I’ve been back for just a couple of days now and already things are getting complicated, but in a kinda, sorta good way. Allow me to ‘splain.
I figgered on just sitting back here in this little room in Key West for the near future and try to build up some sort of cash reserve. Don’t do anything unusual or expensive. The only real thing I had planned on was renewing the Captain license, which will take a month or two to complete and a few hundred dollars. It’s not essential that I do so, but I’m here, everything I need to renew is here, might as well do it. Now I’m debating if I should even bother. The physical will be the most difficult, if I can’t pass it, then my Captain days would be over. I should be able to pass it, but you never know. Beyond the license, the rest of the summer is clear. Nothing on the horizon which needs tending too. So it would be an ideal time to just not do anything. But then a friend called….shut up. I do so have friends.
Seems she is going away for a few weeks later on and would I mind boat and cat sitting for her. She lives on a trawler at the marina where I just left and is planning a long road trip up north. Rather than subject the cat to endless days of driving she has offered me a place to stay if I keep an eye on things and take care of the cat. Got no problem with doing so but it brings up a slight issue.
My current digs are rented by the week. When I left to go up north last week I was genuinely concerned that I would not have said room when I returned despite assurances from the landlord that I would. As it worked out, I still have the room but if I leave again, and for a longer time, said room will be gone. Meaning when said friend returns from said trip, I will be homeless. Now, I could stay in the room, continue as is, and go over to the boat everyday to feed the cat and check in on the boat. On the other hand, two or three weeks of not having to pay rent would be super nice right now. And if I were indeed homeless when said friend returns, maybe that would be the time to take another trip.
As soon as I got the approximate dates when she would be gone I got online and started shopping airfares to, well, let’s just call the place…Maui. Lo and behold, I can still get a one way for about $410. So now, my evil little mind is churning about. Can I build up enough of a cash reserve between now and then so when the time comes, I can just hop a plane to the Pacific? Is this the right time to go or should I wait awhile longer? Which begs the question, is there ever NOT a right time to go to Maui?
I really have no idea what I will do once I set foot onto Hawaiian soil, or lava as the case may be. I haven’t looked for accommodations other then a campground and a couple of hostels. If I truly want to debase myself, going against all my principles, there is a Harley dealer on the island and they are hiring. I could probably gain employment there rather quickly making things much more better financially to live there. If such a thing were to occur, the chances of me returning to Key West would diminish rapidly. On the other hand, work there until social security kicks in, which is about 3 to 5 years out, and then the hell with it. Question is, would I be able to go back to the worker bee life. Even on a remote Pacific island, it doesn’t sound like something I would want to do again, but money as always comes into play. 3 to 5 years ain’t forever, it just feels that way when you are working retail. Then again, I don’t have to work there, it’s just one opportunity to consider. What I don’t want to happen is to get out there, not have the finances to survive, and not be able to return to Key West. I know, I said I wanted to split time between Maui and Key West, but I have a sneaky suspicion Maui is really going to be nice, and I ain’t gonna wanna leave. Call it a hunch.
This is all assuming I can save enough for the ticket and get out there in the first place. As I mentioned earlier, I can just as easily stay put and try to gain some financial ground here. At least I know what it takes to get through a month in the Conch Republic. And there are other considerations.
In October there is the TBEX convention coming up. I still believe it may be an opportunity to find a sponsor for all this writin’ shit I’ve been doing for the last 4 years. I may be better off to stay put, go to the convention, see how it works out and then go from there. If I can somehow find some sponsors, then my original cunning plans could be put into motion.
I may try to go back up north over the holidays at the end of the year, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. All this would mean putting Hawaii off until 2016. Then again, had I the means to do so a few days ago, I would have taken that right turn at Miami International and I would have been writing this from a beach on the Pacific right now. Maybe I should just say fuck it, and go. But, there is more.
When I was over at the old marina visiting my friend, she was quick to point out a rather nice looking 30′ Islander sitting in the same slip I had just vacated a few months ago. The owner had also run out of money and was trying to sell the vessel at an extremely low, and attractive price. The boat looks good on the outside, has the sails, needs motor work, didn’t see the inside, but looks like a nice deal for the money, which I do not have. My friend has offered to finance the deal if I were so inclined to go back to boat livin’ again, and it is tempting, but no.
Getting back on a boat just brings back all the old problems I was facing before, including slip rent. At least this particular vessel is large enough so if I wanted to, I could go out to the mooring field and be much more comfy. But no. And if I did indeed take it, I would have to go find Charley or another cat because a boat is pretty much useless if you do not have a cat on board. But no. It’s a tempting deal, and if I were indeed in the market, I would consider it, but no. Getting the boat means no Maui. It means no travel except by water. It means upkeep, maintenance, engine work, slip rent, and all the other things I was putting up with on the other boats. Not to mention going into debt, which is a big no. But it would mean living on a sailboat in Key West again.
Adding to all this indecision is the one over riding factor I will have to consider. All my family whom I just visited is in pretty decent health, but they are all over 80. Some are in their 90’s. I told them all, should they require some assistance if something happens, illness, whatever, I can come up and stay for short periods of time. They all still drive which scares the hell out of me. They all have aches and pains that one would expect at that age. Most of their social life is spent visiting doctors who constantly prescribe a myriad of drugs for whatever ails them, a rant for another time. Some have been undergoing treatments for cancer and other fun conditions. Yet they all still live independently, not needing assistance nor constant medical care. This could change at a moments notice and if so, I would need to be up there to help. I owe them. They have taken good care of me over the years…I owe them. So, when said time comes I need to be ready and able to get there.
Getting there from Key West is fairly easy. If I can’t fly, the dog bus will work. If I can get to Ft. Lauderdale, the train, despite the recent miscue is an option. There are ride shares on Facebook if push comes to shove. From Maui? Not quite so easy nor cheap. Although this flight I’ve been constipating on is actually cheaper than the flight I just took up north. Still, I would need to keep a reserve on hand just in case I get the call.
Probably the one thing that kinda bothers me is, if I don’t go to Maui now, if I keep putting it off, I may never get out there. Now, I’ve lived 60 years just fine without going there, but I still want to go. Even if I were to go and hate the place, (unlikely), I still owe it to myself to go and see. Which is what digital nomading is all about. Travel, seeing new places, going on adventures. While staying in Key West ain’t exactly a bad thing, I still want to see other places.
So, here I sit, coming into the beginning of summer, with some really interesting options open to me. Stay in Key West? Go to Maui? Get back on another boat? What to do? Or more better, what would you do? Given similar circumstances, finances are a bit tight but all options are doable, what would you do? It’s a heluva decision to make ain’t it? And when you really think about it, there ain’t no wrong way to go here. At least I’m not seeing none. Each option has more upsides than downsides but wrong? Nope, ain’t seeing it.
So. What will I do?