It all started with a conversation about cutting ones hair. I was asked ” Why do you go to a barber when you can save money by cutting your own hair”? “Just buzz it” I was told.
Well after careful consideration I thought why not. It is all about saving money and living off the grid right? So why not just grab my clippers and give it a trim. It can’t be that hard. It was first thing this morning and I thought ok a little off the sides should do it. I fired up the razor and went at it. In less than 5 seconds I had ruined my hair. Humm now what? I thought. I know I will try to adjust it here and there and see if I can even it out. Bad mistake. I ended up taking out more chunks of hair. This living off the grid is not going to be easy I thought.
Now what? I know; I live only 15 minutes away from the military barber. If any one can fix it I know he can. They are used to cutting short,back and sides. When I arrived at the military base I thought cool I can remember being a young man of 22 and going to that very same barber shop when I was in the Canadian Navy. Just like old times I thought. There are probably a bunch of military guys getting their hair cut and 3 old-time barbers cutting hair like they have been doing their whole lives. When I entered the barber shop I was shocked. it wasn’t the old barber shop I remembered full of old-time barbers . I was quickly greeted by three beautiful young lady’s. “What happened to your hair”? they said in unison. I had to think of a story and quick. I know I will blame it on my fictitious girlfriend. “Umm my girl friend decided to cut it last night and messed it up.” “‘Oh you poor thing” the youngest barber said. “Here let me fix it up for you”. After some careful maneuvering and a very close clipper things where back to normal.
This living free and being independent from society is not going to be easy
It all started with a conversation about cutting ones hair. I was asked ” Why do you go to a barber when you can save money by cutting your own hair”? “Just buzz it” I was told.
So they say “today is the first day of the rest of my life.”
I guess in one way it is. This is the day after I gave my notice at work. That’s right I am now unemployed and trying to live as a free man in a society that demands I contribute to the well oiled machine.
Not this guy!!!
My advice to you is to just do it and do it soon. Life is way too short.
When I gave my notice at work I was approached by many fellow colleges saying their goodbyes and wishing me all the best. The common theme from almost every one of them was “I wish I was doing what you are doing.” Or ” I would love to be able to live a simple life and spend more time with my children and wife.” My answer to each and every one of them was “then do it ” They all had the same common excuses on how they couldn’t and I knew that my advice had fallen on deaf ears. I really hope that with my blog and website I am able to show like-minded people how it can be done. The ups and downs and the dos and don’ts. It’s all a learning experience to go away from what I was taught as a young child, but it is a journey I am looking forward to.
The last days at work were spent cleaning up and finishing projects, emptying my desk and handing in keys. I now realized that when it comes to business we are just part of the business machine, we can all be replaced and we will only be missed for a few days. My fellow co workers got together and presented me with a box of my chosen cheap blue-collar wine. It was only a matter of moments before we had to crack open a few bottles to celebrate my departure. I have never drank in my office before but then I thought. What are they going to do; “fire me”?
Let The Journey Begin
I wrote the following blog a little while back. I never did publish it because I felt as though it was too forward and perhaps a little bit selfish. Weeks have now passed and if you follow my video blog you already know that I have since broken away from the system. I gave notice at work and with in a few seconds I was no longer a tax paying citizen of Canada. It is really odd to think that in one minute life can change so dramatically. We spend days, months and years thinking about what would happen if I lost my job or choose to quit but in less than 30 seconds my life was changed dramatically. Here is what I wrote a little while back
In the mornings when i leave the boat it feels so unnatural now. I mean it is like I am putting my true life on hold for 10 hours as I return to the system to make more money for the proverbial man. It appears to me that my new life aboard and my life on land do not mix well. There are so many more productive and enjoyable things I can be dong on board today. There is painting to be done in the head. There is mounting of my small flat screen and the endless filling of water tanks, fuel tanks and other essentials to make life comfortable.
The boat projects never end but my time does as it is being used up by the system. I know I am rambling today and i should probably just be content with my new-found home. I believe however that it is only when i experience true freedom I will I be content with my life on this planet.
It has been interesting these last few day on My Second Wind. The weather has been stormy and with 100 km winds in the marina I feel as if I am sailing Cape Horn. Thru out the night the boat slams up against the dock and the creaks and groans make one wonder if the rig will come tumbling down. I would rather the rig come tumbling down now then to have it happen miles out to sea.
For you animal lovers I was concerned about my cat thru all these strong winds. I thought will she freak out and feel worried with the boat moving and making these loud sounds. To my surprise I have never seen her so calm. She sleeps thru it all and has no problem in adjusting to her new surroundings. In fact I try to put her on deck on the calm sunny days and she walks around nice and relaxed with out a care in the world.
