We get asked often where we live or where we are from. Of course we are from Dallas, Texas, USA, but you can tell by the reaction to the next statement if we are talking to landlubbers or sailors. “We sold everything, kept the dog, live on a boat, and right now the boat is in the Bahamas”. What? Many people we meet are also living either full time or temporarily on boats, it’s actually mind boggling how many people are doing this. I have to admit that many have homes in other places, and they are only living on the boat while they “winter” here.
Age doesn’t seem to be a consistent factor either as far as the people living on boats. Some people are retired with no plans to go back to work; others are taking a sabbatical for how ever long they can afford this lifestyle. People’s planned destinations are varied: some are heading back home to the US or Canada, some to Europe; some are heading south to the Caribbean and beyond; some are starting circumnavigations, some are finishing up after being at sea for 6-7 years.
Plans are blurred for many of the folks like us that have sold everything and have no need to be anywhere at a certain time or place. We have run into one couple on four separate occasions that we first met in Bimini. They sold their home in the French Quarter, and their strategy is as loose as ours. I expect we will continue to run into them as we both head south, but neither of us is on a time schedule.
Travelling with a dog, we do have to make more arrangements to move from one place to another. For the most part, our dog has gone and will be going to the vet fairly often. Rules are different from one country to another, but the routine is similar: before you leave one country you have to visit the vet to have your pet inspected to make sure they are free of disease, up to date on their vaccinations, and micro-chipped. Then you must forward that paperwork on to the next country you visit prior to your arrival to get their approval you can bring your pet to their country. Then that paperwork is only good for a period of 14 or 30 days. So island hopping on a quick schedule is not on our agenda.
We didn’t plan to stay in Marathon, Bimini, and now George Town as long as we did. Various things in life converged to keep us settled in one spot for an extended time: weather, trips for vacation, trips back home, boat upgrades, boat repairs, you name it. This also complicates the whole planning process. We’ve been here in George Town so long now we have to have someone out here to clean the barnacles off the bottom of the boat before we leave. The locals also know us by name.
We have met people from various walks of life, various parts of the world, and a couple of things are for certain. Plans are very varied and loose when sailing. People from Texas on the loose fly their Texas flag proudly or they plan to buy one soon!