How can you afford to go cruising?

The cruising community is made up of people ranging in age from their early twenties to upper eighties. Some boats we’ve crossed paths with have entire families on board, some only a single sailor. Most are crewed with couples sporting a wrinkle or two and silver to white hair. All very young at heart, but have also worked long enough to collect some type of pension. Despite the lonely nature of  long distant cruising, most cruisers are very social people, which means many conversations and group get-togethers everywhere you go. The gatherings at local anchorages include conversations mostly about boat problems and solutions. There are cooking tips, travel and destination recommendations, travel plans of each boat and lots and lots of stories about the fish that got away or the scariest passage ever. Usually at some point during the gathering because of our comparatively immature look, someone will ask how we can afford to go cruising. I usually answer I can’t. Once the truth comes out the questions jump to something like, wasn’t that stressful? and then to something about a plane crash.  But I digress.  The topic I’m addressing is How can you (or me) afford to go cruising?

The short answer is I don’t know. I’ve seen cruisers on near million dollar yachts to boats half the size of mine. And mines not that big. Buying the boat is the easy part.  There are many other expenses when it comes to cruising. Maintenance is not cheap. Even doing it yourself. Parts are expensive in the USA and they don’t get any cheaper elsewhere, if you can find them. Repairs, again not cheap, and there is always something to fix on a boat.

If you want to stay in a marina, it can be very expensive. We anchored out 90% of the time and usually that is free. Some ports still collect an anchoring fee. Anchored out you still have to get to shore and many marinas will charge you to tie up to their dinghy dock. Then there are port fees, immigration fees, and boat permits. It cost us around $700 to “check into” Panama, but you can fly in for free.  Honduras on the other hand was about $20.   There are sometimes other costs also associated with arriving in a new country.

Everywhere you go there are touristy attractions tempting you. But were not tourists. (sort of) We’re just living in our mobile house.  How many of you have done all the touristy stuff located right in your own backyard? Now imagine having a new backyard every month.  At least food is usually reasonable, as long as you’re willing to eat what is locally affordable.

So how does the owner of the small bucket of bolts afford to cruise the same ocean as the million dollar yachts, and all the sizes in between?   Some cruisers are wealthy, some retired, some are on sea-batical, and some still working. Just like living on land, you do have to budget. Cruising can cost you all the money you have. We planned and saved for years so we could go. If you anchor out, eat on your boat not in restaurants, avoid the tourist traps and avoid the more expensive countries, you can save yourself a lot of money. If you’re willing to give up some comforts and are creative with your lifestyle and budget, you too could be out cruising.

Anna and I are well aware of how blessed we are to be able to live the life we live. Our wish is for all of you to be able to live the life you want to live.

Bucket List?

Anna and I just completed a month-long house-sit in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska you ask? Yes. Did you sail up there? No. Instead of bringing Stray Catz, we drove our trusty and now dusty Mitsubishi up here. Where is Kylan? He’s in Ireland, but please let me ask some questions for now.

Starting with my long-winded bucket list question.
Ever since I was a young boy, (I played the silver ball) I have had fond memories of the road trips we would take as a family. All the places and wildlife we would see and visit just by driving. Amazing. And as many of you know in a past life I drove for a living. How cool is that? They actually paid me to go to all these amazing places. Ok they didn’t pay me to go anywhere too amazing, but they got me close, and I managed the rest.
Living in the Pacific Northwest I heard a lot about Alaska. Being as how I had driven to and through all the other states (that you can actually drive to, sorry HI) I started dreaming about driving to Alaska. Imagine the adventure. There are two opportunities at play here. One: I only had one more state to visit to complete my list. Two: The ultimate road trip. Over 2200 miles from Seattle to Anchorage. By comparison it’s like driving from Seattle to Indianapolis. Not a short trip, and to add to the excitement, far less paved roads and not near as many gas stations. As it turns out, we actually drove from Phoenix (over 3600 miles) but the idea was formed in Seattle.

So I ask you. Would you consider this a bucket list item or just another mountain to climb? or is there a difference?

Where are you from?

Where are you from? It’s a simple question. A question most people can answer within a couple of seconds. A question asked by many when they meet someone new to an area. Or if someone is wandering around  looking lost and asking questions about the area, you might ask the question, where are you from? Your curious about a person you don’t recognize, so you ask, where are you from? Or your at a gathering with people from all over, the most common question is, where are you from?

You may have guessed, this question has come up numerous times recently, and we honestly struggled with an answer. Where are we from? This was easy to answer when we were out of the country and we were talking to locals, the answer was always, we’re from the USA. Or most often the answer was, Estados Unidos.

When we lived in CA, our answer had been California. Even though I grew up in Oregon and Anna was born in Arizona. Then for a while we said we lived in Knoxville, but we were from CA. When we left Knoxville it was back to being from CA, but we had lived in TN.

Now it’s? Well… Our home is in Mexico. Our car is licensed in AZ. Kylan goes to an Arizona school. Our drivers licenses are from TN. Our mailing address is in FL. We’ve been spending a lot of time in SC and TN. We own property in HI, GA and TN??? Where ARE we from????

I guess we’re children of the world. Roaming all over and not staying anywhere long. I’ve lived in five different US states in my life and have had drivers licenses in six. (that’s another story) Anna’s lived in three. Currently we really don’t live anywhere, because we just keep moving. If that’s not bad enough, we have no solid plan to change that in the near future.

Who knew getting Kylan into college would be so challenging. Now we might be moving to NM. What???

I want to get back on Stray Catz in Mexico, and Anna is ok with that. Anna wants to go backpacking through the US, and I’m ok with that. Europe sounds nice. We’ve never been to Australia.

Where are we from? I don’t know. The only thing I do know is, there will be no venturing any further than Mexico and the Sea of Cortez before Kylan gets accepted to a college and lives on campus. Where are we from until that happens? I don’t know. Where are we from any other time? Apparently I don’t know that either.

Do you have to stop and think when you’re asked, Where are you from? I’d love to hear about it.