My father taught me to
love the water. He was in the US Navy and our family had the great
fortune of living near the ocean most of my life. For as long
as I can remember, Iíve been swimming, snorkeling, diving, and
surfing on the oceans of the world. But I had never sailed.
With graduation from High School
came the realization that Iíd have to actually work Ė and that
my work may not always allow me to be near the ocean. With that
realization, a seed was planted. I would have to find a way to work
as short a time as possible in order to get back to the water
full-time. And what better way to spend time on the water than by
living aboard your own boat -- Living aboard one of those beautiful
sailboats. The dream was born.
After three years in the Air Force,
ten years of struggling to get my college degree and twelve years of
working in the corporate security industry, the dream is about to
become a reality. But Iíve gotten ahead of myself. I didnít
dream of doing this alone. And I could never have done it near so
well, or achieved so much, without the help of a strong ĎAdmiralí
and a beautiful woman Ė my wife Janet.
While Janet and I dated, we spent
hours talking about our careers, our feelings, and our dreams. The
first time I asked her if she could live aboard a small boat and
sail the world, she answered honestly. "Iíve never been
sailing. Take me and weíll see". If you know anything about
me, you know that I always stack the deck in my favor, only bet on
sure things, and never, never quit once Iím committed. So, I did
what I had to do. I took Janet sailing in the British Virgin Islands
on a fifty-foot yacht, complete with a captain and cook Ė at New
Years! She was hooked. I never mentioned varnish, maintenance, foul
weather, or any of those other distractions. I had her hooked and
those things could wait.
For those of you that think I
deceived her, youíre right! But, she got even quickly. We returned
from the islands in mid-January and made plans to attend the
Atlantic City boat show in February. We looked at every boat, talked
to every manufacturer, but kept coming back to one manufacturerís
booth Ė Island Packet Yachts. Island Packet Yachts were spacious,
beautiful, and well built -- AND, the most expensive boats at that
particular show. She said simply, "Iíll go. But, Iíll only
go in one of these boats!"
I was flat broke from a recent
divorce and didnít have an investment to my name. But, I had a
willing partner and she had made it very clear what boat we were
going to buy. The only thing left to do was marry this wonderful
lady and get busy saving money for "The Dream". So, it was
back to the salt mines for me. We started saving every penny we
could. We invested heavily in our companyís 401K plans and made a
goal of retiring at the age of 45. Each raise we got was invested
before we even saw it. Our little portfolio started to grow and grow
Our 401K funds performed exceedingly
well. I took a new job with a small company called Cisco Systems.
They offered me a nice raise and 1000 of these things called 'stock
options'. I didnít know what those "options things"
were, but I knew the extra salary was going to help with "The
Dream". Four years after joining Cisco, I now KNOW what those
options are. They are the most miraculous form of compensation a
company can bestow on an employee. They are also the fuel behind our
retiring and chasing our dreams at the youthful age of 35.
As I write this, we are less than
five months away from "retiring". Yes, Janet got her boat
Ė a brand-new Island Packet 40. I got the girl. And, we are both
about to begin living "The Dream".
See you on the water! Iím going home.