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Re-entry after sabbatical


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So, contemplating taking some extended time off.  Would probably do a combo of sailing and RV’ing.  Biggest constraint is the prospect of coming back to the workforce and the impact to my career.  I am currently well employed and well compensated for my work.  
 

For those who have done it, how did it work out coming back?  

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Did it TWICE. Both times same company hired me back because I was a known entity (though I got other NA jobs in the interim before returning to Vancouver). The long sailing trips were INTERESTING to people that live 9-5. OK, as a NA most of the people I worked with with were envious, but I'd be just as interested in hiring somebody if they said "well for 2 years I travelled across Asia mostly hitchhiking but sometimes I rode a bike etc..."

For those in less glamorous careers or less marine oriented than being a N.A. - You have to sell it as this giant challenge, time for self growth, became more self reliant, experienced so many different cultures. I know I am (a) a lot more relaxed about big projects. Eventually everything will get done and all be OK. Seldom are setbacks true crisises. (b) very self-assured because I can fix just about anything on a boat (c) able to travel and get along with people in all sorts of cultures.

You will not be the same person afterward I can assure you. You might not continue in the exact same line of work or in the same way. You might value more time off (instead of greater compensation) for example. 

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My wife and I were out cruising for 2+ years with our kids.   We were probably in a different place mentally than you when we left because we have been working in the corporate world for about 17 years and were ready for a change. After cruising that was driven home even more. The thing about being out there doing it and living independently for an extended period of time makes you realize the importance and necessity of a better work life balance then is available in the corporate world.   The thought of returning to it made us sick to our stomach‘s. We started asking other cruisers who we met how they were out there doing it?   Obviously there were retirees but beyond this some common themes were teachers and military people and also business owners who had a business that was either seasonal or a slow season where they could take some time off.   When we returned we ended up buying a seasonal business and have never been happier.  We’re our own bosses now and will be returning to the water once our kids go off to college.

Many of the other people that we know that had to return to some kind of work life also chose to go in a different direction.   With that said, if you want to come back into the field of work that you were in previously I don’t think you’ll find it as hard as many people suspect. The reality is that your peers within the workplace  Will wish that they had the guts to do the same thing that you did. If you keep a blog in particular that they can follow they will live vicariously through you and actually work to support you returning when you get back.   But like I said before, you should expect that cruising will change your outlook  and you may not want to go back .

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Took a year and a half off to pedal down to Argentina and had a job offer the day we rolled into Ushuaia. And every company I've talked with since are more keen to discuss that trip than my professional experience. 

It was wonderful to come back to a fat paycheque and comfortable life after living the adventure life.

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 Something else to add about cruising versus RVing-  they are two very different crowds. We’ve known a lot of cruisers who then moved to the roads in the biggest difference are the people you meet. It’s a different kind of personality on the water.   Cruisers tend to be very self-reliant and independent but also very trusting and open to meeting new people.  They know at every Anchorage that they pull into they may unexpectedly need help later in the middle of the night or someone else around them may need help from them and it could be a dire situation.  This really binds deep relationships regardless of how self-reliant you are.   With those in the RV community all you need to do is pull up to your local fix-it station and get repairs done for you.   You never really need to rely on anyone else.  They also tend to be more insular. These comments come from our fellow cruisers who have moved to the road and then come back and visit us for a time and that’s what they told us .

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I've never been able to afford to take time off, but it was noticable, everytime I needed to get a new job, the older I got the harder it was. Particularly as I got past 50... Your line of work may influence that.

Also the state of the economy, if you can afford to take time off until the economy recovers, which may take 5 years or more, then OK. But if you need to come back into the teeth of the recession you may have a problem..

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6 minutes ago, The Q said:

I've never been able to afford to take time off, but it was noticeable, every time I needed to get a new job, the older I got the harder it was. Particularly as I got past 50... Your line of work may influence that....

 

This has been my experience.  They want somebody young and hungry that will work for less. They don't believe you will be satisfied.  Hope you have good contacts, valuable skills,  and that eventually someone sees the value. Worked for me... but not for a while. At 60, I would not want to try it again. I'd just stay with consulting.

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Thanks guys.  Good things to consider.  I guess I should give a little more info about myself.  Mid Forties, been in the same career for 21 years.  2 kids - 6.5 and 9 years old.  I work in an industry that doesn’t have a lot of time off and my current employ has no overlap in our management so even when I am off, I am still working.  It feels as I have moved up, this has only gotten worse so I am starting to consider a real break.  

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 My kids were seven and nine when we left. Something extraordinary that came out of the experience was their work ethic and focus on schooling.    In public school they were always working to the lowest common denominator and so they worked very slowly.   Those first few weeks were tough- they would space out all the time  like they were accustomed to in the classroom , but before long they really gained a focus that they had never known. We’ve been back for five years now and they continue to excel above their classmates.   We think it’s because of the work ethic that we were able to instill in them during the time we were teaching them. Can I ask what you do for a career?   Do you have the option of going to work for yourself as either a consultant or would you be willing to trade strike out and do something totally different?   We were both living in Boston and working in the financial industry but now we own a wedding venue in rural New Hampshire!    The hardest thing you’ll ever do is inform your boss that you’re walking out the door and actually doing it!   This line came from some fellow cruisers on a boat called Barefeet.   It’s  A set of videos that you really should watch. There are only about four of them. 

