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Old 10-31-2017, 03:40 PM   #1
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How did you do it?

I have been lurking on this site for several months and finally decided to join.
I will start off by saying that there is tons of information that you can learn by reading the post on this site. Maybe one day I can use this information on by own boat.
So here is my story. My wife and I are in our mid and early 40's. We were fortunate to start saving for retirement at a early age. We have 2 kids who will be out of college when we are in our mid 50's and we will hopefully retire shortly after that.

Several months back on a trip to the Exumas we met some of the nicest people we have ever met. Many of these people where Americans who lived on their boats full or part time. We met one couple, who were in their late 50's, who invited us aboard their trawler for drinks one afternoon. It was crazy how much they reminded us of ourselves. They were both professionals who's kids had graduated from college a few years before. They were fed up with all of the BS and one day said F them all bought a boat and took off six months later and have not looked back since. They spent the first year exploring the Gulf and Atlantic Intracoastal waterways. and then ventured further on to the Bahamas then to the outer islands You rarely meet people that you can say are truly happy, but this couple was truly happy with both their relationship and their life.

Since this vacation my wife and I have had many discussions about this couple and our retirement plans. Our original plan for retirement was to explore the country in a RV but, we are becoming more and more interested in doing this in a boat. My wife and I are experienced boaters and have owned boats up to 32' since we have been together. We have taken our boats on extended trips from South Louisiana through the Gulf ICW as far east as Pensacola. I can fix damn near anything that is broken and one of those people that take stuff apart just to figure out how it work, man that used to piss my parents off.

I have a few questions for those of you who took the leap from dirt dwellers to living on a boat.
What made you decide to live on a boat full or part time?
If were to do it again what would you have done differently?
What do you miss the most about living on land?
What is the best part of living on a boat?
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:06 PM   #2
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We're not there yet but for us -- and you'll hear this over and over again -- the hardest part is the tidal wave of stuff. We're about at the same point demographically (40's, 50's, well set and could maybe retire early) but we're drowning in stuff no matter how hard we try to get rid of it. Some of it is the Great Generational Transfer of Stuff, but only a fraction. Between our home garage and storage units we have the equivalent of five garage bays of stuff, and we're definitely not crazy pack rats. I made a resolution just a few days ago to get rid of one thing per day no matter what, but that's not going to be fast enough. It's still coming in faster than I can get rid of it. That would be my advice -- start shedding stuff now. Sorry grandma, I will never use your salt and pepper shakers.

(I'm also trying to get into the habit of looking at something and thinking, "Do I really want to carry this around with me for the rest of my life?" That helps too.)
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:36 PM   #3
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One easy way is to take everything and put it in storage units. When you finally realize you no longer need it all, stop paying the rent. J/K
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:54 PM   #4
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We're on your path - looks like a few years ahead. We're bailing out next year.

I went around and added up the cost of buying a brand NEW version everything we owned. It came up to about $5-7K (we aren't the Jones'). There was no way I was going to go through the pain of moving all that crap to storage and then pay $100/mo for an unknown period only to have to move it back out again (if ever). Not worth the trouble.

We downsized into a tiny townhouse to force some changes. We have been systematically donating, selling, and giving away stuff for a year now. We are down to the nitty-gritty basics only (it is really refreshing!).

We have used our short cruise/weekending boat as "practice" for what we REALLY need for a week or two at a time, and have gotten rid of most everything else.

I'll answer your questions in 2020 Remind me.
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Old 10-31-2017, 05:41 PM   #5
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We spend about 100 nights per year on our boat, so I suppose that qualifies us as part timers.

The major factor I would change personally; buy as much boat as you can afford now, as opposed to moving up in size or comfort every few years. That is, if you feel you are into the life style and will use it a lot, including living part or full time aboard.

We are guilty of this, and let's just say I didn't make any money selling the old ones.
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kthoennes View Post
(I'm also trying to get into the habit of looking at something and thinking, "Do I really want to carry this around with me for the rest of my life?" That helps too.)

