The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.
Sarah Ban Breathnach
While we were on the hard two weeks ago, working long exhausting days fixing up the boat, we talked to quite a few people who told us that it was their dream to do what we were doing. As in, buy a boat, fix it up, and go sailing.
“Really?” I’d ask skeptically, as I could only imagine what sort of hot mess they were staring back at. About 85% of the time we were covered in some sort of marine liquid – paint, wax, adhesive, and at one (very low) point, sewage. We were almost always covered in a thick layer of our own sweat with some dirt or grease thrown in for good measure. We were hardly the vision of tropical sunsets and pina coladas, that’s for sure.
“Yeah” they’d say. “What you’re doing is amazing”.
Huh. I guess when you stand back and let it all sink in, it actually IS pretty amazing what we’ve been able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time. And I’m not talking about the insane amount of work we just did during the big boat haul, but the complete lifestyle transformation overall. We went from a comfortable, predictable life in the Suburbs to a life aboard a sailboat with no previous sailing experience, all in just two short years. Kinda crazy when you take a step back and look at the big picture like that. Thing is, lots of people will have the dream, but very few will actually DO it.
That got me thinking…. what advantages did Matt and I have in order to turn the dream into a reality? How were we able to DO and not just DREAM?
We’re young(er). I add the -er because as hard as it is for us to admit, being in our early thirties doesn’t exactly qualify as ‘young’ anymore. (sigh) However, we’re certainly considered babies to many in the sailing community, many of whom have children our age or older. Sure enough, the number one thing we hear when we meet these older sailors and tell them our story is “I wish I would have done this when I was your age”. Realizing early on that we’re just fine with living a simpler life without all of the unnecessary things has ultimately changed our view on what “success” means and will no doubt allow us to be thrive throughout the rest of our lives. ‘Cause we’re only in our early 30’s and we still have a lot of life to live! We’re young enough to have a healthy sense of adventure while being old enough to not be naive about the world and our actions. Jay Z said it best – 30’s the new 20, baby!
We don’t have kids. This allowed us to be way more flexible in making a major lifestyle change like this, although there are many wonderful blogs we follow, such as Windtraveler and Bumfuzzle, who have done the exact same thing with multiple kids. I think if we did have kids we would’ve been more prone to stay in the predictable bubble of the Suburbs and keep this filed in the dream column, rather than working hard to make it a reality. In fact, NOT having kids was actually one of the factors that lead us towards this adventure. We chose to take it as an opportunity to do something crazy and tangent off towards a new adventure. Who knows what our future will bring though… we’ve learned to never rule anything out!
We have the drive to make it happen. Our whole lives, Matt and I have always set goals and worked hard to make them happen. When we wanted something, we would actually visualize ourselves getting it done – driving that car, buying that house, taking that trip. We actually had a picture of a catamaran taped to our fridge for a solid year before we bought our boat, to constantly remind us what we were working towards. Matt quit his job as a commercial electrician to work at a boat yard so he could learn about boats. We cut out all the ‘extras’ in our lives (cable TV – I miss you!!) and created a savings account to funnel any extra pennies we could pinch in order to save for our down payment. We were in it to win it, and as long as we wholeheartedly believed we could accomplish our goal, there was no stopping us. The power of The Secret, baby!
We have each other. This really does make everything so much easier. We’ve been together for over a decade now and can read each other like a well worn book (my favorite, I might add). When one of us gets to the point when they’re just over it (this happens more than you think, trust me), or lets doubt and negativity creep in, the other will counter balance and point out all the positives in that particular situation. We know what buttons to push – and not to push – to keep the other going. There is NO WAY in hell that we’d be here, where we’re at now, without the support and encouragement of the other. It takes two to tango, baby, and it sounds like someone’s just cranked up the volume!
So there you have it, the bones of what we believed pushed us from being “dreamers” to “doers”. Interestingly, our friends over at Windtraveler wrote a post a few years back about the very same topic. They’ve brought up a few additional points that really resonate. This life is certainly an adventure, with high highs and low lows. It’s definitely not for those straddling the fence, unsure of what they really want. You need to believe in yourself and wholeheartedly commit to it if you want to make the dream a reality.