Best of the Blog, Personal Ramblings, Sailing

Nine Months as Nomads

Kane and I left the last house that we lived full time at in late October 2021. That means that for nine months we have been nomads, bouncing between family’s homes, friend’s homes, hotels, other people’s boats, and more. I say we are nomads, because this lifestyle is chosen, whereas the Australian government would actually classify us as homeless, though I feel that the ethos of this term is incorrect for our lives currently. We had planned to have a floating home by now, but as I have said before, plans have changed many, many times. So when the market was too hot to buy a catamaran in our price range and safety/comfort requirements, we changed plans yet again. We decided to crew on other people’s boats, do some land travel, and work on writing our books (I started a fantasy, aka pirates with magic, book in 2017, but due to graduate school and then work, I have not been able to finish it, until now that is).

The Good

This time has been a wonderful mix of the joy of simply having time and an exercise in frustration due to the uncertainty we live with. Nothing is fixed in our lives at the moment and that is both glorious and terrifying. For example, when we were in Europe we were planning to cross the Atlantic as crew on a Privilege 58 (a beautiful, luxury catamaran that we could never afford). We did multiple Zoom calls with the captain, got to know the other crew, and generally, well at least for me anyway, got very excited. Hell, Kane even looked up flights and, through his propensity to think outside the box, found that we could save $1000 by flying from Brisbane to India then India to France (where the Privilege 58 is located), thus we started strongly considering a 10 day stop over in India on our way to France, because why not? Alas, that version of the plan (by my estimation, the 507th plan we have made over these past few years) was not to be as, when we got back from Europe, Kane found out he needs another knee surgery. The length of recovery required simply means he could not safely sail until late November, which is just too late for the boat’s planned early November crossing.

The Bad

I would be lying if I said I took that news in stride. I was really looking forward to crossing the Atlantic and getting serious ocean miles under our belts, so I needed to grieve the death of that plan, but at the end of the day there was nothing to be done aside from changing plans yet again. This is the truth of our lives as nomads right now. We go where the wind blows us, take opportunities when we can, and try to carve out a semblance of routine when possible (for example, exercising consistently and writing a lot is not the most compatible with being on the road so we savour our time back on the Sunshine Coast to make headway in novels and reacquaint ourselves with our healthy lifestyles).

Laura and Joe are still coming to visit in Australia, then Kane will have surgery, and then…well who knows. We are actively looking for a boat again and plan to buy, come hell or high water, by the end of the year, because we only have so much money to be off work for so long (if money estimates go as I have budgeted for, we should have about three more years). So it becomes a question of which boat do we go for, when, and at what price. Our gamble on the prices leveling off with the interest rate rises that we expected is eventuating, the real question that remains is will things level off enough for us to get the boat that we want? We cannot know that and that is hard. We can only make the best decision with the information we have at the time; so, until we finally pull the trigger and pick a boat, I will continue stressing over the bridge deck clearance, fibreglass type, designer reputation and more of every single boat that comes up in our target location, price range (stretched at the moment), and makes. I do have to admit, it minorly kills me to watch the YouTubes of people who did this before COVID, like this couple who bought a boat in three days (THREE DAYS!!!) in 2019. We have been looking seriously for nine months (and less seriously watching the market for four years).

The Beautiful

The above is less the than glamourous side of our life as nomads, but what is truly wonderful is our sheer time wealth. We worked our asses off for three solid years in Geraldton, saving intensely, only traveling by car to mostly camping locations, and squirreling away that time we spent then to have now. We were time poor then, choosing to focus on making money over having free time, but now it is the opposite. We only have as much money as we have now, so we need to be intentional about spending it (minimalism helps with this), but we have so much time; it is glorious. I can run, spend hours writing, cook healthy food every day with Kane (though let’s be honest, I’m sous chef, without him my food would be passable, but nothing special), and still have time at the end of the day to walk for hours around the canals at sunset. As nomads, we don’t spend much money if possible (my indulgence at the moment is going to a café to write every other day, though our trip to Europe was not cheap), but the time we have means that I am relaxed, productive, and happy. I know we will have to go back to 9-5 work someday (likely in three years), but for now I will be grateful for this time and relish every beautifully unhurried moment.

I am also extremely grateful for the trips we have been able to take during this time, first to Malaysia and then to Greece, Italy, and France. We have been able to see a country after it just opened post-COVID and been able to travel with my family to Italy in what was a once in a lifetime family trip. We met Adrian and Danny in France, and while it went less well than hoped due to that pesky little virus called COVID (we were fine, it just took up almost all our time in France), it was great to see Adrian again after so long and to finally meet her partner Danny. We have been able to spend a lot of quality time with Leo and Soph while they so graciously let us crash in their spare room on the Sunshine Coast and we even tried Leo’s newest sport love, electric foiling – which ended up as a very enjoyable day of falling into winter waves. There have been many blessings, and some frustrations, of our nine months as nomads and I look forward to the future, what ever the hell it may hold.

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