My last stop before cutting the dock lines was a run to the grocery store. As I stood in line at the cash register, tension crackled through the air like static electricity. Frustration was spelled out on every face I looked at. The lady behind me was obviously in a hurry. So was the lady in front of me. At the next register over a kid was screaming and his mother was aflutter in embarrassment and irritation. The situation seemed a poster child for the inherent resentment that comes with living in close proximity to one another.Over the next few days I got back in touch with my tranquility. I hiked to Duck Lake every day. In the evening I toasted the sunset with homemade apple wine. In between I was hyper-productive at both my work and side project. As I mentally prepared myself for the journey back to the dock, the realization hit me for the hundredth time that I am living an ideal life. This really is as good as it gets. If I can repeat these days over and over for the next forty years I will die content.
On my first night at Cypress Island, there was one other solo sailor moored up at Pelican Beach with me. Around sunset I rowed over to let him know I had homemade wine and would be getting a fire going on the beach. I hoped he’d stop by. I made a new friend. As I rowed back from the fire that evening, the phosphorescent plankton twinkled like Christmas lights at every stroke of the oar. I bid good night to the constellation of Cassiopeia, sparkling brightly in a moonless, clear sky.The more I think about it, the more sure I am that my next long-term goal should be to get a piece of property on an island. More specifically, I want a small parcel (one to five acres) on a non-ferry serviced island, and within a mile of a good anchorage or mooring ball. I don’t want to live there so much as I want a place to build a self-watering garden, a decent kitchen to do my canning, and a root cellar to store my homemade wine and canned goods.
Things are heating up at my job and I’m looking forward to the financial breathing room a few more hours of work each week could provide. However, I’ve made it clear that I do not want to work more than 30 hours per week and it must be remote work. I’m also hard at work creating an Open Value Network for Raspberry Pi developers. These two financial paths complement one another and both complement my liveaboard lifestyle. One is low risk and steady pay, the other is high risk with equally high reward.This last week I was focused and productive, working remotely from my boat while moored at Cypress Island. When I needed a break from work, I had hiking trails and fishing to exercise my body and shift my mentality. I dined on wild mint, lady fern, and cattail mixed in with my dinner each night. I don’t have any temptation or opportunity to spend money out there. I’m reliant on a generator for power, but the off-grid power system I built and described in my book is efficient, and the solar and wind turbine power contributes a lot of electricity to my energy budget.
I frequently ask myself, usually in an exasperated tone, why more people don’t live this way. I have to remind myself that I am a pioneer. The technology that enables my nomadic, semi-off-grid life is relatively new and the public consciousness has not caught on to the fact that life like this is possible. Enduring, cheap, fiberglass boats have only been around for fifty years. Solar and wind power have only caught on in the last twenty years. High speed cellular internet and small, mobile, energy-efficient computer power has only been around for a handful of years. And all this technology is getting better and cheaper every day.It will probably take me five years or more to save up the money for a down payment on a piece of property like the one I want. I’ve given myself the last six months to find a stable groove, to allow my work life and boat life to harmonize. That’s happened. And I am more confident than ever that I want to live this lifestyle for the rest of my life. A piece of property like the one I described would complement this life, and act as insurance against debilitating injury or the old age that will eventually make boat life harder.
Over the last few years I got good at channeling my pain and frustration into focused, constructive action. That is how I restored a boat, lost it in a divorce, and then restored the one I live on now. It’s how I achieved everything that makes up the lifestyle I live now. But now I am no longer suffering from the pain and frustration of a life in Cubical Nation. Now I need to learn to channel a hopeful vision of the future into my work. Oddly, it’s harder to motivate myself when starting from a positive place, but I am blessed to try.