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Old 24-01-2009, 16:32   #1
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What's the First Step?

How's it going everyone? I have been visiting Cruisers Forum for some time now, and finally decided to post because I am finally in a position financially to consider a life aboard. I am 22 years old with no sailing experience and a inextinguishable desire for a life at sea. I have plans to get instruction from ASA certified schools this summer and finally learn to sail. Everyone here seems to have so much knowledge about the lifestyle I could not leave this resource untapped. But my question is what should I do first. I grew up with a large house, several acres, medical insurance, and the same scenery everyday. The past several years I have been managing many different small businesses and currently just entered the corporate world as an environmental scientist with good job security and excellent benefits.
I apologize for the extensive rundown, but that is the subject of my post. In the world I was raised in, I am on my way to buy a house, get married, and raise children that will live the same life in the same place that I did. This is not the path I want my life to follow. I would like some input and reflection on how the liveaboards here started this lifestyle, the biggest problems they faced, and how they coped with them.
I would appreciate any and all responses. Glad to finally be aboard.
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Old 24-01-2009, 18:08   #2
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Hey Hoola,

Welcome to the Forum.....I'm sure you'll get a lot of great advice here.

My 1st thought as I was reading your post is this......At 22, you are the architect of your life...nothing is predetermined for you....you get to decide....make it an adventure.

I gather that you have a college degree; that certainly won't hurt you. I'm also assuming that since you are employed you need to support yourself.
What scientific field are you in? If you indeed have an inextinguisable desire for a life at sea...I'd get going as soon as possible...forget the land based jobs for the moment; you need to see if this dream is real..

Have you considered working for an agency like NOAA...they have opportunities at sea. I'm sure there's plenty of others....learn everything you can...
I think if you want to drive boats..have a life at sea....then starting tomorrow is not soon enough. If you can find someone who is willing to pay you do something you love...That would be the goal..imo........

Best of Luck!...
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Old 24-01-2009, 18:12   #3
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Hoolaho..., I moved aboard in my early 20's, just as you plan, although I was accustomed to sailing. Your plans for the sailing course are wise. If you can sail a small boat you will have all the skills for sailing the larger boat except manuvering to and from the dock. I was married for one year before we bought our first liveaboard boat. We purposefully lived in a portion of a small trailer to assure we were capable of adapting to the space. The biggest problems we've faced are probably getting through the hurricanes here in Florida; however, since our boat is a primary concern, we always moved to a safe hideout well before a hit and we've never had any significant storm damage. We raised two children aboard and we took our five month old grandson out for his first sail today. We are in our early 60's now and we have no regrets about life aboard & couldn't imagine a more wonderful choice for us. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 24-01-2009, 18:33   #4
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Quote:
But my question is what should I do first. I grew up with a large house, several acres, medical insurance, and the same scenery everyday. The past several years I have been managing many different small businesses and currently just entered the corporate world as an environmental scientist with good job security and excellent benefits.
I'm not sure where you live determines how satisfied and happy you will be with your life. You need to find out who you are. At this point I doubt you are there yet. If at 22 you feel like it's all been too well planned then it's because you need to look a little farther ahead. You need to actually do something that matters. It wouldn't hurt if there was a degree of difficulty to it either. You just don't know what you can't do. You don't know what path you want to follow. Picking something means you are starting. You only have to start and you don't have to know the end. It's not that important yet.

If you want to sail then it sounds like you have a proper start. A good start is just a first step so just let it happen. You can be inexperienced and you can get better. If you like it enough to stick with it then it just might really be for you. It may not be the only thing you ever do in your life but if you like it it might be part of your life. You can be good at more than one thing and it all does not need to be totally resolved at 22 years old.
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Old 24-01-2009, 19:45   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoolahoo17 View Post
How's it going everyone? I have been visiting Cruisers Forum for some time now, and finally decided to post because I am finally in a position financially to consider a life aboard. I am 22 years old with no sailing experience and a inextinguishable desire for a life at sea. I have plans to get instruction from ASA certified schools this summer and finally learn to sail. Everyone here seems to have so much knowledge about the lifestyle I could not leave this resource untapped. But my question is what should I do first. I grew up with a large house, several acres, medical insurance, and the same scenery everyday. The past several years I have been managing many different small businesses and currently just entered the corporate world as an environmental scientist with good job security and excellent benefits.
I apologize for the extensive rundown, but that is the subject of my post. In the world I was raised in, I am on my way to buy a house, get married, and raise children that will live the same life in the same place that I did. This is not the path I want my life to follow. I would like some input and reflection on how the liveaboards here started this lifestyle, the biggest problems they faced, and how they coped with them.
I would appreciate any and all responses. Glad to finally be aboard.

Becoming a boat bum is not really a suitable goal in life. From what I have observed over the past 40 years, the vast majority of the boat bums whom I have met were not very happy with themselves and their lives. Perhaps a better goal would to become a wealthy yachtsman. The next ten years could be the most productive period of your life. Do you really want to spend it on some God forsaken beach wondering where you will get the money to fix your keel?
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Old 24-01-2009, 21:14   #6
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The above is pretty good advice. Though you are currently older than you have ever been, the next 10 years will, and should, bring radical change to your life.
Perhaps you can accomplish both ideals of living a life aboard, and continuing to grow professionally as well as personally. How about buying a liveaboard sailboat and berthing it in an urban setting (San Francisco comes to mind)? Very reasonable "rent" (monthly slip fees), good experience living aboard to see if this really is the lifestyle for you, and good proximity to a job market. Not to mention an awesome bachelor pad!
Enjoy it...these are supposed to be the fun years.
John
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Old 24-01-2009, 21:23   #7
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Originally Posted by radiuschine View Post
Becoming a boat bum is not really a suitable goal in life. From what I have observed over the past 40 years, the vast majority of the boat bums whom I have met were not very happy with themselves and their lives. Perhaps a better goal would to become a wealthy yachtsman. The next ten years could be the most productive period of your life. Do you really want to spend it on some God forsaken beach wondering where you will get the money to fix your keel?
I get it, you're joking.... Right???