When I answered that question the rest has been easy. We picked a cabinet, drawer, shelf, closet etc a week and emptied it. Took several months but was painless. We've also postponed buying anything new house wise and the house looks huge inside now.

Our goal is to condense it down to one of those small Pod things and move everything else in our suitcase.
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:17 PM   #7
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The best part about living on a boat is the neighbor hood. The second best thing is you no longer are a slave to stuff. Third best thing is you have plenty of time to play since you have no yard to take care of, house cleaning takes next to no time and there is no room for stupid projects that you arenít going to ever finish anyway.

That said living on a boat has a few challenges, usually no dishwasher, no washer/dryer and you have to walk some distance to your car on cold rainy days.

Itís not for everyone.
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Old 11-02-2017, 02:34 PM   #8
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How did you do it?

We made the move now six years ago, to full time live aboard, then three years ago to full time cruisers. First move find a boat you can both live on...not visit but live on. Spend a few years getting to know the boat, itís systems water, electrical, navigation and how to handle the boat. We rented out house out, sold and gave away everything in it. Digitized everything, our movies, music photo albums and important paper. Look for a Power Squadron courses in you area and take those. We took weather, provisioning, boat handling and navigation. Then go the lines and go. Youíll never be 100% ready. But out of 100 boats at the dock 80% are still getting ready, cut the lines and go.

We are cruising the Sea of Cortez beginning our third season here and fourth since we left San Francisco and are loving it
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Old 11-02-2017, 03:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kthoennes View Post
We're not there yet but for us -- and you'll hear this over and over again -- the hardest part is the tidal wave of stuff. We're about at the same point demographically (40's, 50's, well set and could maybe retire early) but we're drowning in stuff no matter how hard we try to get rid of it. Some of it is the Great Generational Transfer of Stuff, but only a fraction. Between our home garage and storage units we have the equivalent of five garage bays of stuff, and we're definitely not crazy pack rats. I made a resolution just a few days ago to get rid of one thing per day no matter what, but that's not going to be fast enough. It's still coming in faster than I can get rid of it. That would be my advice -- start shedding stuff now. Sorry grandma, I will never use your salt and pepper shakers.

(I'm also trying to get into the habit of looking at something and thinking, "Do I really want to carry this around with me for the rest of my life?" That helps too.)
.
We moved aboard a Defever 44 fourteen months ago after selling our home. We keep a 10 x 15 storage unit for our grand piano and other "stuff". I wanted to get rid of much more than we did but was over-ruled. We love living aboard. The only thing I miss is a gas stove for cooking but many boat's do have propane burners. Ours does not. We gave away tons of belongings, miss nothing. Sell the house, keep important papers, family photos, a few things. You won't miss any of the rest once you do it. It's incredibly liberating. No lawns, no shrubs to trim, no driveways to shovel. Yes, some boat maintenance but it's a labor of love and really isn't all that much.
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:02 PM   #10
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Nice timing on this thread. Our home went under contract this week and if everything works out we will be moving aboard full time on or before 12/1. I am retiring at the end of the year but agreed to work part-time for the first 6 months of 2018.

We are currently in the processing of selling, giving away and throwing away stuff. Ultimately we will be down to a relatively small, climate controlled storage unit for a few pieces of furniture and some other items that we cannot part with. We will keep both cars until I quit working completely at the end of June but after that one will be sold.

The OP asked how we made the decision. For us it was a 1 year trial run in 2000 when we lived on a 32' sailboat. We loved it and have been working and planning for a return to boat living ever since.

Several people replied with why they liked living aboard. For me -

1. No grass to cut or leaves to rake.
2. If you don't like the neighbors it is easy to move.
3. Clean shorts and t-shirt are acceptable dress clothes.
4. Did I mention no grass?
5. Two people with drinks in their hands equals a party.

Good luck with your decision!

