This won’t shock anyone that knows me well, but when I decided to start a blog to write about our upcoming boat adventure, I jumped in before doing enough research. Three posts in and I’ve decided to switch over to WordPress from Weebly (and even snagged the SVAutonomy.com domain name…fancy, I know). I’m sure someone more tech-savvy than myself could figure out how to make things perfectly transfer over. But (reference above), I want to get this new one started and really, we’re only talking about three posts. So, in order to avoid investing more time in figuring out if there is a way to make this look seamless, I’m going to just copy and past the original posts below.
“One Year to Go”
August 3, 2015
The plan had been to wait. But when the perfect boat (eek, did I just jinx it??) came along, we went for it. We are officially now the owners of a Prout Snowgoose Elite 37’, currently called “Joker,” but destined to be our family’s “Autonomy”. It is in Florida waiting out hurricane season and our last year in Germany before we set sail. This time next August, I’ll be in the final days of earning my Master’s in Forensic Psychology, which will then lie in wait until the boat adventure concludes and I apply for a doctoral program. Or then again, maybe it helps me write the perfect crime novel and we become super rich and the PhD program falls off the table. Either way, this year still represents work…for all of us perhaps.
Madi will start kindergarten next month, a decision that I still internally debate. Knowing that we will homeschool her on the boat and given that she is probably already at a first grade level academically makes me question the utility of a year in school. But then, it is kindergarten; it should be fun! I’m also job hunting; money to throw in savings and make boat life more comfortable would be nice and I also know myself well enough to predict that Madi being gone all day will not, in fact, result in a surge of productivity for me. I am much better with high pressure than low; while I may have all sorts of ideas for how to spend my kid-free time, the reality is that Netflix and I would likely become way too cozy.
Chris’s schedule is always changing and we go through stretches where he is home for weeks and then a bunch of travel crops up with him home just on the weekends or sometimes not even that often. What a change the boat will be! Not only will we be together all the time, but we will go from this oversized house where we can all spread out to the extent that rousing Jack for dinner typically involves a text message since calling from upstairs to down is ineffective…well, he might just be ignoring me, but I prefer to think it is the vast space through which my voice has to travel.
Speaking of Jack, he is awaiting a spot at Air Force basic training, which may keep him in Germany until the spring. It is a great decision for him, one that we are very proud of, but the waiting time will probably present some challenges. I think it will feel like a holding pattern for him, sort of waiting for his life to begin. Beyond that, young adults remaining in the house can be *tough* for family harmony. So, we shall see how that part of this year goes.
Despite knowing for most of the last decade that cruising was in my future, now that it is on the horizon, it feels much more real. The vague ideas of what our boat home might look like have come into focus with buying the Snowgoose. In fairness, I’ve only seen it in pictures and videos (which is somewhat shocking when I think how confident I was in encouraging Chris to pursue buying it). I’m a bit afraid that my expectations of the space we will have will prove unrealistic and I’ll be a little panicky when I finally step aboard. I worry about leaving a pretty comfortable and convenient lifestyle. Our finances will change in a big way and my ability to hop in the car and run to the store (or see a movie!) will vanish. But then I imagine the life that we will have, traveling and exploring without timelines beyond what weather dictates, spending enormous amounts of time with my best friend and my last baby (haha, yes, those are two different people), and ultimately hopefully experiencing the extraordinary in the big picture of circumnavigating.
And so I acknowledge my worries, but embrace my excitement and know that while I’ll later miss the ease with which much of this year will pass by, in the meantime, I’m eager to get started.
“Scratch that…6 months to go. Eek!”
October 16, 2015
Our plans have moved up a bit – originally we were heading to Florida mid-summer, but now we have decided to just take all the remaining leave Chris has (rather than having it bought out) and we’ll arrive in Florida mid-April. We’re planning on just taking a few weeks to ready the boat and then head up the ICW. So, everything has started to feel much more “real”. Being in Germany, it is harder to get rid of stuff and for a good chunk of the stuff going, we will wait until the end since we’re still using it (furniture mainly).
