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Old 29-03-2009, 00:05   #1
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What's Your Ultimate Challenge?

For nearly my entire adult life, I have wanted to do two things. The first was to sail around the world on a multihull, and the second was to drive around the world in a Land Rover truck. I did the circumnavigation on my catamaran, Exit Only, but as yet I haven't made the driving trip around the world. I have two expeditionary equipped Land Rovers ready to go, but I am in a holding pattern for the time being earning more Freedom Chips.

I regard these two goals as my ultimate challenges. They aren't extreme goals. They're more about desire, persistence, and hard work. I don't have any extreme goals like people who do extreme sports. I feel no attraction to the extreme.

So here is the question. Setting aside the extreme and focusing on the possible, what is your ultimate challenge? If you put your mind to it and relentlessly worked on a dream, what would that dream be? What would you do with the rest of your life?
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Old 29-03-2009, 01:24   #2
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I suppose it's your first goal...Maybe not a full circumnavigation but just getting out there and having some adventure. I suppose doing it with someone that is really fun to be with would be a sub-goal of the first goal. So far I've never looked back with regret for not trying something. I'm trying to keep those flywheels spinning.
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Old 29-03-2009, 02:25   #3
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what is your ultimate challenge? ?
To find happiness.
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Old 29-03-2009, 03:56   #4
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Interesting question Dave, because a few years ago… my answer would have been quite different!

I was given the fantastic opportunity to manage the “design and build” of a leading edge superyacht which I would Captain thru a few circumnavigations over 10 years.

My desire to exceed every expectation and justify the faith put in me inspired a self generating work ethic which somehow guaranteed an incredibly successful 16 year relationship that saw me experience a truly magical lifestyle in the very rarified marine atmosphere of professional excellence and accolades.

The concept of researching and executing a world wide remote exploration itinerary for a respected employer who shared my own interests and still remains my faithful friend today…. became this wonderful reality that I could never have imagined. It was my dream come true without my actually realizing it and naturally the forward planning to manage and sustain this became my primary focus.

Without going into details, a personal sadness made me realize that I had stopped living for the day and I only focused on the demands of the future. (Think Franklin Planner!)

So your question: “What would you do with the rest of your life?” became my internal quest that resulted in me retiring to a simple 3rd world island community to learn to live hour by hour, day by day, instead of a 2 year forward planning mindset.

It was like learning to walk again and I am happy to say I have regained some semblance of balance to stop and smell the roses, which had become my ultimate challenge while actually living the dream.

Now cruising on my own yacht I am immensely gratified to enjoy the small gifts of natural beauty that surround me and I only wish for the success of others.

So my only advice is to be careful what you wish for and never loose sight of what you have.
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Old 29-03-2009, 05:24   #5
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Pelagic's comment gets to the heart of how society sets us all up to "dream" of something out there, work for it now so it might come to pass. Of course there is wisdom in this concept. We need an education to prepare us for our jobs and for life in general. But while we are preparing for the "real world" out in the future, we're supposed to be finding enjoyment in our day to day activities. And I believe this is how most people live. The "dream" becomes an elusive goal, many are delayed until "retirement" when one has time and or money required to do the dream.

For sailor the idea that they can sail off to "wherever", a place(s) very different from where they live most of their lives becomes the "dream". And the enducation and preparation involves finding the boat, fitting the boat out for the task, sailing it to hone your navigation and seamenship skills and experiencing mini "dreams" which can be a short a single sail or a weekend or a vacation cruise.

Like a yo yo, though it's back to the grind until one can actully cut the lines. Over time most sailors have a pretty good idea of what that would feel like, with the concern being how much it costs and how long can they sustain that and does it end and when it does, what next? Eveng getting to that dream, as we all know involves enormous commitment.

We live in a time when sailing off on your own to anywhere is increasingly possible because of "technology" - a blessing and a curse. We hear the arguments about KISS and so forth paper charts vs GPS plotters. We see more and more lines being cut. We see this as less and less of insurmountable challenge and more and more doing it. Good for them.

The word "challenge" has a bit of competitiveness hidden in its meaning, even when the competition is between you and yourself. Therefore I prefer the words wisdom or knowledge because that is what you require to go for a "dream". But as Pelegic reminds us, that wisdom also teaches us the live day by day and embrace the wonder of small things because every experience is but a series of individual moments strung together.

And this is why hige "tasks" like "sailing" can be so fulfilling because they offer zillions of "now" moments and the memories of them which make up the knowledge/wisdom base you use to fo go forward.

Having started from 0 the idea of sailing across an ocean alone, in safety and getting somewhere was for the challenge, common enough and I accomplished it in 6 yrs. That itch is scratched. Now as Pelegic I am in the be here now experiences of sailing.

I have always found sailing, as a genre, has given me the most lessons about what life is about.
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Old 29-03-2009, 05:57   #6
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Wow, difficult to follow the excellent posts above. This has really got me thinking. It's a deep subject. I am on the edge of achieving a lifelong dream, and while I have plans, they are not really an ultimate challenge, as I have kinda achieved that by just acquiring the boat of my dreams. Very introspective thinking going on in my small mind now. I don't plan to circumnavigate. My "plan" seems to be just to wander about aimlessly, enjoy the sunshine, and precious little else.

Challenges, were things that came upon me when I was young. I wanted to change the World, feed the starving, house the homeless, stop wars. History shows that I failed miserably in that task, as providing for my own family and paying the bills sorta overtook most of my time. I tend not to look upon things as challenges anymore (even if I ever did), driving a Landrover around the World would be an "adventure" in my vocabulary, not a challenge - although it would be a challenge, a mighty one at that. I suppose it's just they way you look at things.
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Old 29-03-2009, 06:01   #7
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Wow some very deep thinking going on in this thread...

For me, my ultimate goal, challenge, dream, whatever you wish to call it, (now) is a circumnavigation. After that who knows. I do believe that all adventures however big or small start with a dream. It's when the dreamer takes action that the dream becomes a reality.

It also seems to me that all goals are fleeting. Once they are achieved their done. Then it's on to the next great adventure. The key is to enjoy each adventure as it comes along. Like Mark J said the ultimate goal is to find happiness.

Tim
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Old 29-03-2009, 06:08   #8
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Where do I send my tuition for the philosophy course?
Beautiful posts by all.
I found myself drowoniing a couple of years ago, in my work and the stress of just keeping up. I also realized I was in a depression. Ddidn't need medical help, but no dfoubt I was in a funk that was sapping the joy out of everything. I realized I didn't want to die at my desk. I wanted to create experiences for myself and my family that would enrich each of our life experiences.

We got back into sailing, and I have been working on various ideas to change careers, much like Pelagic did. So this is my challenge - to downsize my career and be able to cruise and explore interesting places on this incredible boat we have. I want to enjoy every moment, and share these experiences with others. While circumnavigation is not the "goal" I wouldn't be surprised if that happens eventually. But circumnavigation is not the driving force of my personal changes - just the search for a simpler, more joyous life.

I think I'm getting there!
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Old 29-03-2009, 06:16   #9
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I found myself drowoniing a couple of years ago, in my work and the stress of just keeping up. I also realized I was in a depression. Ddidn't need medical help, but no dfoubt I was in a funk that was sapping the joy out of everything. I realized I didn't want to die at my desk. I wanted to create experiences for myself and my family that would enrich each of our life experiences.

We got back into sailing, and I have been working on various ideas to change careers, much like Pelagic did. So this is my challenge - to downsize my career and be able to cruise and explore interesting places on this incredible boat we have. I want to enjoy every moment, and share these experiences with others. - just the search for a simpler, more joyous life.

I think I'm getting there!
[Strong Expletive!!!] Swabbmob - you have just described MY life.
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Old 29-03-2009, 06:47   #10
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Pelagic, when Albert Einstein arrived for the first time to the US in 1933 he was deeply impressed with the way people focused on the demands of the future at his new home country, he expressed this in detail on his book "My Vision of the World"

We in Latin America have been deeply touched by this way of seeing reality and that is what mainly make me decide to stop flying airliners and resulted in me retiring to a simple 3rd world island community to learn to live hour by hour, day by day, instead of a 2 year forward planning mindset as you wisely mentioned (San Blas Islands)
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Old 29-03-2009, 09:07   #11
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OK. 2 of the above post mention retiring to a third world island community.

I have worked in third world countries and am in a slip in one now. I suppose that part of the draw is getting to the mindset to do without. Some things just aren't available, so you get by. But in the back of my head, on my next trip to the sates I want to be sure to pick up ......whatever. So I will throw in my Ulitmate Challenge as getting past that.

Being married to a woman from a thrid world country with 17,000 islands, I can see the possibility of my "retiring to a thrid world island community". But that nagging pull to go shopping at one of the "Superstores" is... nagging. My third world wife has the same pull. So that attraction is a problem X 2 for me.

So if I can pose the question to Pelagic & Soft Air & anyone else who has done it, was that an issue for you? Or is getting past that your whole point?

I don't think you mean to say that you traded all of your worldly posessions for a loin cloth and some beads. But what is the balance between the two? Does knowing that you can return to "civilization" at some point enter in?