As for my self I am doing well. I never regret coming home to a wet, rocking, cold boat. I thought that perhaps I would run out and rent a hotel by the month the first chance I got. No way. This is my home and I love it.
Here comes the sun… do do do do… Here comes the sun … After over a week of frozen below 0 temperatures the sun finally appeared on February 10 2014 the year of our lord. This is a date that will live in infamy.
Well at least in my mind. Man was that a long haul of cold and misery. As life continues on My Second Wind with The temperatures hovering around 50 degrees Fahrenheit ..not fun. My days look like this. First I get the two heaters going then comes the layers of warm cloths. After that it is a matter of getting some thing warm to eat and then under the layers of comforters, blankets and sleeping bags. Evening on the boat in these temperatures is not fun. One thing I am finding is how well I can actually adapt to my surroundings.
It is not easy to return home to a boat that is sitting in ice bath in the Northern Pacific. Then again this is the life I signed up for. For some strange reason I would not trade it for the world.
There is a great sense of realism when one thinks how simple we can actually live. Picture your self in a cabin in the mountains. The wood stove going as the snow piles up out side. You are sitting by the fire watching the snow reading a book and having a cup of hot chocolate. There is nothing better than smelling fresh bread in the oven and knowing that no matter what happens you are as snug as a bug in a rug.
So it’s now February and I am still alive. I say that because I choose to move aboard during one of the coldest months of year, the month of January.
It is really strange because when I speak with others they have this puzzled look on their face when they know I survived another cold night. I get comments like “it sure was cold last night. I bet you where wishing you where back in your apartment” or “you must be really uncomfortable with the temperature being below zero”. The answer is, no I don’t feel cold or uncomfortable. In fact as each day passes I feel more and more at home.
Sure there are evenings when it is colder and I have to throw on a warmer pair of socks or a thicker hoodie but I would never even think to change my new-found life style. Life on board is good. Hot coffee tastes better. A warm meal is welcoming and sleeping under a down quilt just feels right. There is some thing about living on a boat that makes life so simple. You learn to appreciate things a little more. You learn to not to take the simple things for granted. An example would be some thing as simple as hot water.
My Second Wind has no hot water tank or pressurized water. When I first moved on board all I could think about is installing pressurized water and a hot water tank. Now that i have been on board for a month I am starting to have second thoughts. Why complicate things? If I install both then it is more to go wrong, another expense and some thing I will need to service. I have no problem boiling a kettle or pumping water with my foot. Why complicate life?
To day was once again given away to the system with next to nothing for reward. Sounds depressing I know and perhaps it is presumptuous of me to expect more these days. Perhaps this is just life.
I started my morning as I usually do with freshly brewed coffee and a trip to the marina showers. Shortly after that it was off on my bike for a 2 and a half mile ride to work along the ocean. This right now is my best time of day. There is little noise out there and only my thoughts as I peddle my way up hills and along trails as I make my way to the proverbial tread mill. I really shouldn’t be complaining as I have a decent job with a good company. I really do have it better than most. I should consider my self thankful to be living and working in such a beautiful part of the world. It was not too many years ago where I had met a Mexican man in Mexico that could not even afford a whole onion and had to buy it by the slice in order to prepare a dinner for his family. Here I am bitching and complaining about riding my mountain bike along a beautiful ocean trail with a full belly and a good job to go to.
What is wrong with me? Why can’t I find content with what is all around me. I feel this pull to get out there and live.
I think it is important to fulfill your commitment and responsibilities because these are things that we have created. Be it a spouse, children, debt, and other commitments where we have made promises. I mean some of us have chosen to be married or have children or take on loans and debt and to those people and things we owe it to fulfill our responsibilities. It would be selfish to just abandon them as we now want to pursue other dreams. That being said once those commitments are fulfilled then we owe it to our selves to live the way our lives where intended to be lived. and that is free. When i speak of my self all my commitments have been dealt with over time. I am no longer married so no commitment there. My children are grown and have left the nest so no commitment there and all debt has been taken care of so once again no commitment there. This did not happen over night or in a couple of months . This took years to achieve. What worked for me is i looked at every aspect of my financial life after all my personal commitments were fulfilled. I looked at the price i was paying for rent. The cost of my automobile and other financial constraints. Then i made sure that I either eliminated those costs or greatly cut those costs. What i mean is even though i could afford car payments on a beautiful vehicle i never fell in to the trap. Even though i could have rented an apartment of twice the quality i did not . i took on no debt and paid off what debt i had. By taking these actions i was able to put my self in a position to choose freedom. i was speaking with a fellow co-worker the other day and he expressed to me his thoughts about the way I have set up my life towards a life of freedom. He said he admired what i had done and wished he could do the same thing. He felt he was trapped and could never fulfill his dream of volunteering in third world countries and making the world a better place. So like most people in our society he has made the choice to accumulate more stuff and in return he will have given up his life for the “Man”.
