Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away

Click on image for video of Orinco Flow.

Click on image for video of Orinco Flow.

Enya’s song Orinco Flow keeps popping into my mind these days, so much so that I’ve finally downloaded it to my personal music library.

Why this song?

As I’ve mentioned previously, Mr. F2P has been getting more into sailing lately. 

It started innocently enough during a recent trip to Vancouver, where we discovered an unusual residential co-op. Residents live on their sail boats and have access to some shared services, including a building for larger gatherings, a kitchen, showers and laundry facilities. It’s an interesting concept that often came up in conversation over the days that followed.

We didn’t really talk about it after the trip, but Mr. F2P signed up and completed two sailing courses this past summer, has been reading books on knots (a big deal for sailors apparently) and has also been watching a lot of YouTube videos on sailing adventures others are having all over the world. 

Here’s something to know about my better half: he will study a subject ad nauseum when he’s interested in pursuing something new, be it a hobby, a new skill, a new profession or a new lifestyle. And when he gets into that mode, I know he’s serious and I’d better take note because change is on the horizon.  

He’s even been looking up boat listings online.

This is an interesting twist for a prairie boy who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, right in the middle of North America. Sure, we’re about an hour away from Lake Winnipeg, the eleventh-largest freshwater lake on Earth, but other than having a lot of bodies of water around us, we’re pretty much as land locked as you can get.

And when I say prairie boy, I mean it. In our many years together, I’ve been the one more likely to invite water sports into our lives (SCUBA, snorkling, swimming, paddle boarding, surfing—coming soon, I’m working on this last one). I’ve always been more comfortable around water. And Mr. F2P is not much of a swimmer, making this new fixation simply amazing and so unexpected!

How do I feel about it his new passion? I have some trepidation, but who doesn’t when faced with some lifestyle changes we’ve never really considered, let alone tried on for size?

All I know about sailing is what little I've experienced first hand on my uncle's sailboat and all his stories over the years. He and my aunt used to spend half the year living in Montreal and the other half sailing around the caribbean on their ship "Astrebel". 

I personally tend to like being on solid ground when it comes to day-to-day life. But I can’t say I’ve tried the alternative either. And Mr. F2P getting me involved in the idea early is really helping me get my mind around it. I'm certainly being as supportive as I can be. How could I not when it’s bringing him so much joy?

But still, I can’t help doing some whatiffing. I mean, what would a sailing future look like, really? 

I’ve been asking a lot of questions to get my mind around it and to figure out what it would mean:

  • How much time out of the year? (boat size, amenities, home size)
  • Where would this boat be located? Fresh water? Salt water? (boat size and type)
  • What type of sailing would we be doing? Long distance? Recreational? (boat size and type)
  • What activities would we be pursuing on it? (features and amenities)
  • What type of work/activities would be available to us if we become nomads for part of the year?

A few things are clear for us though (in my head at least…):

  • We’re likely going to give this lifestyle a try in some way, shape or form, progressively dipping our toe in the proverbial water until we find out just how deep we want to go.
  • We need to spend more time on boats when on vacation, including during our upcoming vacation this coming March/April. The next vacation beyond that is likely to be a liveaboard on a not-so-large vessel in order for us to really get the feel for it and learn more about what’s involved.
  • We can always buy and then sell if we find that a given vessel or the hobby/lifestyle ends up not being for us. (The exposure to loss is not large enough for this to be a deterrent.)
  • We’re likely to go for a catamaran, as it seems to be a better fit for what we’re looking for (Ok, maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Mr. F2P’s been looking at both.)
  • Our financial situation and portable skills make it possible for us to take the plunge and pursue this lifestyle without being hung up on how we’ll be paying the bills.
  • Living aboard full time is not an option we want to consider, unless it’s on a Canadian coast. We don’t want to be away from Canada for more than part of the year, given the associated tax and benefits implications (though more research is required on this last point).
  • And finally, we don’t know what we don’t know. We might love it and we might hate it and that means being open to experimentation/delight/disappointment.

I feel like I’m on quite the adventure already, at least in my head. Just thinking about the possibilities is exciting. Whether I’m crazy about the idea or not, all this thinking and whatiffing serves as a reminder to appreciate the present because we never know what the future holds. And, at the same time, to appreciate that the future can take us into all sorts of unexpected directions, both planned and not, both good and not.

For now, I'll keep humming that song from time to time and wondering what the future holds, while staying grounded, all at the same time.  

Are you heading in new/wonderful/exciting/scary directions? I'd love to hear about it.

Image credit/copyright: 9comeback /

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