We've moved to Facebook! Follow us there!

Monday, November 30, 2009

How To Know What Makes You Happy

November is closing out, and we are hitting the less than "365 days until we can set sail" day. Other than the massive amount of work we still have to do to make this trip a reality, I'm confidently going forward. I've shed any vestige of personal doubts about our happiness with taking this trip. Why? Because I know what makes me happy. Do you know what makes you happy?

There are 3 sources of information that will help you know what makes you happy.

Fantasy. Do you let your mind wander? If not, you should. As your mind meanders (also known as day dreaming), what do you day dream about? For me, I fantasize about sharing with my children new things, traveling to new locations to face the unknown, and watching my wife's eyes light up when she sees something new.

History. Sit down for a few hours and look back over your life. Start at your earliest memories ... walk year by year, season by season, scouring your historical landscape for those moments that brought you the most joy. Catalog them. For me, it involved going to new places, like the ghost town my mother tried to find on a trip and visiting china town in San Francisco and flying to Hawaii when I was 8 to live with my aunt and uncle for 3 months. The excitement of the newness and discovery excites me deep inside.

Experiments. Try new things ... new things that seem way out of character. The experience will highlight 1 of 2 things for you. Either you were right in avoiding them before, in which case you've validated your stance, or you find joy in them. People change over time, so don't be shy about trying something again that a few years ago seemed appauling, boring, or otherwise unpleasant.

Based on the above, I've concluded that traveling around the world with my family will bring me the most joy. Consequently, I'm confident that this is the right thing to do at this moment in my life.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Should we get a Radar?

Sticking with our KISS strategy, our minimization of electronics strategy, and our self-reliance strategy has helped us keep at bay a number of "extras" that we really don't need for our journey. One item that seems to come into discussion every 2 months or so is the usage of a Radar. On the one hand, it becomes another piece of electronics that needs to be maintained, it adds some complexity to the set up, and if it breaks down it isn't likely that we will be able to fix it without help. On the other, it is an incredible piece of technology that can greatly increase our safety when the visibility is reduced (fog, rain, night).

Looking radars over, the prices vary from $1,000 to $10,000+, new. Used, an old one can be had for $400-$500.

Debating new and used is often tricky, especially with electronics. When electronics die, they die suddenly and the odds of death go up with age. Another issue with buying a used older radar is that power consumption efficiency of electroncis improve with time. That is, a piece of electronics from the 80s or 90s tends to consume more power, for the same capability, than one made in the 2000s. Given our push to minimize electrical drain, this would also push us towards a newer radar.

So how much do we spend?

Like all gadgets, you get more whizbang for the money .... but how much whizbang do we need?

Given that we are considering not having any radar whatsoever, any radar capability (the identification of an object) is the minimum entry criteria. Another nice feature for us would be the capability of a "watchman" mode. That is, a mode that lets us tell the device to periodically turn on, check the surrounding area, and then beep if there is something we should look at. This would not replace the best practice of getting up every few hours to check the lines and look around, but it would be a nice safety feature to have. Further, running in watchman mode reduces the amount of juice consumption of the radar system itself when compared to a continuous operation mode. These are the 2 minimum features. Color display isn't required, nor is object tracking.

Another area of consideration is range. Again, the extreme case is not having a radar, so any distance is better than nothing. The distances for the units start around 20 nautical miles! That is a long way. The further they see, the more power they will have to consume.

With all this taken into consideration, a lower end unit in terms of capability will do. Something like the Furuno 1715 LCD Radar (pictured here). This unit combo we can acquire for $1600.
Furuno 1715 LCD Radar
Another unit that is worthy of considertation, and doesn't cost much more is the Raymarine C-70, Classic (pictured below). This unit goes from LCD to Color, but still only consumes about 0.75 Amps / Hr. Other neat features can be added on, if we find we need them, so expandability becomes a feature maybe we should consider. We can get the Raymarine unit plus Radar dome for about $1800.

