"The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers, but what the world needs most is dreamers who do." - Sarah Ban Breathnach
If you can't tell from the title, this is one of those somewhat philosophical posts; not a post about the progress we are making toward buying the boat; not a post about the things we are researching and buying to refit the boat; not a post about the planning and routing we plan for the boat delivery in June; and, not a post of past places we have visited in tropical paradise. So, if that is the kind of post you had your heart set on…..skip this one and come back in a day or two.
Dreams. This post is about dreams and (maybe a little) about achieving those dreams. What are dreams? Knot the kind of dreams you have (see what I did there?) while you are asleep and the 'subconscious you' takes over. The dreams I am talking about are the dreams you have while riding to work, or sitting at your desk, or waiting in the car at the Walmart parking lot while your wife "picks up a few things". The kind of dreams you have in the day….daydreams. Duh.
Some time ago, I remember reading the quote at the top of this page on another cruising blog (I don't remember which one, and I am currently too lazy to search for it). That quote stuck in my mind, making me think of all the dreams people have, but for various reasons never achieve.
Some of those reasons are beyond our control; health, family responsibilities, etc., but the single biggest reason most people fail to realize their dreams is they are not 'doers'. I don't say this arrogantly, or from a position of 'superiority' (because we aren't 'doers' yet ourselves, but we are pursuing the 'doing'), only to point out that change is difficult. Change is difficult for everyone…..even good change.
We get stuck in a rut of working, spending, debt, working, worrying, spending, debt, owning stuff, owing for stuff, working……. we can't seem to get off the merry-go-round. Are we working to live, or living to work? Think about it….for most of our lives the majority of us live only to work. I was in this same boat, metaphorically speaking, for most of my life.
This type of lifestyle has become the self-perpetuating, out of control definition of the American dream. The more money you make, the more you spend; the more you spend the more debt you incur, and the more money you need to make. It is circular; and it can be never ending, unless a conscious effort is made to break this vicious cycle known as the rat race.
Like rats running the wheel, we will continue this path until something slaps us in the face and makes us question "is it worth it"? Sometimes it is an event that slaps us, and other times it's just a 'wow moment' that we have that makes us take stock in our life. Whatever the stimulus, we usually start to ask ourselves questions……and this is a good thing. Why are we so wrapped around the axle about 'stuff'? What are our dreams and what are we doing to make them happen?
I really didn't have this life changing epiphany until I was already middle-age. Looking back, I never realized what was happening…..that I had slowly, and unknowingly, gotten myself smack dab in the middle of the rat race. This realization was a necessity in the next step to turning a dream into reality.
After the slap in the face, I shared my dream plan with my wife, Dahleen, and while she wasn't the one that birthed this plan, she did adopted it whole-heartedly. I will forever be thankful for a supportive wife. She is adventurous at heart and obviously trusts me (probably too much). LOL. I think this is an important step….verbalizing to someone your dream. It creates somewhat of an accountability situation…someone else knows your dream and they will be observing what you do, or don't do, to achieve that dream. In the case of a spouse, they can be a tremendous help in accomplishing that dream, and they will certainly be a determining factor.
ICW Sunset, January 2006
Goals. Goals are the next real step toward changing a dream into a reality. Goals are tangible. Goals are measurable. There are several goals we set toward achieving our specific dream. I won't go into detail about those goals here (maybe in a later blog post), but I will list and briefly comment on a few of them.
Get out of debt…..especially credit card debt.
Start having a more minimalistic lifestyle where purchases are concerned…think long-term instead of short-term.
Save money, save money, and save money. Get the picture….save money. Set a target; save money for the boat, and save money for the cruising kitty.
Start downsizing. We downsized houses first, made a nice profit before the real estate market crash of 2007-2008. After downsizing our house, we then continued to downsize from there.
Verbalize your dream. Tell other people outside your immediate family about your dreams. This was a goal that was a little difficult in the beginning, but once the initial shock was over, it was easier to talk about. Again, this creates a perceived accountability to someone else helping you stay focused on achieving that dream.
All of the above goals are concrete, measurable, and necessary, or at least helpful, in achieving the cruising dream.
Georgetown, Exumas - March 2006
Reality. Well, I really can't write of the reality part yet….we are still in the goal achieving part. But, we are getting much closer to the reality of cruising full-time. The Good Lord willing, in about a year we will be casting off the lines and we will begin living our dream.
We are currently still set to close on the boat in mid-May, deliver it to the Chesapeake in June (ish), and then begin the refit process. I will not be back from Afghanistan permanently until the fall, and that's when the refitting hits the 'throttle wide open mode". So, stay tuned and tell your friends about the blog (if you enjoy it…..if you don't, tell your enemies about it). :-)
And remember with goals, Dreamers can become Doers.