Last week I shared with you the first of three things I’ve been itching to do, which was to live on a large plot of land with a small cabin that’s off the grid. In my opinion, from a financial independence perspective, living small and as self-sufficiently as possible simply makes the most sense. Why pay for things when you can do them yourself, right?

I finished last week’s post by saying that the maritime provinces were probably my best bet in terms of realizing this dream. There’s another reason why this area of the country appeals to me, however, which is due to its proximity to the ocean. So without further ado, the second thing I want to start doing is…

Number dos: I want to sail around the world

Okay maybe not literally sail around the world, but I’d like to live on a sail boat and do some sailing — especially during the winter months. You see the cabin in the woods from last week’s post would be a home base of sorts — a place I’d spend the summer months growing food and earning an income. Living on a sail boat would be my way to explore the world and get away from the harsh winter months in Canada.

Why do I want to do this?

There’s something romantic (not in the lovey-dovey sense) about casting off on your own boat and using the earth’s winds to propel you to your next destination. I suppose it’s the self-sufficient aspect of this that appeals to me, in the same way the self-sufficient aspect of off-grid living appeals to me. Either way, I’ve been dreaming about doing this for almost just as long as the cabin-in-the-woods idea. I’ve read a few books on the subject, especially those telling the stories of brave sailors who chose to circumnavigate the globe in 30ft bathtubs. I was particularly inspired by young sailors like Lauren Dekker, Robin Lee-Graham and Tania Aebi.

Another reason why sailing appeals to me is the idea of travelling slowly. When I moved to Scotland in my early 20s for a half-year jaunt, it wasn’t my intent to stay in Edinburgh the entire time. My original plan was to backpack across Europe and visit as many cities as possible, only returning to the UK when I needed money (I had a work permit). What I discovered, however, was that I hate living out of a suitcase and always being on the go. Sailing feels like it could be the best of both worlds — that is, travelling at my own pace in the comfort of my own home.

So what’s the problem?

Truth be told, other than a few sailing trips when I was younger (including learning how to sail a dingy in my first year of university), I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to sailboating. But I can always learn right? That’s the plan anyway. Unlike Calgary (where I used to live), which is landlocked and offers very little in terms of sailing courses, Ottawa has quite a few marinas that offer courses. It’s also not completely landlocked, with the Ottawa river connecting to the St. Lawrence, and ultimately the ocean.

Given my lack of knowledge on the topic, I also have no idea of how much owning and living on a sail boat will realistically cost me. I’ve seen quite a few Sailboats on Kijiji for less than $5k, but I can’t tell if these are good deals or not.  I’ve heard of people sailing around the world in used 40 year old sailboats they bought for even less, but call me skeptical. I’m sure these people had way more experience than me as well. Then of course there’s maintenance. The opportunities to go bankrupt seem endless.

Finally, and this one is really ironic: I’m terrified of the ocean. It’s completely irrational. I’ll be swimming in a pool, and all I have to do is so much as think of sharks, and I’ll want to get out. I can’t imagine being in the middle of the ocean, not knowing what’s lurking around me, and essentially depending on my boat to stay afloat and keep me alive. But the thought of it also excites me. Besides, I don’t have to head for the middle of the ocean.

So what am I going to do?

The plan is to take some sailing lessons in the spring once the Ottawa river clears itself of ice and just learn as much as I can. I’m already putting away about $400 a month in a  “boat” fund with the hope of having around $5-10k saved up to eventually buy my own boat. I might just live on it as well to further save money. That being said, I could also end up learning that I really don’t like sailing — or the fear of open water is too strong for me to overcome — and just abandon the whole thing. I’m hoping to find out sooner than later.

Stay tuned for next week for Part 3, the final instalment of “Where am I going?” blog series.

Thanks for reading,

André