September 7th, 2009


Boat rumination

La and I took the van back to Berkeley, so she could have lunch with a friend. I walked around town in my silly Indiana Jones hat and took a few shots with my camera, then got a hot chocolate drink, then took a long nap in the back of the van. We finished the evening by stopping at Drew and Evan's boat again. La and her friend hung out, while Evan and I studied in the galley (him for the CBEST, me assembling photos and writing).

I thought more about the idea of getting a boat... In this economy there are a lot of people - even still - who are trying to unload their luxury goods to cover their collapsed land-baron schemes in the great ponzi-pyramid of the real estate market, and it is possible to get a boat worth two hundred grand for less than a quarter of that, then rent a slip at a local marina which, combined with insurance and a maintenance fund, still comes out to less per month than it costs to rent our current place.

And it really is cool to hang out with Evan and Drew on their boat ... to see all the pieces of it that could be worked on, all the interesting projects that could transpire there ... and to know that, with proper training and a thousand bucks or so, one could motor the entire thing all the way to another continent, exploring as one goes.

But even if La and I were to receive a boat for free, it would mean drastic changes to our life, and some heavy inconvenience, to adapt to life on a boat. We would have to discard most of our good furniture. We would have to accept a less clean, less spacious standard of living. (A boat with as much clean interior room as our current house would cost almost a million dollars, even today.) And we would have to accept all the responsibilities of home ownership with even less flexibility in our future use of it - for example, it is much harder to rent out a furnished boat and go on an extended vacation than it is to rent out an empty house. Furthermore, I'm already very enthusiastic about bicycle travel, and travel to some of the remote interior regions of the world. A boat would be worse than useless for those journeys.

Putting it all together, it actually seems like the sweet spot is not for me to be the owner of a boat, but for me to be a good friend to the owner of a boat, with some cash to contribute - which I would have, if I didn't have a boat of my own to maintain.

Then the possibility becomes: "Hey, guys, let's motor around the world. I'll pay for half of it. You can drop me off in India with my bike and I'll meet you in Spain. And let's equip the boat with satellite internet so I can work remotely. I'll pay for most of that too. Sound good?"