New Year’s Resolutions
Tis the season for life planning and reflection. It’s new year’s eve’s eve and I hadn’t given one minute of thought to changing my plans, but I just finished watching this awesome, free documentary on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and it got my gears turning.
I have no desire to hike the PCT. Ever. But I have mad respect for the people who do, like Carrot Quinn, as well as anyone who makes hiking a focal point of their life year after year.You know who else I have mad respect for? Cruisers. In my voyaging of the Salish Sea, I’ve met many cruisers. Some stay in the San Juan’s, others cruise the Inside Passage, and still others cruise around the world. The Puget Sound is both a popular destination and launching point for cruises of all types.
In my mind, what defines a ‘cruiser’ is not how far they’ve traveled, but how often they do it. I have the most respect for the cruisers who spend season after season out on the water. The ones who have made water, and travelling over it, a priority in their life. Maybe they only do it in the summer, but they did it last summer and by golly, they’ll do it again next summer.
The more I think about my trip this last summer, the more convinced I become that I want to be an Inside Passage cruiser. I want to spend at least four months every summer up in those remote landscapes. Cruising the Inside Passage isn’t about the distance (lots of people sail further every year). It’s not about the remote locations (guaranteed someone was there before you, and recently). It’s about the time. It’s about finding a nice little gunkhole, enjoying it, then moving on the next one when your passion moves you to do so. It’s about having the freedom to spend an entire summer that way.But how do I make it happen?
Retired cruisers are the most successful. They have the least financial restrictions. I’ve met young families and couples that cruise, but not many who pull it off consistently. Despite this apparent obstacle, I think I could make it happen.
What got me thinking about this article was the idea of making a resolution to cruise up to the Broughton Archipelago in 2017. But instead I want to do one better. Instead, I resolve to make this the year I accomplish two major goals: 1) Get completely, 100% debt free and 2) lock down a source of income that will allow me to cruise every summer.
The first goal is actually the culmination of a decade long war I’ve wagged by aggressively paying down my debt. I graduated college with $50K in loans. When married, I spent a great deal of money building a house. When divorced, I gave up the house and took all the bad debt. Every dollar I’ve ever borrowed was a mistake. But I’ve born the burden and now less than $8,500 stands between me and total debt freedom.The second goal isn’t exactly new either. When I got back this summer, I pledged to find a part-time programming job that would allow me to maximize my leisure time. I’ve achieved that. Now my goal is to secure a remote, telecommuting job. My current employer has agreed to help me pursue this path. In exchange I’ve been kicking ass, taking names, and generally trying to make myself as valuable as possible.
So are these really goals? In writing these words it sounds like I’ve set myself up to succeed. I suppose my goal should be to simply stay out of my own way. I’m very good at getting in my way, so that seems like a lofty New Year’s resolution. Look ahead. Keep the eyes on the prize. Mark time and make those goals manifest. That’s what I’ll try to do.
And you? What will you do?
Warm thoughts and cold mugs salute you this New Years. Thank you for following my story.