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A single moment can change your life: one year since KABLAM!

A single moment can change your life: one year since KABLAM!

 

One year ago today, our lives changed. In such a huge way that it prompted us to take a hard look at every element of our reality. And then start over from scratch.

Well, not entirely from scratch. Our marriage provided a good foundation. And we weren’t going to get rid of Katie. But that’s about where we drew the line. The three of us, our family, was all we needed from the life we once live.

When most people lose their job (or leave their job), they simply find a new job, cut some corners until income and expenses level back out and proceed forward. Changing jobs is generally a minor blip, a bump in the road. It’s not often a reason to sell your house and all of your belongings and move onto a sailboat in another state.

1500 square foot house

But I’ve never been much like most people. I always take the road less traveled. I zig when everyone else zags and the idea of simply finding a new job and moving forward at the pace we were going was exhausting. For me, leaving (losing) my job was an excuse to try something new, something different, something more adventurous.

So here we are. Fast forward one year, and Jim and I (and Katie) live on a sailboat in the Pacific Northwest. If you had told me a year and one day ago that this is where I’d be right now, I would have laughed in your face.

We spend our time working for ourselves, building our own businesses (Life at Six Knots and our wedding photography business), and sailing whenever we can. We’ve made new friends, created new daily routines, and we are, quite simply, loving life.

living on a sailboat

We weren’t sure living tiny was going to work for us. Can anyone truly be sure of something like that without trying it first? We downsized from 1500 square feet of house to somewhere in the region of 250 square feet of boat. And that space is not only our living quarters, but our office as well.

But tiny living does suit us. I love that we use every square inch of our space. I love that we don’t have cluttered closets and piles of things we need to find homes for. I love that all I really need to do my job is my camera, my laptop and some internet connection. Oh, and a steady stream of coffee, but that’s a different story.

chemex coffee

And though its hard as hell, I love self-employment. I love that I don’t sit at a desk working for someone else. I love that I create my own schedule, that I can start at 10 am and work until 8 pm if I want to. Or I can take a Wednesday off and work on Saturday.  Or stop working at 2 pm and then start again at 6. There’s so much freedom in it, even though I work probably twice as many hours as I did when I worked for someone else. Those hours are all mine.

I used to worry that my life was doomed to be stuck in the rut of working a job I didn’t enjoy, living in a town I didn’t feel a connection to and waiting the days away until I could go on my next vacation. But all it takes is one moment, one sentence, one snap decision to send your life into a completely different, completely awesome new direction. As long as you have the courage to let it.

Have you ever done a complete 180 in life? Tell us about it!

 

Cheers!

 

Reflecting on our Six Month Live-Aboard-iversary

Reflecting on our Six Month Live-Aboard-iversary

We’ve spent the last two weeks in California in our old surroundings, visiting with our family and friends. And it has been great. And hard. And trying. And fun. And it has given us a chance to reflect on all of the changes we’ve made in our lives in the past six months.

life at six knots

It’s crazy to think it’s been that long. Six months. Half of a year. And three days. Since we became official liveaboards. Of course, all of the changing came about a bit longer ago than that. Gosh, we’re rounding the ten month mark on that. How has it already been ten months?! But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re talking about the six month mark.

life at six knots

Six months ago. We’d been “sneak aboards” on Willow for just about a month before we got the call from the port to let us know they had a liveaboard spot available. We were out on the boat in Liberty Bay with Jim’s parents who had come to visit us. They knew right away what the call was when my face lit up with a smile I could hardly contain. It was the moment we’d been waiting for and we began celebrating immediately!

I’d be lying if I said we hadn’t been stressing about it. In Washington, you’re allowed to “live” on your boat for 90 days out of the year, and 30 days out of every 45 (I think….we were trying to ignore that one and focusing more on the 90 days). We’d been told not to worry about it, that the port wouldn’t kick us out if it went beyond that. But we are rule followers, so we were concerned about what we’d do and what our options were.

life at six knots
Moving all of our stuff aboard.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to worry for long, and here we are, six months as legal liveaboards.

I didn’t think much about it until we returned to California. We settled nicely into life on the boat. It feels natural to us, like where we are supposed to be. But now we are in California, cleaning out the rest of our storage unit, selling more stuff, and shooting a wedding. We’ve been living in a regular old house, showering without having to feed a machine quarters or worrying about running out of hot water (despite the port’s fancy new tankless water heater), watching cable television, and preparing meals in a full-sized kitchen.

life at six knots
Signing the paperwork for the purchase of Willow.

But with access to all of these modern luxuries (things most people take completely for granted, by the way), we actually find ourselves missing the boat.

I love our tiny kitchen, our fridge with just enough room for food we’ll eat within the week. Even our tiny three (though you can only use two at a time)-burner stove and tiny oven. It’s the perfect size for just the two of us. Even for four of us if we have friends over.

life at six knots
Cooking risotto for four.
life at six knots
Our first breakfast aboard Willow: muffins from the farmer’s market and coffee from Hot Shots.

We’ve realized that we don’t need the king-sized bed we used to sleep on.

We quite enjoy the smallness of our space. We use all of it, and we don’t need any more.

We miss how so much of our lives occurs outside. Those walks up to the bathrooms to take a shower are inconvenient, but we love that they take us outdoors, give us a little exercise and fresh air.

We love waking up every morning already on the water. Sunrise at the marina is so peaceful and quiet and lovely. Really, it’s wonderful all day, but sunrise is particularly special.

life at six knots

We miss our tiny town, where we can walk almost anywhere we need to go, where we leave our boat and almost inevitably run into someone we know. We miss the sense that we belong to the community and that it belongs to us.

life at six knots
Peter, the old owner of our boat showing Jim how to use Navionics.

Ten months ago, before we began this journey, we never would have guessed that we would be living on a sailboat in the Pacific Northwest. We wouldn’t have imagined we’d be surrounded by so many amazing people or that our lives would feel so full.

And six months ago, when we were granted liveaboard status in Poulsbo, we couldn’t have imagined that it would be exactly where we belong.

 

Cheers!

Trip to California, Part 1

Trip to California, Part 1

This month we are hanging out in California. With work commitments and a storage unit full of stuff we need to either get rid of or move to Washington, the way was paved for us to spend a significant chunk of the month.

Since we needed to bring back a bunch of stuff, we opted to drive down. Part one of our journey includes our road trip down as well as our stay in South Lake Tahoe with Granny Judy.

Sadly, we had to leave Katie with our friends, but don’t feel too sorry for her. She enjoys being an honorary member of their family!

Cheers!

Welcome to Life at Six Knots!

Welcome to Life at Six Knots!

Hi there! And welcome to Life at Six Knots! We are Jim and Stephanie (and Katie, the boat dog!) and we live on a 36 foot sailboat in the Pacific Northwest. Here we will chronicle our life aboard as well as our sailing adventures, some projects on the boat, probably some recipes and tons of photos, since we are photographers and that’s pretty much what we do.

This is not a sailing blog (though there will be plenty of that!). It’s a life blog that revolves around sailing. The video below will explain a bit about how we got here and why we decided to sell most of our worldly possessions and move onto a boat.

If you have questions, comments or are interested in learning more about us and Willow, feel free to comment below. And please follow us on social media for up to the minute updates on our life at six knots!