Multifunction Navigation

Going with a lower end units, like these, has another interesting advantage. If the unit becomes disabled, the replacement cost is lower and we won't have become overly reliant on all the other "features."

Ahh, decisions decisions. We will post to let you know what we end up choosing.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jury Duty - Another Positive Experience

Earlier this month, I went to have my first jury duty experience. So many people told me how it would be. It would be long, drawn out, the system wouldn't want to hear anything about my impending business trip, I'd be board, I would sit for days, I would have some stupid petty crime to decide on, are examples of things I was told. I had NONE of these experiences.

My court experience was fantastic, and this entire experience (being told what it would be like versus what it was) highlights again to me that you can carry in the baggage of others and experience the world their way, or go into an experience boldly with zero preconceived notions and create your own experience.

The summons said to be at the DeKalb court house at 8:15 AM. I took the local train (MARTA) to the court house since there is a MARTA terminal is literally 150 feet from the jury duty location. I arrived at 7:30 and found the building locked, so I made my way to chick-fil-a for coffee and a breakfast burrito. At 8 I made my way back to the court house and did the registration. It took all of 3 minutes to get signed in. I was given a sticker that said Juror and was seated in a large, but comfortable room. It seated maybe 200 people.

Around 8:30 the court clerks explained the procedures of the day, which included a swearing in.

By 9 am the names of people were being called out for particular cases. I wasn't selected in the first case, but by 9:10 I was selected for the second case.

As the group of 48 of us made our way to our court, 5D, the tension of "what's next?" kept building. It was exciting and the jurors were all very quiet. We were all lined up in numerical order (we were given juror numbers) and brought in. My number put me right in the 12 person jury box!

The judge came in (and we did the whole "please stand" thing), and the process went to the next round.

I was very impressed with the judge and his ability to command the court room. His presence was that of an executive at any large firm. His name is Judge Gregory A. Adams.
Articulate, commanding, clear, and precise. All things I admire.

Judge Adams is a superior court Judge; I had been picked for a superior court case. While I don't know all the court things, I knew superior meant something better than inferior.

The judge then read the incitement. His tone was even, and his voice very clear. As the counts were read, my thoughts went, "Holy Sht! This is a murder trial!" The defendant sat in the court room, and remained emotionless. It was pretty intense for me. I may be sitting in judgement of another person, a young person, for murder. The judge made it clear that this wouldn't be a death penalty case.

After all this was read, the judge announced he expected the trial to last about a week and then asked if any of us jurors had any conflicts with the case due to prior commitments. I raised my hand, and was the first to be called. I stood up (which turned out to be the right thing), and in as clear as possible voice, with all the confidence I put out for speaking engagements, told the judge and the court of my pending trip to Russia.

I was the first juror to speak, and yet others didn't pay close attention to how I handled it. When other spoke, for various reasons, some didn't stand up or were not clear or only shook their heads. The judge had to correct their behavior, and based on how respectful they were, he tailored his message.

A series of questions were asked of all of us, in front of all of us. Questions like, have you ever seen a murder, do you know anyone who was murdered, etc. It was all very surreal.

By noon, the jury was picked and I wasn't on the duty. I know the judge spoke with the lawyers and made sure I wasn't in the pool. I would assume that if there were an issue and they needed one more qualified juror, then it may have been me but many folks were more than qualified.

In DeKalb county, they have a "1 day 1 trial" approach. In this method, you are processed for 1 trial only. If you don't fit, you are done (like I was). If you are not selected the entire 1 day, then you are done. Very easy.

The court clerks were gracious, and even cracked jokes.

I still can't get over the judge. He was a very impressive man. His respect for the jurors and the system itself oozed out of him. While I have no idea how the whole trial meted out, I have no doubt it was done in accordance to the laws of the nation and the state of Georgia.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Composting Toilet Arrived

We received our new Nature's Head Composting Toilet! We will spend part of this Thanksgiving weekend removing the boat's old sanitation system and installing the composting toilet. FUN!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Our Turkey Day Feast at 11AM? On a sailboat?

