I never made a bucket list (false, I have at least “live in Buenos Aires for a while”) or had a lifetime dream. The truth is that I have always had several dreams running in parallel and connecting randomly one to the other. For example I’ve always wanted to buy a small RV like the old VW van and make long journeys on it. It hasn’t happened yet but what happened is that I bought a small boat instead.
A small RV and a small boat have a lot more in common than the mere adjective. Both are vessels that pursue the idea of a nomadic and self sufficient life even if the most of the people would refer to them as a transportation for the free time. They share a destination that is beyond the horizon and they give you a cozy and comfortable support during the trip.
I dream small while I could dream of a big luxury RV or a 90ft sailing yacht. Dreams are for free they say so why don’t exaggerate? Coziness and simplicity of a living space have a great attractive power over me. The smaller and simpler is the shell that separates you from the environment the less is the interference with the experience. Insulation from elements has always been an important feature for a living space but it seems that today we ended up living a separate life from our environment. If you consider your Self as not limited by the walls of you home why would you buy a mansion? If you want to travel the World why would you watch it from the window?
Going small and simple has many advantages. Simple and affordable equipment put less obstacles in your cruising project. Maintenance, repairs and general boat handling can be made quicker with no needs for technical expertise and at a cheap rate. That means more time and more money for cruising. You should not forget also an easier access to shallow anchorages and more available slips in the marinas.
In the realm of reality a small cruising boat it was also the only possible option due to a limited budget. The original project was to save at least 80k,necessary to buy a certain model of boat and to invest the rest in a complete refit in order to have a perfect boat ready for ocean adventure. I soon realized that the 80k budget was not a sustainable goal and that if I really wanted to go cruising and live aboard I should reduce my expectations and go as soon as possible. Saving up for years in order to have the budget someday was a way to avoid the problem so I checked my account balance and started to be aware of what was my real available budget.
Two events participate in the decision of go now. The first one was reading about Matt Rutherford circumnavigating the americas singlehanded non-stop facing the Northwest passage and Cape Horn aboard a 27-footer Albin Vega. This exploit opened my eyes on the fact that a smaller vessel is suitable for long ocean passages in high latitudes. I inevitably fell in love with the small but sturdy Albin Vega and started to make more and more research about the so called Good Old Boats, small vessels strong enough to take you everywhere you want. Unfortunately, Rutherford’s exploit made for a quick raise in the Albin Vega’s price on the used market. Luckily, the Albin Vega is only one of several good old boats on the market, and with 10k$ or less there’s an universe of sailboats that can take you anywhere.
The second event was reading about Daeung Sunim, a 42yrs-old Korean Buddhist monk that is going to bike his way across Canada, the United States, Mexico, and finally on down into South America. Asked why he was doing it, the quiet monk put his hand to his chest and said, “To test my spirit.” The shocking thing for me was to learn that the monk was facing this challenge with no previous experience or training and that he just took this challenge on his shoulders because he wanted to see if he was able to do it.
Another event that made go now a feasible projest is the fact that my partner wanted to do it too and so finally Kate and I bought a Columbia 29 with the idea of fix it up, go living aboard and cruising around. It’s our first move to “test our spirit” and I am sure the refit will be a very demanding one.