Share Your World- October 16 2017

Cee always has interesting challenges on her blog. She does photography challenges a lot and she also does this “Share Your World” post every week. Here are her questions (in bold) and my answers for this week.

If you had to move to a country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? This is such a hard question for me. I’ve been thinking of moving overseas for years now. I can’t make up my mind. I’ve considered Mexico (of course), Nicaragua, Panama, Thailand, Chile, Italy, France, Ecuador, Viet Nam, Korea, Ireland, even Russia!

The main reason I haven’t left yet, for anywhere, is that no place will give me a work visa. At least not for anything like what I’ve spent my entire life doing. The only thing I can do (legally) is to teach English. I have now gone and got certified to do that now, but now can’t figure out how to pay all my bills here at home while only earning teachers pay in some foreign country.

IF finances were taken out of the equation, I think I would move to Ireland. I’ve only been there once, but I didn’t want to leave. The people were really friendly and I had such a wonderful time there. I loved the landscape, the weather was gorgeous, and the fact that it’s an island just adds to the perfection for me. I love the music, the sound of the language, the peoples love of literature, horses and whisky. I would move there in a NY second if they would let me!

What color would you like your bedroom to be? Light blue. I would paint a mural on the walls to remind me of the ocean and the ceiling like a starry night. Maybe put some twinkling lights up there. 🙂

What makes you Happy? Make a list of things in your life that bring you joy. A good book. Music, especially cajun, bluegrass or reggae music. Delicious food shared with good friends. Deep conversations, solving the problems of the world. Exploring. Learning new things. Travel. Meeting up with old friends in unexpected places. Creating something beautiful like when my paintings turn out better than I thought they would, or one of my photos comes out perfect, right out of the camera. Sailing. Night watch out at sea where I can really see the stars.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. I read an email from a man, Jon Morrow, who has some major serious medical issues. He somehow managed to overcome all his physical limitations, sold everything he owned, moved to a foreign country (broke), and made a successful blogging career. He talked about how he was able to buy his father a car and how proud he was. I admire him for what he’s been able to do and how he (says) he is helping other people now (I did not buy his program, I’m broke, but it did sound helpful). He’s definitely an inspiration.

A to Z: International Living

Today’s post for the A to Z Challenge is International Living (IL). It’s a magazine that I’ve been subscribing to for around 30 years (I love it- it’s so inspiring!).

I’ve always loved to travel. Even as a baby, living in a cabover camper on the back of dad’s pickup truck. When I got the chance to sail around the world on a couple of traditional sailing ships in high school I was hooked.

Schooner Ariadne

Schooner Ariadne

I wanted to sail around the world and get paid for it! Hopefully I could satisfy my wanderlust that way.

I have been able to do some traveling by sea, through my work as a professional mariner over the last 30+ years. But not nearly enough.

I want to move overseas. Permanently.

International Living has dozens of articles every month describing how others (mostly from US and Canada) have been able to make the move. It gives me all kinds of ideas. Sometimes I actually hurt over wanting it so bad.

IL publishes stories about people who’ve moved overseas and retired, bought property, started businesses (all kinds). People write about how much easier it is to do all of those things in places where the cost of living is so much lower and the bureaucracy is less burdensome (usually). They all mention how much less stress there is and how they’re able to really enjoy day to day life for a change.

I’ve just never felt that I could make it work. That I personally had the skills (and/or money) to be able to last for months, years, decades in foreign lands without being able to work (legally). Yes, I’m sure I could probably find some kind of under the table work (I’ve done it before), but I’m much more cautious now than I was at 16. I don’t want to worry about being deported  and shipped back ‘home’. 🙁

I don’t feel comfortable with just dropping everything and leaving. With not having any money. Money is freedom in my mind. It allows for options. I’m not sure I want to travel as a backpacker, staying in hostels, etc. (in fact I’m pretty sure I don’t). I want to be sure I can at least be safe. I want to be able to move immediately if things start going wrong.

Then again, things here at home are not going very well, in fact it’s becoming unbearable. The more time I spend at home, not working, the more time I have to think. The more time to watch what’s going on in the news, etc. I don’t think things here are going to get any better. I feel like I need to get out while I still can.

I have been trying to follow some of the suggestions in IL for years. Things like find some source of independent income, multiple income sources, learn useful skills, find portable ‘jobs’, etc.

