This past weekend I celebrated my 2-year anniversary of… hmm…
“Being retired?” No, I’m not retired. I’m just redefining my career.
“Being homeless?” No, that doesn’t sound like something to celebrate.
“Being a nomad?” No, that suggests lack of purpose or direction.
“Traveling, volunteering, and sailing!” Yep, I stick with that.
In any event, it was April 15, 2015, when I decided to “take time off from the working world to explore the actual world.” At the time, I had no idea how long my “time off” would be. In the back of my head, I was probably thinking 6- to 12-months. I wasn't 100% confident I would be able to change gears and totally redefine my life and career. Now, I am certain I can do it.
After 24 months, I'm still on the go, loving my non-traditional lifestyle and the progress I've made. I have no plans to return to what society would call “normal life.”
I feel good about what I've done and how I've grown. I’ve traveled to foreign countries to help struggling families, emerging businesses, and developing communities. I’ve gained valuable sailing experience by earning my US Sailing Coastal Skipper certification and by sailing across the South Pacific Ocean twice. And most recently, I’ve landed a part-time job as a Sailing Instructor to help others achieve their nautical dreams.
It’s been a rewarding couple of years. But it is not without challenges. I miss the routine, the stability and comfort, and the intellectual and social aspects, of a Monday-through-Friday professional job. In my current lifestyle, I wake up every morning and immediately log onto the internet to search for a place to sleep that night. I’ve found myself in a few undesirable situations, most notably in Eureka, California where I was assaulted and robbed. And yes, I do my laundry in a Laundromat, eat lunch at the grocery store, and sit at the local coffee shop or library for hours on end surfing the web.
But these are small prices to pay for the freedom and variety I experience every day, and the pace at which I experience every day. I find myself walking more frequently and more slowly, taking my time to get to places, and enjoying the journey. I don't hesitate to just sit somewhere, relax, and watch the people go by.
The further along I proceed down this new path, the harder (and in fact less desirable) it is to return to the old path.
Although my focus in 2017 is becoming a great Sailing Instructor, I also have a few adventures planned. The first one kicks off in just 2 weeks, when I'll head to New Zealand to join as crew again on the sailing vessel Avalon for her journey north to Fiji!!