We can’t. Seriously. By the standards of our modern, economy and society, cruising is an absurd proposition financially. Cruising in your late thirties, early forties with a family is so completely unrealistic that it doesn’t even deserve discussion. The financial bottom line is that cruising costs a lot of money, and while you are doing it, you do not make any. Therefore, you can’t do it.
It’s okay. There’s a lot of things you can’t do.
It is probably true that you can not home school your children and ensure their appropriate socialization to the cultural norms of our society. It is absolutely true that you can’t do it without wanting on occasion to strangle them. In the face of this obstacle, I recommend that you hold your nose, and just go ahead and get started. Kids are surprisingly resilient, and despite complete parental incompetence, they learn anyway.
It is highly improbable that you can learn to live without all the creature comforts that make life worth living. Try to picture a life without broadband Internet, game consoles, coffee shops around the corner, local movie houses, friends available within hours for a dinner or drink. No gym, well stocked organic grocery store, or library. Insane! Not going to happen. Until it’s gone. And then it’s happened and air and food keep going in, carbon dioxide and poop keep coming out, and life goes on.
Now I know you can’t quit your job. You’re indispensable! You can’t leave your family | friends | church | club; How would they get along without you!? Sell the house, the car, the furniture, the dog, the cat, and the basketball hoop on the garage. It’s all too much! You can’t untangle yourself from all that. Now that’s true, but once you start, the whole freecycle, craigslist, I Quit! process is surprisingly liberating. Once they are gone, you might find yourself chanting quietly and compulsively, “Never again. Never again. Never again.”
The cruising kitty -- the pot of gold which enables the cruiser dream -- is impossible to build, always too small, and dwindles too rapidly once you cut the lines. So the way you afford your cruising dream is you go broke. You put it all on the table and roll the dice. The bet is the scramble you know with its security of things and money versus the unknown benefit gleaned from living life off the grid and out of the race, orthogonal to modern life. You mortgage a reasonably certain, secure future, for a present rich in experience and self-discovery. The stakes are extraordinarily high. The upside is potentially enormous, but the downside looms in words like bankruptcy, joblessness, and homelessness.
It is quite possible we won’t have enough money to put the kids through college. It is also highly probably that Dr C and I will need to work many years past 65 to pay for our retirement. For us, however, the gamble is already paying off.
I had not thought I was a big fan of live-now-for-tomorrow-you-may-die nihilism, yet here I am leading precisely that life. Today, we live large, spending our retirement and our children’s future to gain precious moments of now. In a few short years, we will have nothing but the clothes on our back, the boat we are on, and the vault of our memories.
I’m okay with that.