You can read a bit about me in the side bar. If you want to know more or you’re on a mobile device and can’t view the sidebar, here’s a little more detailed rundown of how I came to be an aspiring liveaboard sailor, landlocked in Austin, Texas.
Why Did You Move Here?
Our family moved to the Austin, TX area in February 2017! When we meet new people, they almost always ask pointedly, “Did you move here for a job?” or more generally, “Why did you move here?” If you didn’t know, there are a lot of people moving to Austin. It has been the trend for a few years and is projected to continue for quite some time. Well, we didn’t exactly move here for a job. Jeremy was working remotely and I have a network marketing business, so we decided to leverage that flexibility and move to a place that we thought would make both of us happy and would make a good place to raise our young family. That surprises most people. We are very lucky to be living in this “alternative” fashion, such that we can choose where we live instead of having that imposed on us. That is a luxury that many, many people don’t have. I hope that will become more available and a cultural norm.
Note that Jeremy already loved Spokane, WA and the Northwest, where we were living. However he also loves me and supports me, such that he was willing to find a place in which we would both be happy. For me, it wasn’t that I hated Spokane, but that I knew that I loved a lot of things about other places that Spokane didn’t offer. Sometimes the grass really is greener, and you know because you’ve been there. I want to experience all the green grass and it’s not enough for me to stop by briefly. I want to settle in and get to know it. More on the later!
How Did You Choose Austin?
If you’re curious about how we landed on Austin, I’ll tell you that it came from a good old-fashioned brainstorm starting with the question, “What do you want out of the place where you live.” The brainstorm took place in our living room in Spokane, in December 2015. We made a long list on paper. I held the pen and kept asking, “What else?”
- No state income tax. So practical.
- Legislative freedom, i.e. state laws that didn’t complicate his hobby. He likes to shoot guns; not my thing at all, but I try not to begrudge him his extremely safely-managed hobby.
- Job availability in tech, and especially with start ups, as he anticipated a job search and he wanted a favorable environment for what he likes to do.
I wanted things such as:
- No snow.
- An outdoor-oriented and physically active culture.
- Endless enriching activities to enjoy with our girls.
- New experiences.
- A liberal-minded populace that has compassion for others.
- A large metropolitan area that naturally fuels those factors.
Austin is possibly the only place where Jeremy and I can both get our often opposing conservative/liberal outlooks with a liberal major city within a conservative state. Someone recently described Austin to me as “a blueberry in bowl full of cherries.” Get it? Anyway, after we narrowed our dream city down to Austin, we were empowered by our family to visit. Of course we loved it and began creating the plan to move and building the momentum that eventually landed us here one year after our initial visit.
Austin doesn’t check all my boxes, though. I gave up my desires for a coastal city and a hub airport. And we atypically moved away from family and friends. These things bring me to the sailing dream.
How Did You Go from Austin to Aspiring Liveboard Sailor?
My liveaboard sailing dream was born in June 2017. For those that need a recap, that’s four short months after moving to land-locked Austin. I haven’t changed my mind about Austin. I am loving living here. We are living it up and exploring, out doing new things every week. Look at me settle in–for awhile. I live to connect with people and places and you can’t do that on your yearly vacation. I’ve done this before. I decided I wanted to live in San Francisco, without having been there, and so I moved there for college. I loved it. San Francisco will always have my heart. I lived there for ten years and I will go back for visits for the rest of my life. And now I have a pattern: move, enjoy for several years, move again, enjoy for several years. Let me tell you, once I learn about possibilities, it’s hard for me to ignore them.
The sailing possibility took some time to grow in my mind I’ve been sailing with my uncle on his catamaran in British Columbia (2002 and again in 2012), on a small sailboat in the San Francisco Bay (2007-ish), and shortly after telling the world (er, social media) of my dream to live on a sailboat and travel the world (2017), on a 26′ sailboat on Lake Travis in Texas. Why now? Well…I can’t tell you exactly. Before we moved, Jeremy showed me Sailing La Vagabonde on YouTube. He liked watching for occasional Elayna butt shots (he admits), and thought I would enjoy it also, possibly for other reasons (???). Initially, I thought it was boring. At some point after the move, however, I started watching YouTube sailing videos in my chill out time. It was at that time that I discovered sailing families. Families live on boats and travel all the time. I had no idea that was possible! I didn’t even realize living on a boat was a thing, though I’ve put together since that I’ve seen this in media and apparently ignored it (Crosby on Parenthood springs to mind).
I enjoy travel above all else. I see a lot of you nodding. I want to give the gift of travel to my children. The parents are nodding. I want a home that allows me to travel. A lot. I used to think that meant I wanted a crash pad type home somewhere in the world from which I would travel as much as possible. I moved to Austin with that plan. You’re doubting the feasibility of anything more than a week or two of vacation travel each year–me too. If we live on a boat, though, we can travel as much as we want. Or stay put as long as we want. We have the stability of home because we bring it with us. We can afford to live on the water! We can linger and connect with people and a place for as long as it takes. We can move on when it’s right for us, or when favorite people decide to move. We can visit our coastal friends and family! Within reason, obviously: if we buy a boat on the East Coast of the US, we’ll be visiting our East Coast friends and family for quite awhile. Switching coasts is a serious proposition in terms of skill, time, and money. But, it can happen and we don’t have to move houses or commit to a city for a moment longer than we like, plus or minus for favorable weather windows.
Are you with me? Yes, there are trade-offs (hello tiny house!) and a steep learning curve (I gave you my sailing resume up there). I may be a dreamer, but I’m not completely naive. I do believe in myself and my ability to achieve my dreams. And, I should mention, my partner believes in us and our dream. That’s key.
Now that we’re enjoying ourselves in Austin and the sailing dream is percolating, we’re working on putting together the pieces that will allow us to move onto a boat. For us that means paying down student loan debt (the Millennial cage), saving for our boat and sailing fund, and creating income streams that are mobile and could potentially withstand periods of absence (when we’re crossing an ocean, say). We’re open and exploring all options.
The income factors are an important piece to make the boat a lifestyle and not a vacation, but there will be a lot of practical pieces too.
- Sailing lessons,
- Swimming lessons for the girls,
- CPR and first aid re-certification (I feel good about our skills here, but review can’t hurt),
- Field trauma care class (Check!) and further wilderness medicine training,
- Kid boating training, like USCG Aux Boating Fun,
- Communications training, particularly a VHF Radio Operator Certificate.
What about This Blog?
This isn’t a sailing blog, per se. This blog is about dreamers, their dreams, and what it takes to make a dream come true. I have some experience accomplishing goals, and making my dreams come true, but I’m digging deeper for this new dream. This blog is about my process. I hope sharing this helps others itching to live their dreams, too. I also dream about creating a community dedicated to living our best lives and supporting each other. This blog is the first step to realizing that dream.
What about you? Do you aspire to something? What have you done in service of those aspirations? I want to help you make those plans to bring dreams to reality.