Jan 012018

Depending on the flock you listen to, breaking free from the corporate cubicle to self employment and entrepreneurship is the only viable path to wealth and contentment.

Speaking with those that have done it solicits the common response “It’s hard work but I should have done it years ago. Don’t be afraid. Just do it. you wont be sorry”.

So I’m thinking – I have always been “self employed”. No, not by the Woolly Masses definition, but certainly by my own. Up until 2017.12.31 it has just happened to be “self-employed” within a corporate framework. I have had bosses and customers, just like a consultant or one-man business. Everyone answers to someone whether a boss, a customer, a shareholder. No one escapes that, not if you want people to pay you.

That said, it’s still a major shift in direction that this beautiful first morning of 2018 has brought. From today, I really am “self employed” by everyone’s definition of the word.

Let the Funemployment begin!

Nov 192017

What does the future hold?

In many ways, the general trajectory of possible outcomes is known. For example, if you don’t add some kind of value in exchange for cash, chances are good you’ll end up living under a bridge. Or, if you commit a crime, chances are you’ll end up serving time. But, those kind of generalised cause-and-effect scenarios don’t really appease the inate “need” for certainty, the need to know how tomorrow will be.

It’s utter folly of course, on several fronts. If tomorrow were known life would certainly be dull.

I happened upon an svDelos video the other night. They were interviewing the crew of svSaltBreaker (in Cape Town nonetheless). Another boatload of people, taking a chance at living a good life (or so it would seem). It is of course important to always remember, the internet is very, very good at painting a picture-perfect life and very, very bad at showing actual real life. That said, there are definitely people out there living their dreams and who have an appetite for uncertainty that extends far beyond mine.

I perhaps need to exercise that muscle a little. Not just in single huge events like quitting a 30 year career but in everyday life as well.

Jul 142016

10-15kts westerly with a 2.5m swell. Super sailing. ~9nm covered at an average of 5.2kts, maximum speed of 6.3kts. Super little ship this Miura.

The best seat in the house

The best seat in the house

Doesn't appear very grand, but for me, and especially my crew, it's huge.

Doesn’t appear very grand, but for me, and especially my crew S and C, it’s huge.

Sandy had the helm for the entire voyage, actually loving the feel of the boat as she rose over each crest and swooshed down the back into the troughs. To be honest, I was a little nervous going into the day, fearing scaring her off before our life aboard had even begun. But all turned out well. And that, more than anything was the reason for “a very good day”.


Jul 032016

It’s tempting to forever procrastinate and postpone using the excuse of not being prepared, of not being ready. Often this pretty much boils down to “I haven’t the required kit yet so I must first spend and prepare some more before I can go“. I suppose some folks don’t struggle with this but I certainly find myself having similar thoughts and I’m guessing I’m not alone in this regard.

Take a look at this picture:

Fully kitted landy

The Fully-Kitted Expedition Landy

Now imagine pulling up next to them in the paradise-campsite and hauling out your flimsy 2-man tent while they set-up camp, barely breaking a sweat and sipping ice-cold beers while watching you trying to find the right end of the right tent pole? Their solar-powered fridge delivers up an endless supply of liquid refreshment and their roll-out camp kitchen makes your attempts to cook, eat and clean out of a single-burner, single pot setup feel a little spartan and backward.

Perhaps then we start to narrow down the crux of the problem – our desire to never be uncomfortable, to have all the conveniences of modern life the instant we desire them. We forget that the people in the photo above travel and live out of their mobile Landy-home 365/24/7. They have no home other than this and so it makes sense to rig it as efficiently and as comfortably as possible. The problem arises when some cubicle-hell-slave sees this and, without considering all the sacrifices these folks have made to live their dream, instantly desires to live the life he perceives from the photograph. It sounds cool to have an expedition vehicle, to travel off the beaten track, to watch the sun set over the dusty, isolated western horizon with all the comforts of home and we think to ourselves “If they can have it then I can to. I work so hard in cubicle-hell I damn well deserve to!

And so, Mr Want-It-Now goes into spend mode, maxing out the bank loans to buy and fit out a similar vehicle [even though it will in all probability spend 99% of it’s time on the tarmac doing the daily office commute]. No expense is spared to replicate or even improve on the ultimate adventure vehicle and in turn, long, dark hours are spent servicing the debt all in a vain attempt to replicate this perceived life over the annual 2-week escape period.

