Welcome aboard Gypsy. You didn't give us muc about your history
with sailing or boats... but if you two are starting from zero /scratch.. you can accomplish an awful lot in the 8 years you are looking at. Each of us will have a different trajectory of getting to the stage to move to full on live aboard and cruising mode... and a different starting place and goals of course . But rest assured the collective wisdom on this and other forums
will give you almost all the information you will need... and from those who have already been there and learned from their experience (mistakes). When you ask something you'll likely be flooded with responses. Information overlaod.
I will broefly mention that my own zero to full on live aboard cruiser was about 6 years. Along with my commitment at the beginning I purchased a new 36' monohull
which although ready to sail required many upgrades to bring it to offshore
live aboard cruiser status. There was no internet
back then and so it was a bit harder for a newbie to source reliable information and products... but back then we managed.
In my experience I both learned to sail my boat, learned about the weather
, the sea, navigation
and so forth with hands on experience on the boat which I would cruise
and live aboard.
Your situation may be very different if you don't intend to acquire the boat until close to the time you intend to move aboard. My suggestion is that you spend a few of those 8 years in sourcing the right boat and acquire it and use it as much as possible on weekends even to get familiar with it and perhaps do the upgrades you deem necessary.
I can't emphasize enough the need to know your boat and its systems. And the best way to accomplish this is to do the work yourself. This means you'll become a bit of a plumber, electrician, rigger, joiner and engine mechanic
. By the time you two are ready to cast off your dock
lines you'll have the skills and the confidence to be self reliant... the hallmark of the cruising sailor.
Technology is changing very fast. Don't be overly concerned at having the cutting edge gear
waiting for the latest date to acquire and install. Most of it does the same basic things ... a speed log is a speed log is a speed log. There is much to be said for the KISS approach - Keep It Simple Sailor.
Now go out and do it. You've made an awesome decision and will not regret it.
Fair winds and following seas may you find in your future!