 

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5 hours ago, T sailor said:

Thanks guys.  Good things to consider.  I guess I should give a little more info about myself.  Mid Forties, been in the same career for 21 years.  2 kids - 6.5 and 9 years old.  I work in an industry that doesn’t have a lot of time off and my current employ has no overlap in our management so even when I am off, I am still working.  It feels as I have moved up, this has only gotten worse so I am starting to consider a real break.  

I'm in my late forties and my kids are functioning adults and have moved out.  WTF am I still working?

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2 minutes ago, Ajax said:

I'm in my late forties and my kids are functioning adults and have moved out.  WTF am I still working?

Presumably 'cos freedom from the chains of employment is less important to you than a) all the things you can buy with your salary  and/or b) the security of a regular pay cheque.

A life without those ties is definitely possible.  But it can take quite a lot of adjustment of habits and mindset.

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43 minutes ago, Ajax said:

I'm in my late forties and my kids are functioning adults and have moved out.  WTF am I still working?

Because you still enjoy it?

I had my 'fuck you I quit' money a long time before I did. In the end it was because I'd had enough of my boss and I was going to fail my next medical, mainly due to stress (see said boss) and that meant I wouldn't be going to sea.

No sea time, time to leave, so I quit as soon as I got the medical report. 2 days notice and I was gone, came back as an act of grace & favour, unpaid, to do a handover a bit later on as I didn't want to screw my team over.

Hindsight, should have gone a year earlier.

You'll know it when it's time to walk away; my only advice is that when the time comes, do it immediately, don't stop to think about it.

FKT

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As long as you are more than less financially secure for the time frame in mind go for it.  After a little while that doesn't matter as much but in the beginning money stress or relief work could kill it as a family show.  We have been more or less jumping in and out for the last 20 years. Never had a issue finding work, the more specialized you are the easier.  Most people we know who have done it a long time change a fair bit so priorities today will most likely not be the same a few years on.

It's a the best thing you can do for your kids too. Right now is a great time it's similar to early 2000's when we first went out.  Tons of people out cruising and tons of kid boats.

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7 hours ago, Four coconuts said:

 My kids were seven and nine when we left. Something extraordinary that came out of the experience was their work ethic and focus on schooling.    In public school they were always working to the lowest common denominator and so they worked very slowly.   Those first few weeks were tough- they would space out all the time  like they were accustomed to in the classroom , but before long they really gained a focus that they had never known. We’ve been back for five years now and they continue to excel above their classmates.   We think it’s because of the work ethic that we were able to instill in them during the time we were teaching them. Can I ask what you do for a career?   Do you have the option of going to work for yourself as either a consultant or would you be willing to trade strike out and do something totally different?   We were both living in Boston and working in the financial industry but now we own a wedding venue in rural New Hampshire!    The hardest thing you’ll ever do is inform your boss that you’re walking out the door and actually doing it!   This line came from some fellow cruisers on a boat called Barefeet.   It’s  A set of videos that you really should watch. There are only about four of them. 

Thanks FC,

I do project management for large scale commercial construction, specialized in building envelope.  I am an engineer by education, but have never done any real engineering.  I guess my biggest holdback is that earning wise, I am at the top of my field and concerned that I may not be able to step back into that realm when I return.  I also have some advancement opportunities coming up that could be pretty lucrative.  We live in an expensive area and I feel like we are finally ahead of the game financially and I am afraid of giving that up.   I think there are no doubts about the benefits of doing this.  We ended up home schooling our kids due to the pandemic so have already crossed that hurdle.  

Cheers,

T

 

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We were in a similar situation last time we left.  Had a good job making a stupid amount of money. A good friend who had just finished about 10 years of circumnavigation told me to not worry about work, if anything I would have more than I wanted.  It ended up being very true.  I have ended up doing relief work and project management for several companies I never would have being nailed down to a single job.  This ended up opening more doors down the road as my scope and experience have changed alot.  

Above all though for us it was our daughter that was the deciding factor.  You can't buy time no matter how much you make and the years fly by as the kids get older. You will be amazed at the amount of time you have once out of the rat race to do all sorts of stuff. If I had to guess a typical kid going to school time commitment in civilization gets cut in half while on a boat. Your biggest headache will most likely not be getting back in the door, but figuring out how to not open it and keep Cruising.

 

Sort of anecdotal but one of probably many similar stories, a friend of ours was a very successful software engineer and got the if you go you can't come back, he is older and they went anyway.  I think he had small start up stuff lined up after there cruising, but last I heard he started his own brewery. 

 

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Also, I think everyone we have met who left later in life have said they wished they went ten years earlier. Cruisers as a whole seem to be pretty fit regardless of age but something always comes along, stuff not working as good as it used to, having to take care of parents or relatives etc.

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It’s great to read about people being successful. I’m assuming that re-entry will be either harder after 50, or heretically, an undesired outcome, and am planning as such. I want to make sure I can get to the end without being a burden. Kids are now launched so I must launch us. 