Happy Turkey Day! This holiday falls right below Halloween in our family in terms of favorites. On this day, we start eating our Thanksgiving meal around 11AM. After the first round of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, cranberry, rolls, corn, stuffing, and pumpkin pie we fall asleep... this is around noon. Then we wake up around 1:30pm and do another round. This pattern continues until 7pm. Gluttony at its best. This will be our first year of Thanksgiving on the sailboat. Will we have as much food and will the pattern hold? At this very moment we are finding out. How does one handle Thanksgiving on a sailboat? Maybe some new tradition will spring forward.

Today is indeed a day to give thanks. For us, we give thanks that we were born in the U.S.A. Our country provides enough freedom for us to pursue our interests, our way. There are so many other places in the world where this isn't true. Thank you forefathers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Marine Air Conditioner Removal

The 75lb beast is out of the boat!! We removed the King-Air Marine Air Conditioner.

The removal took about 2 1/2 hours. The electrical connection was the easiest part. Fortunately, the unit was plugged into a dedicated, grounded outlet that the previous owner had installed and all we had to do was unplug it. This made disconnecting the power extremely easy and now we have a 20 amp electrical outlet, if we need it. After disconnecting the power and hoses from the unit, Bill had to remove some teak molding to pull the unit out. The unit might only weigh 75lbs, but those 75lbs were awkward and hard to hold, then add being on a floating boat. After Bill finally got the unit off the boat, our water line went down an inch! Well maybe not an inch, but at least a 1/8 of an inch. In any case, we could tell the difference.

To complete the job we had to remove the plumbing hoses. Good thing that we had a wet-dry vacuum, because there was almost 2 gallons of water in the hoses.

Another task off the list!! Only 90 to go (we're still adding to the list weekly).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Next Year At This Time ....

.... what will we be doing? If certain stars align, a year from now Val will have just completed her Coastal Cruising and Offshore sailing school; we will be on Thanksgiving holiday; Dy/KJ/Val/Aunt Jenny/Aunt Iris and I will be down in Orlando to have one final blow out as an extended family in Disney World; we will not own more stuff than will fit on the boat; the boat will be in a boat yard with all of its repairs done and just about to be put into the ocean; Dy will be potty trained and have completed her drown proofing class; KJ will be reading books with ease; and I will have contacted Guinness World Records to take of photo of me as I will be the proud owner of the biggest smile on a human face.

Thinking through the feelings and emotions that will come with accomplishing phase 1 of this bigger goal, transforming our lives to set sail, I wonder if there will be some sadness around completing the challenge. I assume there will be some. Fortunately, there will be another huge task looming, the setting of the sails to see the world.

I'm also struck by the sadness I will feel when I leave my friends. In general, I am not a social type and have only a few friends at any one time. It will be sad to leave them since I enjoy their companionship so very much. Because of how selective I am with friends, the friends I have all support this journey and that will make it much easier when it is time to go.

With the exception of the friend sadness, all the other stuff brings so much excitement that I'm getting physically pumped up about the trip as I type this! Let's go!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lunch for 3 at $6.27 and gets us ready for the boat

This past weekend, the girls and I had the pleasure of a daddy daughters day; just KJ, Dy, and I for a few hours (and mommy gets some well deserved Val time). Off we went to have lunch, and when we showed up at our lunch location, there were 2 other families eating away ... each with kids the same age as KJ and Dy. We ordered our food and sat down.

I order a normal portion for me, and asked for 2 empty plates plus a cup of water. When my order arrived, I portioned out enough food for each girl, and we had a great lunch. As we ate, I looked around at what the others were eating.

It was very interesting that each of the other families ordered a meal for each of their children! One had given their kids full sized portions, the other one got kids meals. Of course, each adult had their own plate full too. While we were eating, a 4th family showed up and when their food was delivered, they too got a full portion for each kid and each adult!

