A Double Edged Sword

dockI’m trapped at the dock while I wait for a part to arrive for the outboard. I have several bids out for new freelance projects and I’m waiting on one to pan out. I’ve made an offer on a piece of property in the San Juan Islands and I’m waiting on the paperwork to move the deal to the next step. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. But I don’t mind.


The consistent summer weather has given way to a pleasant routine: I wake up to no alarm clock and work for a few hours until restlessness hits me. I do some physical activity like boat repair or jogging. I shower with water perfectly heated from the sun via my solar shower. I then take a nap and escape the hottest part of the day. I get in a few more hours of work before calling it a day and enjoying the evening.


The next day I wake up and repeat the experience. I do this seven days a week. I have no desire for a break, a vacation, or any significant change. I feel I could live this pleasant lifestyle for the rest of my life. The idea of purchasing property scares me because it could jeopardize this way of life… or enhance it.


IMG_7439I haven’t written a blog post since I first discovered this piece of property. I’ve been emotionally tied in knots. The creativity required to write has alluded me. I’ve been sitting on pins and needles for weeks now, and I have several more to go.


I wanted the property, but I didn’t need it. I was going to pass on it. Then my brothers wanted to get it with me and I thought we’d get it together. Then they had to back out, but the seller accepted terms that were so good that I didn’t need their help. A wrench could still get thrown into the gears and I could still lose it. But that would be OK. I’ve reached a point of Zen. I want the property, but I can live without it.


My first foray into property ownership left a bitter taste in my mouth. There was a time in this country when property ownership meant security and self-sufficiency. That time is long gone. Now real estate is a chain that buyers willingly put around their neck. Whenever the city, county, or state government needs a little more money, they give the chain a little tug. If you do anything to displease ‘The System’, your property is the best leverage they have to coerce your obedience. It’s like a hostage situation, except you’re giving the bad guys a hostage.


This time last year I was working my way up the Sunshine Coast to Desolation Sound.

This time last year I was working my way up the Sunshine Coast to Desolation Sound.

At this point in my life, I don’t feel I could ever go back to life on the mainland. But aimless voyaging, like I did last summer, does not attract me like I thought it would. That’s why the idea of a bare piece of land on a remote island captured my interest. It seems to be the next logical step in my sailing lifestyle.


Because it is on a remote island, only people with their own boats can access it. That means the population is small, intimate, and hardy. My kind of people. No police, no traffic lights, no noise pollution. The land has been tamed in only the most essential of ways. It’s like a new horse, freshly broken but still spirited. It represents the ragged edge of society, and I have always thrived on the edge.


The property will give me a reason to work. It will give me a place to sail to. It will be my own private haven to share with family and friends who are brave enough to make the journey. I will grow a garden. I will hunt deer. I will can food. I may even build a house someday. It will be the next chapter in San Juan Sufficiency.




Related posts:

Fixing My Marine Toilet System
The Quest for High Speed Internet On A Boat
Birthing a Brain Child
3 Responses to “A Double Edged Sword”
  1. Stormy says:

    We never under any circumstances own property in America, even if it’s paid off after 30 years and 100% interest paid if you miss a property tax payment they will take it from you. You cant build or improve it without a nightmare of county bribes and red tape. Ofk, thats my bankers warning. As a sailor I say buy it and never look back, what’s the worst thing that can happen, it’s dirt and all sailors love a good chunk of it to stick our anchors in, no pun intended 🙂

  2. Mike says:

    In California that tax problem was solved by a voter initiative in the 70’s. The property tax is capped at 2%. If your property drops in value and your taxes are greater than 2% you can have the taxes adjusted down. The taxes can only be adjusted upwards when you improve or sell the property. Not that we don’t get raked over the coals for building permits, but that is the county and not the state.

  3. Alan K says:

    Owning a piece of the San Juans is nothing but good. It,s truly one of the best places on earth. Though I live in Port Angeles now there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss it. And every time I go back it feels like coming home. The islands need people like you to protect them. Is it Cypress that your looking at? If so I have a friend who owns a small off grid cabin there you might like to know. At any rate best of luck with your dream.

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