Madison has become more accepting of getting rid of her bigger stuff (a kitchen set and easel just aren’t going to fit!) and she is embracing the idea of making money for selling stuff. My goal is to start now selling the things we aren’t using…there is a reason the kids call the attic room “never never land”. That is a mission in and of itself, but if I do it gradually, hopefully it won’t feel as overwhelming.
Kindergarten is pretty awesome so far! I’m glad Madi has the chance to experience normal school and am glad we lucked out with getting great teachers for her. I’m also LOVING planning my homeschool curriculum for her and (confession) have already picked up the math program and we’re working through it now (plus work on sight words and phonics…I’m terrible!). While she can be stubborn, she is also just so bright and I am amazed at how quickly and easily she picks up new concepts. Her reading is rapidly improving, so bedtime stories now regularly include books she can read too. It might cause an outbreak of grey hair, but I am thrilled to teach her and can’t wait for that part of boat life!
Meanwhile, the big kids are coming for Christmas along with my parents. I’m in three classes plus trying to start up an exercise habit. Starting next week, I’m on the sub list for Madi’s school, so that’s another thing to keep life busy. I really think the next six months are going to come and go and all the sudden, I’ll be looking around my new (very small) floating house wondering how I got there.
December 12, 2015
Progress? Eh. Here is what we’ve taken care of:
- I set up a yard sale site through Facebook to start getting rid of stuff. I somehow wound up with more than 160 followers after sharing it on other local yard sale groups. We’ve probably sold somewhere around $400-500 of stuff so far. In the next few weeks, we will have my parents and both of our college kids coming for Christmas plus Jack will head off to basic training at the end of the month. So, the plan is to get serious on clearing whole rooms and probably get rid of Chris’s car after New Years. Sigh…this is a part I would love to fast forward through.
- I’m *almost* done with this semester of my forensic psychology program. One final exam and one quick paper to submit and I’ll be on winter break (which by the way has engendered new appreciation this year and last with being back to school myself). Next semester, I have two classes and then over the summer, I’ll have two weeks on campus before I graduate.
- In time that might have been better spent on studying or sorting through the household, I did manage to iron out my home school curriculum for Madi. And I’m psyched. Like SO ready to get that part started…though someone should plan to remind me of that enthusiasm when we begin and her stubbornness drives me crazy. For language arts, there are three components stemming from The Well Trained Mind: First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 1, Writing with Ease, and Spelling Workout. For math, I’m using Singapore; we’re currently already working through level 1 and I love the materials. It is a curriculum designed to teach the concepts and reasoning rather than just how to solve math problems. For science, I found a really cool hands-on learning curriculum (it does remain to be seen how practical this will be for boat life, but I’m hopeful): Real Science Odyssey: Life, level one. For social studies, we’re using another curriculum from the same publisher as the science, Pandia Press, which basically uses a series called The Story of the World and a reference encyclopedia along with supplementary materials to teach ancient through modern history over a four year block. It then repeats, but at greater depth. To keep our goals lofty (and therefore probably unlikely), we also plan to learn Spanish and drawing as a family and Chris is supposed to teach Madi chess and guitar. They actually have been playing chess lately and both are having fun with that. In a nonsensical rebellious move, I’m not learning how to play. This may or may not have to do with my ability to find free time when they’re occupied with playing chess.
- We have TICKETS. We leave Germany on April 16th, which means the timeline is official now. Our plan right now is to start up the ICW in early May and make it up to Cape Cod by mid-July. That should give us plenty of time, even if the boat is going to move s…o…o…o…o slow. In late July, I have to attend my capstone class for my master’s in North Dakota and then I’m going to go see Dani in Bozeman. After I return, we are looking at cruising coastal Maine before heading back south. Christmas in the Bahamas? Yes, please.
On a final note, I have got to start avoiding movies that show humongous whales and/or storms with large waves.