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where it all began

I began this journey in 2011 when I first moved to San Francisco. Because it comes up often, I thought I’d compile a brief timeline of the story to make sense to how I got to where I am now. When I moved to San Fran from Arizona, I couldn’t find anywhere to live. As a recent college graduate, I struck out left and right and was not able to make ends meet on my $40k salary.

I sold everything (and I mean everything, I have no storage unit or anything stored at anyones house) and moved onto a boat I knew nothing about. I’d never even stepped aboard a sailboat before! It was a Columbia 26′, and I learned so much my two and a half years aboard. It was an invaluable learning experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

After I’d gotten the boat sailing and paid off all my debts and saved up some money, I was ready to move up to a larger boat. Almost immediately, Coconut came to me and I had someone begging to buy my little Columbia. It was a seamless transition, although I had a whole lot to learn about stainless steel water tanks, an inboard engine, fixing leaks, etc. I bought Coconut in May of 2014 and have been working and living aboard ever since.

I tried to switch careers in 2015 but was severely injured and ended up going back to school. My PTSD from military service (along with chronic back pain from heavy lifting and eyesight issues caused by a surgery while in service) has left me unable to work. I always try to make the best of situations, while depression and anxiety take a hold of me most days, I would love to be able to find a way to help other Veterans suffering in silence like I often have.

If you are curious about the work and adventures I had on my little Columbia, search for the category “Columbia” and all the posts will come up. There are a lot of shenanigans to sift through, but I really enjoyed the simplicity of the tiny boat. I absolutely adore the space and comfort I have aboard Coconut, however, and am so happy to call her my home.

As for how this all has worked for me, I’ve gotten pretty lucky. I’ve always been pretty resilient and independent. I started traveling in middle school / high school and knew I wanted to see more of the world as I got older. I couldn’t figure out how to have a stable office job while also having time to explore remote areas in other countries (hint: you can’t!). Being that I’ve got my doggies, when I learned people sailed around on their boats with their pets (and kids), I was instantly fascinated.

On some level I knew there were people out there doing cool things like this, however I did not ever think I could be one of them. The stars aligned, I worked my butt off, and here I am. My goal is to not return to the US by boat at least for many years to come. I may be a little slow at the beginning, but I want to make sure all my ducks are in a row and that I have taken care of as much as I possibly can before leaving for good.

Wish me luck and thank you for following along on my journey!

2 replies on “where it all began”

You just never know where your life may lead, eh!? 2011 was the first time I ever stepped foot on a sailboat as well, and now I cannot imagine my life without boats. It was interesting to read a bit about your journey and the creativity and resilience that have led you to this life. Thanks for sharing! -Jessie

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