So far, our timeline for completely overhauling our life has looked like this:


Intermittently toy with the idea of moving to Costa Rica or really anywhere outside the U.S. for a change of pace.

July 2016

AirBnB on a small sailboat in the Baltimore Harbor, play around with the idea of living on a boat, promptly forget the idea as we get back into daily life.

November 2016

Remember the idea about the boat and take some time to research what that might actually look like. Put the idea on the back burner as we deal with daily life.

January 2017

Seriously, let’s buy a freaking boat. How soon can we do this? Begin trolling Craigslist for a boat that two self-employed people of limited means can afford.

February 2017

Find a $3k boat. Buy it. Freak out.

March – May 2017

Jack commits to the hard labor of a serious renovation while I try valiantly to cover our expenses on mostly one income. We realize the challenges that this arrangement will cause and decide to up the ante and set a drop-dead date that’s sooner rather than later.


So that leaves us at today. June 1. I’ve just typed up the letter to our landlord to declare our intentions of abandoning our current termite-ridden Napoleon Avenue apartment, and we’ve committed to be living aboard the boat – in whatever state it happens to be in so long as it floats – by August 1.

We suspect the state will be – um – not ideal. Jack’s only one guy, after all. Despite all of his good looks, talent, charm, intelligence, and brute physical strength, one guy working on a boat (with a drippy stream of funds) can only accomplish so much. What will that look like?

The hull of the Sea Shanti will be primed, painted, and sealed up, and she’ll be in the water at a local marina (more on that in a later post). The topside may be in need of some work, and the forward cabin will be mostly a blank canvas – gutted, cleaned, and painted, termite-free, but not built out. The aft cabin, which will eventually be Fain’s room, will be renovated, giving Jack and I somewhere to stay until the forward cabin is finished. (Fain will be visiting his Oklahoma folks in Tulsa at the time, so the arrangement works out fine.)

What we’ll compromise on

Well, obviously, with Jack, me, two cats, and a dog sharing a partially-renovated, bobbing house, these are not the most comfortable living conditions to begin with. It’s going to be cramped and much more like camping than cruising.

I’ll have to give up my beautiful canary yellow desk and my cozy Eames knock-off desk chair because, even once the boat’s finished, there’s no room. And also a rolling chair on a boat seems like poor planning.

What we’ll gain

We’re paying an outrageous $1300/month for rent now. Just rent. Our apartment is in a great location, but it’s totally infested with termites and things in the wall that make scratchy-skritchy-screetchy noises. I don’t know what those things are, and frankly, I don’t want to. I’m relying on the cats to protect me.

Critters in the walls and the occasional leaks aside, this is just way too much for self-employed people to pay for rent. It puts us in the position of not being able to consistently take opportunities as they arise due to looming bills. We’ll be paying $300/month for the marina slip, so right up front, we’re dropping our cost of living significantly, which means more money to pour into the renovation and into living our lives to the fullest.

The marina in question has a restaurant and a bar by a pool, so in exchange for giving up my desk (and lowering our cost of living considerably, which I cannot stress enough) to live in our skeleton boat, I’ll be forced to work – that is to say write – at the bar beside the pool. Y’know, pretty much every bum writer’s fantasy. Cry me a river, right?

Setting the date for August 1 is ambitious and a little scary, but if the boat isn’t ready by then, we’d still have to come up with another plan anyway because – money: it doesn’t grow on trees. In that case, we’ll move out of the city and closer to the boatyard, which will still drop our rent costs significantly. Again, not ideal, but moving in the right direction.

So that’s where we are and what we’re doing now. Jack will have his own interpretation of this fine kettle of fish, too, and it’ll give you a better idea of the technical stuff. I’ve just decided not to bother myself with the technical stuff because that’s not my job.