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Old 01-01-2013, 13:03   #1
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How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

I think a big issue holding back many people in the 20-40s age range is how someone would transition from a liveaboard life to a land based one if the money runs out, or for a job. Even after going sailing for 3-10 years, would you be able to find a normal job (not that I would want a 9-5 job after I'm done with my current one)? I also worry about inflation and home, car, and food prices. There are already many places in the USA where I could never make enough money to buy a good home. And while I already have more money than a lot of the poor baby boomers do for retirement, and don't have any kids to pay for, I still worry about having enough to afford a decent retirement that doesn't involve being a nomad or not having healthcare.

I think I could easily relax and enjoy the cruising lifestyle for quite a few years, but the hard part to wrap my mind around is that once I go for it, I would be stuck. Home prices will be way to high to ever be able to afford one, or work enough years to buy one. The dating situation can't be any worse than the situation I am in now, but I'm not sure if it would be any better if I lived the $300/month lifestyle on a boat.

Maybe I think like this because I am surrounded by workaholic people who think that everyone should have a job from age 22-70, unless they can save a few million dollars...

I'm sure that the millions of poor people in real poverty won't disappear in the next few decades, and while I want to avoid having to be in that situation or to be dependent on the state. Nor do I want the anxiety surrounding not having enough money to pay a bill or to know what you are going to eat tomorrow again, even if living on a self sufficient boat will get rid of some of that...

I know that there are a lot more jobs out there than what I knew about during my last job search in 2003. And I do have my parents house to stay at if I had to, or if I was going to try and start a business. I think I would also like to work for the Red Cross or a non-profit to help out.
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Old 01-01-2013, 13:09   #2
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

Going cruising doesn't make any economic sense, but that is the case with most things in life really worth doing.
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Old 01-01-2013, 13:15   #3
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

The birds and Bess dont worry about where there next meal comes from and do all right- If you follow your dreams it can never be a bad thing !
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Old 01-01-2013, 13:37   #4
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

You are thinking too much, and that's why you need to just go, if opportunities are there they will open up regardless of where you sail too. More the point your world will expand and you'll see things in a different light.

Many cruisers run businesses, invest and earn a living whilst afloat, there's heaps of threads on this forum alone, in Australia we could build a rental portfolio that had a place in each state allowing travel between to be deductible, not sure about US laws.....

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Old 01-01-2013, 13:41   #5
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?


The subject you talk about is huge.

The ability, or lack of thereof, of your returning to 'normal' (land-based, job&society tether attached) life may depend on some of the following factors, (and then on n number of some other factors):

- your mindset,
- your age,
- the time you spent out cruising,
- your former job, education, skills,
- the time and place of your 'return',
- your connections,
- your remaining wallet,
- ....

And to make things even more intricate, there is no single governing factor for any given person - it is a mix and match and it will work in its own mysterious ways for each and everyone of us.

So to say, IMHO, it will vary from 'very easy' to 'F-impossible'.

This much said, I dare say having the mindset of 'what if, after' is a first class ticket to never really enjoying an extended, off the social/economy grid, voyage.

Then again, just think about this: if you are very lucky (unlucky, by most land-based standards) then there may be no after to worry about: the oceans are vast and indifferent spaces full of unexpected and unpredictable dangers (tsunamis, hurricanes, beautiful snakes and poisonous Polynesian girls, to name but a few).

So to say. Just my opinion, not hard facts.

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Old 01-01-2013, 21:35   #6
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

Sun Devil, You have caught a glimpse of a possibility, and are now wrestling with the logic that keeps 99.99% of us tethered right where we are. Most of which is fear. I have always jumped after the dream, and some may count me the fool. I know I have second guessed myself too - as I have spent my fortune - but I've been true too myself. And while I sometimes envy those with the "common sense" to stay home and play it safe, I also no I had no choice. I wouldn't trade my choices and experiences for all the gold on earth!
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Old 02-01-2013, 00:19   #7
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

I've been thinking along these lines quite a bit. There's so much to this that it's hard to choose what part of your post to reply to.

