You asked for anyone in a similar situation to yourself to respond. Here it is.
Well I had been a reader of Cruising Skipper
(now defunct I believe) and other cruising magazines for many years. I had read so many stories of people selling up, buying
a yacht and going cruising. It was also my dream to eventually sell up and head
out on the ocean. I had long loved surfing, snorkelling, fishing
and everything to do with the ocean, and my dream was to live aboard
and travel. I had owned power
boats, but had never even been on a sailing yacht.
In 2001 my father passed away, he was in his 80's so I considered longevity was inherant in my genes, then 2 months later my older brother, then aged 54 dropped dead from a blood clot. This quickly made me take stock and decide if ever I was to be a live aboard
cruising sailor, I needed to get out and learn to sail. I bought my first sailing yacht, a Catalina
250. She was the perfect yacht for me to learn. Over the next 4 or 5 years I learnt to become a reasonable bay sailor, but having never raced I still felt I have missed out on a lot of experience. I should mention that my wife never shared my enthusiasm for sailing, especially after a couple of bad storms, and eventually, not having the same dreams caused a divide between us and we separated and divorced. A few years later my employment
ceased due to the effects of a drought in Melbourne, Australia
where I lived. I was 57 and with no foreseeable opportunities for work, as the industry I was employed in certainly wasnt hiring. I sold
my house, as I still had a mortgage which I now couldnt afford, and set myself to move to Asia
where the cost of living is much cheaper and also to eventually search for a suitable yacht.
I travelled most of the time through China
(also worked teaching English), spent a lot of time in HK and the Philippines
, While I was in HK I met a British lawyer who had been living in HK for the past 12 years. He had a Tayana 55' which he invited me to sail with him and his family
from Boracay in the Philippines
. From June to September 2008 I had the most amazing experience sailing Palawan, Philippines, Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia
before finally arriving in Singapore
My search for my own yacht continued after that. I came to Phuket and Pattaya in Thailand
and also to Langkawi, Malaysia
in my search. Finally I found the yacht I am now living aboard
in Langkawi. She is a small Beneteau Oceanis
Clipper 331. I spent time antifouling and doing minor repairs
before sailing off to Phuket in Thailand
. I spent 3 months there before returning to Langkawi which is where I am now. I will stay here until the sailing season begins again, when I will then head north again and explore Phang Gna Bay before rounding Phuket again to visit the Similan Islands.
I would love to have a house to go back to, but at least I know I have lived my dream. It was never my intention to sail alone, and sailing solo does bring about some difficulties that would be much easier if I had someone else on board. I am still more than 3 years short of receiving a pension, and at the moment my money
isnt going to last that long, so I will be needing to sell up my yacht before things get too desperate. But I am ok with that as I know if I died tomorrow, or had a stroke or something that disabled me, I did live my dream.
My father spent the last 2 years of his life lying prostrate in a hospital bed
unable to move. I swore that if something similar ever happened to me, I would hate to be lying there with those regrets.