I was sure to watch as the first 2 families finished off, and yep ... there was left over food that went right into the trash.

It is their business how they spend their money and dispense food however they see fit. Alas, those families could have easily saved $5-$10 each by simply sharing the food.

There is a reason why many cultures have communal plates that you take some food from for your own plate .... and it has to do with being efficient with your money and your food.

Another communal example for us is when Val and I go out for a dinner together. One of us will get a full portion, and the other will just order a side. Between the full portion and the 1 side, we always have plenty.

Next time you go out, see if you can go communal. The savings really do add up. Each of these dollars saved goes right to the trip, plus helps us prepare for the lifestyle on our boat.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Insecurity is Your Fault

Insecurity comes from vulnerability. The insecure person relies upon protectors— institutions and people who will guarantee results for him. Because he knows intuitively that his interests can’t possibly be the paramount interest in someone else’s life, he’s vulnerable and he knows it.

But security is always possible — financial, intellectual, and emotional security. However, it can come only from the willingness to handle whatever comes and the knowledge that you can do so.

The knowledge and willingness aren’t hard to come by when you form the habit of thinking in terms of the areas that you control. When you realize how much you can do that doesn’t depend upon the agreement of others, you know there’s nothing you can’t handle.

When situations are wrong for you, you can find better situations.
-Harry Browne from How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World

Wow. Good stuff from Harry Browne that nails it. Insecurity is a self-imposed and self-correctable situation. Our security grows with every piece of knowledge we gain. The knowledge allows for us to become more and more self reliant.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

No Air Conditioner on the Boat

Because of power consumption and one of our operating principles (spending as little time, as possible, at marinas), we decided to remove our existing air conditioning unit. From what we have read (on various forums), there always seems to be a nice breeze at anchor. It's the marinas that are stifling hot!

The unit is King-Air Marine Air Conditioner ( http://www.king-air.net ). From what I can tell, the it was purchased in 1995 and cost $2,000. The previous owners had it professionally installed into the boat, which probably cost them another $1,000. This unit probably weighs 75lbs. That is 75lbs we could be using for more important things, like food.

So if anyone needs a marine water cooled air conditioner really cheap, write us via comment to this post.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Computers on board

Every 5 years, I buy a new computer .... the fastest, most memory, largest harddrive, best components, top of the line screamer machine available. The current 5 years is ending in 2010, so it is time to begin the search for the next computer. While this is the 3rd time in this purchase cycle, this computer will have to be different because it will be living on a boat.

The first difference of using the computer on the boat involves power. My preference is for desktops, but desktops, with their hungry power supplies, suck down the juice and as we travel, there won't be lots of juice to suck. A computer designed to operate away from AC power for extended periods of time is required, and that is a laptop.

The second difference of using a computer on the boat involves space. There isn't some large desk space that I can devote to the machine. When the computer isn't being used, it needs to be put away so the activity space can be freed for something, or someone, else.

The third difference involves multi-use. Items on the boat that can do multiple things are more useful than single purpose items. In the case of the next computer, for example, it will have to serve as a media station. If we want to watch a movie, it it will have to be played on this machine. The capability of playing BD (Blu-ray) movies, DVDs, and having an HD display is required. Another set of usages for this machine involve data collection of our journey. Specifically, allowing the computer to tie into GPS instruments to track our progress around the world.

The search has begun. A laptop this go around for my machine. It will need a large screen, have lots of memory, many ports for connecting devices, be HD, have a large harddrive, decent battery life, and pleasure my inner geekness. Given the latest rounds of processors, it looks like it will be an Intel i7. We shall see!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Air Head or Nature's Head Composting Toilet?

If you've been keeping up, you know that we are replacing our existing sanitation system on the boat with a composting toilet. (If you have not been keeping up, click here for the other posts: post 1, post 2, and post 3).

