Kelsey and I had the pleasure of having The Penny Hoarder on board a few weeks ago for an interview. They wanted all the intimate financial details of our lifestyle and we happily obliged. The article provides another person's perspective of our lifestyle and goes into greater detail about The Chaise. Read more about it here!
I was reminded this weekend why we originally wanted our blog and video series to be 100% financially transparent and to really focus on the planning aspect of our journey to aid viewers in developing their own adventure plans. We were watching a new sailing video series on YouTube, which had unbelievable cinematography and was extremely well put together. Despite it being the best series we've watched aesthetically, Kelsey and I were extremely disappointed once we went back and watched their first episode.
They were speaking about the beginning of their boat buying process, their way of explaining how did they end up where they are now? They went into some detail on how they purchased their gorgeous blue water boat but prefaced it by telling viewers they were searching for a boat with no cash. Granted they are in their young 20s like us so we understand the lack of cash but how the hell do you go from no cash to buying a yacht for 60k? For the sake of lack of transparency on their part, I'll follow their lead and keep the name of the series a secret.
People follow, contribute and support sailing series and blogs for a variety of reasons. For me I interpret it as either they want to be entertained, inspired or educated. I believe majority of viewers want to be inspired and educated because they are most of the time dreaming up their own plans to do something similar to the series. Which in turn means the creators of the series not explaining how they magically produced the 60k required for the boat, are doing their viewers and supporters a major disservice. If supporters are backing them financially via Patreon or by donations, the least they can do is arm their followers with the best information possible to support their own adventure dreams.
This leads me to my next point - if you look on all of the major sailing creator's blogs or video series, their number 1 question on their FAQs is how did you afford to do this? Some people might say they have no obligation to provide us with how they afforded the dream or that speaking about money should remain hush hush. And I wholeheartedly disagree, unless the creators aren't asking for any donations or support.
S/V Delos & Sailing La Vagabonde both provide at least a little background on how they originally funded the dream, one offshore on rigs, the other Windsor knotted to a desk in Seattle. Both sites also go into how they almost had to give up the dream at one point due to running out of cash. Which not only makes for a good story but also a very realistic one that doesn't only show the romantic side of sailing around the world.
Maybe I'm wrong in thinking this way and if so, someone please comment and let me know so I can rethink the purpose of our blog and video series (just kidding it'll take a lot more than that). Now let me be clear that I'm not calling for sailing series to release their tax returns like some zealous politician. All I'm saying is when people are contributing to your dream in return for fueling inspiration of their own, the least we as creators can offer is transparency so they know exactly what it takes to make the dream a reality.
Why couldn't we have been raised to live on a boat? I mean c'mon Dad you were the one who showed me your passions for surfing, boating and everything else related to water, didn't you foresee this coming? We really could've used the foresight and background of having lived aboard previously throughout this process to know where to begin. But therein lies a victory, albeit a small one but nonetheless a victory for us, just to begin.
To say we envisioned ourselves being overwhelmed and having an exploding to do list chock-full of daunting hand scribed only documents and DMV visits, would be a lie. As with most when they are infatuating over their dream, we only saw the romantic side of it all. Yes, we are overwhelmed, or at least we were, but this is exactly where we wanted to be. Only difference was we had a different, nay sexier term for it when we were planning out our adventure, being outside of our comfort zone.
So here we are now as a fully insured, USCG documented, antique registered sailing vessel and an incredibly relieved pair of not-so-green anymore owners. Don't get me wrong we still don't have the slightest clue of where to begin on properly tacking, bleeding a fuel line or what amps we draw but man can we tie a mean bowline and furl the shit out of that headsail. Oh yeah by the way Lucidity is now in her home port of St. Petersburg after her maiden voyage from middle of nowhere Florida, I mean Indiantown but we'll dive more into that in the next post.
So where to start on the documentation process? I'd prefer to not relive it so how about the cliff notes version - you'll thank me later. So why USCG documentation? Well first off we liked the idea of not having to smear some random combination of Home Depot purchased letter & number decals on the front steps (port bow section of hull) of our home.
Secondly, being documented facilitates clearance with foreign governments when cruising their waters and provides certain protections while sailing under Old Glory. As for antique registration, easy answer is its crazy cheap. Cheap as in $5.25 per year. Lastly insurance, yea I saved the most exhilarating for last. We decided on going with hull insurance and 300k liability, due primarily to our lack of sailboating experience. What hull insurance does is provide pay out if you were to lose your boat to a hurricane, fire, what have you. They pay out what you have stated as an Agreed Value or Market Value, which for us sounded like a great way to be screwed out of what our vessel is truly worth due to the insurance industry's best friend, depreciation. Needless to say we decided on Agreed Value, paid for the full year and got unlimited towing as well.