I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t be better off without all the visual stimulation and marketing that this modern world has subjected us to. Us moderns, we are sorely tempted every time we see another man’s possessions. To be honest, I think this has been part of mankind throughout history, this incessant desire to have more than you need, to be “better” than your neighbour. Perhaps man’s progress as a species would not be what it is if there wasn’t this inherent drive for better, for more? On the other hand, it is exactly this drive that has the planet in crisis, terminally ill with over-consumption and rampant consumerism! On the whole I don’t believe man has found the right balance.

It’s easy to convince ourselves that we cannot go now, that we need to plan and prepare [spend?] a little more before we’re ready. We just need this additional widget, this added little bit of training, a few more dollars before we’re ready to set out. It’s very, very easy to never be ready, to always remain an armchair traveler and a dreamer.

While it may be nice to have all the kit on the Expedition Landy, there is no reason why you can’t go with your 2-man tent, a portable single-burner camping stove and the desire to be outdoors. You may not be as comfortable or as efficient as Landy-Guy but the wilderness and the sunset out there is the same one that Landy-Guy spent a lot more than you to see.

Keep preparing to live or just live despite your constraints. Your choice.

Jun 252016

With total financial independence (FI) perhaps the end goal, one needs a strategy to keep you focused and sane on the (long) journey to that end result.

Enter the concept of financial flexibility (FF)

You’ll never reach FI unless you constantly improve and grow your FF.

FF means the ability to make choices, to explore options that perhaps pay less but allow more time, that perhaps sacrifice some income but allow relocation closer to the beach and the boat.

Too often in this world life is portrayed as an all-or-nothing race. You’re either FI or not. And if you’re not (and considering how the end goal is so far off and apparently “unachievable”) then you may as well give up and return to the woolly masses. Extreme sports, celebrity, top-ten business, richest man in the world, blah etc blah – we are inundated constantly by stories of the outliers, the extremists, the top performers – with the implied message “nothing else is worthwhile“.

Not true! Life is always more complex and multi-faceted than the media stories portray. It’s important to remember that. Almost everything you read, almost everything “marketed” to you, shows a selective, out-of-context extract of someone’s life. That aspirational solo-trek to the north pole often doesn’t show the rest of life and the resultant sacrifices made to achieve that one event. The martini and the palm fronds with the sailboat at anchor in the background – that is just a very small part of the story.

So ‘Blue now lies impatiently waiting in her slip in the South Atlantic. There’s an immeasurably long road trip that now separates us and a constant mental tweaking of the budget to figure out how often I can afford to fly out to visit and sail. It’s hopefully just a temporary state of affairs, a stepping stone to something else.

I suppose some people do go for the all-or-nothing approach, selling up everything and moving the whole of life in one big bang. I understand that but for us, right now, the time is not right to do that. Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps never? But in the meantime we are constantly chipping away at the huge boulder that is the present, slowly carving out a life we both keenly desire.

While day-sailing in Table Bay once a month may not be the ultimate, final desire, it sure beats not sailing in the ocean at all. Just like FF, it may end up being all that is possible or, just maybe, a state of total FI one day may enable a season or two at anchor in Baia da Ilha Grande?

Apr 042016

Much of the green still clings tenatiously to the branches, unwilling to concede to the coldness of change fast approaching.

The young greens furtively glance across the gap to their withered, yellowing elders who cling desperately to their last remaining moments. They smirk and quickly look away, smug in their youthful arrogance, their mistaken belief in immortality. Their time too is fast approaching.

Some of the yellows are frantically trying to buy more time. They call upon their knowledge, their network of “friends” and their substantial ill-gotten wealth to buy more green – all to no avail!

Still others are resigned to their fate, impatiently waiting for each day to cease its tardiness, to give way to tomorrow so that their eternity in composting may begin.

Many are bitter, cynical and alone, still believing that life owes them something though they know not what.

And yet, despite all this there remain pockets of contented happiness.

