'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

“Working” – the A to Z Challenge


A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib

For the month of April, I’m participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, wherein I create a blog post, related to cruising (in my case), with a topic beginning with the letter designated for the day.  26 letters, 26 posts, every day of the month except Sundays!
Today we talk about working while you cruise. Or not…


Should we work while we cruise?  Is this a vacation, or is it a lifestyle? Must we work? Can we work? MAY we work?

Nicki and I are fairly typical Mainers, in that we each usually have more than one income-producing occupation. A little of this, a little of that…   She’s a fitness instructor part-time and a real estate agent.  For a while I was a real estate agent, a massage therapist and a handyman all at once.  It’s a challenging way to make ends meet, but it’s rarely boring!

So what happens when we get on the boat?  Real estate is out – you have to be present for your clients. Massage therapy I gave up two years ago as economically unviable and physically wearing, and it’s hard to teach a Zumba Fitness class if you’re not going to be in town for more than a few days.   Carpentry is a possibility, I suppose, and in fact I am planning to bring a basic set of the tools of that trade with me, in case I get an opportunity (or we have a sudden need) to work while we’re away.  We’re even keeping our contractor’s insurance active while we cruise with that possibility in mind.

Still, we hope to avoid working for pay for the 8 months we’ll be aboard next year, partly (as I’ve described before) by saving now, partly by cutting our expenditures to the bone  and by squeezing every penny of value we can out of my disability income which – while not large – should cover most of our projected living expenses if we’re really, really careful.

And that’s why we’re commuter cruisers.  8 months on the boat, 5 months back in Maine working like mad men-and-women to build up the cruising kitty again, then back to the boat for a few months… and repeat as long as it’s fun!

Now, what about you?  Could you stand giving up the daily grind of income production and devoting your time to experiencing life full time instead?  Don’t laugh – a lot of 9-to-5’ers get 100% of their identity from their careers, and the very idea of not working leaves them empty.  “Who am I without my job?”, they say.

But I don’t have that problem.  Who am I?  I’m Keith, from Sionna.


And you? You’re Accountant, from Office?

How sad…

Author: s/v sionna

Living the dream in 32'. We left Maine on August 18th, 2016, and have gradually worked our way south until we felt warm enough. After spending the summer in Maine, working to replenish the cruising kitty, and rehabilitating an old house. we’re headed back on the boat, bringing Sionna back home to northern waters. Follow our blog here!

17 thoughts on ““Working” – the A to Z Challenge

  1. Great, thoughtful post. I had a mini-identity crisis when I retired to go cruising, but it didn’t last long.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no problem giving up the daily grind in corporate la-la land. The timing was right and the redundancy check was a nice start to our cruising kitty. We’ll likely have to go back and work odd jobs at some point, but we’re going to try to stretch our savings for as long as we can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had no problem with that either – but of course I’m still working – seasonally – yet another field, my 12th or 13th… I guess getting my identity from my work would have to start with the question “Which Work?” !!


  3. I could happily do this if I had enough money saved up. Not cruising though, the thought of being stuck in a floating hotel for 8 months makes me want to tear my hair out, but I’d love to travel and experience the other countries


    • I hear you! The thought of being stuck in a floating hotel makes me want to tear my hair out too! But I want to be sure you caught the difference between “cruising” and “going on a cruise”. The latter would be awful; as in 8 months on a Cruise Ship. That’s very different from “Cruising”, which is living on your own small (ours is 32′ long) boat, making that boat your home, and then taking it to basically anywhere in the world you’d like to go. That’s “Cruising”.
      As for “…if I had enough money saved up” – forget it. We don’t, and almost nobody does. When we leave we’ll be living on about $19,000 a year, working about 1/3 of the year to pay for the other 2/3. The key to actually doing something dramatically different and interesting in your life is figuring out what you can do without to reduce your expenses to the point that you CAN afford to go. Otherwise you never will.


  4. I’m surprised at how many people I know hate retirement – they are so bored, etc. In fact, retiring from a job that gives people self-worth and a sense of purpose can cause serious health issues. I personally am looking forward to not working for a while. I will have to go back to work sooner or later, but I don’t plan to do a 9-5 desk job again! Working part of the year and cruising the other part sounds fantastic!


  5. I think the loss of income was the most difficult thing when it came to leaving my job and starting the cruising life. Second to that would have to be the loss of socialization going to work every day offered. The cruising community is wonderful, but sometimes it’s nice to talk about something other than boats.

    Cheers, Stephanie



    • “…sometimes it’s nice to talk about something other than boats.”
      Wait, what? What do you mean? 😉
      Well, we could talk about anchors and other ground tackle? Or the weather?
      I know just what you mean. Although Nicki and I are still in the “All WE want to talk about is boats” phase, I know this will pass. It’ll be interesting to see what else we talk about then! I’m thinking food… 🙂


  6. Mike cannot wait to cut loose from his work. He’s so ready he can taste it. I’m ready too. I’m pretty sure we won’t struggle with the ‘who am i’ question, as we both have things outside of work that hold our interest and we always have. What worries me the most is the money, and the fact that since we are too young to retire forever, because money only lasts so long, what kind of paying gigs can we find later, when we are ready to be ‘producers of income’ again? He’s less worried than I am. he has skills that make it easy for him to find work. My practice, however, would have to be built up again. And maybe I won’t want to do that. This is where the term ‘leap of faith’ comes in. We’re leaping. Now we need to find that faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good idea taking those tools with you. Any experience with boat systems can land you jobs along the ways, although it would be hard to charge cruising friends when they need your professional help. Better to find jobs on shore or for strangers when needed. Mark and I did all kinds of jobs along the way, until I focused on writing articles and he ran the business we started together on our boat while in St. Martin. Better to not have to combine the work and the fun of you don’t have to!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’ll avoid the dreaded “W” word (work) if we can! But I’I’d feel silly if someone needed help with a project and I had no tools… I’I’d feel naked!


      • Helping out is great and the cruiserly thing to do, for sure. We all agree with that. Just hard to decide – morally – when to charge and when not if you advertise your skills in order to replenish the cruising kitty… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I really hope that you and Nicki can just enjoy your time away without having to do any dreaded work. Enjoy life and the experience of it. I was forced out of work due to disability. I consider writing my full time job now even though I don’t earn anything for it, but that is the life I’ve chosen to live fully, so I am living my dream.

    Liked by 1 person

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