I did a gap year before matriculating University because I assumed it’d be much harder later in life. It changed the course of my life and career for the better in a significant way. My current career would not have happened without it and some parts of the world I visited might not be open again in my lifetime. Done right I believe these are transformative experiences. 

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Because my wife and I were both pilots that did specialized type of work, often on contract, we were able to sail our boat to the Carib. and spent 13 yrs cruising about 6 months of the year.  We were able to do this when reasonably young so enjoyed it more than some older cruisers who developed health problems.  If you have the kind of job that will allow this it is a great way to cruise.

One thing we noticed with some long time cruisers that had sold it all and gone sailing was that when it became time for them to quit and go home, they hadn't anticipated that they were living on a depreciating asset and then had to return and buy a home that had been increasing in value for all of the time they were away. Be careful.

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1 hour ago, usedtobeoldestsailor said:

Because my wife and I were both pilots that did specialized type of work, often on contract, we were able to sail our boat to the Carib. and spent 13 yrs cruising about 6 months of the year.  We were able to do this when reasonably young so enjoyed it more than some older cruisers who developed health problems.  If you have the kind of job that will allow this it is a great way to cruise.

One thing we noticed with some long time cruisers that had sold it all and gone sailing was that when it became time for them to quit and go home, they hadn't anticipated that they were living on a depreciating asset and then had to return and buy a home that had been increasing in value for all of the time they were away. Be careful.

I would agree, with these thoughts. So much time is spent on transitioning into cruising and very little on transitioning out. It is very sad to see cruisers getting to the point where there health is seriously in decline and they become incapable of keeping the boat (and themselves) in good nick. Often their budget has allowed them to live quite comfortably on the boat but not back on land, in particular if their roots are in a pricey area, which most good sailing areas are like the US Northeast, California or the Toronto area.

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There may be opposing forces.  In my field, it's definitely difficult to re-enter after 40, against the tide of an essentially infinite flood of fresh, eager graduates.  On the other hand, at the corporation I used to work for, it became obvious over time that there were never any significant promotions from within.  But you could do a lateral move and come back two or three years later to a much higher position.  And on yet the other hand (foot?) I discovered that after being out on my own four or five years, I was probably incapable of working for someone else any more, anyway.  

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3 hours ago, usedtobeoldestsailor said:

<snip>

One thing we noticed with some long time cruisers that had sold it all and gone sailing was that when it became time for them to quit and go home, they hadn't anticipated that they were living on a depreciating asset and then had to return and buy a home that had been increasing in value for all of the time they were away. Be careful.

When I'm done cruising I plan to get a single wide in the desert and a still.

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, T sailor said:

So, contemplating taking some extended time off.  Would probably do a combo of sailing and RV’ing.  Biggest constraint is the prospect of coming back to the workforce and the impact to my career.  I am currently well employed and well compensated for my work.  
 

For those who have done it, how did it work out coming back?  

Just gotta be bold and go.  It’ll all work out.  Did for us.  Boldness in action, that apocryphal Goethe quote, and all that.

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15 hours ago, T sailor said:

Thanks guys.  Good things to consider.  I guess I should give a little more info about myself.  Mid Forties, been in the same career for 21 years.  2 kids - 6.5 and 9 years old.  I work in an industry that doesn’t have a lot of time off and my current employ has no overlap in our management so even when I am off, I am still working.  It feels as I have moved up, this has only gotten worse so I am starting to consider a real break.  

Maybe you can change your job a little. I think many of us know this trap.

  • Train subordinates so that they don't need to call you when you are off.
  • Train your boss that when you are off... you are off.  Make certain you are caught up on Friday, and then stop checking the phone so often, and don't respond to things that can wait until Monday.
  • Work the amount you think is reasonable. Make sure you are very efficient, not wasting effort on low priority stuff or poor planning. If you are still thinking of a sabbatical anyway, what's the worst that can happen?

I've always been a hard working guy (ran the engineering department of national company), but I also knew that upper management would always pile on more projects, until I dropped. So once I was mature in my career, I set a pace I could maintain. Yes, sometimes it would be tearing along with my hair on fire for months, on the road a lot. That is what the situation required. But then I would slow down enough to recover.

They will never let up unless YOU SET THE PACE.  If you feel it is wearing you down, that you need a break, either adjust the pace to where is fun again or start looking for something else. But try fixing the job first. Many people never realize they can.

----

A sabbatical is cool. So is early retirement. Very cool, since you have more skills, virtually all your health, and don't need a job to come back to. You've crossed the finish line. And by the way, choosing to retire early can be just as bold (if that matters to you) as taking a sabbatical. It is a life changing event. But remember, you can have one or the other, not both. The other thing to do is CUT YOUR COSTS right now. New stuff. Going out to dinner. Too much cable. Keeping up with the Jones in general. You are going to have to anyway. Most of the folks on this thread are telling you that mental health is worth a LOT more than stuff and going out to dinner. I wish I had less stuff and that I had bought less stuff through the years. But I didn't know.

Whatever your choice, the best of luck.

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9 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Because you still enjoy it?

You're both wrong.  I don't enjoy it and I don't give a tinker's damn about my personal possessions beyond my boat. 

