Monday, April 25, 2011

Hunkering down and bugging out

I seem to be moving in both directions, judging from my recent book orders. Half of them are concern sailing away on the cheap. The other half cover how to live on the old homestead. One pile of books on getting away and other pile on staying in place.

On the surface, it looks like I'm going in completely opposite directions. That's not really the case. There are some common themes to both impulses. Both concern frugality. No matter what I do, it's going to be on a shoestring budget. It's about back up plans. If I have to bug out, I'd prefer to do it by boat. If I can't travel, I want to stay home in some sort of comfort and safety.

Maybe what I'm getting in touch with is the old Native American way of living around here. In precolonial times, no one spent winters here. During the summer, they'd catch salmon, hunt, mine stone, and enjoy the good weather. In the winter, they'd migrate down to the coast, where they'd eat seafood, and enjoy a somewhat milder climate.

Historically, a semi-nomadic way of life was pretty common and normal. Rather than struggling through a region's bad season, they'd move to a better place. In hot climates, it was natural to head to the cooler mountains in the summer. Sometimes people would follow herd animals and take advantage of their migratory patterns. I suspect that part of the nomadic impulse was to have a change of scenery. There's something in some people that just pushes them to see what's over the next hill.

Then there are the modern snowbirds. Summer in the north, and winter in the sunny south. It was easy to do when energy was cheap. A big RV is a comfortable way to travel. Many prefer to fly. Both the airline and RV industry are very sensitive to rising fuel prices. I expect both to suffer major contractions.

That doesn't mean that people won't still want to travel. Maybe passenger rail will make a comeback. I would not be surprised to see passenger sailboats come back. It could start small. Personal yachts could advertise to take on a few passengers. As the demand for that type of travel increases, boats could be built with the passenger trade in mind.

On a personal level, my wife and I would like to do a lot less driving and a lot more sailing. There's a certain magic when the wind fills the sails and boat starts moving along -all without burning a drop of gas. Sure, it's not the fastest way to travel, but life is all about the journey, not the destination.



  1. You could always sail south instead of driving with the boat on a trailer. That might be interesting. And more leisurely.

  2. Seriously looking at taking the Inland waterways down.

  3. Get a dink good buddy, and a hard one at that. Not some piece of crap inflatable.
    The intracoastal waterway is quite the experience, to be done at least once in ur life.
    When ya get to Melbourne, we can give ya a room at the hotel any old time. Free for you and yours of course.
    Ya gotta do that trip thru the Okechobie to Ft.Meyers, I've done it 5 times and loved it each and every time.
    Just hope we all make it to next spring, so ya'll can do it again...

  4. Spud, I'm going to build a cheap but solid plywood dink. Getting materials together. Not sure what the future will bring, but can always use a good dink.

    Thanks for the invite.

    The Okechobie would work great for me.

    This past winter we spent a lot of time chatching up with dad, so we did a lot of daysailing in the Gulf.

    Plan on doing longer and longer trips during the spring and summer, working up to a ICW run.

  5. ALOT OF OLD TRIBES WORLDWIDE WILL DO THAT FOLLOWING THE SEASONS: so could you on your sailboat travel from a northern mooring to a soutern mooring; know a few small sea gypsy tribes whom practice this either with one large boat or several small ones..


  6. Sailing really is a magical experience. I've got to get back on the water, and I could kick myself for selling my little sailboat. Especially for BILLS! BAH!

  7. Don't feel alone Mayb. We sold (gave away) our sailboat 3yrs ago. Stupidest thing I've ever done. But it was costing me 300 bucks a month to park it ! Slips are expensive !

    Bear..Plywood's okay, just make sure to cover the bottom with a layer of glass. V it a little or it will really pound. Plus it will track better behind the big boat.

  8. I've some glass left over from a canoe project. Built canoes and kayaks before. Thinking a little sailing rig would be fun, along with oars of course. Knowing me, I'll probably build a couple of dinks.

  9. Still got my dink that I built, all glass sailing / rowing full keel. Twin Honda 2hp ! Don't go no faster with two engines, but it looks cool...
    Couldn't part with it.

  10. Hey . . . if it looks cool, go with it.