I left the Bahamas in 2009 as a 25-year-old with a single mind. To go back home, make enough money to buy a Lagoon 380 Catamaran. Pay it off, and sail it BACK to the Bahamas so I could enjoy the islands in comfort and carefree splendor.
This single dream has motivated me for the last 11 years. I managed to buy the Lagoon 380 in 2014 and paid it off in 2016. In 2017 we set sail from Muskegon and made our way to Chicago, IL where we entered a river system that brought us all the way to Mobile, Alabama.
We crossed the Gulf of Mexico and sailed to the Florida Keys. Ready to catch a break from all the traveling, we dropped anchor and relaxed for the rest of the winter.
As hurricane season approached, we made our way up the east coast to Beaufort, NC where we hauled the boat and drove home to enjoy the Michigan summer.
Our plan was to return to the boat the following winter to sail back south to the Bahamas. But my new website management company (wowie.co) was picking up steam, and we decided it would be better to wait until 2020 to sail to the Bahamas when the kids would be a little bit older and our income a little more stable.
Despite the Pandemic in early 2020, we pressed forward with our plans for one final cruise on the boat. To complete the dream with a return to the coveted Exumas. Unfortunately, the very night I was going to leave to start working on the boat, Travel to the Exumas became "prohibited, except in emergency or approved by the Director of Civil Aviation or Chairman of the Bahamas Maritime Authority."
This pretty much dashed my dreams against the rocks of reality. We could press on, make our way to Florida, and hope for relaxed travel restrictions in the spring. But even in that best-case scenario, the experience would not be the same. It would be restricted.
Not going in 2020 meant living another year in limbo. Another year of one foot in school, one foot out. Continuing to live in a temporary house. We just didn't want to do that. So, we made the heavy-hearted decision to sell our boat.
While this is a difficult decision, it's one we also look at with hope and opportunity. In many ways, the dream I was chasing was no longer feasible. I wasn't only looking for a place, but for a time that has long since passed. I'm no longer a carefree 25 year old. I'm now 36 with obligations to the humans that brought into this world, and I must now consider not only what is best for me and what I want, but what is also best for them.
I remember a family with a daughter in the Bahamas. We asked them how they felt about cruising with kids. They told us "Kids should fit into your life, not the other way around." I thought that was fairly good advice, aside from being a bit polarized.
But in recent years, what I've wanted more than anything else is to spend time with my kids. And what they want is not to sail to the Bahamas, but to spend time with me. Going through all the money and effort of sailing a private yacht to the Bahamas just doesn't make sense from that perspective.
By selling the boat, we see a lot to look forward to. For one, we can rent a larger, more comfortable boat for our family that's already IN the Bahamas for a little more than the cost of maintaining our own boat for two years. And honestly, renting someone else's boat in the Bahamas would probably be more carefree at this stage of my life. Or we could rent a house and get around the islands on rented center counsol.
We've decided to do some camping this winter which has a multitude of benefits over sailing. No waves. More space. Easier to get the grocery shopping done, etc.
And really, there's no reason why we can't buy another boat in the future when the kids are older. Perhaps at a point when they are more capable and better able to appreciate the experience.
So did I fail to complete my dream? In some sense. Maybe. Or perhaps, I just changed my dream. Either way, I don't really have any regrets. The dream of sailing away has some basic requirements that had some beneficial side effects. Two major requirements of this dream are to:
1. Making enough money to pay off a $200,000 boat.
2. Create a recurring income stream that continues to flow in my absence.
Taking these two requirements seriously resulted in me aggressively saving money, and setting up a business to run on its own, which made it easier to scale and in the end, easier to sell. Ironically, my dream to go be a bum in the islands has resulted in a lot of financial success. And in that process, I discovered a knack, a love, and a passion for business.
So, while it's not the end I was chasing, it's a happy one all the same. I'm excited that chasing the dream of sailing has positioned me well for accomplishing my new dream: being available for my kids.
Thanks, and fair winds!