Hi Folks. Sorry for the lack of updates lately, but frankly, there hasn’t been anything new to write about.
I’m just working (not fun) and enjoying the liveaboard life (fun!). Trying to save up money to get some of these boat projects finished so I can get back to enjoying the sailing life. Unfortunately saving hasn’t gone so well lately. I’ve been pretty much broke the past few months and haven’t made any real progress. But it’s OK! I’m finding my feet again (again!) and getting my spending habits on lockdown.
Of course, the lack of financial progress doesn’t necessarily mean no progress at all. The past few months have been very educational for me. I spend a lot of time thinking about this boat and what I want from my life, since they go hand-in-hand…
For folks like me, having to get up and go to work every day is the worst thing in the world. Going to work interferes with my life. My goal in life, my dream, is to not have to go to work. Being free from employment is the only way I’ll ever be free enough to travel the world. I mean, there’s other ways, like winning the lottery, or saving up for the next 10 years, or landing some miraculously well paying, travel-friendly job. But those are not things I can make happen. So what’s a guy to do?
I’m capable of working for myself and making decent money in the construction trades. But you can’t travel with that type of business since it requires establishing a name for yourself and building a customer base, and lots of tools that would never fit on a 30 foot sailboat. And when you travel and start a new job every time you land somewhere you’re always starting at the bottom, no matter how skilled you are. It takes time to work you’re way up the ladder, even with small companies. I thought I could do it this way, save up, travel, start over, do it all again… But now I think it’s going to be much more difficult than I thought. Obviously…
I thought I could save up something like $4-600 a month. But the reality is, the only way to do that on a small income is to not have any bills. This is part of the reason I wanted to live aboard right away. I figured I could live at anchor, bill free, and be able to save a lot more. But as it turns out, living at anchor is not that simple. It requires a very self-sufficient boat, a good dinghy, and many other things I simply can’t afford yet.
So, I need to both make more money, and spend less of it, in order to get this boat in cruising shape within a reasonable amount of time. But what about after that? Can I realistically live at anchor and maintain a job?
What I need is to create an income that doesn’t require being employed (by someone else) and can be made from anywhere in the world.
There’s many different things a person can do while travelling on a boat to make money. Anything from welding, mechanical work, and canvas work. To things like diving, chartering, and captaining. Those are all realistic ways to work and travel. But they require education and investment, and often a major time investment.
What I want is an internet based business…
I’m not a programmer, but I have dabbled in website creation from time to time over the years. The trick to making money online is to generate advertising income. A little blog like this one will never make any money. It makes less than $50 a year (so far). But, I’ve come up with a few websites that I think could actually generate a little bit of money each month. The idea is to make a little bit from many different websites. Maybe one website only makes $20 a month, but another makes $50… 10-15 websites later, and I’d be pulling in enough to start traveling.
Of course it’s not easy or everyone would be doing it. It takes me a long time to make a good website, and all of the ideas I have will require daily updating. I’d be writing articles and posting things to websites several hours a day. But the beauty is, it can be done from anywhere in the world with wifi access. It’s not a way to get rich, but if I can just generate a few hundred a month, I’d retire to the freedom of budget-cruising my way around the world.
So that’s what I want to do. I want to take the time to create a few websites and try my hand at becoming financially self-sufficient.
Meanwhile, I’m going to work on a few of the other things, like diving. I have an opportunity to take some diving classes and get certified. I think it’s a great way to make some money on the side while travelling. This past week I tried to change the prop-zinc on my boat and couldn’t do it because I simply can’t hold my breath long enough. I got lucky and a diving friend did it for free, but I was ready to pay someone to do it. The majority of boats here, and in most places, pay someone to clean their bottoms and change their zincs. $100 for an hour or two of work is pretty good pay, if you ask me.
Personally, I can’t stand the thought of not being to do my own work. So becoming a diver seems to be an essential part of being a self-sufficient sailor. Boats require bottom work, and unless you can hold your breath for 2-3 minutes at a time, you need some kind of air supply. I’m looking into building a simple hookah rig (like this only a lot cheaper) from a compressor, but it requires much of the same gear a diver would use (regulators, weights, etc..) and a scuba tank is much cheaper, more reliable, and easier to stow on the boat than a compressor. The main problem is, you have to be certified to get scuba tanks filled… And taking lessons will be much safer than trying to figure it all out on my own. Diving is not something I want to do for recreation. I just want to be able to work on my own boat, and maybe make a few bucks working on other peoples boats.
So where does this all leave me? I still think I’m in a good place here. It’s very cheap to live, I’m not making much money, but it’s enough to live well and/or save at least a little bit. There are endless resources around here for working on the boat and getting it into cruising condition. Of course, I’d rather live somewhere further south while I put this life together, but I think I can deal with Viriginia for another year. The summer is very nice around here. It’s an energetic atmosphere and people love to get outside and play. Atleast, its really nice when it’s less than 95 degrees out… I don’t particularly like the Chesapeake Bay. I mean, it’s not like the beaches, I’m used to… The water is polluted. I’m not interested in eating the fish out of here, so fishing is kinda pointless and swimming is kinda gross. But, it’s still 100% better than being landlocked somewhere like Ohio. I’ll have the boat sailing again in another week or three… There’s certainly other places I’d rather be but, it’s not so bad that I feel like I really have to leave right away.
The reality is I just can’t afford it. I can’t afford to haul out my boat, buy a new dinghy, upgrade my anchor, replace the standing rigging… I can’t afford a boat the way everybody else can. Something has to change. Either I live like a hermit and save for a year or two to get myself out of this slump, or I figure out how to earn more money. I’m going with a combination of the two prospects…Meanwhile I’ll save what I can, and keep doing what I can to do the boat.
It’s slow going these days.
But life continues to be an enjoyable adventure.
PS: It’s HOT! I almost bought an A/C unit this weekend, but I figure I better tough it out and keep the money…