After review all of our options, which included constructing our own composting toilet, we are down to two worthy products, Air Head and Nature's Head. Both toilets are made from a molded polymer and at first glance look very much like the toilet we have in our apartment. Both toilets separate the solid waste and liquid waste into their own containers that have to be emptied at some point. The toilets are very much alike, except in two ways.

First, the Nature's Head toilet has a normal size (like found in your home) molded toilet seat, while the Air Head's seat is a little more compact. The compact seat wouldn't bother our girls, but it could get a little uncomfortable for Bill and I.

Second and most importantly, Air Head's basic unit cost $969 + shipping, while the Nature's Head unit cost $850 + shipping. Additional components for the toilets, such as additional liquid waste containers, are similar in cost.

So which toilet, Air Head or Nature's Head? Well the choice for us is oblivious. Nature's Head. I'm planning on purchasing the toilet on Friday. We hope to have it by November 25th so that we can install it over the Thanksgiving Holiday.

If you want to learn more about these two composting toilets, I've provided links below.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Honda Generator EU2000ia

EU2000iAfter much deliberation, we've made the decision to add a small generator to our list of items to be brought on the journey. We wanted to avoid adding one if at all possible; simplicity is key for self reliance. Alas, we acknowledge that there will be times that we need power generation and when those moments strike, we could be in a critical situation.

After evaluating a lot of options, we've decided on Honda's EU2000ia generator. The specifications, the simplicity of operation, the reliability Honda is known for, and its demonstrated efficiency made it an easy pick. We've seen them in action and they do a remarkable job. 15 hours of generation on 1 gallon of gasoline is pretty good (under heavy load you can still make 8 hours.... a full day!)

By selecting a true portable generator, we have the option of taking it off the boat if we need to. You never know when you want to go ashore on a desert island and want some power! ;) Or, you could be trying to escape from a hurricane and must go ashore where power may be suspect. Either way, we will be glad we have a source of power for things like radios.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Other Benefits of Composting Toilet

From my prior post on the composting toilet, you know that there is no smell, no water, and no holding tank. The other benefits of a composting toilet include less maintenance, no seacocks, and a lot less weight.

Maintenance for the sanitation system will be reduced to disposal and cleaning. Under the current system, we have to pump-out the tank (disposal), cleaning the toilet, lubricate the internal workings of the toilet, and check to hoses on a regular basis.

The composting toilet will eliminate the need for 2 seacocks. Seacocks are holes in the hull. Seacocks can either be intake (which allow water in) or outtake (which allow water to go out). But don't let the designation fool you, all holes allow water in. The foremost concern of any boat owner is unwanted water coming into the boat. The more seacocks you have the more opportunities unwanted water has to get inside.

Weight on a boat is another concern of any boat owner. You can have too much weight and it can lead to the boat sinking. By removing the current sanitation system, we calculated that we would be eliminating approximately 150lbs or more of potential weight in favor of a system that will weigh approximately 35lbs at the heaviest. This gives us the ability to store another 115lbs of supplies.

Again the composting toilet is a no brainier. The only reason, I can think of, that boat builders don't install composting toilets on their boats to begin with is because of the cost. A composting toilet can run anywhere from $800 to $2,000. But I believe it will be worth every penny!

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Solar Panels!

Our boat has 2 x 75 Watt Siemens solar panels. They are high quality and do a great job of keeping the house batteries topped off. However, once we sail off on our world exploration trip, I'm concerned that they will not provide enough juice to keep the batteries topped off AND provide power to the various portable devices we will be taking (e.g. laptops). Consequently, I've decided to replace the Bimini with another solar array.