I’ve gone to some of their events over the years. Retire Overseas conferences, Fund Your Life conferences, travel writing and photography courses, etc. I’ve gathered up a lot of great information and met some really cool people, but still haven’t managed to do much to actually make a move. 🙁

I have been buying and renovating property for rental income since 2001. At this point, they mostly pay for themselves. There is only one that still needs supplemental income from my job. Since I have not been able to find work for the last 6+ months, I’ve had to put that one up for sale. I just can’t afford it if I’m not able to find work. Once that one is sold, I should be able to live on savings and rental income for at least a couple of years.

NOT the one I’m selling!

I’m thinking this would be the best time for me to move.

I have no job, I have nothing tying me down. I’ll have enough cash to live on for a couple of years when my house is sold. I even have a ‘useful skill’ now, since I just got certified to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL).

The only thing holding me back now is FEAR.

Now how to get rid of that (along with all the stuff I’ll need to pack up and get rid of so I can leave my house to the renters)?

Quote Me Again

Like I said yesterday for the Daily Post’s prompt, I have more than 1 favorite quote. Quotes that inspire me. Quotes that I wish I could follow more closely. All of my favorite quotes have the same theme. They’re all related in some way or another to FREEDOM.

Yesterdays was about the freedom of a ship at sea. There’s nothing else like it. You’re out there in your own little world. You have to deal with your fellow shipmates, the ship itself, and the surrounding environment. It really is special.

Today, I’d like to share another favorite. I love this quote by Mark Twain (he used to be a riverboat pilot). It really speaks to me, more and more as I get older and more fearful. Also more aware of time passing by. I’ve been wanting to leave the US and travel the world ever since I went to school with the Oceanics when I was a teenager.

I’ve spent my entire life at sea, trying to have those same kinds of experiences again. But the world at sea has changed SO much since then. They’ve taken all the fun and enjoyment out of it. Now, it’s pretty much just another job.

I still love the time off it offers. It gave me plenty of opportunity to travel on my time off. I did, every chance I got. Whenever I had the money and I wasn’t spending my time off in ‘training’, I would take a trip somewhere.

I started investigating what it would take for me to move overseas and found out that I would not be able to do that until I was old enough to retire (or won the lottery).

I don’t have the resources it would take to start a business, which is actually a good option in a lot of places, but I could not find a single country that would allow me to move there and WORK to support myself for the time it would take to become a citizen. The only option left was to teach English.

So, I started looking into learning how to teach English. I was never really very serious about it. I was still able to work offshore and the pay differential is just HUGE. I was able to earn more in 1 day at sea than I would earn as a teacher in a month (or even 2 months)!

So, I continued working and traveling when I could on my time off. Too fearful to take the plunge and just GO. I would never have hesitated when I was younger. I knew then (and I know now) that I could find something to do that would allow me to travel and spend time in a place I liked. Back then, I would never have let worries about not having a work visa stop me from taking whatever opportunities offered.

I know there are people all over the world working under the table as bartenders, waiters, baby-sitters, time-share salesmen, etc. I know I could do a lot of those jobs too. But I’ve been letting my fears stop me from doing anything about my desire to get out of here!

I hate the idea of being forced to give up my chosen livelihood. I really still love working at sea, sailing for a living. I don’t want to give it up and never would have by choice.

So I guess it’s a good thing for me that the price of oil is so low that there is no hope of work for the foreseeable future. If there was, I would still be sitting here at home, spending most of my time applying for non-existent jobs and hoping for a phone call.

Since I finally admitted to myself that there IS no hope, I could finally force myself into signing up for the TEFL course and probably even spending some time afterwards in a foreign country.

I am still fearful, nervous and depressed, but I’m throwing off those lines anyway. 🙂

This is also a post for the Just Jot It January challenge. 🙂

Resolution 2016

It’s New Years, traditionally a time to reflect on the past and think of the future. I’ve pretty much given up on making New Years Resolutions. I always make the same one every year: lose weight. For 40 years I’ve never managed to accomplish that goal. 🙁

If you do make resolutions, you are in step with the ancient Babylonians who started the whole malarkey. They began each year with oaths to kings and gods. The Romans swore to the two-faced god Janus who looked back and forward into the old year and the new.

That was the beginning of an email I got this morning from International Living. It got me interested enough to read further (I’m studying how to write good leads).

I’ve subscribed to their magazine for a LONG time. Just like it sounds, they’re all about living internationally. Somewhere other than your original familiar surroundings.

I’ve been wanting to move overseas somewhere for a LONG time. At this point, I don’t even care too much where, there are so many good choices! Mexico, Belize, Thailand, Italy, France, Philippines, Malaysia, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Chile, etc. The ONLY reason I haven’t done it yet is (of course) money.

