Twelve years ago, we purchased 10 acres of land in northern Wisconsin halfway between Duluth, MN and Bayfield, WI. We built a nice small house, a large garage and workshop, and made it our home. We installed solar panels, heated our house with wood and tried to live as simply as we could in our modern world. Dreaming of being able to sail off to see the world, we believed that we would someday return to our forest home and bury the anchor sometime in our distant future. But people tend to get stuck in the situations which they make for themselves, and reality has a way of slowly and without notice eroding the edges of dreams, filling in your time with things, odd projects, and maintenance of the pile of stuff you’ve accumulated. The physical and mental weight of what we collect holds us down and reduces our options. At least that’s the effect we feel.
The mere idea of “Home”, a place where someone lives permanently, is deeply ingrained in our minds. For all time it has been one of the “Big Three” necessities in life, Food, Water, Shelter. In modern life it has taken on the mantle of The American Dream, a big house in the country, a place where one is safe and warm. A home is where family and loved ones gather. A home has even come to define status within the community. So it is a head-scratcher when someone deliberately moves even slightly away from the historical ideal of a home. What, are you going to be, a Homeless Person? The idea of being “Homeless” is even thought of as the bottom-rung of society, and everyone knows instinctively that being homeless equates to being destitute.
That’s all Crap!
Okay, I know that true homelessness is a real problem in our society. Real people with real problems find themselves without a place to stay, live and survive, and we are not talking about that in this post. We imagine we will see and meet people along our journeys that are homeless or have dwellings very simple by today’s standards. The point that I’m trying to make is that one is only homeless if they desire to have a normal or better house and cannot afford one, or are otherwise barred from that level of society by financial or other issues. People all over the world live much simpler than the extravagances expected by most Americans and in no way should be diminished by their options or choices. Our world is finite and humanity has grown to a point where we literally use up all of the resources. I am saying that there are alternatives available in how we live that are equally valid in a modern society, although choices to live simpler can seem very strange to those of us raised on accumulation and a dream of forever bigger, better, more.
As Marge and I downsize and reduce our possessions to fit into our new mobile homes of sailboat and RV, we will face a few challenges in keeping in touch with our network of family and friends. First of all, location. Where are we? We are all used to thinking of people as existing someplace in particular and spending the majority of their time there whether they are “Home” or not. As our home will be moving frequently, this presents a problem. Sometime soon we will be getting and implementing a GPS tracker that will be web-enabled and you will be able to look at a web page and see our last known location. Also, we will continue to have cell phones and we expect to be able to make and receive calls most of the time. When we are too far from regular cell service, our GPS tracker will have a satellite based text service and you should be able to send us a text anytime you wish, no matter our location on the planet. As we get closer to Cruising, we will make sure to get everyone this information.
I think of a GPS tracker, or even a pigeon for that matter, as “Homing in” on a location. A returning to a place. Ironically with the technology available to us now, we can “Home In” on a place we have never been to. We can navigate to any place on the planet with the accuracy of a guided missile. People have sailed to tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific with only their iPhones as navigation devices. While this will seem foolhardy to some, it shows others what can be done with ingenuity and pluck. We have outfitted our beautiful Wandering Toes with the latest in electronic navigation gear, and will have similar navigational abilities aboard Verne in time. We are happy to follow those brave explorers who have gone before us making our adventure hopefully one of less peril, and are not bothered by a desire to be first.
And so we have our “Homes”. One on the water and one on the land. Both mobile, small and cozy. Able to carry with us what we need and provide for our shelter and comfort. As we travel in our moving homes, we also “Home In” on that elusive notion of adventure. Right now, while healthy and able, we choose freedom and adventure over stability and acquired things. We choose to travel and learn and see for ourselves what this great world has and to meet and acquaint ourselves with those other adventurous people along the way.
Thank you for following along with us, and be sure to keep in touch!
David and Marge Back
s/v Wandering Toes