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Old 16-08-2010, 10:44   #16
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As Ex-Calif said, "Having no idea of your profession or aspirations a year off to collect yourself won't hurt your career at all.
Go the islands, get a boat, meet some girls and if you get bored come on back and get a job."


What do you have to lose? Nothing says you have to sail forever. The more tied down you get to jobs, houses, families, etc only makes it harder to go later.

GO FOR IT!

safe travels and good wind!
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Old 16-08-2010, 10:59   #17
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I was in a simular situation at age 20. I took another choice and I can let you know how it went. I got a job that was under my abilities. I hated my boss who was a tightfisted empty suit. I hated my boring meaningless job. I fought depression. Married a woman who was not suited for me. got stuck in the grind and eventually divorced. Now 20 years later I have discovered boating, learned I love it. And I am considering dropping everything,(I have 20 years of roots to cut). And pursuing my dream before I have to learn to sail in a wheelchair. In retrospect spending some time alone at sea would have done much for my outlook on life. I enjoy traveling and change, and the little inconveniences ,like walking several miles on foot to look for toilet paper, don't bother me. If this is what you love take the time, ... now!, before you have to worry about child support and court orders. There is nothing like living self sufficient with your own thoughts as company to broaden your perpspective on life. I wish I had discovered this 20 years ago.
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Old 16-08-2010, 12:26   #18
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After outfitting the boat, I have half-a-mind to sail off to the Caribbean and start my life over. I know it's more difficult than simply saying "I want a do over," but I might as well try. Other than this, I don't know what else. Is this possible? Can an American citizen with a sizable kitty begin fresh? Perhaps this is romanticizing the whole "off to the wild blue" notion, but I haven't heard otherwise. I want the adventure, I want the experience.

Perhaps this is just a way of seeing if anyone else on these forums has felt similarly and what they have done about it.
Useful to have something to base aimless wandering around but not essential Unless you are well into the boat / sailing thing already I would go by land. Far more opportunities on land both to start over and for adventures involving people............and why restrict yourself to the Carribean? a big world out there........get a map and find a pin

But whether by boat or jumbo jet - go ...........either way will have the opportunity to learn a lot of skills / gain experiances / see things that will enhance your ability to make money - back home or abroad........whether one recognises and seizes those opportunities is another thing.
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Old 16-08-2010, 19:17   #19
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You ARE in his predicament! You live on an island in the tropics! You do have a boat! You even better him by having a girlfriend (well, at last count). What more could you want?
You don't see me rushing back to find a "real" job do you?

My gap year started in 1984. I think I have almost found myself. Almost
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Old 18-08-2010, 17:16   #20
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Escaping from the "norm's" of a society of the sort found in North America can be very stress relieving on one hand and very stressful on the other hand.
- - Leaving the "1st World, mega capitalistic" environment for a "3rd World" - back to basics lifestyle sounds like fun but it isn't. You carry a lot of psychological baggage with you and expectations of how the "world" is supposed to operate. When you get to the "3rd World" it seems quaint and simplistic - but it is not. There are many undercurrents of social stress that build up as you encounter just how "different" things are done. If you only dip your "toes" in for a few months or so, no big deal - but if you intend to stay and assimilate into the "new world" you will have to be able to re-align your whole world of attitudes and expectations. Then you just may find out that this is a fabulous place - or - you may grow to hate it and wish you were back in the "rat race."
- - It is the old "grass is greener on the other side of the fence" thing until you get to the other side of the fence and find nice green crab grass, tangle vines and thorns.
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Old 18-08-2010, 17:23   #21
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Escaping from the "norm's" of a society of the sort found in North America can be very stress relieving on one hand and very stressful on the other hand.
- - Leaving the "1st World, mega capitalistic" environment for a "3rd World" - back to basics lifestyle sounds like fun but it isn't. You carry a lot of psychological baggage with you and expectations of how the "world" is supposed to operate. When you get to the "3rd World" it seems quaint and simplistic - but it is not. There are many undercurrents of social stress that build up as you encounter just how "different" things are done. If you only dip your "toes" in for a few months or so, no big deal - but if you intend to stay and assimilate into the "new world" you will have to be able to re-align your whole world of attitudes and expectations. Then you just may find out that this is a fabulous place - or - you may grow to hate it and wish you were back in the "rat race."
- - It is the old "grass is greener on the other side of the fence" thing until you get to the other side of the fence and find nice green crab grass, tangle vines and thorns.
i think it depends on who you are. i've never cruised internationally, but i've lived for months at a time in different countries (3rd world), and personally, i've enjoyed living abroad much more than in the US.

you make a good point - it's just different, not necessarily better.

however, for some that different really WILL be better. different strokes, and all that...
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Old 18-08-2010, 17:54   #22
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Well, you could stay here in the USA and be sufferly unemployed during the cold snowy winter in a economic depression (which internal press is not calling it but look overseas for the real truth), or you could get in a boat, view sea and nature everyday, and explore what's around the corner...and be just as unemployed.

