Debt Freedom (original post)
This original post inspired this page that tracks my progress towards debt freedom. Please check it out!For the last six months, I’ve been working hard to get my sailboat safe, fully functional, and livable. I am happy to announce that I have achieved all the goals I set out, and now, as of April 1st, I am officially living aboard full time.
Living aboard a boat has been a long-time goal of mine because it is a ‘lily pad’, creating jumping off point for so many more adventures. For instance, I have been greatly inspired by Ken Ilgunas’ book Walden on Wheels as well as Glenn’s blog, To Simplify. Both aspired to be ‘professional nomads’, free to wander the world and like Thoreau to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”. I too wish to be a professional nomad some day; to break free of the cubical and to sail up and down the Inside Passage in time with the seasons. My ultimate goal is to achieve a lifestyle where I can spend three to six months every year sailing the islands and work six to nine months of the year, comfortably covering my living expenses while still saving for retirement and the costs of old age.
Achieving the goal of living aboard is simply a milestone on a long road ahead of me. The key to achieving these life goals will be to control my debt and cash flow. The carefree life of boat travel isn’t very practical if I have to worry about making enough money every month to service my debt. Not paying back my debts isn’t an option, as people I care about would suffer. Living aboard provides the base for a three prong attack:
- I am able to work on the boat while living on it, continuing to make it a seaworthy vessel.
- I spend most weekends away from the dock, sailing and improving my skill as a sailor.
- I am living a frugal lifestyle allowing me to aggressively pay down my debt.
Over the last few months I have managed to consolidate my credit cards into two, zero interest accounts. This consolidation has saved me a little more than $200 a month. Additionally, living aboard instead of renting a room is saving me an additional $400 per month. Starting this month, I am now able to devote $1000 of my monthly income to paying down my debt. At my present rate, it’s going to take me about three years to get debt free and save up a cruising kitty.
I hope to speed up this time table by a year. I’m not completely sure how yet, but I have set aside a small section of my storage unit as work-shop. I am hoping to make extra money by building electronics and selling them online. I will also begin working on a second book this summer. Time will tell, and right now it’s a low priority. For the next few months I plan to adjust to full-time life aboard and focus on establishing a routine of saving and paying down debt. I will also continue to whittle down my cost of living in every way I can.
Life After Debt
My goal is to be debt free by June 2016. If possible, I also hope to save up an additional $10K for a cruising kitty. If I meet these goals, I plan to take my first full summer off to sail from Anacortes, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska. This route is known as the Inside Passage because the majority of the route passes between islands and avoids the unprotected coast of the Pacific Ocean.
This summer, I will be taking three weeks in September to sail up to Texada Island. A trip of approximately 250 miles. It will be my first excursion into the Canadian Gulf Islands. Although I’ve gotten comfortable with crossing Rosario Strait, a 5.25 mile wide body of water, this summer trip will require me to cross the Strait of Georgia, a 20 mile wide body of water; which will make it the largest, open area of water I’ve ever crossed.
In saving, as in sailing, I am trying to take it one step at a time, knocking down each milestone as I slowly creep closer to my life goals.