The Imperfect Boat – Bradley

You know how frustrating it is to read something that really resonates and then not be able to find it again? That happened to me recently.

I read a very inspiring blog post about the reduction of stress when the author lowered her expectations about finding the perfect Loop boat. At least, that is how I remembered it. But I COULD NOT find it to verify. I literally spent four hours of my Christmas vacation going through Facebook and various Looper blogs looking for it.

It was a timely article. We are just about at the point where if a perfect boat came along, we would consider pursuing it. They say it takes up to two years to find THE boat, so we are almost at the beginning of the serious search. I knew I needed to find that article!

I said a short prayer and voila, there it was, but on the AGLCA forum…NOT FaceBook. Things are always in the last place you look, aren’t they?

The article is “My Imperfect Boat: Sometimes Settling for Less is Okay” by Julie Bradley.

Julie and Glen, like Lance and I, are from the western US, so getting across the continent to see a boat in person is a significant outlay of time and expense. She tells of the time they drove at warp-speed across the country during the pandemic, only to find that the perfect-on-paper boat had been to the bottom in a hurricane! A deal breaker, for sure.

“My husband Glen and I were among the perpetually disappointed….A search that began with enthusiasm and excitement became drudge and disappointment.”

This descent from excitement to drudge and disappointment really painted a bleak picture for me. I can totally see the excitement side of things. Heck, we have not even looked at a single loop boat, but we can spend hours online looking at Yacht World. It is exciting!

The search for a looper boat represents hope, the hope of things to come.

The fact that it can become drudgery is a bit, well, disturbing.  Will that be our experience too?

They say you learn from experience, but it doesn’t have to be your own experience. This is why I wanted so much to find Julie’s post. Was there something in their experience that might make ours smoother, less stressful?

In the case of Julie and Glen, it was not until they changed their mindset and the filters through which they were looking that they had success in their boat search.

“Finally, we let go of our quest for the impossible and decided to look for one that was less perfect. Almost immediately, we were successful.”

You need to click through and read her whole article. She is a published author and writes very well, with plenty of insight. (But go ahead and finish this post first for some context. Once you click to her site, you’ll not want to leave.)

Not your typical Loopers

Julie and Glen are not your typical loopers. They have some serious boating credentials. They retired early and spent seven years circumnavigating the globe in their own sailboat! I am halfway through her book about the trip, Escape from the Ordinary. It’s REALLY great reading.

It seems to me that for that adventure, they DID have the perfect boat. It was a brand new, ocean going French-built sailboat well known for its durability. That well-built boat saved their lives on their round-the-world voyage. (Maybe more than once…I’m just part-way through the book!)

Having experienced a perfect boat, it is reasonable to think they would expect to find a perfect boat for their loop adventure. Knowing the back-story makes the mind-shift to adjust their loop boat expectations all the more significant. It makes me appreciate her wisdom on the subject even more.

I am reminded of Captain John’s words: “Once I realized my dream was “the voyage” and not “the boat”. My dream became an instantly affordable reality.”

These are words I need to internalize as we search for our loop boat.

The Financial Aspect

I was interested to hear about Julie and Glen’s circumnavigation, but just as excited to hear that she knows about the “Financial Independence Retire Early” (FIRE) movement, and is a poster child for how it can work. (The FI in Great Loop FI stands for “financial independence”.)

A couple years ago, Julie wrote an article for Money magazine about how they were able to sail off into the sunset at ages 40 and 55, “I Retired at 40 to Sail Around the World – Here Are the Strategies I Used to Make it Possible“.

She writes about having a long-term plan and the focused discipline to save and invest over time. She speaks of choosing a career with a pension. She talks about some of the changes to the plan that were necessary when it was time to buy their sailboat. She tells of their innovative, out-of-the-box solution to getting a boat that would meet their needs on their budget.

I am so glad to have “met” Julie and look forward to reading more of her writings.