During the majority of our trip, we’ve been flying by the seat of our pants. Winging it. Just going with the flow.
We’ve never really had an end plan in mind, only that when we were low on money we’d stop somewhere to get jobs, save up and then continue on. When we untied the lines back in October, the goal was to reach the Bahamas. When we got there, we just decided to keep going. Once we made our big jump to Puerto Rico, we figured, “We can’t turn back now, look how far we’ve come!” We’d stay in places we enjoyed for as long as we wanted and moved on when were ready to leave. It’s been pretty simple and it’s worked for us.
Although our plans were always very tentative, we’ve had an ongoing discussion about where we’d end up. At first it was Puerto Rico, then St. Thomas and now, it’s Grenada.
The tipping point
Back in St. Martin, I had a pit of a panic attack. I was looking over our spending from previous months and realized that we blew our budget on numerous occasions. The month we spent in Puerto Rico financially KILLED US. We spent a lot of time with friends and way too much time at happy hours. In St. Martin we were spending a lot of money on upgrades (like a new windlass) for the boat.
As I looked at the totals for each month, I started to panic. I started to think about our lack of income, our dwindling bank account and it all spiraled out of control from there. I was mildly hyperventilating and near tears when Dave discovered me. “WHAT ARE WE DOING?!” I squawked. He looked at me nervously with wide eyes, not sure what to do, so he stretched out his arms to give me a hug. For the time being I calmed down, but that night my mind was racing with possible options for our future.
The next day, Dave and I had a very serious conversation about the course of our trip and the foreseeable future. Heavy topics came up like finances, family, children(?!) and our careers. Basically whether or not we should continue on or turn back and head for the States.
If we turned around (at that moment in St. Martin) we would be able to make it back to the States by the end of the summer. Although we’d be cruising during a dicey time (hurricane season) we’d be sailing with the wind on our backs and would make great time. I might be able to get a teaching job in Florida, Dave could find work doing graphic design and we’d live on the boat in a marina. In a nutshell, we’d play it safe and be “responsible” adults. Our only regret may be that we didn’t continue on and by cutting our trip short, always wonder if we could’ve made it to Grenada.
On the other hand, if we continued south, we would complete an unspoken goal. We would sail farther than we could imagine and experience more than we could hope for. In order to do this however, we’d have to SERIOUSLY pinch pennies and watch our spending. We’d need to find some source of income, no matter how small and get into some kind of routine so we wouldn’t lose our minds sitting in the same place for five months. There’s always a bit of an adjustment period when you’re not moving all of the time and you can start to go a little loopy (kind of how I started to lose it in San Juan).
We didn’t think we’d have any regrets if we chose this direction. Probably just be frustrated that we weren’t millionaires with money to spend at every opportunity!
Obviously you know we’ve chosen to continue on and head south to Grenada. We decided to take a chance and throw caution to the wind (financially speaking). The deciding factor? Get ready, it’s morbid: our mortality. We don’t know how much time we have on this Earth and if we have the opportunity to travel and experience amazing places with each other, we are going to do it while we can. Nobody is guaranteed anything in this life and we’d rather take the risk of going broke than regret not going as far as we could during our trip. I’m sure when we look back on this time we had, we’ll only have fond memories that will last the rest of our lives.
Making money is not my motivation in this life. If it were, I wouldn’t be taking this trip and my life would be completely different. Love and adventure are what satisfy me. I have both of those things in abundance right now and could not be happier. Money is money and we can always make it somewhere, somehow. It will not stop me from following my heart.
To those of you reading this and wondering about doing something similar, do it. Take the risk. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it a million times over. I promise.
So now we are on our way to Grenada! I’ve been reading up on the island and researching all of the fun things to do and see. If anyone has any recommendations, please feel free to comment. We always like to hear what others have to say! Our only struggle now (if you could call it that) is deciding how long to stay at the islands we visit along the way. Dave is always antsy to keep moving along while I want to stay a little longer and explore a bit more. We’re looking forward to our passages south. 🙂
Now a little throwback to some of the places we’ve been up to this point: