On holding on to dreams and a confession

…if you feel your dreams slipping in the riptide and undercurrents of global-market turmoil–lunge after them, grab them, and hug them fiercely to your beating chest. To allow them to slip away would be to accept diminishment. – Captain Fatty Goodlander

Back in 1999, fresh out of college and working my first job, I came across Robert Doty’s website Sleeping With Oars. I excitedly told Tig about this crazy subculture that lives and sleeps on sailboats. He drank the Kool-aid and became even more enamored with the idea than me. Over the next couple of years we went to a boat show and took sailing lessons at the local sailing club.

Eventually, the dream petered out as we didn’t know any liveaboards or sailboat owners to help guide us through what seemed to be an insurmountable task.

Fast forward to this past November. Our neighbors have sold their house and bought a boat to go cruising. We followed Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s advice to go to parties and ended up at a local marina gathering. The dream has been revived.

We don’t want to wait until we’re 65 to get the guts to do something different than “the plan.” You know, The Plan: go to college, get married, buy a house, have two kids (we’ve done all of that with no regrets), buy bigger house, bigger car, accumulate lots of stuff, retire someday, and then you can live your dreams before you die…hopefully. It’s the second part that I wish to avoid.

I’ve always been fascinated by tiny homes, small space living, little Airstream camper vans and sailboats. Living and working on a sailboat together will be hard work. We expect it to be. But hopefully, it will also be a fun and worthwhile adventure.

Maybe this crazy idea won’t pan out. Maybe we’ll try it and conclude that boat life isn’t suited for us, that we would prefer to live in a little seaside cottage or a farmhouse instead. It doesn’t matter. As long as we don’t stop dreaming. Some people want to travel the world, others want to go back to the land and live off the grid. I just want to hold on to my spirit. And my kids.

And now, a confession. We haven’t told many people about our plans. We don’t want to subject ourselves to critics or naysayers yet, not until we have a boat in our hands. Even well-meaning friends and family often have a vested interest in keeping us on The Plan.

What are you doing to protect your dreams?

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6 Replies to “On holding on to dreams and a confession

  1. this is my response to naysayers

    What i have found though is that mostly effusive enthusiasm and sense of purpose is enough to make people question their own “normal” before they start to apply it to my dreams. Lately victoria has been having conversations witwh strangers (at parks, the store, etc.) about our dream. It seems that most of them are thinking of joining us before they part ways.

    My take, intentional, purposeful living has a magnetic force.

    FWIW, I am really enjoying following your journey. Keep the posts flowing.

    1. “…If I succeed I will snorkel, hike, and live truly, in paradise. If you succeed you will get to work.”

      Tucker, I really like your response! I’m a big fan of the living well is the best revenge approach. It’s funny because I want other people to have adventures and love to be inspired by others. I can’t imagine zapping their dreams.

  2. I believe Mark Twain said it best, ” Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” We bought a 37′ sailboat and will be venturing out next summer. Perhaps we will bump into each other. Good luck in your search!!!

    1. It’s a wonderful quote. Congratulations on your sailboat, Zina! Do drop us a line when you are off on your adventure, I’m so excited for you.

  3. At the park a mama asked me if my daughter was in the Oakland Unified school district and through a series of multiple kid interruptions I told her that we live on our boat and are going cruising later this year and therefore we homeschool. Several interruptions later she came back to me and said, “you’re not helping me.” She was trying to figure out which three kindergartens to put on the form this week and suddenly the world opened up to her and she had to think about selling everything to live on a sailboat or buy an RV or ride bikes to South America with her family. I wish I’d gotten her name. I’d love to hear what happens. You might be surprised about the reactions you get!
    One thing for sure is that I’ve never met a sailing family that wished they stayed home. People constantly tell me that we’re giving our kids an incredible gift. I love this life!

    1. Wow, Victoria. Any of those three would be great options for her, or why not all of them? What’s even better is that you are seeding other people’s dreams!

      Have you posted about your homeschooling (or “boatschooling”) plans? We are considering homeschooling as an option. ~Serena

      PS. I noticed you mentioned Oakland, we lived by Lake Merritt years ago and loved it!

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