A reader of this blog brought to my attention the Fable about the “Grass hopper and the Ant”and yes i have to agree there has to be a happy medium when it comes to fulfilling our dreams. That happy medium depends on each and every individual. It is different for every one. I knew of a guy that sailed away with $100 in his pocket and sailed to the Galapagos, French Polynesia and on to Australia. I also know by his blog that every day seemed to be a struggle due to no funds. he was the type of individual that could live that way and felt comfortable living not day-to-day but hour to hour. My self i am not like that. i need a little more certainty in life. The question i struggle with is how much certainty am i prepared to live with. I guess one never knows until they actually make the plunge.
Since i have moved aboard my sail boat i have reduced my personal foot print on this earth to virtually nothing. i have all my worldly possessions on my boat or in a 6 x 9 storage locker. My footprint has not ended however. every day i continue to reduce my foot print and to become more and more self-sufficient. I am slowly reducing the size of the storage locker to one day be non-existent. I am stream lining what i have on my boat to get rid of even more excess. i am also in the works of reducing my financial commitment even further to one day not be paying for WiFi, marina fees and gym member ships. All of these financial commitments take away from ones freedom and can have the tendency to pull us back into the system of in slavery,financial debt and commitment.
I met a woman the other day and she said some thing I found profound. She said that she was poor and had chosen not work because she wanted to spend time concentrating on what she loved in life and that was her art. Now being the ultra conservative workaholic I am, my first thought was wow what a lazy far left loon. My second thought was wow what a brave soul who gets it.
Some times I feel that the worst thing I could have done was to purchase my Westsail 32. Not because she is not the right boat. It is because she is the perfect boat for realizing my dreams. My dream of freedom is so close I can taste it in yet it seems almost too far away that it can never happen. I find my self always rationalizing on when will be the right time to cut the lines and leave. I would be considered a fool to just up and quite every thing I have worked for to pursue freedom. What about my financial security? What happens if I get sick and have no money to take care of my self? What I if run out of money and can’t feed my self? So many questions and no answers. If I just hang on for another 3 years then I can leave. Well maybe 8 years then I will never have an issue with money. I will still be young and able to leave then. Leaving now is just foolish. It is just not what is done the critics would say. The dream of true freedom. It is just so darn hard to break free from society. There are a couple of sailors out there that I truly admire. Or perhaps i should call them freedom seekers. One such sailor is Alex Dorsey from Project Blues Sphere. Who I have had the pleasure of meeting in 2013 while doing a one week charter in the San Blas. He and his wife Carla are two individuals than truly get what freedom is all about. They both are living what I preach every day. These two and many others are some of the bravest people I know. They have given up the endless pursuit of money and material wealth and have devoted their lives to living life as it has always been intended to be lived and that is to be free.
They do not pine for wealth or luxuries. They live for the simple things in life, love, happiness, togetherness and simplicity. Now we in western society may think we have freedom because compared to other parts of the world we do. Our societies are set up to regulate our freedom by keeping us entrapped in the system until we literally die.
I can remember when I used to think that people who choose not to work fulltime or work at all where just lazy and didn’t get what life was all about. Now I realize that they did get it and I was the lost soul.
Starting to Feel at Home
It has been a week of full-time living aboard. Every day seems to be an adjustment to my new surroundings. Just when you think the coffee is stored in the best place you realize you have to contort your body to get to it. Every aspect of life has to be sorted out or you will never truly experience comfort. The little things but important things like do I buy a small thing of cream or a big thing of cream? If I purchase a big thing of cream then here do I store it? Perhaps it is better to just leave the container of sugar on the counter? Humm so many decisions. This week of living aboard, “My Second Wind” has been a week of decisions and settling in to a new life style.
Should I stow this item there? Do I really need this sweater or pair of pants? Why do I have so many shoes and boots? Living on a boat is a constant battle of what is needed and what is not.
It is really strange to me that thru all this sorting out and down sizing I seem to really like it. To me it is best described as a cleansing of the soul. It feels good to get rid of all ones extra clutter in life. Wouldn’t it be great to have to empty your house on the street every five years. Then before you load the house back up with stuff you have to sort every thing before you moved back in?
Just a thought.