The additional solar array will be exclusively used for the charing of the portable electronic devices we plan on having with us. I will set up a charing station that any member of the crew can attach their portable electronic device to and get charged up. Since most portable devices really want 14VDC and Solar Charing fluctuates in their output, I will be installing a "charging battery." That is, I will install a special battery that will be fed by the new solar panels, and the battery will be the provider of charge to the electronic device. This will help ensure we have the 14VDC that devices expect. When the battery is flat, then no device charing will be done. It is as simple as that. :)

Taking this approach will also allow us an additional level of redundancy. If the main solar system goes out, we can switch over to this one until repairs are made.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Composting Toilet - Get Rid of the Dirty, Smelly Head -

In my last post regarding the sanitation system, I wrote about the 3 main reasons that we were changing out the system. The composting toilet mitigates of all those reasons.

First, with the composting toilet there will be no stinky porta potty smell. This is achieved because the solid waste and liquid waste are stored separately and there is a dedicated vent. From my research, the only thing that we might smell is the earthy aroma of peat moss. Second, there will be no need for water. The composting toilet is a dry system. Finally, no need for pump-out since there's no holding tank. The solid waste turns into dirt after a short period of time and can be disposed of any way we choose. The liquid waste is sterile and can also be disposed of in any manner we choose.

Switching our sanitation system to a composting toilet is a no brainier, but which toilet? Airhead or Nature's Head?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Marina Work

The plan has us trucking our boat to a marina, on the Atlantic ocean, with a boat yard in September 2010, and having the marina do a number of things for us. For example, we want to replace the wind vane on the mast, replace the mast lights with LED lights, have the bottom painted, have the engine tuned up with the serpentine belt replaced, fix a few spots on the bottom side of the hull, replace every line on the boat, and inspect each buckle holding the stays.

Val found a marina, highly recommended by other Gemini owners, in Myrtle Beach SC that we will engage in April to begin the discussions of having them do all the work. This will be a very expensive proposition, but if we get all this work done right, then we shouldn't need to revisit a number of the systems for a few years.

Our plan is to physically visit the marina in May to have a conversation with the marina owner, sharing our story. If we feel comfortable with what the estimates and the people, then we will put some money down to lock in our spot. We will have the boat trucked out in September, and give the boatyard 3 months to get everything ready. Then in December we will go down to pick up our ready boat!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Get Rid of the Dirty, Smelly Head!

We currently have 89 items on our punch list that need to be completed before December 2010. The number 1 item is removing the current sanitation system and replacing it with a composting toilet.

We have chosen to get rid of our exiting system for 3 reasons. First, the smell. No matter what chemicals we used, the boat smells like a porta potty. Second, we have an issue of getting water pumped into the existing toilet. Third, when we arrive at a location, we are planning on spending most of our time at anchor. If we keep our existing system with a holding tank, we will have to always be looking for a marina in order to pump-out our tank or we will have to travel 3 miles offshore to dump it.

So why a composting toilet? Stay tune!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

10 Months Until Haul Out

Val and I've been thinking a lot about all the things that have to be done to the boat to get it ready. The trip always seemed so far away with plenty of time to get ready, but with the entry of November it clearly isn't.

One such "in your face moment" came last week when we realized that if we do end up leaving next December (2010), then the boat will have to be hauled out of the lake and trucked to the ocean in the month of September. This puts us 10 months away from the boat being shipped! That isn't long at all.

Each month we have a major task that must get done for us to be ready. For example, this month we must take care of removing the Air Conditioner, then in December the swapping to the NaturesHead toilet, and January will see the new batteries installed. There is so much to do! Wow. Time is ticking.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Indian Dancing

Last Friday, my family was invited to an Indian birthday and birth celebration. The invitation stated there would be Indian cuisine and dancing. We were really excited. Bill and I wanted to try the dancing. It was also an opportunity for me to wear my salwar kameez that one of our friends had made for me, on one of her trips home.

We has a great time at the party! We enjoyed a variety of Indian cuisine and I got to do a little dancing. The dancing was very interesting. I can only describe it was a mixture of hip-hop, line, disco, and Indian cultural moves. I also noticed the respect that everyone gave to each other. No one was grinding or groping another person. It was a lot of fun!

