Moving onto a sailboat and sailing from Florida into the Western Caribbean to live in the Bay Islands off the northern coast of Honduras in Central America might seem crazy to some of our contemporaries (especially now with the utter wreckage left behind by the hurricanes)- they either look at us with longing, wistful expressions and say how amazing it is we’re following our dreams or their eyes sort of glaze over with a far-off look of an equation that does not compute and you can almost hear the unspoken question forming in their minds: Why on earth would we want to do that?
Both groups share a problem of being unable to picture the reality that we’re activating, which is both incredibly simple and yet dizzyingly complex — renting our apartment out and moving to Central America aboard a sailboat (with our two dogs, of course) to start a sailing adventure business. (This leaves aside the larger third group who don’t believe we’re actually going to do it, the ones who roll their eyes and say to themselves there’s no way they’ll ever actually do it, but this group should be somewhat diminished now that we’re like ... days away from leaving).
The former group see it as a grand vacation from the real 9-to-5 world, as an idyllic escape into a perpetual sun-soaked version of the good life, when in reality, this is going to be incredibly difficult, full of challenges both known and unknown.
It’s going to be anything but a cake-walk. Given the humidity there’s not going to be much cake in any case, but that’s just my sweet tooth talking.
The latter group fails to imagine a version of existence outside of their own comfortable communal (in many cases exclusively suburban) experience. Anyone who doesn’t have a kid and a house, a new solar-powered car and a carbon-negative footprint not only isn’t trying, they’re not even American.
Anyone who gives up on the pursuit of the materialistic gleam of following the next fad, buying the next $1,000 dollar iPhone, a quintessential aspect of the American Dream — must be perverted, some terrible type of abomination unfit for any type of production. To drop out, cash out, opt away from the traditional blueprint of middle-class bourgeois homeostasis is tantamount to declaring yourself insane.
Maybe we are crazy. Some people seem to think that we’re loons, larks, lunatics on a cockamamie scheme destined to end in catastrophic failure or worse. Maybe we are. But maybe crazy is a rational reaction to our times, to the world we live in as we race through the final quarter of 2017 towards an unwritten, uncertain future. Maybe crazy is staying put in the same place you were raised your entire adult life and never, ever trying to do anything different than what you know and were conditioned to do by your family, peers and culture.
Maybe crazy is scrimping and coupon cutting and saving diligently your entire adult life , foregoing pleasure and vacations for a retirement you never get the opportunity to enjoy.
Maybe crazy is thinking you’re going to have decades of time to retire and live the good life — going to the beach, playing golf and tennis and doing other active, fun things with your friends and loved ones in various exotic, warm locations — but maybe this very idea of retirement is something of a dream, an invention of Madison Avenue men like Don Draper to sell long-term investment options and second homes in Florida rather than an accurate reflection of reality.
I don’t know. What I do know is that Andrea and I are on a different path. It is one that is going to be much more difficult and trying than I can ever really imagine, anticipate, or analyze.
It’s terrifying and yet incredibly liberating in so many ways. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Hell I don’t pretend to have any of them — but what we have are a host of questions, an insatiable curiosity to learn as much as we can, and a desire to share our knowledge with as many people as possible.
We know we want to live with less, to consume less, to make less of a negative impact upon the environment by living more in harmony with our surroundings.
We know we want to continue to learn and teach others about sailing and SCUBA so what better place to do it than in the Caribbean aboard a sailboat with amble solar power, a water-maker, and most importantly in this digital age, a good WiFi booster.
As someone, somewhere, is sure to have said at some point in time on the internet: to do something is great, but to digitize it, to live stream it, to instagram it — is divine.