So choose...

Be stagnant, mentally down, and freeze your tail off

Be mobile, curious, and warmly amused and happy.

Unemployed is a constant, so it can be cancelled from this equation.
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Old 18-08-2010, 18:39   #23
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Escaping from the "norm's" of a society of the sort found in North America can be very stress relieving on one hand and very stressful on the other hand.
- - Leaving the "1st World, mega capitalistic" environment for a "3rd World" - back to basics lifestyle sounds like fun but it isn't. You carry a lot of psychological baggage with you and expectations of how the "world" is supposed to operate. When you get to the "3rd World" it seems quaint and simplistic - but it is not. There are many undercurrents of social stress that build up as you encounter just how "different" things are done. If you only dip your "toes" in for a few months or so, no big deal - but if you intend to stay and assimilate into the "new world" you will have to be able to re-align your whole world of attitudes and expectations. Then you just may find out that this is a fabulous place - or - you may grow to hate it and wish you were back in the "rat race."
- - It is the old "grass is greener on the other side of the fence" thing until you get to the other side of the fence and find nice green crab grass, tangle vines and thorns.
Actually, you don't have to go to a third world country to enjoy owning a sail boat. We sailed around the Potomac and Chesapeake this summer and it was quite a trip! Try Tangier Island (my absolute favorite), Cobb Island, Solomons Island... they're all fun. Feel what it's like to round a corner on the Potomac and see our nation's capital from the water! We never did get up to New England (maybe next year) but this winter we do hope to get to the Bahamas. Water is water as far as I'm concerned, and I don't want to discourage anyone from giving it a try.
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Old 18-08-2010, 20:39   #24
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The OP is talking about leaving the USA and going to the Caribbean - clean break sort of thing. "Sailing" the Chesapeake for a "season" or even doing the ICW or the Gulf ICW is still not getting away from it all. Although it is very close and very enjoyable and certainly adds a "balancing" to the rigors of life during the rest of the year.
- - Once we establish for him that he is not really "escaping" but just trading one "world" for another very different "world" then we can talk about specific places where he might find what he is looking for that is significantly different from what he has experienced so far. The first part is the realization that not everybody can make the transition as some are too deeply dependent upon the "system" for personal and psychological support. For them leaving and making the transition to a different world where you live or die by your own wits and skills, is not possible or practical. But - you will never know unless you actually try it.
- - For a young person who is ready for something different but doesn't want to jump in with both feet, kit and kaboodle - there is the Virgin Islands. You can join a rather eclectic group of "seekers" while still being marginally attached to the reality of North America.
- - After that it is a matter of roaming the rest of the islands and South/Central America to experience the real life outside the "insane asylum." For some it is the answer to what they are seeking - but - for others, they may need to venture further to some other corners of the world like the South Pacific/Asia to find what they are looking for.
- - And the employment of a good sturdy sailing vessel can be your "magic carpet" on the quest. Problem is the "carpet" does require some significant financial resources to keep it "flying." But exploring close in - like the Caribbean Basin first gives you the time to develop your skills on the oceans before you move on to the "big pond."
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Old 18-08-2010, 21:42   #25
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Just returned from Wednesday Night Races. Man, that was a blast.

A few points:

1. Perhaps it was foolish to start off with the word "escapism." Probably it would have shaped the conversation better if I used, as was suggested, "Search-ism." My city, God love it, is dying from the emigration of young people and lack of employment. Granted, if you were interested in non-profit work, it would be a blast - however, been there and done that.

2. This would be a "permanent" break, for at least a year. I've mapped out the Caribbean today just for giggles. If using the whole "compass width equals 60 miles of sailing", it would take 104 days of sailing (three days constant to cross Florida) to make the voyage of the Gulf of Mexico. Anyway - bartend in the USVI. Clean the bottom of hulls. Use my charm on the older divorcees (ala Hawaii by James Michener). Hospitality. Just get away. Then reevaluate. Harry Connick Sr., former State DA, did not go to law school until he was 31 or 32. I have time to do this.