I do it because I remarried and I totally underestimated the strength of her nesting instinct and her attachment to her possessions.  She's dug in like a tick on a hound. 

I may end up divorced again. At least the next time,  it'll be permanent. 

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1 minute ago, Ajax said:

You're both wrong.  I don't enjoy it and I don't give a tinker's damn about my personal possessions beyond my boat. 

I do it because I remarried and I totally underestimated the strength of her nesting instinct and her attachment to her possessions.  She's dug in like a tick on a hound. 

I may end up divorced again. At least the next time,  it'll be permanent. 

Ah OK, my sincere commiserations. I spent years working in a job that I hated because I was well paid, had 3 small children and it was in the place best for my then wife's career.

In the end it wasn't enough.

The reason I said it was because I've had a number of jobs over my career where I would have done what I was doing for free. Getting paid was icing on the cake.

My long term GF likes her pets and garden a *lot*. That isn't a problem right now, but it could be.

FKT

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5 minutes ago, Ajax said:

I don't enjoy it and I don't give a tinker's damn about my personal possessions beyond my boat. 

I do it because I remarried and I totally underestimated the strength of her nesting instinct and her attachment to her possessions.  She's dug in like a tick on a hound. 

I may end up divorced again. At least the next time,  it'll be permanent. 

That's a sad situation to be in, that gap in aspirations.  I hope that you two can find some path where you can both be happy ... whatever that looks like.

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53 minutes ago, Zonker said:

The Q

Aren't you supposed to be posting about pizza eating pedophiles etc.? I believe you are behind in your postings and the faithful are wondering where you are.

Get with the zeitgeist! :-)

Either that, or engage in some other kind of Sunday afternoon madness!

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55 minutes ago, Zonker said:

Mine have added up to about 10 years as well. I don't quite count the 2-1/2 years in Australia because I was working full time there.

You'd be one of the few...

Reminds me of the old joke when the Govt changed. The incoming PM asked the permanent head of the Public Service how many people worked in the Dept of PM & Cabinet.

The answer was, about half, but with a lot of effort maybe they could improve on that.

FKT

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It did seem that a lot of my colleagues were not as hard working as I was used to. 

Never encountered a language with so many words for avoiding work - and people doing it.
 

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It’s a funny topic - I recall hearing some former corporate drones/worker bees describe, upon leaving their work, how unprepared and frankly shocked they discovered they were when they set off travelling (sailboat RVing, I.e., cruising) since they had had the utter importance of corporate hierarchy, meetingthink, rigid behaviour/thought/dress structures, etc etc almost bred into them by the time they left it. So it was entry into a non-corporate life of freedom and independent decision making that was the hard part, after being part of a hierarchy for so long.  They didn’t re-enter. (If one did it would probably be quite depressing.)

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8 hours ago, Ajax said:

I totally underestimated the strength of her nesting instinct and her attachment to her possessions.  She's dug in like a tick on a hound. 

Ajax, you have to watch comedian Chris Rock’s stand up routine “Tambourine” on Netflix.  He’s *absolutely* spot on about relationships, and what a house means to most females.  Rock is, of course, absolutely “out there” - he’s just brutally honest and spares no one.  And is spot on (in this case, about homes and relationships).

This: https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/80167498

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Once you get dis satisfied with your work life, you won’t regain it.  When you leave, you will be glad you did. When my wife asked me (after I pissed and moaned about the boss). So “Why are you working?”.  I thought, and said, “For the money?”.  Retired early 50’s, took my lump sum and never looked back.  Sold the house, which paid for the boat and went cruising.  Now, nearly 15 years later, have a larger house, beyond my imaginations, living a new dream,  retired (again) from our own business, but the wife is running it and playing with selling or living off it... either way works and we’re doing better than we were in our peak ‘working’ years.  

As Nike says, Just Do It....!  

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8 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Ajax, you have to watch comedian Chris Rock’s stand up routine “Tambourine” on Netflix.  He’s *absolutely* spot on about relationships, and what a house means to most females.  Rock is, of course, absolutely “out there” - he’s just brutally honest and spares no one.  And is spot on (in this case, about homes and relationships).

This: https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/80167498

When I break her free of the house and we go sailing for a couple of weeks she invariably says on the last day "I don't want to go back."

She has a deep love of the natural world and I make it a point to indulge that love whenever we're out sailing. She absolutely flips out when we manage to sail close to dolphins.  It's just a matter of showing her that living in a pile of "stuff" is a false sense of security and a false sense of happiness.

She also doesn't loathe her job as much as I do mine. She hasn't had a pay raise in over 10 years yet she works very hard and is praised practically every day by the highest level manager for her work. They just keep heaping more and more work on her because she's so effective and productive with almost zero budget and no staff. It is slowly dawning on her that she's not being treated fairly.

The other fly in the ointment is that she's only 9-10 years away from collecting her pension. It's hard to walk away from that...unless you suspect that the employer isn't going to honor the pension because it's under funded, which is the case here.

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As others have said the ability to re-enter really depends a lot on your age and your career type. Personally I would not go now for two reasons: 

1.) Covid restrictions - ignore the politics and media BS which goes both way; but this disease ain’t going away for a while. So even if you don’t think the disease represents a serious threat to your families health given your age you may still find many restrictions on travel even into 2022.

