I put the papers in today - last day on the job is September 30, 2006. 22 years of Federal Service - seems like forever......
We are out of here - meaning Seattle, in just about six months....
Here is a list of all the things I won't miss (this is kind of a rant, so I apologize in advance for offending anyone's tender feeling or hitting a bit to close too home for some - boy - folks are sure sensitive in the NorthWest).
Riding the bus with a bunch of coffee slurping zombie commuters in the morning, and then ridding it home in the afternoon with the skanks, drunks, homeless, and unwashed which seem to inhabit the bus from 3.30 to 6.00 - what - are they commuting to the shelter?
Standing in line for a cup of Starbucks coffee behind 27 white suburban commuters that just stepped off the Bainbridge ferry - all ordering soy vente lattes.
Stepping aside for white bread, latte drinking, stroller pushing, cellphone talking, stay-at-home mom's on their way to yoga class on Market Street.
Being panhandled everywhere in Seattle.
The constant barrage of America media telling me I have to have it all now, it has to be bigger, faster, taller, or smarter, and that I deserve it because I am special.
Sailing around in circles on (bleep) Puget Sound
Being ripped of by West Marine
Traffic - jams - everywhere.........
Well - now that's done- here is a brief quote from the editor of Latitude 38 - Richard Spindler - http://www.latitude38.com/index.html he is probably the most upfront and honest fellow running a sailing magazine...he answers a question which continually plagues us when we plan our cruising life...
"My wife and I are looking forward to starting our cruising life in the next couple of years, but have a question. If everyone sells their home to buy a boat and to fund their cruising kitty, we wonder where they live and what they do for money when they finish cruising? Do they continue to live on their boat, sell the boat and live in an apartment, move into an RV, or what? We're concerned about our retirement after cruising. We're worried that if we sell our house, there's no way we'd be able to purchase a home in the Bay Area again. We don't want to end up in a crappy apartment on social security. We're interested in what your readers have to say."
Anonymous - Good question. It will be interesting to see what kind of responses we get. In the interim, we'll offer our two cents worth. The closer you get to retirement, the less sense it makes to have all your financial eggs in one basket, so you may want to think twice about selling your home and pouring all your equity into a cruising boat and cruising kitty.
Consider another option. If you've owned your home for some time, we presume that you've built up a formidable amount of equity. Rather than selling your house, we suggest that you consider tapping into that tax-free equity to buy a nice - but perhaps not the ultimate - cruising boat, and then rent your house out. The idea is for the rental income from your house to cover any remaining house payments and fund your normal cruising expenses.
This might be more feasible than it seems, because the cost of cruising is normally much less than the cost of living in the Bay Area, and the cost of a decent cruising boat can be surprisingly low. For example, In the last two months, two members of the Latitude editorial staff bought very cruisable boats. One is 36 feet, the other is 40 feet. Neither one of them cost more than $25,000. Sure, it would be nicer to have a $250,000 cruising boat with all kinds of gear and everything nice and shiny, but unless you've done some cruising and are absolutely sure you're going to be passionate about it over the long term, you might be a little more conservative. The one thing you've got in your favor is that you're going to work for a couple more years, and thus have the opportunity to sock away a bunch more money to spend on a boat.
Once you're out cruising, you'll discover there are scores of cruisers who are funding their sailing adventures through real estate rentals, often just their own home. A lot of cruisers rent their homes out for six months at a time, which allows them to enjoy six months cruising in the tropics during the winter, then come back and live in their own home for six months during the summer. Others rent their homes year-round, cruising in the tropics six months a year, then travelling around the United States in an RV - or doing other travelling - for the summer. Six months of cruising alternated with six months of doing something else is extremely popular with cruisers.
Once people of around retirement age go cruising and see other great places in the world, a lot of them begin to lose interest in returning to the Bay Area. Part of their reasoning is that the cost of living in the Bay Area is horrendously expensive, the traffic is horrible, the pace of life is hectic, and the winter weather isn't very nice. The other part is that there are a lot of other great places in the world. As such, many of these folks like to spend their post-cruising years aboard their boats in marinas in Mexico or elsewhere in the tropics. And why not? They are among many friends, the cost of living is low, the pace of life is slower, the health care is more personal and less expensive, and the weather is better. Indeed, once folks who retired from cruising get too old to even live on their boats, many simply buy or rent a place nearby. It's all about quality of life. In places like P.V. and La Paz, for example, it's easy to find a full-time housekeeper/cook/aid for just $300 a month. Flush with social security payments, rental income from your house, and the growing equity in your house, you'd be able to live like a king.
I would disagree with some of this - for folks who have not run rental property, especially from a distance - it can be a real pain and maybe not worth the headache - and a cheap boat is just that - a cheap boat - you usually get what you pay for. The final advice is sound, and we hope our Mexico adventure lives up the the description provided by Mr.Spindler.
And - we will never be back in Seattle (though parts of Washington State are extremely nice).