We can't wait until we are on the boat doing this! What a GREAT experience!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Selling the body for the trip

As we ruminate on ways to fund the trip, and obvious consideration is selling parts of our bodies that naturally replenish, or that we have plenty of. For example, ovaries, sperm, and plasma. Why not sell these things? People need them, we have plenty of it ... it seems like a natural commerce condition to me.

Plasma is fairly simple, and you get $25 a go. While it may take an hour or so, if you've got nothing else to do, why not go in with a good book and pump out for a nice $25? You are even fed some snacks and drinks. On the humanitarian side, the material is reprocessed and then used for helping others, like burn victims. Sure, I could give that stuff away for free, but why should I? My body is working to make it .... work is work. Hmmm.....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cultural Experiences

Our sailing adventure is all about being together, experiencing and exploring different places and cultures. One great thing about the United States is that you don't have to sail away to experience different cultures. In most major cities, in the US, you can find Hispanic, Korean, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Chinese, African, Caribbean, Latin, Italian, European, and Indian communities. These communities unusually celebrate holidays and cultural festivals from there home countries and have restaurant that offer authentic cuisine. The festival are usually free and are a great way for everyone to learn about different cultures.

So if you don't feel like you can take off and sail around the world, you still have opportunities to experience different cultural communities; all within driving distance from your home.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jury Duty Tomorrow - Oh Sht

Tomorrow I have jury duty. For the first time in my life, I will step into a court room. While I've been called to jury duty in the past, it has always been nullified by outside circumstances (e.g. I had moved, or was out of the country, etc.). Having the right, as a fellow citizen, to judge another citizen rather than letting some tyrannical structure or entity do this isn't lost on me. However, being summoned under the penalty of violating the law does feel like an imposition on my life and it certainly will cost me more to participate in the jury than if I spent my time doing other work. Further, I'm nervous about the duration of the trial I would be part of if selected. A 6 month event, while low in odds of happening, would hurt my career. This will be interesting to say the least.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

86 Items in 389 Days

We are under 400 days till we can leave on our adventure! A week ago, Bill and I sat down and made a list of things that should be done to the boat and things that we would like to do to the boat. we call this our punch list. The punch list currently has 86 items on it. Now when I say it has 86 items on it, the items range from securing a safety deposit box to removing/installing new toilet system. The items could take an hour or several weeks/months. On average, we've been adding a new item every 3 1/2 days.

The punch list process is an ongoing addition, prioritization, and completion of items on the list. We try to discuss the list every night. This gives us an opportunity to share learnings and progress, as well as adding and re-prioritizing items when necessary. Theses discussions helps us keep the boat in the forefront as well handle daily activities. The last thing we would want is to get to August 2010 and realize that we have half of the list still to do.

Friday, November 6, 2009

McD Coupons deployed with an unexpected benefit

Recall the McDonalds coupon post? 12 freebies for $1? We've begun successfully deploying them and we've encountered another nice benefit.

A few nights ago we walked over to the McDonalds and both KJ and Dy had their freebie hamburger coupon in hand. While Dy wanted to eat her coupon, KJ proudly held hers .... like the Golden Ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

KJ wanted to get her own hamburger; be her own person. So, Val and I stood way back and watched KJ, with her chin up high, stroll up to the counter and present her coupon. She ordered her own hamburger. The restaurant manager figured out what was going on and played it up too.

It was an excellent life experience in a controlled setting, all facilitated by this coupon. We've already received more back in terms of money from the coupons, but granting KJ the experience, even though unintended, makes it truly valuable.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Guy Fox? No, it's Guy Fawkes!

Remember, remember, the 5th of November is the first verse to a poem commemorating the Gunpowder Plot. This is a remarkable time in history when Guy Fawkes and others attempted to disrupt England by blowing-up King James I, his family, and the House of Parliament on the 5th of November, 1605. The attempt was thwarted and the conspirators were hanged and quartered.