It’s MUCH cheaper to live overseas, but you still need to have some money. If I was retired, it would be no problem, but I don’t want to wait another 15+ years to leave. I haven’t yet been able to figure out how the heck to support myself anywhere without being able to work. I’ve researched it and it’s damn near impossible to get a work visa other than as a teacher (and teaching doesn’t pay enough to cover my bills).

But, it IS a way to make the move. It IS a way to immerse yourself into a foreign country, to learn the language and the culture, to live like a local and not like a tourist, to spend enough time in a place to see what it’s really like.

I’ve been researching language schools online. I’m just about ready to sign up for a TEFL course in Mexico. I’m having a hard time adjusting to the idea of staying ashore for that long, but right now I can’t seem to find a ship anyway. 🙁

So maybe this year I should try again to make a resolution. Something a little different. Something to at least move me somewhat nearer my ultimate goal.

Forget about losing weight and just concentrate on trying to find a way to GO somewhere!

Sign up for the course and just go with the flow. Go to Mexico and see what happens. It can’t hurt, right? 🙂

This last quote from the email is some serious motivation. I might just accomplish ALL of my goals if I just concentrate on this one!

And here’s something: A list of the most popular resolutions is identical to the most commonly hailed benefits of a move overseas…lose weight, save money, enjoy life more. “Get organized” is another one on many lists.

My resolution for 2016 is: take the TEFL!

PS-all posts for this month link to Just Jot It January

FYL Finished

The Fund Your Life (FYL) conference finished up this evening. Spent 2 1/2 days soaking up all kinds of information and ideas about how to make a move overseas and actually pay for it (without having to be retired with some sort of pension).

I met all kinds of interesting people. Lots of people from the US and Canada, one lady came all the way from Hong Kong. We all seemed to be in pretty much the same frame of mind. All looking for lower cost of living, less stress, more freedom, more options. Ideas flowing, but not really sure what to do with them.

There are so many options. So many different countries to chose from. And then all the different locations within those countries. Farm and country or city? Cool mountains or warm beaches? English speaking or other?

Things to do to earn income ranged from the traditional idea to buy rental property to working online with elance or publishing ebooks. Lots of ideas to start a business, like open a bar or restaurant, bakery, book store, import-export, leading tours, helping other people make the move, organizing peoples closets, etc.

I’m still not really sure what to do. I’m still not sure where I want to go. I have so many places I’d like to go, things I’d like to do. I hate to even consider the idea of losing my ability to work at sea. I do NOT want to lose my license I worked SO hard to get.

As long as the price of oil stays as low as it is, I don’t know if there’s much I  really can do about that. There really is not much work offshore right now, and I don’t see the job market improving til the oil price does.

I want to stay connected to the maritime world, I want whatever I wind up doing to be in some way related to sailing. I could teach sailing or navigation, I could deliver peoples boats, I could work in a marina. A few people I met told me I should write a book. I’m open to that idea. I have been trying to transition into writing and photography anyway. I just wonder what, specifically, would I write about?

Would you all give me some ideas? Feedback? Would you be interested in a book from me? About my life? About my career? About what it’s like working at sea? About conditions out there? About how YOU could do it?

I’d love to hear any feedback from you. Especially people who are not in the USA. Any ideas for me? I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with. 🙂

TSA Demands Internal Passport for Domestic Travel

TSA Demands Internal Passport for Domestic Travel.

This is another great article from the Dollar Vigilante.

Yep, here we go, following in the footsteps of such wonderful places as NAZI Germany, Soviet Russia (USSR), and Apartheid South Africa. We absolutely MUST stop this! We do NOT need to “show our papers” everywhere we go!!!!! We are NOT slaves or animals that must be constantly tracked and under surveillance!!! Yes, ‘our leaders’ do think so, but why do so many ordinary people go along with them? WTF is WRONG with people, that they would even suggest this???

And, believe me, this will only be the beginning. 🙁

Better be prepared for some SERIOUS SHIT when they get this “law” into effect! I hope to hell I can get myself out of here before the shit hits the fan and I encourage anyone else here in the US to find some options too. The USA is NOT going to be a safe place to be for much longer. Get out while you can!