Relieved is a subtle way of describing how I feel now that it's all done. We're legal, we're still afloat and we can somewhat back our boat out of its tight slip, lookout world. We are learning something new everyday, being challenged in more ways than we could've imagined and enduring the feeling of going from almost-experts at our current jobs to complete sailing novices. This is what we signed up for, we're happily overwhelmed and stoked to have you here for the duration of staying outside our comfort zones.
It all started with a fucking chaise lounge and this inconspicuous dream that we've been sold that a big house and fast car equals happiness. We had both graduated from our university, Kelsey a year before me, so she already had an exhilarating first year in the real world (She really did). As for me I had a very unconventional college experience so post-grad wasn't going to be my first exposure to the beloved real world. In case you can't tell I was quite stoked to be going back, but more on that later. Luckily I had a job set up well in advance of graduation with an awesome company I've always admired. Said company was also gracious enough to give me a $5000 sign-on moving bonus in which I decided would be best if the entire allotment was spent on furniture. Which leads to the chaise.
This was my first place, our first place together as well so we wanted it to feel right. It was an 800sqft two-bedroom apartment, which was the biggest space either of us have lived in outside of the houses we grew up in. I had anticipated spending some money on furniture but when all was said and done I had spent roughly $7500 on moving into an apartment that I didn't even own. Repugnance doesn't even begin to describe the feeling. I worked 40 hours a week to afford strips of fabric and synthetic wood stitched together that I got to see for 6 hours a day. Here I was not even 2 months into the real world and I was over it, there had to be more to life than spending and playing house.
After about two weeks of sleepless nights reading adventure blogs, I started to formulate our own plan. Van life it was for me, except for one hiccup - Kelsey was not for living in a van without a shower or toilet. Then came the liveaboard idea, which was brought up by Kelsey, not the guy who grew up on the ocean, whose greatest passion is surfing and spent 5 years in the Coast Guard on boats. Obviously I was all for it, Kelsey was onboard pun intended and the planning began. After about a full year of planning and researching we were fully inundated with becoming liveaboards. We looked at over 10 boats during the process in person and thousands online. Eventually we landed on Lucidity, do some digging and you can learn about her. Now enough of the sexy stuff and let's get into the things adventure blogs never tell you.
On the day we took on saving for our sailboat we had roughly a combined 50k in debt, and little to no cash. My debt consisted of a flashy Nissan 370z 40th Anniversary edition car loan, while Kelsey's consisted of all student loans. I was lucky enough to be down to my last 15k in loans and had been reading MrMoneyMustache.com along with this eye-opening book by Pat Schulte who circumnavigated well before 40 years old so needless to say I was prepared, and weirdly excited. The first few months weren't entirely difficult, we continued to travel at our usual pace but had completely cut out going out for drinks, dinner and packed every meal we ate at work. Anything we consumed was from the grocery store or free food at work. Within 4 months I had paid off my car loan and had about $250 to my name.
Fast forward 6 months and I happily sold my 370z, bought a Prius and had 40k cash to spend on a sailboat. During the last 6 months of saving Kelsey and I completely cut out traveling something we struggled immensely with. I was 24 years old and I accomplished it, if I can so can anyone and so should everyone else who has these desires. When I say I saved 90-100% of my bi-weekly income during this time frame, I mean it. How is this possible? How can you afford gas or rent? I'll explain.
My plan all along with the two bedroom apartment was to Airbnb the guest bedroom. Kelsey and I had been using the app for every trip we had taken in the past year and loved it. Kelsey took some woo-ing but she reluctantly came around to it and was all for it. What better way to be rent-free and meet people from all over the world? And that we did, guests from Pakistan, China, and India. All the while we were paying our rent in full each month from our Airbnb proceeds and half of the months we even had a surplus. Kelsey was paying down her loans at an astronomical rate and I was saving like your boring uncle who refuses to pay for heat or a TV.
The reality behind a lot of these adventure blogs is they don't take the time to break down how you should be saving, and more importantly what you should be spending on *IF* pursuing an early/mini retirement is what you ultimately desire. If not then spend on brothaman! This is meant to cater to those who want the great adventure, whose 2 weeks of PTO isn't enough and extended weekend vacations only grow their desire to travel. What you should be spending on is the absolute bare neccessities. Have weekends where you play the don't spend any money game. At first it sucks, then once you've done it a few times you end up doing it all the time without even noticing. Every weekend should involve extensive meal prepping for the work week ahead to ensure money won't be spent for lunch at work. Go to National Parks and pack PB&Js to eat all day with a gallon of water. Start to sell a useless item or piece of clothing you haven't worn each week. We owned two paper towel racks, one that we didn't use in which we listed on OfferUp and had to repost it 4 times over a 6 month period until we sold it for a whopping 1 dollar.
Everything is within reach with a plan. Formulate a plan with us for your great adventure, and abandon comfort.