Gene
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Old 11-04-2017, 02:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by SlowsailNC View Post
1. No grass to cut or leaves to rake.
2. If you don't like the neighbors it is easy to move.
3. Clean shorts and t-shirt are acceptable dress clothes.
4. Did I mention no grass?
5. Two people with drinks in their hands equals a party.
Much of my life has been aboard a ship or boat. Owning a house is like a prison sentence. It doesn't move. You're tied to it in your spare time and doing maintenance when you could be in a better place having fun. You have to buy furniture you don't want that has almost no value when you sell it. Often, you're saddled with some neighbor that is obsessive with some aspect of maintenance you could care less about.

I miss nothing about house living. I did have a dairy and miss the cows, but not the neighbors.
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Old 11-05-2017, 06:22 AM   #12
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We are not live aboards yet as we still have another 15 years at least until my wife can retire from her government job. It sounds as though we are in a similar boat as the OP though - very early 40's, 2 kids that have another 6 years until the youngest goes off to college.

My wife and I thought of buying an RV for retirement but quickly realized that we spend most of our off time on the water so why buy an RV. We had taken our smaller boat (23') to the Bahamas and done some really long trips on it and we finally realized that with a little saving we could get a bigger boat.

The process of saving and locating a bigger boat took 2 years but in 2014 we puled the trigger on our current "big boat." Since then we have bonded more as a family than I ever though we could. With few exceptions, every weekend is spent on the boat and at least 4 times a year we take a longer weekend trip. Every summer we spend 3 weeks travelling. In 2018 we will spend even longer in the Abacos.

Our now 11 and 13 year old boys have spent hours in the Bahamas playing with other kids and generally exploring the islands on a dinghy. The 13 year old can run the boat by himself which is a blast when we pull into marinas. I feel like I have my own Captain some days.

All you need is a nice day and a plan
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Old 11-07-2017, 03:43 PM   #13
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What part of South Louisiana are you from???
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latravcha View Post
What is the best part of living on a boat?
Everything! This is absolutely the best life. The views are good, neighbors are nice, anchorages are pretty and protected. Best of all, if any of the above changes I can leave. It is simply a matter of pushing a button to raise the anchor or dropping dock lines, and I bring all my stuff with me.



Not having a lot of Stuff is wonderful. What I have, I love. It is not that I gave up anything important to be aboard Seaweed. Instead I cherry picked the best of what I had and jettisoned the rest. I enjoyed giving. The blessings I received in thanks we're worth a lot to me.

Now I do confess that many items I paid perfectly good money for were not valuable. I enjoyed the gathering of said Stuff. Getting rid of the clutter was so freeing. I wish I had done so sooner.

I wish you success latravcha. This life can be yours, and it is truly wonderful.

My friend Cheryl's husband went fishing. Guess what's for dinner?!? Swimming this morning in the sea, and saturated in garlic butter this evening. Yummy.


If I may be so bold as to suggest, I wrote an article which may be useful as you begin this journey.
Take Small Bites (de-cluttering) article on janice142
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:08 PM   #15
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My wife and I are in our early 50’s. We are very glad we took the leap. We had to wait until both our children were off to college. It has been 17 months since we moved in full time. After selling our house we moved into our chb 45.
I would say before moving in, it would be better if you start shedding your stuff off to some storage space which is cheap, spacious, secured and also climate controlled just to make sure your stuff doesn’t get ruined. Only keep the stuff that you really want to keep. We did the same thing after we decided on moving in full time. We kept our classic Mustang and other important family stuff and documents in a storage space in Toronto.
The best part of living on a boat is that the only thing you have to worry about is yourself. Just live and enjoy to the fullest. You don’t have a neighborhood to worry about or the household things that you need to take care of. And one important other thing is that there is no burglary around your neighborhood. You come to meet up with a lot of beautiful creatures every day, that you can hardly find on land. The only time we went back was to visit our children, and they were really happy for us. Happy moving in!
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