A quick note: this blog entry is one chapter in a series. It’s part of my Changing Lifestyles book. Starting at the beginning of October 2013 I started a journal to detail our ‘sell up and sail away’ plans. My husband and I decided to sell all our possessions, house, car, and buy the largest yacht we could afford. Our plan is to take our 3 1/2-year-old daughters with us and sail around the world. Below is one of my entries. If you’d like to start at the beginning start with 1. That’s it – I’m selling everything and sailing around the world!
Quick, quick – we need to sell our current boat. We need a place to live in. We need to…
Let me start with the place to live…
Yesterday, after a huge storm hit the UK, hubby and I drove down to the South coast (we’re in England) to find another flat to purchase. Luckily for us, the traffic was very light and we made it to the coast in less than 2 hours.
Two weeks ago we made an offer and it was accepted on a flat yet a week afterward the seller decided to sell it to someone else! The British house selling system is so fickle, so fiddley, and so uncertain.
Fortunately for us, my husband, Simon, found a great estate agent who lined up apartments to view that fit our specifications. We need to move quickly so the owner has to agree to sell and move in weeks, not the standard 3 months.
Our viewings went well and we narrowed the choice down to two flats. The one with a view of Portsmouth Harbour and the one that has a huge living room and ceilings. Both flats were empty – one was a repossession. In the end, and after discussing things with my father-in-law, (the main occupier of the new home), we decided on the flat with a view. (The one pictured in this post).
We’ll put an offer in today and pray we can get to completion by the first or second week of December. Otherwise, rental accommodation will be needed. The uncertainty of everything is not for the weak-hearted – that’s for sure.
Is my father-in-law going to be okay?
My father-in-law is coping but I can see that our plans are causing him substantial pain. Widowed in 2004, he lived alone for a few years and his health and social skills started to take a nosedive. He simply wasn’t getting out nor was he taking care of himself.
My husband and I invited him to purchase a new house with us – one with an annex so that we could bring him back to life a bit. At the same time, I had a baby so it was absolutely amazing to have him around to see his granddaughter grow. The two of them are best friends and my father-in-law is far better than he was alone.
But imagine thinking that you’re ‘set for life,’ and then your children tell you that they’re selling up and sailing away?
Keith is 73 now and although he wants us to live the dream, our decision isn’t ideal from his perspective. Not only will he miss his ‘best friend,’ (his grandaughter) but he’ll be alone once again. Of course, we’ve invited him to the boat as often as he wants – he can join us wherever we are in the world, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.
On on hand, I feel terrible for him as I think he feels like we’re slightly abandoning him, yet, on the other hand, he’s physically fit, able to take care of himself and is a big boy. I don’t feel as if we’re put on this Earth to take care of anyone – let alone someone that doesn’t need to be taken care of.
Hubby and I have brainstormed some ideas to keep him involved and in touch. The flat we’re getting will allow us to stay with him when we’re in the UK. We’ll get a laptop and set it up with Skype, email and make our blog a favorite so he can find it easily. In fact, we might get him set up on FaceBook.
A bit of fun time – is that allowed?
Having a few hours to spare Simon between viewing flats and deciding on a nursery for Sienna, Simon and I took the Gosport ferry over to Portsmouth where I purchased a new sweater and some T-shirts for our trip. It felt absolutely refreshing to take some time out to do something fun. I feel as everything we do now is for our trip and there’s no downtime. The little ferry ride and some retail therapy felt like bliss. We also had a fantastic lunch – I had a warm goats cheese with caramelized onions and it was happiness in my mouth.
A new nursery for Sienna.
After viewing flats, some retail therapy, and lunch Simon and I had to decide between two nurseries for our daughter. We rushed around to get the quick tour and make a decision.
The first nursery was fine – it was everything we expected and suitable for a 3-month stay. The kids looked happy, there was a nice outdoor play area, the food was locally sourced and homemade. It ticked all the boxes.
The second nursery wasn’t a perfect fit. It was in an old cold creaking Victorian built house that was in need of repair. The playground was a sectioned off the driveway and all the kids had snail trail runny noses. Making a decision wasn’t difficult.
Isn’t choosing a flat and a nursery enough for one day? Nope, we need to sell our current boat too!
Immediately after viewing the second nursery, we drove a ½ hour to Port Solent where Selene, our Moody 346 is berthed. While in the area, it made sense to give her a nice clean as she’s now up for sale.
I cleaned the living area while Simon scrubbed the deck. She went on sale this week and already we have an interested party looking at her this weekend. I decluttered the boat – took the food off, removed the remnants of a 3-year old (princess door hangers, Disney DVD’s and sparkly stickers), and gave Selene a good polish.
As I was cleaning, I kept telling Selene how grateful I was to have here in my life. We’ve only had her 2 years but they’ve been an amazing 2 years. We’ve had so many adventures and she’s successfully kept us afloat! It might sound odd, but she has a personality and I love her. When she goes I will be sad – as if she was a pet.
By 5:30 pm we headed North – back home. With a shortstop for a Starbucks coffee and a gluten-free brownie we managed to get home awake. Both Simon and I were exhausted. We kissed our daughter good-night, updated my father-in-law on the houses, ate some food, and passed out.
And the preparation keeps going…
This morning at 9:30, I’m heading to a venue where I can take my ‘Life in the UK,’ exam. This will enable me to apply for a British Passport and become a citizen of Britain (if I pass). Getting a British Passport will enable me to sail around the EU without visa and emigration issues. Anyone with an EU passport gets around easily – as if traveling through the various United States. With my USA passport, I’d have to let the authorities know where I am at all times, pay visa duties and show my face wherever I ended up.
I’ve been reading the study book for a week now and I’m not sure if I’ll pass or not. You can take the test as often as you like, but each time it’s £50.00. There are so many Kings and Queens – you need to know who was Catholic and who was Protestant. Then there’s all the battles, invasions and wars. To make matters worse, the book covers the history of England and Scotland and Wales and Ireland and they all have different histories, rulers, battles, and so forth. Yikes.
I need to study a bit more before the test! Once this is over I’ll be able to relax a bit more, methinks. Read what happens next here.
Next Chapter: 9. My new normal and dealing with giving up all our possessions
Previous Chapter: 7. Everything was going well until we got this phone call…
Or…if you’d like to carry on reading all about our journey from selling up and sailing away, you can purchase my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles – Trading the Rat Race in For A Sail Around The World,’
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