2.) Kids. They are at an age where this plan can impact the wit future as well and they didn’t ask into this. We had the ability to retire early but decided not to for risk of how it might impact the kids. To be clear it may have a positive impact. But also spoke to many who thought it had a negative impact. For us it was just too big a risk to take and now with both grown and flown and is in our late 50s we are still healthy enough to go whenever we want... which will be post covid restrictions. We are targeting 2023. And the food news for us is we are financially secure enough that we will not need to re-enter which also takes a lot of stress out of the equations and makes whatever you are doing more fun.

Good luck whatever you decide. 

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I never took a sabbatical,  but I did leave a Fortune 100 company and work as a sole consultant for a few years.  It's amazing to discover how many people don't work 9 to 5.

At the end of my working life, I was just another computer programmer.  The demand for computer people to do ordinary stuff and uninteresting projects is enormous.  There is probably similar demand in other lines of work. If you are 55, you want 10 years of pay checks. It's too late for the one big success that will define your life's work.

 

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10 minutes ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Interesting to see Wess's take.  Complete polar opposite on both points pretty vehemently the second. No right answer I guess.

Yes, it seems there are lots of different perspectives.  I think it would be pretty transformative for my kids.  I am not too worried about COVID as we would depart until July and not leave the US until spring 2022.

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8 minutes ago, T sailor said:

Yes, it seems there are lots of different perspectives.  I think it would be pretty transformative for my kids.  I am not too worried about COVID as we would depart until July and not leave the US until spring 2022.

 

22 minutes ago, SASSAFRASS said:

Interesting to see Wess's take.  Complete polar opposite on both points pretty vehemently the second. No right answer I guess.

I think, in general, people overthink this.  Lots of example of people stepping off the N. American treadmill/rat race.  But it can be “scary”, since we all get trapped by security and comfort.

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There is certainly a bit of over thinking as a whole for all the armchair people, like maybe 90% of cruisers forum.  However I would bet at least half the people who actually go Cruising underthink things a bit and it comes back to haunt them at some point.

Always good to get real world feedback.  

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 "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans”.

Allen Saunders 1957

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1 hour ago, SASSAFRASS said:

There is certainly a bit of over thinking as a whole for all the armchair people, like maybe 90% of cruisers forum.  However I would bet at least half the people who actually go Cruising underthink things a bit and it comes back to haunt them at some point.

Always good to get real world feedback.  

Definitely.  I’m not disparaging the OP - we all get lulled by a sense of security and comfort. 
 

There's a writer I really like, and a very experienced sailor who had said something to the effect that comfort tends to ruin things.  I tend to agree.  Lots of wisdom packed in here: https://www.59-north.com/onthewindpodcast/257-alvah

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1 hour ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Definitely.  I’m not disparaging the OP - we all get lulled by a sense of security and comfort. 
 

There's a writer I really like, and a very experienced sailor who had said something to the effect that comfort tends to ruin things.  I tend to agree.  Lots of wisdom packed in here: https://www.59-north.com/onthewindpodcast/257-alvah

Yeah - he was the guy who almost managed to kill himself from CO poisoning, IIRC....

I think you should go when *you* think you should go, what other people do is somewhat interesting but not much more. If you've the finances sorted to your level of comfort, the rest is personal life circumstances. As I've said elsewhere I've seen all the deep ocean I think I ever need to see, been there done that and got paid to do it. I like the bits around the edges, it's personally more interesting. I'd rather buy a boat in or close to my desired cruising grounds then sell it when done.

For sure I'm never selling up my shoreside base, not until I can no longer maintain it anyway. I'd never be able to buy its like again.

Just reading the paper online, Australia for one isn't planning on opening international travel up again in 2021 to any great extent. Going to wait and see how the virus vaccines work out first.

FKT

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28 minutes ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Yeah - he was the guy who almost managed to kill himself from CO poisoning, IIRC....

I think you should go when *you* think you should go, what other people do is somewhat interesting but not much more. If you've the finances sorted to your level of comfort, the rest is personal life circumstances. As I've said elsewhere I've seen all the deep ocean I think I ever need to see, been there done that and got paid to do it. I like the bits around the edges, it's personally more interesting. I'd rather buy a boat in or close to my desired cruising grounds then sell it when done.

For sure I'm never selling up my shoreside base, not until I can no longer maintain it anyway. I'd never be able to buy its like again.

Just reading the paper online, Australia for one isn't planning on opening international travel up again in 2021 to any great extent. Going to wait and see how the virus vaccines work out first.

FKT

That’s right- meticulous preparation to winter over on board in the High Arctic - but up there, of course, any chink in your armour can be exploited catastrophically by Nature.  He got lucky.

