A Leap Of Faith
My wife and I found ourselves discontented. We had good jobs, a strong marriage and an all around decent, middle class, American life. Somehow it wasn’t enough. We decided to make a change, a really big change.
We decided to quit our jobs and run away to paradise to live on a boat. At first it was a crazy dream. Later, as we planned and took actual real steps to make it happen, it became a true possibility. Eventually we made our dreams come true.
How did we do it? What steps did we take? First we tackled our debt. We continued working hard and made it our life’s goal to eliminate all of our debt. It took several years of dedication, but we finally managed to rid ourselves of every single debt we had. What a feeling!
Next we saved money. Without a car payment or credit card bills this was not so hard. We simply kept on living at the same comfort level we previous enjoyed, but put all the now freed up cash into savings. We maxed out our 401k plan contributions. We put every spare cent in the bank.
Along the way we learned to stop buying things we didn’t need. We simply quit buying anything new unless we could eat it, drink it, or wipe our butts with it. We started donating clothing to Goodwill. As our load was lightened, we started to feel unburdened. It was then that we made the decision to get rid of EVERYTHING. That’s right, we sold or gave away everything we owned, except some clothing, laptop, and a few momentos we couldn’t part with.
One day we decided we had taken enough of the ‘work till you die world’ and we quit the rat race. We loaded our meager remaining belongings into our pickup truck and headed south on I-95 for Florida. Did we have enough money saved to carry us for the rest of our lives? Nope. Did we have enough to hold us over until we reached Social Security age? Probably not. What did we have? We had enough to buy a decent boat and enough to live on for several years. We called it our Leap Of Faith. We were going to live for today. Tomorrow? Who knows?
Oh what a feeling of freedom we enjoyed driving south. We had no job to report to. We had no bills to pay. Of course, we had no home either, but that didn’t matter to us. We were only looking ahead. We landed in Punta Gorda, Florida on January 3, 2010. We rented a condo for a month while we boat shopped. Soon we settled on a gorgeous classic trawler, laid our money down and moved aboard. We named our new home Leap Of Faith.
After a getting acquainted period, we threw the lines, left the marina and set off to explore the west coast of Florida. We lived at anchor, mostly off uninhabited islands. We became one with nature. We made friends with the dolphins and manatees. We staked claim to our own personal beach. Every night we celebrated the sunset. Every night we slept the sleep of the contented.
Once we got our sea legs we began to travel. We cruised to the Keys, hopping from island to island until we landed in Key West.
We cruised north, falling in love with Longboat key and the Manatee River. The place we called home was Pelican Bay, a pristine cove tucked between the islands of Cayo Costa and Punta Blanca. We would spend months isolated from society, returning only to re-provision occasionally. Our love for each other deepened dramatically. We learned so much about each other. We also learned to appreciate the silence sometimes. We slowed down our pace and took in the beauty of nature. We discovered our Eden in Pelican Bay.
Our blood pressure lowered. Our heart rates slowed. Time itself slowed down for us. We lost weight. We felt healthier. We felt happier. We were so damn happy, sometimes we would just sit and laugh at our good fortune. We still feel that way today.
Money? Yes we still had to spend some. Food, fuel, boat maintenance and repairs all added up. Two major boat repairs took a big chunk of what was left of our savings. We lasted three years before we started to get nervous about how little money we had left. I constantly reassured my wife, “It will work out.” Soon enough we returned to civilization. I wrote a book that is selling moderately well at Amazon. I also picked up a part-time job at the marina. My wife is waiting tables in town. I’m well into writing a second book and we are starting to rebuild our bank account.
We have absolutely no regrets. We’ve got egrets, but no regrets. What will we do when the bank account gets big enough? Take off again of course!
ED ROBINSON was a reporter and editor of a weekly newspaper, The Smyrna Times. He was also a contributing writer for The Mariner Magazine, a Maryland based publication covering all things boating and fishing. After twenty years working for a major utility, he quit his job and moved onto a boat. He and his wife Kim are somewhere on the west coast of Florida.
His book Leap Of Faith / Quit Your Job And Live On A Boat is currently a best seller at Amazon.com.
SONIA MARSH SAYS: So nice to read about a couple who chucked it all to live a simple life. I hope we get a chance to meet you in Florida. Thanks for explaining how you were able to do this, in your memoir.
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