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markpj23 23-01-2006 11:27

What Was Your Epiphany?
So there I was, at work behind my computer terminal as usual, chasing down some silly little network problem. Then came the announcement - the Fortune 10 telco that I work for had decided to simply stop funding its defined-benefit retirement plan for management employees. In a real "Dilbert moment" the announcement was made just before the Christmas holidays.

Once I caught my breath, I realized that I wasn't hurt badly since I'm a relatively new employee. Some of my peers, however, took financial hits in the $500K - $700K range over their expected lifetime....

OK so life sucks, but I still have my 401K....

And then the other shoe dropped... there is going to be another RIF and I have to decide which of my engineers is going to get the axe....

So there it was... my Epiphany. The moment when I knew with absolute certainty that I need to pull this cruising dream together and DO IT before I'm too old to enjoy it.... that the only thing certain in my world is family, my dog and that one or more people on this forum will disagree :D

My case can't be all that unusual... thousands before me have chosen to go cruising full-time. So what was it that made them choose that life?

What was your epiphany? Or did you even have one? What made you choose this life? Enquiring minds want to know... :cheers:

ssullivan 23-01-2006 12:59

A couple things caused me to pull the trigger:

1) 9/11 all but destroyed my consulting business which did basically what IBM does. We billed hourly and had no hours for 3 months due to companies being destroyed in our area, and the ripple effect through the local economy.

2) Next, a certain county in NJ very close to NYC skipped out on a ~$60K bill. I was unable to legally force them to pay.

This caused hardship for me and my wife. There were also very few jobs for people of my training and background at the time. I had always thought of white collar work as a way to get me to cruising. When it wasn't doing that, I decided to just get to cruising now and forget about the rat race. Of course, as you all know, we earn our livings now through chartering and get to cruise in between. Not a bad compromise for us. Eventually, we will cruise farther and cruise full time.

PS: Mark, is that Verizon? I just read that in the WSJ a week back or so.

Jon D 23-01-2006 13:22

Ours was a long term plan. We knew after pulling up stakes and moving to Annapolis from Chicago via water. We sailed there over a summer, we knew we had to keep cruising.

Our goal was to go when I turned 50. The stars, luck, work etc all aligned and we are on target.

9/11, motorcycle accident, friends getting cancer, friends dying all contributed to keeping the motivation up there.

markpj23 23-01-2006 13:28


ssullivan once whispered in the wind:
Mark, is that Verizon? I just read that in the WSJ a week back or so.
Bonus points to Sean for guessing the company... yes, Verizon. Sadly enough, their announcement has since been duplicated by a slew of other major corporations. :(

ssullivan 23-01-2006 15:32

Yup... Verizon made some great careers for some. My wife's father used to work in corporate in NYC. He was laid off in the 90's round of layoffs. Decent severance back then though.

Sorry to hear of your hardship. All the more reason to shed material posessions and assets and just enjoy life. ;)

Cool Change 23-01-2006 15:46

Go while you still can. I lost my wife to cancer in 2000, we had wanted to go later, well later never came for her.
I got rid of all the "Stuff" and went for it, first aboard a 45' Beneteau, later, and currently a 36' Prout Cat. Live aboard full time and just go where the wind takes me.

Cool Change III

Weyalan 23-01-2006 23:01

I was delivering a 40' yacht for a good friend of mine. It was only about a 700 nautical mile delivery, but it still gave me a lot of time to think about life and about what is important. I always believed that I was not going to work until 65 and then retire to the 'burbs, but I think that trip is what crystalised my resolve to (a) buy a boat (b) set it up for long term liveaboard (c) go cruising. Ok, so I have achieved (a) and I am just starting on (b) but it will probably be 4 - 5 years before (c) is achieved...but I am on the way.

NoTies 24-01-2006 00:44

Wonderful thread
Back in the early 90s I was engineer on a fishing trawler in Chile. My relief replacement turned out to live near me in NZ yet we had never met previously. One of those guys who becomes an instant and very dear friend. "Crowbar" died of cancer in '04 and I stood up at his funeral and said I would be proud to claim I had done 1/2 of what Crowbar had done when my time came. (He and his wife were serious cruisers for 10+ years). Back down on the ice I suddenly realised I owed it to myself to not be satisfied with 1/2. Rung the missus & told her what I wanted to do, expecting a conservative response. WRONG, she said she had fallen in love with me all over again, what size boat and when do we go. Lucky me :jump:
Just coming to the end of 18 odd months bloody hard work for Sue & I and we're ready to kick the tyre, light the fire and away we go.
As an aside, I don't know if it's a chicken and egg thing, but since we made the decision I have become increasingly obsessed with escaping the jackboot of government over-regulation. The law of the sea and the law of nature for me from now on.

ssullivan 24-01-2006 06:42

Re: Wonderful thread

pwederell once whispered in the wind:
As an aside, I don't know if it's a chicken and egg thing, but since we made the decision I have become increasingly obsessed with escaping the jackboot of government over-regulation. The law of the sea and the law of nature for me from now on.
Yes, I agree with this. Me and my wife have the same feelings. We are very far "outside the Matrix" as we call it. (reference to the Matrix movie, but instead of computers, Matrix means "society")

From this perspective, it's easy to see how everything in our society (USA) is set up to trap the average person into slaving away for their entire lives. The proverbial carrot is always there, and so is the "keeping up with the Jones's" pressure.

