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Sailboat Family Pre-Trip 2008 Monthly Journal

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What type of sailboat?

[JAN08]We want an exploration vehicle. Our intent is to travel around the world. Sailing just happens to be the mode of transportation we will use. We believe a sailboat is the smart way for many reasons to include, wind is a cheap fuel, wind is reliable as many mariners before us have shown, and is easy to harness. We’ve concluded that as an exploration vessel, a pure cruising sailboat may not be right for us. Here are the minimum attributes it should have: Draft of 5ft or less, beam of 15 ft or less, sail rigging that we can take up and down on our own, small motor for supplemental propulsion and for tight waterway navigation, minimally two bedrooms, comfortably sized galley, and a large common space that serves as the center of activity for the family. The sailboat type that seems to posses this in spades is the catamaran. Therefore, a catamaran will be the first boat type we will focus on.

$100,000 Challenge

[FEB08]The excitement about the trip continues to swell. Every day some part of our trip is talked about. Inevitably, we do find ourselves thinking about how to acquire $500,000. This month we’ve settled on a set of sequential smaller goals, goals of $100,000. That, to us, is still quite large and we don’t know how we are going to do it yet, but it without some sort of goal propelling us, we won’t figure this out. The obvious first step is to reduce our spending, and we are indeed identifying all the ways that can be done.

Latte Hobo

[MAR08]This month I had one of those odd life experiences that at any other time in my life would be out of place, but now that we are on this quest the incident fits perfectly. I was in downtown Atlanta at a Starbucks waiting for a meeting to start at Georgia Tech. A homeless guy parks his shopping cart right out side the window I'm sitting at, and I watch him shuffle a wad of $20 bills from one pocket to another. My first thought is "Drug Dealer", but something about him didn't fit that. He came inside and ordered a Latte! I had another 45 minutes to wait and this guy was intriguing so I moved to the table next to him. As I sat down, his stench was horrid! It nearly made my eyes water ... it was that pee ammonia smell. The odor was so thick that I was concerned that I would smell like this guy if I sat for too long next to him. Anyway, I opened a conversation with him and then I said, "How do you make money?" He looked at me and made some sort of judgment. Whatever it was, it was in my favor because we proceeded to have an incredible conversation about how he makes money. He ran the gamut of ways to acquire money ... none of which required a job! At one point, for example, he rattled off like 20 places that he finds money regularly. It started with "Bus Stops"... he explained that he watches them because, when the bus is pulling up, people pull out their bus pass or money from their pocket and many times their pulling motion causes other things to come out of the pocket too .... but with the noise, excitement, and focus of the bus pulling up, they never notice. The guy went on and on. It was an awesome lesson in acquiring money, money outside of normal job. That is additive money, money that I could be collecting too. Thank you Latte Hobo!

New Baby!!

[APR08]Baby Dy is here!! Our new adventure partner has arrived!! Little does she know she was born into a family of crazies. A family that is going to take off and explore the world indefinitely. We are so super happy to have her. She is perfect in every way. We needed another set of deck hands anyway. ;) Sorry, I'm really too busy to post much this month.

Toy Boats

[MAY08]Life is still focused on our new daughter. Her sister KJ has been very accommodating of the new person. KJ has even shown her little sister the boat (a toy catamaran). Even with the new one, we are still working hard at adjusting our lives to fit the target lifestyle. Every facet, food, clothing, money, accessories … all of that will be very different. It has been helpful sharing our goal with others. The questions we get are starting to follow a usual pattern and I’ve created an FAQ to answer them. That took a lot of time!!! Mentally, we've started to view this whole thing personally. Our family's focus is entirely resting on taking this trip. If we don't take it, it will be a giant let down.

KJ can swim!

[JUN08]Summer is finally here. We will most definitely make it down to the beach. We love the ocean so much. Baby Dy needs to be introduced as early as possible. We did this with her sister and it has paid off big time. KJ continues in her drown proofing class and can now float on the water for 10 minutes. Pretty good for a 2.5 year old! When we make it to the beach we will most definitely find a marina and walk it. This month we’ve been thinking a lot about the “Build versus Buy” scenario as it relates to the boat. Both options have such strong pros and cons that we’ve been finding it difficult to make a call. We are marching forward on the money challenge. For 4 months in, I'm pretty happy with how much we've accumulated. We definitely need to identify even more ways to bring in extra cash though if we are going to reach this goal in a reasonable amount of time (we are trying to do this within a year).

Hotel Gold

[JUL08]We had time in a hotel this month, and I got to know a few of the staff quite well. While talking with them, I shared our $100,000 challenge and they gave me a few very interesting tips as it relates to where to look in a hotel for money. The situation was quite funny as it was like a magician revealing how magic is done… they didn't want to reveal, but just felt compelled to tell me. For the readers of this site whom are in the hotel business, please know that I am in the industry as well. The staff at the particular hotel I was staying at probably wouldn’t have shared if I were not “in the family.”

Random eMails

[AUG08]Random emails have started to come in from the Internet. That’s pretty cool. People actually read this stuff. I was really just putting this up to make more real the whole experience and to help us stay focused. But hell, if you are enjoying it, please keep reading and sending in the questions/comments. To answer the usual question, the $100,000 challenge is going quite well. I found some information that I’ve been able to apply to the goal that has really helped. In one single action, we relieved a $500 spend. This whole experiment is pretty wild. Taking the extra sources of income and putting right into investments was a good move (CDs and Bonds). Since we didn’t expect the extra money, we don’t miss it. And “no”, to the guy who asked about the hotel info, I’m not posting it! You may be staying at the same hotel as me!

Yachting magazine

[SEP08]Tough month. Work was tough. We really wanted to pull up anchor and just sail away. Ahh, such is life. We will continue down this path so that in a few years, we can simply disconnect and live life on our terms. We’ve begun looking a lot at used boats. I also started getting a free subscription to Yachting magazine. Wow, there are some beautiful boats out there. I've started compiling the list of ways we've been going after the financial challenge. I hope to post it soon.

Do we switch to a motorboat?

[OCT08]A lot of time was spent talking about dumping the whole sailboat idea and just going with a motor yacht. The motorized boat seems like a great idea because it makes us less dependent upon the wind and we will have power 24x7. On the negative side we face the constant dependence on fuel and that nasty smell all the time. We spent a lot of time this month looking at motor yachts and wow, there is a lot of extras we would get. The concern, though, is with these yachts being self-sufficient will be harder. Being able to explore the world in a self-sufficient manner is very important to us. We’ve decided to stick with the sailboat but maybe give more thought to a motorsailer type vessel.

Drift Wood

[NOV08]The year is almost over and this journey has provided us lots of good entertainment thus far. With the weather turning cooler, our minds do drift to images of us sitting in the Caribbean and drift wood is floating by. Over the holidays I will update the FAQ with more stuff ... probably on the money front. We've found some really interesting ways to view money, and by doing so, we've identified new (to us anyway) ways of getting it. The list of tactical actions is growing. We now have over 50 specific things we are doing and every time we add another, the rate towards the $100,000 increases. I'm estimating that we will reach our goal by next March. There is so much more going on in this whole thing than I've been able to capture in this public diary. Ugh!

Going Junk!

[DEC08] This month, the boat of choice of our family switched from a catamaran to a Chinese Junk Ship! The efficient operation and unique look have helped make it our current boat style of choice for this journey. Of course, this is always subject to change. That is half the fun! Oh yeah, to answer those emailing on the challenge, I'm trying to write them all up in a way that makes sense. We get it, but presenting information like this must be done carefully. It is pretty powerful.
Chinese Junk ship Another Chinese Junk boat