I’ve always wanted to be a mountain man. I’ve always wanted to wake up beside a mountain stream, the sun just peeking over the Grand Tetons and shining down into the valley. Make some coffee, feed the horses, and bask in the glory of nature. Not another soul around except the birds, the deer, and all the other animals that make up the ecosystem that we call Earth. Just be one with the land. People like Lewis & Clark who opened up the west and paved the way for so many pioneers to settle ares unknown to anyone but the Native Americans. They did this without parallelizing fear of what they would find, but rather a love for adventure.
I would watch movies as a child and wish I was leading a wagon train down the Oregon Trail, or crossing the open plains beside Lewis & Clark. Every episode of Grizzly Adams, Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Bonanza, The Big Valley and many others were watched. My favorite movie was Jeremiah Johnson, starring Robert Redford. The story was about a soldier back from the civil war, searching for some peace after what he had been through. He decided to try his hand at trapping in the wilderness of the old west. With his sturdy mounts, and a Hawkins rifle, he went to find his future in the unknown. Many bad things happened to him, but in the end, he found what he was looking for.
Over the years I have tried things similar, but in a modern sense. I once had a motor home and a small plot of land here in Maine. It was a beautiful spot with a small stream. I built a shelter to protect the camper, and I had plans to maybe convert the shelter into a small home in the future. After a few years, I realized I would never have the funds needed to travel the country in my camper, never mind build a house. Fuel was $4.50 per gallon at the time, the camper needed extensive repairs, and I’m just a blue-collar worker. It was not going to work, and I knew it.
I helped set up a place next door for my folks. It was much more affordable for them and I was committed to helping them live as long as they could independently. We lived in this area for 5 years or so. We put so much time and effort into the place to make them comfortable, but my fathers dementia was starting to affect his ability to stay focused. There were times he would get distracted, and drive off the edge of the road or even cross the center line. Something had to give, and when my father lost his license, they had to move into an apartment in an area closer to everything. It was a sad day to say goodbye to what I hoped would be their last home.
A year later I rented a house and moved them in to make them feel like they had a home again. Things went well at first, but my fathers dementia blossomed, and my mother had a stroke. As much as I wanted to be there for them, it became more than I could do alone. One of the hardest days of my life happened here at this house. My father is now at the VA home here in Maine, and my mother is living with my sister. They are both safe, but It’s not what I had hoped for. My self doubt was very strong as I wondered if I had done everything I could do. My mother told me a few days ago, that she missed living in this house. I to feel that way but for a different reason. In that home resides all the things I wished for my folks. I tried my best, but to many things were out of my control. I will never forget how I felt the last time I closed the front door and left. The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.
I watched a movie called Maiden Trip about Laura Dekker, the youngest person to circumnavigate the world. I found my inspiration. She was 14 years old when she left, and just about the bravest person I can think of. She left her father and her home and followed
her dream on a 40 foot sailboat. She did something only a small number of adults have done. She didn’t let the government that tried to stop her get in the way. She won her battle and did it on her own. I would love to meet her someday. After watching that movie, I realized a sailboat was the way to go. No property tax, no rent, a change of scenery anytime you want, and the wind is free. I know there is more to it than that simplified version, I may be crazy but I’m not stupid! I am willing to do what it takes to get there. I have spent hundreds of hours reading anything I could find about living on a sailboat. It’s amazing how many people are liveaboards! There are a large number of resources and people willing to help on social media and the internet.
Here are a few pictures of an Islander Freeport 38 for sale on the internet. This is the type of boat I can afford in a few years.
Not bad for $40,000! How much did you think it cost by the pictures? This one would still need another $20,000 or so to be truly ready to cross oceans, but I could live on it and sail the coast just as it floats. I don’t want a junk heap to start, and I can’t afford a new one. You can find sailboats for $3000, all the way up to $5,000,000 and more, but I would be happy with this.
As I wrote before, I have always wanted to go to the south pacific. The pull only grows stronger the older I get. I’m sure you’ve seen the photo’s of sailboats anchored beside tropical islands, palm trees swaying in the breeze. Snorkeling in clear water, lots of brightly colored fish swimming by. That’s only the smallest part of what living on a boat means to me.
I want to complete something. Start to finish. I want blisters on my hands from sanding for hours. I want to smell like S*%# because I rebuilt the entire plumbing system, and could now fix it in my sleep. I want the pride of knowing, I fixed that! I want to look at my boat as more than something that displaces water. It will be my home. It will be my passage to complete reliance on myself and my abilities. Trusting my boat to get me there, as well as my skills at keeping it together. I want to be truly free.
Time is the one thing, no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more. You only get so much, and you never now how much you have left. I’m 50 years old now. How much more time do I have? 20…30 years? Who knows. I should have done this long ago. I’ve heard my folks talk about things they wished they had done. I’m sure you’ve heard the same from others. Years ago I thought about winning the lottery, and what I could do for my family. Pay off mortgages, buy new cars, pay for trips etc. Now, I only wish to have at least one big adventure to look back on. Years from now, I want to die on my boat with a note pinned to my chest that says, “Just drop me over the side, and the boat is yours!”