Listen to Pilot Light

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

An Unquenchable Lust for Sailing

It was fifteen years ago that we moved off our boat, HDML 1001, aka Float Street. She was a warship and a lovely, but decaying boat home. Before living on her, we lived on a junk, called Gambic, in Hong Kong. We loved boat life, but for a number of reasons that were true enough back then, when we left Float Street behind, we thought we were through with sailing. 

Float Street in Venezuela

Life changes. We (I, in particular) aren't good at routine. When we sink into routines, we feel ourselves ossify. We don't like feeling ossification as it diminishes us. I, in particular, don't thrive well in an existence of routine. I've never tolerated an office-hour life well. I've done it, and found it painful. That doesn't mean I'm good at avoiding routine, just that I suffer considerably from falling into them.

We moved back to Silver City from Cambodia about three years ago with the idea that we had finally settled on a place. We wouldn't move again. We'd travel, but not uproot ourselves. After all, we knew why we'd come back. We knew the place well. We knew both its limits and its benefits to us. And we were right. About the place. Not about settling.

But life changes. Goals change. Four days ago, over breakfast, Dagny looked at me with a somewhat puzzled expression and told me she'd ben thinking about living on a boat. We talked about the change of heart, her motivations and such, but mostly we talked about the possibilities (and difficulties) of living on a boat. During the next three days we tried to find good reasons to write that off as a bad, impractical idea. Well, boats are impractical, and we are pragmatic people. But our lives are not practical things to be managed and desire is a power of its own. As a result, the more we worked to convince ourselves what a bad idea it was, the more excited we became about doing it. We discovered that we had suppressed our love of living on a boat, but that the love for the life, the lust for the feeling of living at anchor (we were seldom in marinas) hadn't been quenched. We found ourselves physically craving it.

Over the next three days following Dagny's epiphany, we formed a strategy and an intention. In the process, the specifics of reaching our goal changed several times but the rather simple, and somewhat open-ended intention of moving from a fixed abode on shore to living full time on a boat sharpened into a workable, or at least an exciting, strategy. First, we are going to sell our house. This morning I'll call a broker or two and have them give us an estimate of what we can get for it as is. We don't intend to fix it up or do much to it. That's for the buyer to do. It's an old adobe, nearly 100 years old, and it has character. That will have to do. We will price it to sell.

We have our white Nissan van that Dagny christened Moby, and fixed up for camping. While we sell the house, she'll finish off Moby's cabinetry. When the house sells we will head off to visit family and friends, and then turn south, driving to Central America, where we will buy a boat, fix it up, move aboard and sell the van.

Simple, right?

Of course, intentions and reality often collide. The veneer of simplicity will crumble as it always does. We can't afford a fancy boat, but we have skills. We also have time, because hunting for the right boat will be part two of the adventure. Once we are on board, a new adventure begins.

This time our moving will be irreversible. For our last moves we had a property manager rent out our house, and it was there, welcoming, when we wanted to return from an adventure. Now we are cutting that tie and moving on to... something else.

So the inexorable change officially begins now. I intend to chronicle the adventures, posting as things happen, as we move from one phase to the next. Like many of the best things in life, the outcome is uncertain; like all good quests, only the intention can be controlled. It should prove interesting.