I found it very easy to go back to being a landlubber. The first few months were ... just completely fun. I love the American culture and people even more, and just enjoy being here, with that, and all the little easy self indulgences. On my first job interview after coming back, everyone just wanted to talk about sailing and travel, and I easily got the job. And almost everything there is to do as a landlubber is so, so, easy, compared to the deep wells of willpower that must occasionally be summoned in the sailing life.

Sailing far changed me. I came back a much stronger, confident, and more centered person. This turned out to be good for my career. At least in my technology niche, there's a lot of value given to risk takers that work hard and don't need external validation.

So maybe you don't need to over think the mechanics of coming back. You may find that future you is a different person, who no longer buys into the well worn career and life path everyone else wants, and may even find that by approaching landlubber work on your own terms, it turns out better. And maybe, even if you have to 'lose' at that path compared to a hypothetical you who did not go sailing, maybe you won't give a sh*t.

Greed (aka "Delayed Gratification: The Grown Up, Adult Thing To Do"):
It's hard to stop collecting money -- how much is enough? We struggle with this. It seems like once we attain some new level of independence, there's always the opportunity to be even more independent, for longer, or on a new scale.

At this point in our lives, we also have a common aspect to this, which is a working life that keeps getting more rewarding, so there's this 'best situation I'll ever be in' thought -- I have no idea if I'll have such wonderful luck 'next time' to fall into this particular situation, where money may be much easier to come by now than it ever will be in the future.

Motivation to just go:
I really enjoy my life on land. But... I've found that the days often run together into an easily forgotten lump. I can't believe it's already 2013 -- it feels 'like yesterday' that it was already 2012. I had fun this year, but honestly, this last year of landlubbery is much less vivid, with fewer cherished memories, than the times we were sailing far.

I get a bit sad watching cruising videos on YouTube, because it reminds me of this, and makes me wonder if I am throwing away countless precious moments of life that will never come back.

So that's what balances greed (aka Delayed Gratification), for us. This thought that moments are slipping by unnoticed, that it's a kind of waste of a life, a bit unpious, to trade an amazing potential present for a future that could easily evaporate.

Yes, our kitchen timer is probably about to ding.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:32   #8
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For me, returning to a land based lifestyle was easy, I suppose, although I have a very strong sense that I am missing out living my better life. Why back to land? The reason simply is that I wanted to save more money (I learned that I don't want to live the 500 dollar a month lifestyle) and I wanted to have a house to visit when I am not on the water. I am now dreaming of returning to life aboard - house almost paid for and more savings needed before setting off again. Can one return to a land based life? I say yes - and I am very thankful that I overcame my fear a few years ago - gave up the job and went sailing.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:55   #9
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

Originally Posted by SunDevil View Post
I think I could easily relax and enjoy the cruising lifestyle for quite a few years, but the hard part to wrap my mind around is that once I go for it, I would be stuck.
In short: you won't be.

People vastly over estimate the amount of control they have over their own lives. The things that can really screw you up are illness, injury, war, pandemics, etc. You really have no influence on those. Losing your job or home sucks, but you need to transcend all of that which is (to me) one of the goals of life. And in the sick twist of irony that is life, the less you worry about something, the better you do at it.

Not to plug my own blog, but I just recently left the states (at 34) with my family and here are a few ruminations from before I left. Maybe some of this stuff echoes with you too.

Rebel Heart - Eric's Blog - sixteen days until we leave the*country

Rebel Heart - Eric's Blog - holy crap: less than 48 hours left in the*USA
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:35   #10
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

You cannot return as the same person who left, so all preconceived notions of what you will want to return to is mistaken…. It is all about the journey, not the destination!
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:57   #11
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Re: How Easy Is It To Return To A Land Lifestyle?

Great stuff, Eric, and a really good blog, too!
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