Selling it all and moving aboard means ending one phase of our lives while looking forward to another. We're on an emotional roller coaster!

The Roller Coaster

NOTE: I wrote this in the summer of 2015, as we were moving out of our house and returning to full-time cruising. We’d cruised full-time from 2002-2008, then lived ashore dealing with some health problems. In 2014, we returned to part time cruising and after 6 months, decided to sell the house and become full-time cruisers again.

Our local sailing club hosted its annual regatta this past weekend and it gave us the chance to say goodbye to a bunch of friends from all over the country. Dave’s been racing Y-Flyers since 1965 and I since 1986 . . . and it’s how we met each other. We’ve been going to regattas and racing against some of these folks for a long, long time. They are good friends.

It was bittersweet for us — we’re looking ahead to our new adventures, but don’t know when or if we’ll see some of these folks again. Yes, there’s Facebook, email and even the telephone . . . but it’s not the same and we know that over time we’ll drift apart from all but our closest friends.

As our friend David Irons (my cookbook co-author Jan’s husband) gave a good-bye speech at the trophy ceremony on Sunday, Dave and I were both in tears.

And so it’s been over the last few weeks as we’ve told people that we’re leaving to live on our boat full time. While we’re flattered that so many people seem as though they’ll genuinely miss us, it can be hard when we’re also excited about our future plans.

It’s been an emotional roller coaster.

We’re lucky in that none of our family is giving us a hard time about moving aboard. The kids and grandkids are pretty spread out and we’ll probably see them almost as often in the future as we have in the last few years. They don’t all understand what draws us to this nomadic lifestyle, but they support us (and they did the first time we left to cruise full time, and that was in a more remote location with less technology for staying in touch). That means the world to us and makes it much easier for us.

Selling our house was a major decision. We’ve only lived here for 7 years, but we did a lot of work on the house and yard. Did it ourselves — either totally by ourselves or working beside a contractor as his assistants. And we loved what we ended up with — a small house with a beautiful yard in a great location.

And while we made the decision to sell it, and got it ready to sell and listed it, neither one of us had a clue it would sell the day we listed it. Yes, we’re happy about it — and the family that is buying it is SO happy about it that it’s made it a joy — but it was a shock. Another swoop on that roller coaster.

Selling our Y-Flyer this past weekend was another one. Yes, we wanted to sell it and we were happy that it’s going to a friend and will be used. Over the years, both Dave and I have owned a number of Y’s — 7 for Dave alone, 3 for me alone and 3 jointly — and yes, we could someday buy another one. But really, it’s the end of an era. At our ages, it’s unlikely that we’ll seriously race Y’s again. As I saw Dave give his box of boat parts (things that would never be used on our cruising boat) to a friend last Thursday, the tears ran and I had to walk away.

I’ve lugged my mother’s fine china around for 35 years and used it twice. It did not make sense to put it in storage again, and a friend really wanted it. I had treasured it because my mother had, but it didn’t fit with my life. Overall it was good to sell it, but emotional as well. Another happy/sad moment.

I could go on and on about things we’ve decided to give away or sell instead of store. We’re not getting rid of anything that really is important to either of us. We are keeping sentimental items. And we are comfortable with our decisions. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a twinge of emotion or a realization of one phase of our lives ending.

And it’s happening quickly. A little over two months from our decision to return to full-time cruising. Six weeks from returning home to sell the house to being out of it.

Dave and I have cruised full time before and we know it’s what we want. When we think of our future plans, we smile. But right now, we’re on this roller coaster.

  • The Boat Galley
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    Of course you can!

  • Connie Smith
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    Since things are going so smoothly, I think it is kismet. Good luck!

  • Candy Ann Williams
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    I think you said it well…it is a ruler coaster and like you.. I found it hard to get rid of some things I had an emotional tie with but knew didn’t fit in our lifestyle. Good luck!

  • Christine Warren
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    This post sounds like the first chapter for a new book about your upcoming cruising lifestyle…looking forward to reading more.

  • [email protected] Cruising!
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    Wow, you two have been racing for a long time! Sounds like you have great friends and family too. Things did move quickly .. congrats!

  • Sherri Brenner
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    My husband and I are right there with you. We too are in the midst of selling it all (well most of it) and taking up the full-time cruising life. I feel exactly the same way as you. Saying goodbye to people and things that have meant so much gives us a stab of emotional pain. This is in such contrast with the joy, excitement and anticipation we feel over the future. While it is sometimes difficult, I think it is a great thing to have such a full life with all it’s rich complexity.

  • Tim Sheahan
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    Best thing I’ve ever done,..been a liveaboard for over two years now, one on a hook (of course full solar and wind keeps it comfy),..pull anchor n go, anytime work and pleasure go hand in hand.

  • Kristi Cilles
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    I’ve done this very same purge a few times in my life. And I am “semi” purging with my current move from Ohio to Maine. It is bittersweet, and it’s confusing and emotional. I remember once, a long complicated story, but I had to leave my house, and I only had 5 minutes, and the only item that really mattered to me, was an old cookbook of my Moms. “Things” are just memories, and you’ll always have your memories! Congrats on the decision, and good luck! I hope to be able to meet you, when I buy a sailboat to spend this winter in Florida!

  • Kimberly
    Posted at 10 June 2015 Reply

    We just did all of this ourselves and are finally living aboard and preparing to set sail for the Bahamas and beyond. Best of luck to y’all!! Hope to see y’all out there!

  • Sherry Stewart Haught
    Posted at 11 June 2015 Reply

    I so understand. We sold our home of 20 years in 7 days. She had cash and wanted it in 28 days!! I had to leave when my husband and daughter cleared out the attic full of memories. From my childhood and my two daughters. The hardest sight: my daughters Cozy Coup in front of Goodwill. I’m still sad some days. But we had a great 6 months on the coast in our cozy boat. We do come back to a small cabin we bought

  • Pat
    Posted at 11 June 2015 Reply

    Good for you and best of luck to both of you 🙂

  • Donna Melville
    Posted at 12 June 2015 Reply

    OMG! this rings sooo true….we are in the process now of doing the VERY same thing although we aren’t selling our home but renting it out. Purging and planning on moving onto our 42FT Baltic Sailboat. I am SO excited…..and scare myself, too. As we get the house ready for the renters, there is that tug…..maybe we should do this NEXT year…and then I realize the thing I want most is happening…my tingly belly confirms it and the many recent magical, synchronistic events prove to me that we are on the right path. Amazing, really. And yes, we CAN do it and it is exhilarating and fun to watch everything fall into place. I have a funny feeling this could be the permanent lifestyle change I’ve been moving towards my whole life.

  • Simonne
    Posted at 16 June 2015 Reply

    I know exactly how you feel.
    We’ve done the same thing and live fulltime in our rv now.
    I love it!!!
    The best of luck to you both!

  • Ricardo Druillet
    Posted at 10 June 2016 Reply

    Please read this Helena Gurascier

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