If you have ever dreamed of escaping the 9 to 5 and following your dreams and then doubted that you could, remember others have already! Allow us to introduce you to more of our fellow “Escapee’s”.
Their answers may inspire you too to follow your dream.
We met Carolyn and Ed Saari when they advertised for a housesitter to look after their pets and home in Puerto Rico. We soon realized that they had not led a traditional life, yet seem to have enjoyed every minute of it. Carolyn agreed to share some insights with us.
Why move overseas?
“When I first met my husband Ed, he said he wanted to build a sailboat and go cruising. I had recently started sailing, owned my own boat, and that sounded good to me! I was on a career track, and that plan would have meant giving it all up, but the adventure appealed to me, as did the guy! We set a date to leave and then we spent 3 years building the boat. We got married shortly after launching and left within a month of our target date set 4 years prior”.
How old where you when you escaped?
“Both of us were just under 30. We’re glad we didn’t wait until we were older, or we probably would never have done it”.
What were they looking for?
“We were unhappy with the rigid lifestyle of the States and high level of consumerism. We felt a self-sufficient and simpler lifestyle was right for us. (And we still do) We built our own boat, and emphasized self-reliance when fitting it out. It was very satisfying to know that together, we had the skills to do most of the work and maintenance ourselves”.
When and how did you move?
“In November 1981 we left West Palm Beach, Florida, in our Jim Brown designed Searunner 37 Trimaran, named Triumph. Before we left, we sold both cars, all the furniture and everything else we couldn’t take with us to live in a very small space. We sailed up and down the island chain, crossed the Atlantic to spend two years in Europe, then criss-crossed the Caribbean countless times North to South between Puerto Rico and Venezuela to spend hurricane seasons in the south”.
What where the biggest challenges for you?
“Occasionally, the biggest challenge was just staying alive! Not often, but seriously, boat maintenance was a big challenge to keep us safe in all weather. Maintenance is an ongoing thing, and you need to do something for the boat every day. Family back home just didn’t get it. We always had the idea that we were going to sea at our own risk, and that if something bad happened, we needed to figure it out for ourselves. That is, not to expect someone else to risk their lives or property coming to look for us”.
Carolyn also experienced a lot of pressure from family and friends to stay on the expected path. She explains. “For me there was another challenge in the first year or so, because I had been in a career-type job and just gave it all up, in spite of family pressure. At first, it was difficult for me to get into the mind-set of not having a paycheck or that I was not living up to what I had been brought up to do. That is, have a career. I also worried that we would not have enough money. But money was never an issue. We had some savings as backup, but casual work would always come along, many times when we weren’t looking for it. We were able to work in a lot of different places and always saved enough money to continue the next part of the adventure.”
Any advice to others?
“If you really want to change your life, make a plan and do it. It’s not for everyone. But, do the research and the math first, to make sure it will work for you. It helps to have a good partner for support, who is truly committed to the same dream. If you each have different expectations, it won’t work out. We have had a very satisfying and interesting life, after almost 28 years living aboard. But, we also knew at the same time when we had had enough and when it was time to move on to the next stage of our lives”.
We will be hearing more from Carolyn and Ed as they have always had pets and have often needed house sitters.
This and more Escapee profiles to come. We look forward to hearing your feedback, comments or ideas for further profiles.