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 living this dream.
The Formative Years
I’ve been working at Getting It Right for awhile. As a kid, reading and climbing trees were moments of getting it right. In the tween years, getting it right felt like meeting new people and uninhibited speech. In high school, it was trying new things, like drawing and photography, a musical, Spanish and French, and super-early science tutoring. Trying all the things was the best and then I tried Philosophy and I was so happy everyday of that class. Learning about all the theories of Getting It Right inspired me to my core.
So a became a Philosophy Major. And a Spanish Major until I learned it was literature, often carrying an excruciating depth of sadness, and not more Spanish language arts puzzles. And then I took up Political Theory–the stories of how people work together to create a setting to optimize opportunities for happiness. If there is a place that they are getting it exactly right, I didn’t discover it, but I did learn to recognize the successful bits and pieces.
The classes I took in undergrad taught me about perspective and I took away a deeply seeded respect for the many ways of Being a Human Person. They taught me about recognizing Beauty and I took away an optimism that allows me to appreciate even difficult feelings of sadness, disappointment, and anger. I’m still working on some of that. I always feel like I’m coming around to how uncertainty can be interesting.
I went to law school because I wanted to try out Security–I wanted a secure job with a comfortable income. Plus it’s the study of how to protect It once you feel life you’re Getting It Right, the pursuit of security. Needless to say, I discovered that law was not a secure job and, at least for me, I needed to see more of people living at ease and closer to happiness. The practice of law involves a lot of time with people at their most difficult striving and most and least effective pursuits of security–all of it remains at quite a distance from ease and happiness. It meant spending a lot of time processing fear, sadness, anger, betrayal. I know I can’t spend whole days, weeks, months, and years in that process and retain my own capacity for a life of happiness. I can try those things on from time to time if I don’t get jaded and lose the wonder.
I learned later that wonder is key. Being with my children helped me realize that. I have it in my power to give them opportunities for wonder. I’m lucky to have kids who share my passion for trying new things. We all experience the joy together and this creates the framework for happiness that is working for me.
Now I’m looking forward to time of full-time travel and full-time wonder. If this is when I’m happiest, I want to optimize my life for it.
Why Did You Move Here?
Throughout my formative years and formal education, I lived and thrived in San Francisco. The best thing about a cosmopolitan city is the abundance of opportunities to try new things–my favorite way to break into happiness. I didn’t hold back and bits of my heart will always remain smeared across that city, like any other place that becomes a home for a heart.
I grew up in a small town and later a small city, that seemed like a suburb without an attendant city. These places have people I love, but lack the abundance of opportunities to try new things, experience wonder, and ultimately felt like a dull version of what I knew to be possible. After my first daughter was born in San Francisco, we made the decision to return to these hometowns for the support of our family. It was right at the time, but I knew almost immediately that we wouldn’t stay.
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, my husband, 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 privileged 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 our hometown 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 where we lived, but that I knew that I loved a lot of things about other places that weren’t on 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 that 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 our small Northwest city, 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. Throughout my formative years and formal education, I lived and thrived there. The best thing about a cosmopolitan city is the abundance of opportunities to try new things–my favorite way to break into happiness. I didn’t hold back and bits of my heart will always remained smeared across that city, like any other place that becomes a home for a 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.
I can’t tell you exactly why this seed as begun to grow now. 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. At that time 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. Some of 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 get a boat on the West Coast of the US, we’ll be visiting our West 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 (Sailing 101, 103, 104 completed June 2018!),
- Swimming lessons for the girls (Swim Lessons in 2018, Swim Team in 2018 and 2019!),
- 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.
Over the last few years I’ve used a journal to help me keep up with my life and taking notes to help me optimize for happiness. This blog is kind of like that. I’m exploring concepts that are working to help me Get It Right. If I’m honest, I use the journal and now use this blog in hopes that I can leave a legacy and a working guidebook for my daughters. What is life if not an experiment in being? I hope they will try out the ways of being with me and eventually leave me, empowered to experiment on their own.
What about you?
Are you committed to your own happiness? Are you finding ways that feel like Getting It Right? 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. Please stick around, and figure out how to Get It Right with me.