I think I may have already said too much... gotta go... here come the agents... ha ha ha :)

CaptainK 24-01-2006 06:58

Man Sean.

You're right about the average American. Having to slave away their lives. And having to ever want this. And want that? :eek:

The government regulating the lives. Almost to the point to where they'll probably soon run your life. And ruling over on how to raise your families? :confused:

I'm not trying to start a political rant here. But some of the people on this forum know what I mean, from what I just posted here?

Hate wanting to be a slave for life, in this so-called Matrix. That it's no wonder why I'm slowly wanting to be a full time sailor again. And escape this so-called Matrix for good. Before this Matrix becomes 1930's Nazi Germany? :(

irwinsailor 24-01-2006 07:02

In 2001 I lost my job of 23 years. We had been thinking of cruising for about 3 years at that point and I had been researching boats in that time. So 362 days after loosing my job we bought the boat. We were both 44 at the time. We will be out cruising starting june 2006. I tell my kids that all they will get from our estate will be a old boat to sell.

Matt Hager 24-01-2006 11:51

For me it was about 2 years ago, I was having dinner with a long time friend and I said as I did many times before “I am going to sail around the world”. She laughed and said “You’ve being saying that for as long as I have known you, you will never do it”. That night “you will never do it” played over and over in my head. After a night with out sleep and a few hours on the internet I had my first response to the post “crews any where any time”. 2 weeks later I was in Mexico on a 120’ Ketch rig (another story). While in Mexico working on Infinity in the boat yard I watched all the sailboat come in and out of the harbor. I started to think about my own sailboat, my mind was filled with all kinds of questions about the size of boat, hull type, rigging etc. etc... I saw a boat entering the harbor one mourning as it grew nearer I realized something was different about it. It turned out it was a 12 foot dugout that had been sailed from the South Pacific by one man had a square sail and no keel. That is when I knew it was time to get my own boat and start the process (life style change) of buying and outfitting my own boat. That was my moment! Side note to story, yesterday I accepted an offer on my house, I am now free.

Fair Winds,

SV Vagans

BC Mike 24-01-2006 13:14

E what
I will have to look it up in the dictionary, but off hand I think it means something about a defining moment. I have had a plan to sail a long way for as long as I can remember. I even started by contracting a boat design in 1982. All the while I have owned boats of some type. Also sold boats for a while. This time though I can make plans that will stick. I will be 60 this year and will be around for a while. The farm boss and I have separated, the only thing that remains is to sell the farm property. When that is done action will start towards a bigger boat, and making sure there is enough money to cruise. First stop will be Southern California and then Hawaii, then South to NZ. If that goes well I will continue, if it goes bad I will buy a small place by the ocean and just coastal cruise and fish. In between I will sit on the proch with a beer in hand and watch the ocean. Top of the list for a boat this week, is to build a Didi 34.

Kai Nui 24-01-2006 23:58

So Sean, does that mean that I have to keep moving forward, or you will stop? :D (jones')
My epiphany came from a search for myself that I did not realize I was condusting at the time. My family has a connection with a well known ship wreck in the PNW the Peter Iredale. One day, I was in a used book store and saw a book titled "Graveyard of the Pacific". It contained the story of that ship, and others that perished in that stretch of water. I realized, after reading that book, that my connection to the sea was the part of my life that was not complete. My wife and I started talking about the idea of going cruising. We had a small cabin off the grid in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and a few weeks after we started to discuss the idea, we went into an antique store, and were considering the purchase of a stove for the cabin. As we were also considering selling the place and going cruising, we were torn between continuing to fix the place up, or selling and persuing the dream. The proprieter or the shop was an older woman (upper 80's). She commented on our interest in her stove. We explained our cunundrum. She told us not to buy the stove, and to go for it, because if not now, when? Her perspective was one of a life of going for it. She had cruised years ago, and said it changed her life profoundly. We have never looked back.
I do wonder sometimes if it is strange that my cruising dream began with a book on shipwrecks.

markpj23 25-01-2006 07:28

Really enjoying the varied responses here... more, more !!

Kai Nui - my grandmother was famous in our family for her philosophy of "don't miss a thing in life... Do what you can while you're still able to do it.." A sentiment I've since heard from just about every grandparent I've ever met. :)

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