from and to? I think I gathered from your blog that you are in the Chesapeake Bay area?
      We added a link to your blog on our site as a way for Albin Vega owners to stay connected!!
      cheers,
      Lala and Capt K.

      Reply
  11. Velocir

    Lala and Capt. K.

    We are in Annapolis, MD on the Chesapeake heading/meandering in a general Southward direction in the next few days. Mostly ICW, maybe some offshore jumps. We’ll crossover to the Bahamas January-ish. We hope to run into you guys! Take care.

    Bon Voyage,
    Grant and Amelia
    SV Velocir

    Reply
  12. Joss

    Hey you two – just sending my love and support, and wishes for a good start to your journey. I think the beginning of any adventure is pretty stressful (with Ghana and a month in Colorado coming up, Steve and I are feelin’ it!) – but one thing I see that both of you have going for you is your strong partnership and alliance. It’s a huge gift, and also a wonderful thing to witness.
    ~Joss
    p.s. Ghana is warm. Although, a bit of a haul in a 30′ boat. On the other hand, Roz Savage rowed it…. lol!

    Reply
  13. Alicia

    cats, boats, and happiness. seems good to me. money comes, and money goes. i think that what is so inspiring about the both of you, is your able to step off the shelf of societal norms and create money wherever you go, in whatever form you can get it. i’ve always been leary of the word “career” and all its implications. i guess i align more with you, which is why i’m not doing some kind of career path, and keeping tabs on my résumé.

    that being said, not having money is a real concern, but i think it frees our minds from our original concepts of how we should be living. i look forward being inspired by your creative pursuits of money.

    happiness is learning how to stay true to your soul, while maintaining equilibrium of external forces. i saw a hawk soaring over my little garden in urban oakland, and a seagull dive-bombing it. i see the hawk as a spirit guide, and am amazed at how effortlessly they glide on the thermal drafts. despite many attempts, the seagull was not able to ruffle the hawks feathers or perturb its flight path in the slightest. i think when we are spiritually fulfilled, we will soar like the hawk and not be fazed by life’s throes.

    i send lots of creative, positive energy and hope knowing that you have emotional support will help keep you afloat on some level.

    much love and good health to the both of you…

    until the stars align and we meet again, keep dancing…

    Reply

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