Friday, August 31, 2012

Leaving Work

I have been earning a paycheck since I was about 14 and Brett has been working even longer than that.  While we all joke about “working for the man”, there is a lot of self-satisfaction and pride that comes from a job well done, along with the added bonus of the many friends we makes along the way.  Jobs define a lot of who we are to our friends, family and to ourselves, so making the decision to leave our jobs and take this trip was not something we took lightly.  

Brett with our new mascot - Wilson -
signed from all of his co-workers.
After so many years of working (and a lifetime of conditioning that work is just what you are supposed to do!) it’s pretty tough to give up that steady paycheck and the careers we have worked hard to establish over the years (not to mention losing our healthcare).  There is no guarantee for either of us that we’ll be able to come back in 5-7 years and pick up where we left off – and that can be a tough concept for two highly motivated and responsible people to accept.  For Brett, it meant walking away from a career while in the peak of his money making potential – hard indeed.

But there comes a time when you just have to look to the future and acknowledge what you really want in life – and for us it was to go cruising and travel extensively.  And a big part of that reality is taking this leap of faith that we’ll have enough money in the bank, that it’s okay to leave.  That there will be a job (even if it’s not the same sort of job) when we get back.  That it’s okay to leave good jobs to realize our dream. 

And so, we took that final step on August 17th.  There were lunches, parties, beers and wine and lots of cake!  There were more kind words from our coworkers than we ever could have imagined.  The amount of compliments and unexpected thank you’s was overwhelming and wonderfully gratifying.  It’s a pretty amazing thing to know so many people care and appreciate the work we did while we were at our respective jobs.  I know we both highly value the friends we’ve made along the way and greatly appreciate working with so many amazing people over the years.
Last day beers with some great people!

So now, we continue to move forward towards our goal of departing right after Labor Day.  No more paychecks – just the two of us, our savings, and our passion for travel and each other.  While I am completely intimidated and scared, I am also enthralled with this new door opening in front of us.  

Time to step through.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Laundry....Leads to Popcorn?

Ahhhhhhh laundry – it’s one of the most asked questions we get from our friends and family, “How will you clean your clothes?”  Excellent question – and I have no idea!  From what I hear it mostly involves a 5 gallon bucket with a lid and a plunger.  Let your imagination fill in the rest!  Laundry and what clothing to take cruising is this month’s Raft Up topic, so that’s what this post is about.  And since we haven’t left yet, I am definitely looking forward to reading all the other posts as I have a LOT to learn!

Since I know virtually nothing on the laundry part, I will focus on the clothing piece – how we’ve managed work and home life wardrobes in a small space over the last three years of living aboard, and what we will likely take with us….

First off let me say that I’ve always loved my shoes.  When Brett and I first met, he used to think I was crazy when we traveled and I wanted to pack 8 pairs of shoes for a one week trip (how many women are nodding their heads and thinking – that seems reasonable!).   At home I probably had at least 30 pairs of shoes to choose from.  When we moved onto the boat, I quickly realized I was going to have to GREATLY pare down my selection.  So sad!  But you quickly figure out which ones matter when you trip over them constantly.  Amazing how quickly they become less important!  I think at this point I have about 8 pairs on the boat (still way too many according to Brett!).  I know that will need to come down further yet.  It will be tough, but from what I understand, I won’t even need shoes for a good portion of the next few years.  One person I talked to said they didn’t wear socks for almost 2 years.  What a concept!

While we’ve been on board we’ve been lucky enough to have a small storage until located nearby.  Within the unit we have rigged up a couple of long metal pipes to hang up the majority of our clothes.  Plus we have a variety of storage totes to hold the items that don’t hang.  Over the past 3 years, as the seasons change, we swap clothing from the boat to the storage unit – depending on the nature of the weather.  This system has worked very well as you don’t need to have everything on board year round taking up valuable space.  I rotate my shoes this way too!

Now that we are less than a month from our departure date, it’s time to make the big decisions about what stays and what goes!  Just how many pairs of shorts, shoes, shirts and suits are appropriate?  While it’s true that the majority of our time will be in warm and sunny weather, there will still be cooler passages and have I mentioned how much I DESPISE being cold?  But do I really want to bring winter clothing when I might only need it a couple of times in 5 years?

What I think we’ll do is focus on lots of shirts, shorts, bathing suits (which I hear you go through like crazy) and pareus/sarongs (for me).  We’ve just bought an awesome new set of high quality foul weather gear from Gill which should protect us very well on cooler passages.  With some careful layering of lightweight wicking long underwear and a layer of fleece, I’m hoping we’ll be set for those cooler passages.  Add a couple pair of jeans, a turtleneck and some long sleeved shirts and I think we should be covered.  And if that’s not the right selection – there IS other places to buy clothing outside of the United States!

There was one more thing we were supposed to talk about, “what impractical item(s) are you planning to bring that you just couldn’t leave behind?”   Now I know this was supposed to be about clothing, but I have to take this opportunity to bring up the WAR OF THE POPCORN POPPER!!!

All of my life, I have been raised on popcorn.  Popcorn at the drive-in movie with Dad, popcorn while reading a book with Mom, popcorn on a weeknight instead of dinner – a HUGE bowl of it!  Popcorn has been a major food group in my life for as long as I can remember!  Knowing my love of the stuff, my BFF Susan long ago bought me an old fashioned popcorn popper with a hand crank.  This thing makes the best popcorn an aficionado could ever hope for.  It is now perfectly “seasoned” and gets used fairly often – but it takes up a large amount of precious space.  You see where I’m going with this, right???  My husband is actually waging a campaign AGAINST THE POPPER!  <gasp!>  Does he not understand that popcorn helps keep his wife sane?  Okay – maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still!  Stay tuned to see who wins this battle before our departure….

I’m sure I will.  ;)