Agree - one has to “go” when he/she decides.  But we live in a social media world, where we’re all living and loving each others’ adventures vicariously :-) :-) 

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50 minutes ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

 

I think you should go when *you* think you should go, what other people do is somewhat interesting but not much more. If you've the finances sorted to your level of comfort, the rest is personal life circumstances. As I've said elsewhere I've seen all the deep ocean I think I ever need to see

You spent your days about as south as I did north... Definitely changes your perspective.   No desire for the crazy cold remote stuff had enough of that.  It's true you have to go when you are ready.  It can be hard to transition out of the rat race though.  Even for us in a very non traditional US setting where we were on a island and a good portion of our community was boat and cruising related.  People old enough to be my parents who were Cruising kids in their time with some of their parents paving the way.  Some doing it themselves as more or less kids.  We still got the usual pressure to stay between the lines, not destroy the kid etc.  The open advise to just go and it will be alright is probably true but not the best advise for most.  It's a balance and going as a family there are considerations that can make the likely hood of success much greater.  The average US family probably has never spent as much time in direct contact with each other without the option for a break, that can be a rough transition.  The evil money is huge.  Having a budget and exit plan will take alot of stress away, set parameters for life abourd.  The initial realization of not being on 24-7 holiday is hard for some as that is the case for the alot of short schedule boats.  

 

I actually think right now is a great time for a long term cruising family to get a start.  Your options are limited but it eliminates the macro challenge of checking all bazillion boxes out of the gate, which is the typical impulse.  There are limited but great options to cruise and it is a long way safer than crowded 1st world spaces.

 

We had a bit of push back from some family about the kid initially, they have actually come full circle on it after seeing all the positive aspects of her development and education from Cruising.

There really are a ton of kid boats out here right now.

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We are in the same boat as FKT, for different reasons.

Life seems to have cast us as carers, throughout our professional lives, then for parents, and now for a child.

So we push the envelope as much as we can, managed to do a reasonable amount of overseas travel, owned a boat on the other side of the planet for a few summers cruising, and now concentrating on the Oz east coast and down here in Tassie.

We and FKT live in a coastal village where lot of long term cruisers have eventually settled back on land. It makes sense to keep your land base if you want to head off, even if you don’t come back to it you remain in the market for a place where you want to settle.

Ten years ago we decided cruising was really just a state of mind, haven’t regretted a day since then...

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That's a valid point in cruising being a state of mind over a location.  In alot of places it can be very seasonal though.  In the US in particular and the PNW it is very hard not to be nailed to a dock, once you jump borders to BC canada etc you run into the same visa boat import issues as all cruising places. Most of the 180 day visa multi year boat import places are full of Cruising boats for a reason.  It would be nice if that ever got sorted up north.

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I always heard and read the wise words, go now! But I had a great career as a professor and loved it all for 32 years after 10 years of PhD and postdoc. I thought I had everything timed well. Retired end of 2018, spent 2019 looking for a boat which I found in Panama in October and had a nice short San Blas cruise. Our last parent died July 2019, and my last kid graduated mid-2020. My wife is happy to sail with me in islands, but not cross-oceans. So the plan was we keep the house, I sail across oceans, she joins me when I get somewhere interesting. Went back to Panama mid-March to transit the canal and the country shut down around me, so I bailed. Then my right shoulder started hurting mid-2020 and ended up with rotator cuff surgery in October, all sorts of problems with PT, now a frozen shoulder with no clear path back to function. Starting to watch the dream fade away.

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Yeah, sobering.  I bought some of my little horde of cruising gear from people who got sick before they could use any of it.  I think I'm getting to the "go now or it's never going to happen" stage.  

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3 hours ago, TheDragon said:

Then my right shoulder started hurting mid-2020 and ended up with rotator cuff surgery in October, all sorts of problems with PT, now a frozen shoulder with no clear path back to function. Starting to watch the dream fade away.

I hope it comes right for you, Dragon.  But whatever happens, you won't die wondering what if you had tried.  You gave it your best shot, and if it's not to be, that's not for want of trying

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5 hours ago, TheDragon said:

I always heard and read the wise words, go now! But I had a great career as a professor and loved it all for 32 years after 10 years of PhD and postdoc. I thought I had everything timed well. Retired end of 2018, spent 2019 looking for a boat which I found in Panama in October and had a nice short San Blas cruise. Our last parent died July 2019, and my last kid graduated mid-2020. My wife is happy to sail with me in islands, but not cross-oceans. So the plan was we keep the house, I sail across oceans, she joins me when I get somewhere interesting. Went back to Panama mid-March to transit the canal and the country shut down around me, so I bailed. Then my right shoulder started hurting mid-2020 and ended up with rotator cuff surgery in October, all sorts of problems with PT, now a frozen shoulder with no clear path back to function. Starting to watch the dream fade away.

Yeah - been there somewhat. You need to have a Plan B and Plan C really.

My friends were planning on sailing to Japan and then on to Alaska and Canada. Then the covid thing kicked in while they were in Sydney waiting for the cyclone season to pass last year. Upshot was, after 6 months, they changed plans, sold the boat and are looking for land so they can move to the next dream - building their own low impact house on a nice piece of land. They built their boat and had 5 years sailing before this happened.

I kind of did the reverse - found the land, built the house and workshop then boat. My GF introduced me to Tilman's books 20+ years back and that inspired dreams, but I already knew the reality of deep ocean and boats, so while I can cross oceans I don't plan to these days. 20+ years ago, maybe I'd have different plans, but no regrets. We had a lovely day-sail yesterday, slept on the boat overnight  and came ashore on the tide this morning. I'm happy.

