What about the stuff???
24 March 2017
Each morning I wake to find a bunch of questions posted on "Cruisers and Sailing Forums". I love taking the time to read and respond where I can. A common question is what to "get rid of" before moving aboard. We're all for minimization, a pair of socks comes on, a pair goes off. That being said when closing up a household we did not consider that we may one day move back, which we did. This little post is in respect to this topic :-)
Most of the posts that I have seen here on CF since I've joined last year all talk about moving aboard (myself included). But what happens if you have to, want to, return to a land-based lifestyle? I only remember seeing one recent post concerning life after cruising (but I am sure there are more in older posts).
I like this perspective on considering this very question. We did move aboard and sailed/lived for a decade overseas. We sold the house and all the furniture in it along with most of my larger power tools (that was a minor mistake).
We did keep our real estate holdings and in one of the buildings I carved out a storage area for our more treasured belongings. We had traveled a lot before the "big trip" and had lots of little reminders with special meanings, lots of books (classics and rare) and lots of artwork etc.
After 3 years we ended up in New Zealand where we obtained residency and put our girls in school. On a business trip back to Alaska I arranged to have all that "stuff" sent down. It was like Christmas opening up those boxes and although a bit on the expensive side, putting those items in our new home in NZ made it really feel like home.
7 years later we moved back to the States for a number of reasons which we do not regret at all. This time we hired a 20' container and sent what had been accumulated in NZ back after a BIG GARAGE SALE. Now our Alaskan home has a twenty years worth of history and it's nice to look back over all those memories and tell stories through all those small little items.
REGRET? I should have stored all the big stuff we gave away. Tools first-table saw (2000 sold for probably 500) and lots of stuff like that. All the sports gear, bikes, kayaks, skis, winter wear, Jeep, etc. Perhaps even some of the furniture.
The truth is most all new live aboard cruisers return to land at some point. That would be an interesting survey. The math is pretty straight forward, value of replacing items with storage costs for a given period of time. The sentimental value something different.
So there you go, food for thought :-) Enjoy the journey!