A very few are wise enough to realise the shortness of time, the inevitability of life, of change, of death. They choose to make the best of each remaining moment despite the short days and the approaching winter chill. They welcome the beauty of the late autumn sun, the receding aches and pains of the night as his fiery rays pierce the morning gloom. For they know – this moment is all there is.

They too shall inevitably fall, but not yet, not while this moment still lasts.

May 252015

Planning and preparing for the future is destroying the present! It’s a difficult tightrope this “preparing for tomorrow”. It cannot be neglected, that’s for sure. But it’s so easy to let the future dominate the present, to rob it of the enjoyment it so richly deserves.

Take sailing for instance. There’s a storm in the future, a given event but without a definite timeline. I know it’s coming and so I prepare for it making sure the boat is in tip-top shape, the reefing lines run free and the gear is properly stowed. I practice, I prepare and then I go out and enjoy a sail. If the storm catches me out then I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Either that or I never venture off the dock for fear of what might happen? If the motor fails? What then? Well I’ll drift toward  a dock somewhere, drop an anchor, call for help, I’ll manage.

Yeah. Fear [maybe that is too strong a word] of the future is limiting our present. I don’t anchor out because I’m uncertain I can and am wary of the pain. Yet if I don’t practice my anchoring I’ll never get it right? Past pain and future fears – they’re limiting our present.

Nov 232014
Zee 3

Zee 3

Mid-life clarity or a stumbling block, a delay in the dream? Life is never that straight forward. If I apply that logic everywhere then I should sell up everything, Ocean Blue included, all in an attempt to fasttrack the dream. But what of today? Even by doing that, it’s not a question of a month or two. More like a year or two. And that’s a long time to live without the boat, a long time to live in sacrifice in preparation for living tomorrow?

Chatting to an old sailing acquaintance yesterday has once again emphasised the need to live well today. Not at the expense of tomorrow’s dreams but certainly with the understanding that life doesn’t always go as planned. He and his wife had the dream home in Glencairn but a stroke a while back left her unable to manage the stairs and so that dream is ended.

Chatting with S, we can’t risk that. The time is now! Live well and enjoy life today, make the transition to Glencairn sooner rather than later. I’d rather take the plunge and risk running out of money down the line that risk having never lived the life there due to sickness or death or unforeseen circumstance.

Looking at those in the world around me, lives snuffed out, dreams curtailed by illness ..!? No, that’s not a risk I’m willing to take at this stage of my life. It’s time to go while I still have some life in my bones!

Jul 092014

This has been one of those weeks sent straight from the depths of hell itself.

There has been the usual unpleasantness trying to get the entire crowd into the car.

Sunday night underneath the phsyco-tenant was painful. Abusive noise until the wee hours, all in an attempt to make our stay unbearable.

Monday night was a direct face-to-face, followed by an angry threatening visit. (Got that recorded for future use)

Tuesday night the Isuzu stood alone in Fishoek, unable to start.

Monday and Tuesday were busy, early ’til late, dealing with unhelpful agents, abusive tenants and signing up lawyers at some cost. The legal issues are only starting and the work needed to drive this thing forward is still going to take some time and effort this week.

But the tide seems to be turrning…….

We were lucky to fix the car ourselves for R95 this morning. That made life feel a little better. Last night was also better. At least there was no upstairs evil noise and we managed a full night’s sleep. And finally, five days after we left Jhb, Sands and I finally got a run together, even if only to go and find and fix the car.

It hasn’t been a holiday week and that’s for sure no maybe!

Sometimes it really seems that the universe is totally hell-bent on testing one’s limits. Everything, altogether, always. Never just one manageable problem at a time.

They say it’s how you respond that defines you. I don’t know about that. All I do know is that there’s nobody who will sort things out except yourself. You can sit back, swear, blame the world for being unfair. Or you can just keep slogging away at what needs doing.

Being accountable for your life and your actions is the ultimate freedom. Empowerment. Choose to take responsibility for life. That’s the only way we know how. That’s the only way we respect.

Not hoping to jinx things, but today has been better, more relaxed. Time for a walk on the beach with the pups. Right now, life is better. Let’s hope the rest of the week follows suit.

And sitting here, overlooking a gentle south-easterly rippled ocean, it’s worth the battle. This place is magic. It’s where we long to be. We can ride through the current challenges. This is going to all be worth it.