3. Money. Money is saved up. Another year and it'll be better. Always another year. Sigh. I'm reading Overboard right now.

So yes, am I exchanging one world for the next? Perhaps. But as it was said, one might be better than the other. I'm taking the chance. What skills I do have are not practical. I was no scientist, nor engineer, nor software developer. I was merely a liberal arts graduate student with a taste for adventure from the stories I read as a high school student.

Will I make a lot of money? Probably not. Would I like to? Of course. But that's not in the cards. Through a series of unfortunate events, I missed out on my Peace Corps adventure due to difficulties out of my control. When those passed, I was already in the "safety net" of the local law school. I would never have left my town. That passed. US Navy is dragging it's feet. I'm beginning to think that dream will not come to fruition.

Roadblock after roadblock. I'm giving myself one more year and then - gone. Go to the Islands, learn boat mechanics, bar tending, marina business and give it a go. William Willis' life seems much adrift, but enticing.

So I suppose I began answering questions/clarifying points and it ended up into some sort of personal therapy session. Apologies to the board for this lack of fortitude. At your mid 20's, it's a bit spooky - especially during these times. Of course, I could go to Thailand and live a life of hedonism (I've heard it is extremely cheap there), but there was this feeling, sitting on the deck of the Yacht Club watching the boats racing in from gusts of 30kn and wanting to experience it and attempt to tame it. This is also from the guy who wants to take a backpack and venture off to the Eastern Canadian Wilderness (before that Movie) and tie himself to the tallest tree in a forest during a thunderstorm.

Therapeutic. And thanks for all the support, it means that I'm not totally insane.
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Old 18-08-2010, 22:20   #26
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Pretend a little...

In the old days people used to go backpacking across Europe for a year after the got out of school... Maybe this is just the same, and you will come back with all this experience in different countries and a reality check as well... You will have a whole new idea about what kind of law you want to practice, too! Go for it!
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Old 18-08-2010, 22:28   #27
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So I suppose I began answering questions/clarifying points and it ended up into some sort of personal therapy session. Apologies to the board for this lack of fortitude. At your mid 20's, it's a bit spooky - especially during these times. Of course, I could go to Thailand and live a life of hedonism (I've heard it is extremely cheap there), but there was this feeling, sitting on the deck of the Yacht Club watching the boats racing in from gusts of 30kn and wanting to experience it and attempt to tame it. This is also from the guy who wants to take a backpack and venture off to the Eastern Canadian Wilderness (before that Movie) and tie himself to the tallest tree in a forest during a thunderstorm.

Therapeutic. And thanks for all the support, it means that I'm not totally insane.
Yeah its cheap here ... my lunch at a local place was about $1 yesterday! But on the minus side, I had a cobra on the carport the other afternoon... yikes!!!
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Old 19-08-2010, 06:39   #28
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After Cuba do not miss Luperon in the Dominican Republic and also to a lesser extent Samana on the eastern coast. As a young man you will get a serious education in the dynamics of social life and interactions with locals in a definitely 3rd World environment. There is also a significant community of ex-pats there in Luperon and you will have an opportunity to live and observe the real life analog to Jimmy Buffet's Margarittaville and Adjustments in Latitude and Attitude lyrics. The cost of living there is a pittance of what you experienced in the USA especially if you go "native."
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Old 28-08-2010, 17:50   #29
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Unhappy danger in waiting

Remember the immortal lyrics of Time, by Pink Floyd. Listen to it several times and pay close attention to all the lyrics. "Ten years has got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun...." I am now 55 and feel the same way you do and am fighting the realization that I may have waited too long.
You get into a groove, your groove becomes a rut, the rut becomes a ditch, the ditch turns into a grave.
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Old 28-08-2010, 18:10   #30
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Remember the immortal lyrics of Time, by Pink Floyd. Listen to it several times and pay close attention to all the lyrics. "Ten years has got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun...." I am now 55 and feel the same way you do and am fighting the realization that I may have waited too long.
You get into a groove, your groove becomes a rut, the rut becomes a ditch, the ditch turns into a grave.
Ain't that the truth! Life just keeps rolling along and before you know it, to quote a famous sailor/actor ..."the tomb is sealed".

It really hit me at about 55 after seeing how the traditional retirement life had treated my parents ... 10 good years, then cancer took one and pulmonary fibrosis is taking the other ... I decided to take what I had and enjoy it now. We started to go off cruising 20 years ago and basically chickened out and decided to keep working, a decision I've regretted many times. But you can look back too much, that just keeps you living in the past.
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