Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Un-Plan

"Where are you going?"  This is the first thing people ask me when I tell them of our plan to turn our backs on work, school, our home, friends and family - to truly walk away from the American Dream in which we have somehow found ourselves enmeshed - and sail.

My answer: "South." And the only reason I have an answer at all is because departing from Alaska leaves little room to travel North (yes, admittedly, warm weather is also part of the allure).

The next question is this, "For how long will you be gone?" My answer: "We don't know, we don't have a plan.  As long as we want to or until the money runs out."

Once we depart, our plan is to be un-planned. Just as one does not awaken each morning with a plan to breathe, we will not plan to be any particular place at any particular time.  So far, this is what our "Un-Plan" looks like:

  • Go.  For as along as we can.
  • Arrive.  Wherever we are.
  • Explore.  The world's natural beauty and cultures.

Although we are stubbornly un-planned in our approach to this journey, we do have goals:

  • To find Freedom. ....from schedules, expectations, material goods, societal pressures
  • To Learn and Grow every day.

We are going for the journey. We will travel when it is safe to do so.  We will stay in one particular location as long as the spirit moves us. We might return to Alaska some day or we might wiggle our toes into a sandy beach and plant roots somewhere else. We might never live on land again.

Meanwhile, the countdown has begun. So far, we have accomplished two things:

  1. Bruce gave his two-year notice at work last May
  2. We bought and delivered our cruising sailboat, "Northern Passage"

Two big steps, for sure. But will either of these things actually get us onto the water? Absolutely not. Many of the sail cruising books, in fact, warn against purchasing the boat too early for fear that then you end up stuck with a big boat and no plan to get out on it. We couldn't help it, the boat came to us and we needed it. Right then and there. It just felt right.

Meanwhile, there are HUNDREDS of things to do between now and July 2012, our planned departure date. Only now am I realizing that to actually get on the water and begin our un-planned existence will REQUIRE A HUGE AMOUNT OF PLANNING!

I have been thinking about it for weeks, maybe even months. Finally, last week, I removed all of the artwork from two walls in my living room to devote this space to planning for the trip. These walls have become the place where we will Plan to be Un-Planned. What led me to this is my realization that I am a visual person. I NEVER purchase stuff online because I need to touch, see, feel it. Now I have a touch-feely, colorful, BIG visual of our plan, right in our living room.

Here is a picture of our new planning corner [insert photo]. It is neat and orderly, and will surely end up with stickies, cross-outs, brochures tacked to it, etc. etc. By the end, though, there will be ONE piece of paper there - a picture of our boat, our one and only possession....ah.....bliss......


  1. Sounds like a plan (ha ha). But seriously I look forward to your adventure with a mother's wee trepidation.

  2. Did you ever get a photo of the corner? It sounds like a great idea...