FKT

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The health thing is no joke, my wife and me are in our mid 40's and both have had back issues, she has had alot over the last year but is slowly making a recovery.  I ate shit cleaning the boat last week and landed on my side on the boomkin.  Throw up bad.  Both of us hobbling around trying to make passages sucks.  Had to bail a Ancorage due to the swell tweaking both backs.

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Did the Retire, Buy Boat, Liveaboard, thing in my early 50's.  Sooooo glad I did. Now, 14 yrs later, Stiffer (only the joints...:-( , Sore, Early recognition that the balance isn't what it was 10 yrs ago. Still overall good health but now recognizing that peak physical health is in the rear view mirror.  I repeat...

Just do it! Go now.

 

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7 hours ago, toddster said:

Yeah, sobering.  I bought some of my little horde of cruising gear from people who got sick before they could use any of it.  I think I'm getting to the "go now or it's never going to happen" stage.  

100% where I’m at.  I see these old-looking people going to work sometimes, looking haggard, and I think to myself, “not me”.

Ticking off lots of big projects (unexpected windlass replacement!), the only way I can justify the several, many, lotsa thousands of $’s required are if it’s towards voyaging.   Honestly, I saw friends’ wife die at 40+ of breast cancer last year, and it woke me up.  No, I’m not independently wealthy or anywhere “ready” to retire now, approaching mid-50s (fucking yikes!) - but I’ve got a house that’s nearly paid off that I can easily rent out with minimal hassle in a very safe community.  I’d rather live as a free vagabond for a while than chained to my interesting career until I no longer have the physical ability to do big stuff.  Work shmork.  Amazingly, my wife is getting keen too...and I think she knows about my high latitudes ideas :-) (several related books splayed out prominently around the house :-) )

I just acquired a whomping big Luke anchor for dirt cheap.  I want to go down to Chilean Patagonia and use it. [link] Probably won’t want to do it if I wait until I’m 65-70, going downhill...let’s face it...

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2 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I just acquired a whomping big Luke anchor for dirt cheap.  I want to go down to Chilean Patagonia and use it. [link] Probably won’t want to do it if I wait until I’m 65-70, going downhill...let’s face it...

I'm 67, definitely going downhill. Strength & endurance not what it was 10 years ago.

If you want to go places like Patagonia in your own small boat, do it soon.

FKT

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1 hour ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

I'm 67, definitely going downhill. Strength & endurance not what it was 10 years ago.

If you want to go places like Patagonia in your own small boat, do it soon.

FKT

I wasn’t trying to be overly-dramatic or offensive to anyone in that age range.  (I don’t think you took my comment that way.) I’m just coming to realize that I’m not the same as I was 10 years ago, but I can still get up at 5 a.m., commute to work, do quasi-physical electrical work all day, get home at 6:15, make dinner, then go and pull and strap wire on the boat in the cold for a few hours (tonight, for windlass).  But I can’t imagine working so hard later on, or doing physical crossings later on, much past 65.

Indeed - do it know!  Soon anyway...working on it, something anyway, daily.  (The best time to take action towards a dream is yesterday; the worst time is tomorrow; our best compromise is today.) Keep in touch - if you’re ever thinking of heading down that way, I’m sure there’s a crew space on board :-)

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2 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I wasn’t trying to be overly-dramatic or offensive to anyone in that age range.  (I don’t think you took my comment that way.)

Not at all - I'm not as physically capable as I was 10 years ago. That's just a fact. And of course injuries you acquired earlier in life start coming back to say 'Hello - remember me?' in a way I don't appreciate. Also I think you start losing willingness as well - there's a lot of stuff I simply won't put in the hours to do now even though I could still do it. 16 hour days? Forget it.

I had a good run and have very few regrets over my major life decisions so it's all good. I've got one more small cottage I'll probably build and maybe a small cuddy cabin powerboat - got to have something to fit my Sabb engine with its lovely controllable pitch prop to, after all. And lots and lots of sailing in my home waters where I don't have to go more than 10 miles to find an anchorage all to myself.

Were I going to Patagonia it wouldn't be in my current boat, I built it for a different use-case. I'd want a pilothouse steel cruising boat with a powerful auxiliary and very good insulation and heating. Preferably with a lifting keel/daggerboard to tuck right in close when needed. We regularly get 30-50+ knot winds here, Patagonia is a lot worse.

FKT

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36 minutes ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Not at all - I'm not as physically capable as I was 10 years ago. That's just a fact. And of course injuries you acquired earlier in life start coming back to say 'Hello - remember me?' in a way I don't appreciate. Also I think you start losing willingness as well - there's a lot of stuff I simply won't put in the hours to do now even though I could still do it. 16 hour days? Forget it.

 

FKT

You're not Kidding,

Neck injured 1979,

Back injured 1982,

Knees damaged 1981-88,

Left elbow injured 1996.

Big right toe Injured 2004,

And they tell you to do sports to keep fit..

 

All are sending their reminders these days..

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, The Q said:

And they tell you to do sports to keep fit..

