Saturday, April 3, 2010

Plans & Schedules & Fate

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving" ~ Lao Tzu

"Those who fail to plan, plan to fail"

The second quote there is what I have heard from my Dad throughout my life.  I think there is merit to both.

As we get closer and closer to the start of our adventure, I hope to be able to transition more to Lau Tzu's line of thinking.  But it has been a mixture of planning, schedules, and the un-planned that has gotten us this far.

When we went to Jamaica for our honeymoon in 2006, I had never been on a sailboat, let alone to the tropics, before. There are moments in your life when time divides, when it splits to what came before and everything after it.  To me Jamaica was one of those.  It was totally un-planned but has largely determined the past four years of our lives.

Though our time in the Caribbean was transformational, the idea to actually live on a sailboat probably didn't hit until sometime in 2008, almost two years later.  We made a trip to the Newport, RI boat show and that was probably the beginning of the actual realization that we could in fact live on a boat.

Since that time, we have had a mixture of plans & schedules.  Our schedule got pushed off from last year due to the economy and real estate markets at large.  We deemed that it wouldn't be worth selling our house at the time for a variety of reasons.  So our plans and schedule changed. 

Our current schedule has us listing the house for sale within a month and to be moving south to find a boat by September.  That is, unless we find a boat here in NY before that (we have a few scheduled to be looked at in the next month), then our plans will be tossed aside and fate will have intervened.
There are people out there who spend so much time planning and preparing and trying to figure out the perfect conditions and set of equipment, that their boats never leave the dock. 

On the other hand, if we were to go buy a boat tomorrow and sail away with little experience it could be hazardous to our lives. 

But, yet again, there are people like Pat & Ali who bought a boat after a weekend of looking and circumnavigated the globe with a day's worth of sailing lessons.

For us, I think it will be a balancing act of these three approaches.  As of this writing, we have no intention to circumnavigate the globe.  We would however like to sail through the Bahamas and into the Caribbean, perhaps setting up shop in the US Virgin Islands for a while.  We believe that we can do that with a little more practice and "big boat" (30 ft. range) experience.

So, these are our plans, in no particular order:
  • To buy a boat small enough to be in our price range, but big enough for the two of us. 
  • To learn to sail said boat to the best of our ability.
  • To live minimally and simply enough to make our lifestyle sustainable on less than $1000/month.
  • To enjoy ourselves while we are young and try not to go back to "work" again.
 Who knows what fate will have to say about these plans...

One final thought:  I've read that the most dangerous thing you can have aboard a sailboat is a schedule.  This has to do with rushing to be to the next port despite the weather or other conditions.  I really cannot wait to not have a schedule.

How about you, have you had plans where you feel fate has intervened?  Or the converse, were fate has led to your plans?


  1. Not a believer in fate. I think your actions dictate your destiny, but that's just me. We had planned to shove off in 2013, and live off my pension. My pension got turned over to the gov't, as my company went bankrupt. Not sure what I will get, but it will not be much. Change our date? No. We will still go. We just decided to live aboard a few yrs earlier. This will allow us to build up a cruising kitty, to buffer the loss. Not fate, just a roadblock. I'm sure there will be more to bumps in the road. Stay agile.

  2. Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you guys haven't changed your plans despite some adversity.

    I'd agree that your actions can dictate your destiny, but at some points I think life gives you a little "nudge" in the right direction.