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Old 04-05-2017, 10:43   #1
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It's Been a While

I recall seeing several posts regarding the “wannabes” and what happens to the people who pop up with a dream, ask several questions, and then fade away. For some reason, it is important to me that I am not thought of in such a way. When I first began lurking around this forum, the ability to take the dream of cruising to fruition seemed all but impossible. On the one hand, I had several things going for me – a bit of sailing experience, some mechanical know-how, a good job, and most of all, a supportive wife. On the other hand, I also had a budding family, four dogs, daycare expenses, and lived in Oklahoma. Oh, and a six-figure student loan debt from a life chapter as a helicopter pilot. The latter blighted not only the sailing dream, but nearly all others as well.

Not to be defeated, we bought a boat and got to work. My wife had never been sailing, so that was job #1. The boat was far from dilapidated, but needed love. Although on a smaller scale, she possessed many of the systems with which I knew I would need to become familiar – a diesel inboard, a head and holding tank, pressurized water, wheel steering, etc. We spent a couple of summers diagnosing colors of diesel exhaust, changing the joker valve, re-packing the stuffing box, replacing running rigging, going aloft, stripping and painting the bottom, revitalizing joinery, re-wiring, and from time to time, even sailing. By the end of it, we had one of the cleanest boats in the marina and were convinced that 1) this was the life for us, and 2) with our current situation, it would never happen. Ok, not never, but we’d be on a 20-year plan, which kind of spoiled the idea of raising our kids on a boat. Either drastic measures had to be taken, or we had to let go of this dream and commit to a life of conformity and mediocrity.

Fast forward to August of 2015 and drastic measures were underway. At the last minute, my wife, who is a high school teacher, landed a job in Texas. Oklahoma teacher pay is dismal, and crossing the border offered a 50% (literally, 50%) increase in pay. I was granted permission to telecommute, and my mother-in-law agreed to let us move in with her in Texas. In exchange for a low amount of monthly rent, she’d also watch our soon to be two children (my wife was six months pregnant at the time) during the day. We sold the boat and eventually sold the house and nearly everything in it. The speed at which everything in our life changed still astounds me. No longer was the prospect of two children terrifying and we actually saw some brightness in our family’s future.

When we moved here in 2015, just shy of $104,000 of the student debt remained. As of last month, every single red cent has been paid back. We’ve convinced the mother-in-law to put up with us for one more school year so we can aggressively save and plan for whatever is next. In our time here, we have become quite accustomed to living cheaply, have reduced our belongings such that everything we own fits in a small U-Haul trailer, and I have crewed on an offshore delivery. What was once a 20-year plan (at best) is now tangible and perhaps only 18 months away.

All that to say, I may have disappeared from this forum for a while, but the dream never waned. It is actually more alive than ever. I am not sure why I felt the need to type all that out and I apologize for such a lengthy post! Now, back to boat shopping....

Jesse
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:59   #2
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pirate Re: It's Been a While

Hey Jesse.. Welcome back..
Seems you've been pretty busy for a while and making awesome progress.. Congrats and keep posting..
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Old 04-05-2017, 12:55   #3
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Re: It's Been a While

Thanks for the update and the ray of sunshine! Glad to hear that you're moving closer to realizing a long-held dream. Best of luck!
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Old 04-05-2017, 13:44   #4
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Re: It's Been a While

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBod View Post
Now, back to boat shopping....
Why, what happened to the boat you did all that work on?
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Old 04-05-2017, 13:49   #5
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Re: It's Been a While

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Why, what happened to the boat you did all that work on?
We sold it when we moved away from Oklahoma. The goal in moving down here was to cut as many expenses as possible, which included slip fees. Plus, that boat had spent her whole life at that marina and I sold her to a guy that is a fixture around there. She's where she should be and is in good hands.
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Old 04-05-2017, 13:51   #6
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Re: It's Been a While

Helps to not have a boat when you that much debt!
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Old 04-05-2017, 14:31   #7
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Re: It's Been a While

It does indeed!

Thanks to everyone for the kind words!
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Old 04-05-2017, 17:38   #8
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Re: It's Been a While

What a great story! It is great that you updated us on your progress and have made so many positive changes to get you closer to your sailing plans. Good luck and do keep us posted on your boat shopping
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Old 04-05-2017, 18:25   #9
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Re: It's Been a While

Wiping out that student loan debt in that short time is pretty awesome, and you and your wife should certainly be proud of that. Congrats on moving forward with your plans! (and the second youngin)
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Old 05-05-2017, 10:17   #10
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Re: It's Been a While

This is a heartwarming story. Congratulations on your progress and I wish you well.
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Old 05-05-2017, 10:44   #11
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Re: It's Been a While

I hadn't joined when you checked in the last time and your first para made me sit up since I often lose patience with the "ephemerals" that pass through here :-)

I salute your tenacity and wish you all the best :-)!

TP
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Old 05-05-2017, 12:02   #12
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Re: It's Been a While

Good for you. Positive attitude and positive action will get you to your goals.

Congrats on you new life and new family additions.

BTW: you moved very quick. It took me 10 years and two relationships to get to my current live-aboard situation, and it was so worth it. I live on my boat in the Virgin Islands full time and love it.

Hope to see you soon.
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Old 05-05-2017, 16:39   #13
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Re: It's Been a While

A friend of mine in our sailing club said " you do things we all wish we could do".
Go for it, you will have problems but it's worth it.
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Old 05-05-2017, 17:05   #14
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Re: It's Been a While

Awesome!
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Old 05-05-2017, 17:11   #15
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Re: It's Been a While

G'Day Jesse,

Thanks for that revealing post, for it shows what hard work, sacrifice and a willingness to shoulder responsibility can do. It should be required reading for all the folks who post here bemoaning the fact that they "just can't go cruising, because....".

You obviously have what it takes to be a successful cruiser, hope to meet you out here some day.

Jim
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