I picked up a portable air conditioner for the boat , which means for me that I need to be in a slip in order to use it. I justify one thing to take care of the other. It would be better to just acclimate to the heat. The inability to carry the principal further is the "toxin" within me.

Sorry to drag the point out, but one of the things on my list of things to get is a composting toilet, so I can be more self sufficient. I feel trapped by the need to spend money so I can live a more primiative life.
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Old 29-03-2009, 09:37   #12
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So your question: “What would you do with the rest of your life?” became my internal quest that resulted in me retiring to a simple 3rd world island community to learn to live hour by hour, day by day, instead of a 2 year forward planning mindset.
I spent way too much of life without any big goals or ambition - just things I didn't want to do. especially anything involving stuff that seemed too much like hard work. including work and on this I was remarkably succesful But nonetheless I always seemed to do ok (and sometimes a bit more) on the financial side.


On the boating front I have a vague ambition to do some extended cruising (or at least liveaboard cum moving around now and again ), maybe even this year in the surrounding locale - depends on business, both folk knocking on the door and / or how much getting off bum to look for I can be bothered with.

Apart from that, I dunno. Short term I am half tempted now and again by a month or three back down to Thailand to mash my brain for a while. But the fun on that one is gone - and I could see that easily ending with me sailing to the Moon, even if not intentionally. Plusses and Minuses to that one of course. as been kinda curious if da Missus actually got there......mmmmm. must buy a telescope


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So my only advice is to be careful what you wish for and never loose sight of what you have.
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Old 29-03-2009, 09:46   #13
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For me the thing is exploration.
We have "learned" Long Island sound and the islands out to Nantucket. Then moved up the coast to Maine. Every year we find new places in between old places. We anchor out and kayak when we can.
This year Monomoy island and Chatham on Cape cod look interesting. The area is allways changing so a bit of research is in order. Google Earth is fantastic, even if it takes a year or two to get up to date.
With our shallow draft (22") we go places where the bottom is visible. That is exciting!
Speed is important right now but later comfort may be more important.
Last summer on one perfect calm day we picked up the anchor in Naraganset bay at sunrise, cruised through the Cape Cod canal, passed the tip of Cape Cod on the way to Matinicus island in Maine. We saw Humpback whales, had lunch and after 200. nm picked up the mooring at 1:30 PM. We had time to walk to two different beaches.

I'm sorry guys but for me a power boat lets us go far and have extrordinary experiences and still get back to work in time. I just want to keep going. Keep exploring. Later, when and if there is more time a semi displacement cruiser may be better. Think long and skinny and light. The one that has my eye now is a Nigel Irens Rangeboat.
The dream is to follow the coast and find ICE.

I do like sailing, just on other peoples boats.

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Old 29-03-2009, 11:00   #14
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Minggat, my answer it that it all comes to achieve a state of mind in which you can free yourself from depending on material possesions.

I was born in a third world country in a middle upper class family however I was lucky enough to have parents that were able to show me the world since I was a child and in all of our travels they used to take us to the best hotels and places but they also make sure we were aware of the poor people around, human beings learn mainly by contrast. I finish high school and college in the US I also became a professional pilot there and I also found very strange the need of most people on develop countries to buy buy buy unnecessary stuff. I spent half of my professional career flying for a major US carrier and I adapted very well as an aviator but I always found myself feeling strange as all conversations around me always revolved around money and posessions. At age 37 I realize the "normal" world was just not for me and that was the main reason for me to look for a sailing boat that would give me the independence to leave the race rat. Most of my friends are still flying and making lots of money and of course "planning" for the future, I find this as odd as they probably find my way of doing things odd as well

In summary, if you are able to release yourself of the need of useless daily commercial transactions and set your mind in truly relationships with other beings and nature you will be all set to go to one of those islands.

Just my two cents
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Old 29-03-2009, 11:38   #15
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Soft Air,

Thanks for that. Clearly it is a mindset thing. I have a tendency to be hard on myself. I do realize that my perspective is evolving.

Before I dropped the docklines, I had 4 cars. 2 beaters and 2 "classics" (to me). I cashed in the 2 beaters & gave one of the treasures to a lifelong friend so I could use/visit it (after dumping $7,200 in repairs in it). I kept the last one and now pay storage on it. Stupid- I know.

Here in Mexico I was tormented by not having a car. I bought a folding motorcycle from a dockmate and that put my mind at rest. But I discovered that I only take it for a ride now and then and not to run errands. I find that walking and taxis are cheap. My outgo is magically reduced because of it. No money going out for the transportation itself, and no running off to shop just to entertain myself by aquiring needless stuff.

There is still a list of wants. But it's getting shorter and new items don't find their way onto it like they used to.

One foor in front of the other.
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