My wife and I have decided to start implementing a 5 year plan. The ultimate goal of the plan is to end up living on a boat on Kent Island in Maryland. For me, the dream of living on the water started when I was a kid and my family had a small trailer in a campground just outside of Rehobeth Beach, Delaware.
The time spent at the beach and the time spent fishing with my Dad and UD provided me with some of my fondest memories. The trailer was nothing special and, at the beginning, the boats we on the older side and required constant repair, but I fell in love with salt water fishing and the time spent on the water. It was a fantastic time in my life. I got to spend the days on the Rehobeth and Indian River bays, and the evenings with whole family cooking dinners over a camp fire and just spending a lot of time together.
Once I graduated high school, I left Central Pennsylvania and started a new adventure in Newport News, Virginia and Virginia Beach. I took an apprenticeship at Newport News Ship Building where I had the opportunity to be a part of building Virginia Class Submarines and Nimitz Class Aircraft Carriers. The work was amazing and I was learning something new every day. But, as an 18 year old living on my own in a town like Virginia Beach, I made some poor decisions. After 2 years of being on my own, I decided to move home. My family, of course, welcomed me home with open arms and I started over.
At the time, my Father owned a small construction company so I went to work for the family business. It was not long before my middle brother, Matt, joined us and then, for a short time, my youngest brother, Kirk. We all were able to build a fairly successful small construction company. One of the larger companies, A. P. Williams, that we subcontracted to, wanted my Dad to come work for them full-time, and made him an offer he could not pass up. At that point, Matt and I finished the outstanding work we had on the books and closed the company. Matt went to college and I went to work for a sister company of A. P. Williams. I worked my way up to a Foreman position very quickly. Once I reached that level, there was no more room for me to advance.
The next step was to transfer over to A. P. Williams. Paul Williams took me under his wing, and started training me to manage larger commercial construction projects. At the same time, my Father and many others at A. P. trained me in commercial carpentry. Fast forward 12 years and I have worked my way up to being a Project Manager, Safety Officer, Personnel Manager, and general office maintenance man. I think I have done pretty well for myself for someone who’s formal education stopped after high school.
I have always subscribed to the thinking that I work very hard and the only way to justify all this hard work was to buy things that I thought I would enjoy. I work hard so I can play harder, and I am very good at spending money.
Moving down the road of life, I started seeing many people that I worked with passing away too young and without being able to enjoy the later years of life when the work is finished and they could enjoy the fruits of all of their hard work. I started to really wonder if the worst were to happen, could I say that I have no regrets? I put these thoughts out of my head and continued to work well over 40 hours a week. I have said many times, when it is finally time to retire, I would buy a boat and move aboard to cruise anywhere I wanted to, and fish as much as any person possibly could. I spent hours looking a boats on the internet and wearing my wife out with constant talk of moving aboard and cruising off into the sunset, someday.
Then the stress of my work started to consume me. Along with the stress, a former class mate and friend of mine quit his very stable (and I assume well-paying) job to hike the Appalachian Trail. Very quickly, the thoughts and dreams of picking up and starting over on a boat rushed back. Then, over the summer, another former class mate of mine passed away. I started thinking even more. I work and I buy and I work. Is all the stuff; the house, the cars, the motorcycle, and all the smaller “stuff” worth all the stress? Would I be happier doing things I wanted to do rather than surrounding myself with “stuff?” How long do I really have on this earth to do those things?
I then began talking to my wife about really making this happen sooner rather than later.
To my complete surprise, she was having the same feelings. With that revelation, our new adventure began!