This day is celebrated in London with bonfires and fireworks. What a fascinating way to learn world history by studying the holidays of a country. As we sail around the world we can't wait to discover, learn, and celebrate with locals. Our girls will have an unique experience learning world history through celebration.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Power of Sharing

With absolutely clarity, I can recall the first time I shared this trip with someone outside of the crew. It was during a 2 hour car ride with some friends/co-workers to an out of office meeting that I turned to a friend named Flynn, in response to general family questions, and said, "Yeah, our family has decided to sail around the world." The car magically got quiet and another friend, Amanda, in unison with Flynn, said, "Really?" That beget a snowball of people who are aware of our quest that to this day continues to roll. Both Flynn and Amanda have become virtual crew members helping us accomplish our goal. The conversation in the car lasted an hour, but has lived with me as one of the trips defining moments; it has served as a point of resolve.

The power and value of sharing this goal publicly cannot be overstated. We've received support from around the world, and it always seems to come at the right moment. We've assembled a fantastic virtual crew that will be going along on the voyage and we love sharing with them the entire process .... going from a "traditional" family with a 4 bedroom house in suburbia to true world explorers. We cannot wait until we are sending them reports from lands afar!

Thank you virtual crew members! And, remember, never underestimate the power of sharing your goals publicly.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gray to Beautiful as Easy as 1-2-3

You might thing that I'm talking about hair. Nope. I'm talking about TEAK!

Our boat has a lot of teak. Most of it is on the inside and in really good shape. However, the teak on the outside is another story. It is dark gray and very dirty. So armed with StarBright Teak Kit, I sat out to revitalize the teal on the outside of the boat.

The kit is a three step process. The first step is a cleaner to get the dirt and grim off the teak. Second step is a Brightener, which restore the wood to that of unfinished teak and the final step is teak oil to bring out the natural beauty of the wood and protect it.

The first 2 steps were fast. The teak cleaned and brighten up very nicely. Then I applied the teak oil 3 times (allowing it to soak in between applications). To maintain, we will have to apply the teak oil once a month.

Now the outside teak looks wonderful! Don't take my word for it, the picture speak for

Monday, November 2, 2009

Under 400! My how things shrink

This past week, the big countdown clock on our website went below 400. There are less than 400 days until we can cast off and to see the world on our terms. This gave me a moment to pause and reflect on the numbers that have been in the countdown in the past, and how knowledge makes all the difference in the world.

When we decided to make this trip, back in mid 2007, we projected all sorts of needs. The needs ran the gamut from financial to the maturity of the crew. For example, our best guess, based on the readings of glossy magazines, was that we would have enough money if we saved for 9 years, making the trip a 2016 venture. We were totally comfortable with that as our target date and we began diligently working towards our goal.

As time progressed and we learned more, in 2008 we realized something that allowed us to easily pull the trip in to 2012. That was a full 4 year adjustment! Huge stuff. Just one thing.... one idea.... one piece of knowledge removed 1460 days.

In 2009, another realization was made that allowed us to pull the trip in yet another year, making it possible for us to set sail in 2011. Another 365 days were cropped.

About 3 years into working towards the 9 year goal, the 9 year goal shrunk to a 4 year goal, putting us now about 1 year away from when we can set sail!

One of the lessons to be shared is that the goal may appear larger than it really is and only once you are in the throws of accomplishing it will you truly see what it takes. If you really want something, go for it. You may be rewarded with less work than you anticipated.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Wow, the month of October went by really fast!

We had a great Halloween. KJ and Dy
went trick or treating at Bill's office, on Friday. His group decorates their entire floor to the point that you feel like you have been transported from an office building to a haunted house.

From last week's posts, you know that KJ went as Medusa and Dy went as a witch. Here's KJ's completed Medusa costume. This kids costume cost less than $15 and was a lot of fun to make.

Now that Halloween is over, back to the boat. We have just over 394 days to get the Ariel ready. We're going to be really busy. We'll keep you posted with our progress.

(Medusa costume blogs: Dress and Hair)