<<Written by Rachel>>
Sitting here on a lazy Sunday morning, on the couch with the kiddos watching some silly TV show and Brenden relaxing playing a computer game, watching the rain pouring down outside, I’m contemplating life, boat life, and our plans. I miss the boat. And I’ve been meaning to post some sort of updated plan for our departure for some time now … I feel that this might be a good opportunity to reminisce on our options and refocus my thoughts.
Last night marked 5 weeks off the boat for this refit. We’re most likely still a week or two out from splashing her back into the water, then probably 2-3 weeks of boat projects on the weekends to get some necessary stuff done before we can move the kids back onto the boat. Plus the boat will be without her mast for another 3-4 weeks probably after the point where she goes back in the water so there definitely won’t be any sailing still for a while. Which, honestly, is OK just in that I’m really glad we’re doing all this right now during the crappy weather. I really miss sailing and cannot wait to get back to Mosaic, but this refit had to happen and I’m thankful to Brenden for making it happen in the offseason.
All this time away from the boat has me thinking about the future. Only time will tell how it will actually play out, but we’ve got lots of different options open to us and plans, plans, and more plans. Ultimately, our departure time at this point depends on Brenden’s ability to mold his job into working remotely. We want our cruising adventure to be open-ended, so we know that we will need to work and have some source, or multiple sources, of income while we’re going. Last year, I made the transition to remote work and I couldn’t be happier with how this is turning out, now we just need to get Brenden in the same boat (see what I did there?) and we’ll be able to truly call ourselves location independent and able to leave when we choose.
The Many Many Options
Originally, our plans were to buy the boat and move aboard in 2016, stay here in Portland continuing to work and save money until we could cast off in the spring of 2019. We would then sail up to the Puget Sound and spend ~6 months cruising the Sound and the western coast of the US and Canada in a shakedown cruise. Then, that fall, we would head south to Pacific Mexico and spend 6-12 months, or more, exploring the Sea of Cortez before deciding if we want to cross and explore the South Pacific, or if we would transit the Panama Canal and go explore the Caribbean. This timeline and plan is still a possibility, but both Brenden and I are anxious to be out of Portland by this upcoming winter so.. we’re scheming.
Saint Helens OR
One option we’re considering is moving home base to Saint Helens, Oregon this spring/summer and spending some time there. This location would still work for Brenden working at the office in Portland. It would add a little time to his daily commute, but probably not too much and would be a good option to get more of a feel for what it is truly like for our home to really be mobile and transitory. This option does have a lot of appeal to me as we would still be very close to home, easy access to family and friends, we would still have 2 cars, so much of life would still be the same. This would definitely just be a baby step toward the ultimate goal.
Another possibility we’ve been throwing around is getting a slip for a month at the mouth of the Columbia River up in Astoria. This would be during the summer months and would afford us the opportunity, again, to experience more of what it will be like to start moving around. We would still probably maintain 2 cars here as this option might involve Brenden commuting to Portland during the work week. We are thinking that, if we do this Astoria option, 2 of the weeks we’re here Brenden would use his company vacation time. So he would only be commuting back for work 2 of the weeks we would be in Astoria. We would definitely take this time to hire a captain and do our first ocean passage, likely from Astoria (blue dot, below) up to Neah Bay (red dot, below) and back.
The Puget Sound
Probably the most desirable option we’re playing with right now is trying harder to get Brenden location independent by this summer or fall and moving up to the Puget Sound for home base. We could find a nice marina with good amenities and set up home base there for the winter, and/or move around more often, start spending more time at anchor rather than at a slip in a marina. This would be, obviously, the biggest step we could take at this point and would require a lot to fall into place. We would need a good, fast, reliable internet option so that we could both continue to work basically as much as we are now. This would get us better sailing opportunity as we both feel pretty restricted by the confines of the Columbia River. It would mean moving away from friends and family here in the Portland area, but not so far that we couldn’t visit fairly often.
Some other things we’re taking into heavy consideration in regards to planning and our timelines are Evan’s schooling, or rather, his transition to homeschooling. Evan is in second grade this year and we’re planning to transition to homeschooling this summer when school ends for the year. So, unless something really unforeseen happens, this will definitely keep us in the Portland/Vancouver area until at least June.
Debt & Finances
We haven’t talked too much at this point about our finances. This is something that I would like to divulge more, especially in regard to the costs associated with preparing to go cruising and budgeting when we get going, but we just haven’t gotten into it yet.
But, in short, we currently have regular monthly outgoing expenses around $2000, not including food and variables. Of this, about $800 is payment onto debts that aren’t related to day-to-day living: credit card debt, car loan, a small personal loan that we needed to help with costs of buying the boat and getting it here, and medical bills from when Kali was born.
Anyway, I’m very proud of the fact that Brenden and I sat down at the beginning of the year and worked out a plan to actually cut down our debt. At that point, we were sitting on about $30k in debts that we need to pay off and we weren’t making any extra payments onto the debts above the minimums.
So, since then, we have been working really hard to maintain a budget of all of our regular monthly payments, including minimum debt payments, coming solely from Brenden’s paychecks. Crunching the numbers, we should be able to do this. That leaves all of the money from my paychecks to be split in this manner: daycare (Kali goes to daycare 1 day a week), food, and all the rest to paying extra on our debts. Without going too in-depth, so far this plan has allowed us to put an extra $500 onto our highest interest debt in January and an extra $1000 onto our highest interest debt in February. I expect to continue being able to put an extra $1000 on the debt each month, moving forward, and hopefully a bit more sometimes.
Yeah, it doesn’t seem like much when you’re staring at $30,000 of debt, but it’s something and definitely MUCH better than not putting any extra on like what we had been doing before. I guess this is somewhat just me wanting to express some relief and appreciation for finally having a job which pays me a livable wage and the added bonus of it being something that I can continue doing remotely from wherever we happen to be.
Anyway, I think I’ll wrap this up with that thought and get ready to spend some quality time with my family. If you aren’t already following our Facebook page, head over there and like that to get more frequent updates and day to day pictures. Can’t wait to get Mosaic back in the water and start making some serious progress toward our intended cruising lifestyle. Thanks for reading! ~Rachel
Kali: “Mom, we don’t live on the boat anymore?”
Me: “We do. We’re just off her for a while. Do you miss her? Do you miss Mosaic?”
Kali: “Yes. I love her, and I miss her and she’s so beautiful.”
Me: “Well, we will get to move back onto her soon, ok? And then we can go sailing more.”
Kali: “Yeah. We’ll go sailing.”