Lars Bergstrom talks about giving up the expected life and starting over on a boat.
The night that my wife Carrie said to me “maybe we should live on a boat” it was like a switch was flipped.
I hadn’t allowed myself to think about living aboard since we first moved in together almost 11 years ago. I decided back then that I would never regret selling “Jesail” my ferro-cement ketch, and so I would not think of or consider living aboard untill we retired.
That was the plan; and so we spent the next 10 years:
- Pursuing my career
- Finding good schools
- Buying a house
- Acquiring things
- Starting our own business
We had it all!
The “American Dream”.
We struggled to keep this dream alive and still find time and money for the quality of life we wanted. The business took more and more of our time and seemed to pay less and less as it grew.
Soon it was the business that owned us!
And I, though a great craftsman, was no businessman.
We were way over leveraged and getting more and more in debt each week. I may have been able to work hard enough to save the business, but I longed to spend time with my family before it was too late.
We needed a drastic change and we were considering all our options when it happened.
That switch sparked a blaze, where before I never considered it, now I could not stop thinking about it. Boats are my comfort zone. I know them literally inside and out.
I remembered now that I had always imagined raising kids aboard.
The Suburbia-Ditching Bergstrom Family.
A younger Lars at the helm of his beloved "Jesail".
I never really “wanted” a house, or a “real job” but when you are suddenly a parent you do what you think is right. What you’ve been taught is right. This was plain enough in hind sight.
In addition to the financial dilemma there was something else happening to me. I had started to become aware of the very serious nature of plastic pollution. I had always tried to support Carrie’s efforts to refuse, recycle, and compost, but I didn’t think much about it. Nor did I think about the fact that everything I made was 100% non degradable toxic plastic!
This added to my depression. Had we not decided to close the business I’m sure I’d have succumbed to my depression alltogether.
We had many discussions about the pros and cons of what we were contemplating.
We would be effectively dumping everything we had worked for over the last 10 years.
We did not take this decision lightly.
If we sold the house we’d have just enough to to buy some beaten up old fixer upper of a boat and we’d have nothing else. No savings, no possessions, and likely no career.
In addition it was going to be very difficult to complete all the backlogged work that we had taken deposits for. With no employees I’d have to work night and day for several months (assuming our customers would wait that long).
We decided that we were going to have to start over either way.
We were disenfranchised with societal norms and ready for simpler life.
We might regret selling the house but we would never regret moving aboard and going cruising. The decision was made.
No matter what happened next it was sure to be an adventure!