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Old 04-10-2018, 10:37 AM   #1
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Help me find a path in life

Hi crew,

New here to the trawler forum, but not new to cruising. Like many of you I am an ex-sailor who spent years down in the Caribe aboard full time. I loved it.

Some time passed... I had to sell my sailboat, became single, and now I'm a working stiff again. But here is the rub, I'm still addicted to the nomadic lifestyle.

Now that I work, I need to keep working until I save up a boat load of money to take off and really go cruising again, but in the meantime I have a job that lets me work from "anywhere" provided I have good internet. So I've been racking my brain. Do I buy an RV and go road tripping (which I did for 10 months once), do I buy another sail boat and stay in marinas for internet and cruise the states/bahamas/etc.... Or finally... What is the feasibility of doing the great loop?

So I'm ignorant of trawlers, but they seem ideal for that journey.

I'm here to ask for your collective input on internet availability along the great loop or at least most of it. I'm pretty familiar with the gulf coast, but every thing else is a mystery. Can you get 4G on the hook in most places or will this be a marina hopping adventure?

What say you?

Warning: If you say YES! I'll have to relentlessly pester everyone for trawler knowledge and advice.
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Old 04-10-2018, 12:58 PM   #2
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I have no relevant information to offer, but welcome!
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Old 04-10-2018, 01:55 PM   #3
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These guys have a 47 Bayliner and an RV with expertise in what you seek.
Technomadia | Adventures in Nomadic Serendipity

FWIW - If it is a toss up the expense and time involved in a boat will greatly exceed that of an RV. Only you can judge what is worth the 'cost'.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:51 PM   #4
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Tate, first good luck in your new journey. We moved aboard two years ago in VA. Have been to Captiva and West Palm (furthest south) and now backup the AICW where we're docked in Cape May. I work full time from the boat. Marina internet in our experience is basically bad dial-up unless you are at an On-Spot marina. We use Verizon 4G most of the time. Ironically, our best signal has been in the most remote anchorages along the way. Go figure.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:52 PM   #5
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Did the Great Loop last year. Had Internet 95% of the time with a smart phone on Verizon's unlimited data package. You can increase the coverage with a hot spot and antenna. The notable exception is between Chicago and Grafton Illinois. Went days without it in some spots. Those spots also didn't have marinas.

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Old 04-10-2018, 02:53 PM   #6
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Land based certainly cheaper. Don't pay rent.

Converted cargo trailer gives flexibility if you don't need stealth.

If you do, plain white box truck made to look like a fish delivery, no text just a Jesus fisk "logo", rooftop A/C made to look like a reefer compressor and a quiet gennie.

CheapRVliving and TNTTT forums for great buildout examples.


Save save save for the right boat as you travel around see the sights live cheap AF.
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Old 04-10-2018, 03:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Converted cargo trailer gives flexibility if you don't need stealth.

If you do, plain white box truck made to look like a fish delivery, no text just a Jesus fisk "logo", rooftop A/C made to look like a reefer compressor and a quiet gennie.

CheapRVliving and TNTTT forums for great buildout examples.
There's tons of info. on youtube. Search for "Van Life". Big RV's seem to be less accepted, with the exception of Walmart parking lots and campgrounds. Commercial trucks squat in rest area's, parking lots, and even the side of the road and nobody bats an eye.
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:45 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the great feedback guys. Just as a side note, I'm very familiar with RV life having lived 10 months on a class A that we took to all sorts of places it was never designed to go.

But the info on the internet along the GL sounds encouraging. I'd really like to go back to sea rather than stay a lubber, but I am still just sorting out my options.

I appreciate the financial side of things, however, I'm not broke and can save money so getting a trawler won't break me even though I know it will cost more than a RV.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:18 PM   #9
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I have the Motorhome, and am working on the boat..not really knowing much about the boating lifestyle, it seems to me if work is still important and internet connections key, do the RV thing for a year or two..Easier to just move on down the road if WiFi is bad...
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:12 PM   #10
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I went through the land, verses ocean analysis last year mainly due to the cost factor and considered getting out of boats, but it didn't last long. I know RV's are cheaper to buy and operate, but I just couldn't give up the ocean connection. Nothing beats heading offshore to disappear and get away from the grind like a boat IMO. Many people I know love the concept, but they don't have the energy level and commitment to make it happen, especially as they get older.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:53 PM   #11
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I just meant for a while to really solidify finances.

If getting out on the water is no stretch, then by all means do that.