Sadly, that pattern of sports injuries is not uncommon.  Many of the people I know who have played sports hard are now rattling bags of pills in their 50s and 60s.

If you want to stay fit, the best way to do it is exercise rather than sports -- and especially not highly competitive sports

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6 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Were I going to Patagonia it wouldn't be in my current boat, I built it for a different use-case. I'd want a pilothouse steel cruising boat with a powerful auxiliary and very good insulation and heating. Preferably with a lifting keel/daggerboard to tuck right in close when needed. We regularly get 30-50+ knot winds here, Patagonia is a lot worse.

FKT

Well, you know what they say, go with what ya got.  Would love the  convenience of a lifting keel (without the inconvenience of the significant cost to get, and significant maintenance to keep functioning, I’m assuming), as well as a pilot house...I’ll have to split the difference on that one and build a bigger dodger.  One day!

Actually, I think the mighty Bob Shepton is one of those who’s living that “go with what you’ve got philosophy”, cruising the high lats in his Westerly!  (link to his site)  But he seems to be a breed apart :-)

Speaking of hard dodgers - I’ve long admired former (sold now, I believe) Snow Petrel’s hard dodger.  If I’m not mistaken, she and her owner  Ben are/were in Tassie.  He put some good thought into the design, and has some nice drawings for it: http://snowpetrelsailing.blogspot.com/2011/02/high-latitude-dodger.html?m=1

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6 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Well, you know what they say, go with what ya got.  Would love the  convenience of a lifting keel (without the inconvenience of the significant cost to get, and significant maintenance to keep functioning, I’m assuming), as well as a pilot house...I’ll have to split the difference on that one and build a bigger dodger.  One day!

Actually, I think the mighty Bob Shepton is one of those who’s living that “go with what you’ve got philosophy”, cruising the high lats in his Westerly!  (link to his site)  But he seems to be a breed apart :-)

Speaking of hard dodgers - I’ve long admired former (sold now, I believe) Snow Petrel’s hard dodger.  If I’m not mistaken, she and her owner  Ben are/were in Tassie.  He put some good thought into the design, and has some nice drawings for it: http://snowpetrelsailing.blogspot.com/2011/02/high-latitude-dodger.html?m=1

That dodger went to Antarctica and back...

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6 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Speaking of hard dodgers - I’ve long admired former (sold now, I believe) Snow Petrel’s hard dodger.  If I’m not mistaken, she and her owner  Ben are/were in Tassie.  He put some good thought into the design, and has some nice drawings for it: http://snowpetrelsailing.blogspot.com/2011/02/high-latitude-dodger.html?m=1

As it happens I am building a hard dodger for my boat right now. Stainless tube welded sub-frame skinned with 10mm polyethylene foam coated with f/g in epoxy. Slow going as I have a lot of things to do and we go sailing on decent days. Should be finished before autumn anyway. Probably fit it when I haul out as doing in on the mooring will be a PITA.

Both Olaf & I know Ben, he's been aboard my boat for drinks shortly after I launched the baby (so has Olaf). Southern Tasmania boat scene is a pretty small place, nobody is more than 2 or maybe 3 degrees separation from anyone else here.

FKT

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1 hour ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

As it happens I am building a hard dodger for my boat right now. Stainless tube welded sub-frame skinned with 10mm polyethylene foam coated with f/g in epoxy. Slow going as I have a lot of things to do and we go sailing on decent days. Should be finished before autumn anyway. Probably fit it when I haul out as doing in on the mooring will be a PITA.

Both Olaf & I know Ben, he's been aboard my boat for drinks shortly after I launched the baby (so has Olaf). Southern Tasmania boat scene is a pretty small place, nobody is more than 2 or maybe 3 degrees separation from anyone else here.

FKT

Curious to learn more about your construction details at some point- Ben’s design (minus the bubble: I’ve got one already :-) )) has been on the back of my mind for a long while. Just haven’t needed one yet.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Curious to learn more about your construction details at some point- Ben’s design (minus the bubble: I’ve got one already :-) )) has been on the back of my mind for a long while. Just haven’t needed one yet.

I'll send you some pix a bit later on - currently fibreglassing all the panels.

If you watch Troy & Pascale's vids on building their dodger you'll get some good ideas. I'm using the same material but with a full welded stainless sub-frame.

FKT

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On 1/18/2021 at 8:28 AM, T sailor said:

Yes, it seems there are lots of different perspectives.  I think it would be pretty transformative for my kids.  I am not too worried about COVID as we would depart until July and not leave the US until spring 2022.

We did it. Daughter cemented her multi language skills and gained more than a year on her peers academically.

Skipped "middle school" entirely. For me the most amusing thing was returning to people sitting at their desks

saying exactly the same things as two years ago that didn't even ask about the trip... just launched into the stack

of papers that were waiting for my return. I guess nothing happened back at home while we had thousands of

amazing experiences that will be with us forever.

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Pretty common for kids to jump a few years in school, have heard that quite a bit. Our daughter is doing her GED and starting online college.  You get to a point in correspondence courses where it doesn't make sense to not jump ahead. You definitely have to plan for periods of connectivity unless you are able to do the whole education on house. Up to high school is pretty easy after that need to be able to connect more.

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