Anyways, go for it man. You're young. Guessing you have nothing really holding you back (wife/kids/house etc.). Even if you still have to work to pay off debts, living aboard is a great way to be on the water and do a little cruisin before the "extended" cruise. Someone once told me, you can always make more money, but you can't make more time.

Cheers

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Old 25-01-2009, 06:27   #8
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You asked what the first step would be.

I'm not sure what you have done so far to get the itch, but I would start rubbing shoulders with people that have the life style you think you want.

This may give a better idea of the ins and outs.
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Old 25-01-2009, 07:34   #9
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[quote=radiuschine;247483]Becoming a boat bum is not really a suitable goal in life......
Did I miss a statement in your original post where you stated aspirations to be a boat bum? Who could be so biased and ignorant to equate living on a boat with being a bum or some dropout from a successful life? There's an airline pilot and a heart surgeon that have been our neighors living aboard and my wife and I have retired after 32 years as dedicated teachers. Living aboard does allow a person to live easily beneath their means when compared to some expenses that come with a large house with many square feet, but it does not come come with any sacrifice of your ability to succeed. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 25-01-2009, 08:15   #10
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Hoola, you sound like you have a pretty good head on your shoulders. If you are an environmental scientist at 22, you know hard work too.

You are the only one who can decide what is right for you and not botch it up. Your friends, parents etc. all mean well but may see your life through the lens of their dreams. The ASA courses and spending some time on the water will either confirm your hunches or not. Either way, you will be further along your path. You are 22 with no reason not to go for your dream. I would suggest to you that you not buy a house, expensive cars, or do anything else to tie you to your current lifestyle until you sort this out. Beware the money/lifestyle trap. The raise that is too good to turn down...I can afford AB&C now...you turn around and thirty years have gotten away without getting where you want to be. Your career choice as an environmental engineer is probably one of the few that could be developed to the fullest while on the water.

I wish you the best. Please keep us posted of your progress.
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Old 25-01-2009, 09:35   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiuschine View Post
Becoming a boat bum is not really a suitable goal in life. From what I have observed over the past 40 years, the vast majority of the boat bums whom I have met were not very happy with themselves and their lives. Perhaps a better goal would to become a wealthy yachtsman. The next ten years could be the most productive period of your life. Do you really want to spend it on some God forsaken beach wondering where you will get the money to fix your keel?
radiu...etc., congrats on your first 8 posts, each written in a condescending tone, with a hint of bias and unfriendliness. Laughable, almost.

Whether you're the world's most awesome and hardcore sailor (like yourself), or a landlubber on a boat (like me), cruising and boating in general are about having fun and being on the water.

I would never try to discourage someone who wants to give the lifestyle a try. Relax brother, I'm sure there's enough water to go around.

Cheers

Bill
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Old 25-01-2009, 09:43   #12
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Thanks for all of your opinions. In response to a few of your comments, let me clarify some things about my situation and plans. First off, I have no intention of spending all my money to climb aboard a boat and sail off into the horizon tomorrow (if only it were that easy). I do plan on remaining in the area for awhile to generate some more savings and to pursue my career to a level where I hopefully could find work elsewhere if and when I make the decision to cruise. But some of the main questions I have:
Should I buy a small house or a condo before buying a liveaboard to establish some equity, and start sailing with a smaller boat? Then a few years down the road I could try renting my home and then upgrade to a liveaboard?
Or should I go ahead and start living aboard now and get aclimated?
The latter of the two worries me a bit, not so much because if I don't fit into the liveaboard lifestyle I won't be able to get out, but if I do enjoy the liveaboard life then I will have nothing to fall back on should something happen to my boat. I know many of you have already made this transition, and is this a worry that everyone has that I will have to laern to live with, or should it not even be a worry at all?
Thanks again for the input.
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Old 25-01-2009, 09:47   #13
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I also meant to mention that I currently live in Maryland so I would be looking to sail out of either a Baltimore or Annapolis marina, or possibly even Havre de Grace.
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Old 25-01-2009, 10:06   #14
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I agree with Tex. As I was thinking about your post, I think the biggest thing you can avoid right now is debt. I would even include a vessel in that for now. The ASA lessons are a good idea. But don't stop there, keep going, work toward obtaining your Coast Guard License. You can log a lot of time on other people's boats before you lay down the cash for your own. Other than you saying that you wanted a life at sea, We don't know what your thoughts are? I'm assuming here that a "life at sea", doesn't mean..living on a boat. tied to a dock, commuting to work each day. To me, the term a "life at sea" from a 22 year old", takes on career connotations. That will require some more schooling and time in, and some focus.

One persons ideas of productivity are another persons godforsaken beach...
You don't sound like a bum to me.

And yes, please keep us posted..
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Old 25-01-2009, 10:07   #15
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Hoola, I've been wanting to cruise for a while, but like you, I still need to generate more savings and finish paying off my debts. I'm 26, and decided that until I reach that point, I will live my dream to the fullest extent possible by living aboard while still working full-time. It's great to come home from work and be on the water, and take short cruises on weekends and weeks off. I would never trade me boat for an apartment or house, although I was too much of a sissy to tough it out on the water this winter (regretting it now).

I would visit the docks where you plan to liveaboard, and talk to others who do it and see how they live. Should give you a solid idea of whether you'll like it or not. As far as something happening to your boat, that's why you have insurance.

Good luck

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