Personally I would find that much less work-productive, internet access being least of it, I'm a binge worker / then stop for years fellow myself
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:51 PM   #12
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I went thru a similar experience. Where to go when you can work from anywhere. While I'm moving to a boat now, I spend the last couple years hanging out in some of the recognized great digital nomad venues. A common list is:
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Budapest, Hungary
Medellin, Colombia
Cape Town, South Africa
Prague, Czech Republic
Charleston, South Carolina
I can tell you form personal experience the top 4 rock! I spent 2-6 weeks in each and love it. Average cost is <$100/day all inclusive to live like a king. Internet is rock solid. Chiang Mai is my, and most peoples #1. My 26 yo on is there now - I'm jealous.
So, just saying, before you buy the asset, take advantage of your freedom and roam. Once you set anchor, you'll have great memories and have satisfied some wonderlust.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:27 PM   #13
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A huge bonus for boat vs rv living is the culture. We did not realize this before moving onto our boat, and were hugely surprised/impressed. Everybody wants to say hey at the marinas and check out other people's boats. I might be wrong, but it seems that in campgrounds or walmart parking lots, people either want solitude, or to let their kids rampage; they aren't all that interested in meeting new people.

We took our boat from florida to boston last year, mostly on the intracoastal. There was 4G nearly 100% of the time (save a few places in the rural south, but not more than a couple hours).
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:37 AM   #14
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West,
You have hit on one of the major positive differences between RV life and boat life, having done both myself. Henceforth, I stick with the boat life culture, just works better for me.

Maybe because its a bit harder/more demanding to do than land lubber RV life. The ocean arena is more demanding, but for me, can be more rewarding.

I never had to worry about dirt leaks sinking an RV, or drowning in a RV park if I had a misstep.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:03 AM   #15
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Then I'll also mention the elephant in the room: social class, aka profession, education, money.

So crass of me to bring it up I know, please don't just react defensively, no criticism implied, it's just a fact of life.
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:23 AM   #16
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West,
You have hit on one of the major positive differences between RV life and boat life, having done both myself. Henceforth, I stick with the boat life culture, just works better for me.

Maybe because its a bit harder/more demanding to do than land lubber RV life. The ocean arena is more demanding, but for me, can be more rewarding.

I never had to worry about dirt leaks sinking an RV, or drowning in a RV park if I had a misstep.

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Old 04-11-2018, 10:02 AM   #17
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A huge bonus for boat vs rv living is the culture. We did not realize this before moving onto our boat, and were hugely surprised/impressed. Everybody wants to say hey at the marinas and check out other people's boats. I might be wrong, but it seems that in campgrounds or walmart parking lots, people either want solitude, or to let their kids rampage; they aren't all that interested in meeting new people.

We took our boat from florida to boston last year, mostly on the intracoastal. There was 4G nearly 100% of the time (save a few places in the rural south, but not more than a couple hours).
I hear you 100% on this. We had similar experiences on the boat vs RV. RV people that I met were typically the kind that go out for a weekend or a week here and there and not the type that do it as a lifestyle.

Most boat people are trying to live the lifestyle. Makes for a huge difference.

And to those of you that mentioned the friendly people in marinas. Let me tell you that is amplified x100 when you sail into a remote anchorage of a small island. Every boat in the place knows how hard it was to get there so they all swarm you boat, help you set your anchor, throw a bunch of food on deck, tell you to get some sleep and they'll see you tomorrow. Now that is community.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:29 AM   #18
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As you are aware, not every boat is suitable for passages throughout the Caribbean. Similarly, many boats suitable for the Caribbean are not ideal for the great loop due to draft constaints, height constraints and deck configuration for locking and docking. If your are planning to keep the GL boat for returning to the Caribbean, consider the attributes that both need, weight comprimises carefully or plan to swap boats.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:38 AM   #19
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As you are aware, not every boat is suitable for passages throughout the Caribbean. Similarly, many boats suitable for the Caribbean are not ideal for the great loop due to draft constaints, height constraints and deck configuration for locking and docking. If your are planning to keep the GL boat for returning to the Caribbean, consider the attributes that both need, weight comprimises carefully or plan to swap boats.
Thoughts on this? Most of the places I went to in the Caribe had a lot of sailboats but very few trawlers. Granted I was in some pretty remote places. I can recall down in San Blas the only power boats we saw were KK42s. A couple of them stopped in over the course of 6 months.

I have little/no knowledge on things like hydraulic stabilizers or paravanes/etc, and the thought of losing an engine with no backup sort of terrifies me. But maybe that is just because I'm used to a sailboat.

Seems like a full displacement boat could also manage the GL pretty easy? I know sailors who take the masts down and do it.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:38 AM   #20
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Technomadia is the personal website/blog of Cherie Ve Ard and Chris Dunphy. They also run the Mobile Internet Resource Center. It was originally focused on RVs, but they have expanded it to mobile Internet in general since they bought their boat. That are, IMO, the goto source of update-to-date, accurate information on mobile Internet.
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