I was really hoping to make some serious progress in a couple of months when I was due to get my yearly bonus from work. Got news the other day that they’ve cancelled my bonus (not all of it, just stopped earning it from end of the month- it’s a HUGE pay cut). Not just me, everybody was cut! How can they do that? It was in the contract. I guess those are only for one side to obey, the side that doesn’t have the power and money to do whatever they want. 🙁

With the price of oil so low, I guess I should be happy to still have a job. I’m sure the company knows that and so that’s why they’ll do whatever they want regardless of any ‘contracts’.

One step forward and 2 steps back. That’s what it seems like around here. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I can see what’s coming and take steps to prepare for it. It sure as hell adds a lot of stress to life tho.

I’m trying even harder to find some way to get out of the USA. I haven’t been able to find anywhere else to go that will allow me to WORK to support myself. That’s the only holdup. A lot of nice places are OK if you want to just go there to live, or to retire, or if you want to start a business. But they won’t let you work and possibly take a job from a local. I don’t blame them for that, it’s just frustrating for me when I want to leave so badly and I can’t find a way to do it.

Lately, I’ve even looking at just saying screw working anymore. I’ll just get permanent residency somewhere. I MIGHT be able to scrounge up enough to live on til I die. IF I move somewhere cheaper (and I die young). Maybe I’ll get lucky and that country (wherever) won’t deport me to the US when it really gets bad. Just got hit with approx. $3000++ plumbing bill, that kind of thing sure doesn’t help!

Oh well, what can you do but keep trying.

2015- Year In Advance

I just did a post on what I’ve been doing last year. Now I think I’ll write one on what I hope to be doing next year (other than ‘retiring’ from work and spending all my time in   a hammock under the palms on some bright tropical beach with a couple of cute cabana boys fetching me umbrella drinks between our frolics in the clear blue ocean waves). 😉

My major project this year is to get myself located in some other place. I NEED to get out of the United States of America. Most people won’t understand why (it’s political), but it’s been a goal of mine for a long time now. The feeling that I’ve had that I need to leave is just getting stronger all the time.

I’ve put it off for a lot of reasons, #1 being the lack of available work visas (and a trust fund). If I didn’t still have to work to support myself and pay my bills, I would have already moved years ago. I recently found out that Panama has a new visa program and so I have been trying to find a way to get down there to check it out.

I had planned to take a trip down to Costa Rica for a blogging workshop last May and from there head over to Panama to get this whole process started. But I got a new job at the end of May and had to cancel that whole trip. 🙁

Since then, I’ve been trying to get to Panama and haven’t been able to. I had planned to go after I got off the ship this trip, but at the moment I have no idea when that will be or how long I’ll have off. All plans are on hold until I can make sure of my work schedule.

Other than going to Panama, to investigate moving there permanently, I hope to travel more this year. Last year I went to Las Vegas, Korea, and New Orleans for vacations. I wound up going to Aberdeen, Scotland and Luanda, Angola for work. I did get to look around Aberdeen a little bit while I was there, but I haven’t seen anything of Angola except the airport and the drive to/from the hotel.

Seoul Korea for the travel writing workshop

Seoul Korea for the travel writing workshop

There are so many places I’d still like to explore. My #1 travel goal for this year is… Antarctica! It just looks so amazing and I love the fact that the animals are still unafraid of people. I want to get there soon since I’m afraid that the ‘authorities’ will be restricting access even more than they already have. I’d love to take a small ship cruise down there where you can get up close and personal with the landscape and the animals. I hear there are even opportunities to meet some of the people who work down there.

I’d also like to hike up Mt Kilamanjaro and do a safari while in Africa. I hear Botswana is really great for that. Kenya or Tanzania sound good too. The guys from South Africa on here tell me I should go visit their country. 🙂

I’d love to visit India. I’ve always been fascinated by the art and architecture from that region. I think the culture is very interesting and the landscape and wildlife look like it’s a place I really have to spend some time.

I’d love to cruise the Nile and see the Pyramids in Egypt. I love all the history there.

I doubt I’ll even get to go to all of those places I just mentioned, so I’ll leave off on the travel wishes for now. I also want to get a few other things done this year. 😉

I want to finish working on the house I’ve been replacing the rotten siding on for a couple of years now. 😉

I want to get out sailing more often this year. Maybe even get another little Sea Snark so I can go out by myself without having to go all the way up to Houston. I’m so glad I found Sail La Vie so I can go out sailing with them whenever I’m home and have the time, but they almost always go out sailing from Kemah onto Galveston Bay.  I hate having to spend 2-3 hours driving just to get out of the house to do something different!

I want to learn at least basic Portuguese so I can communicate better with the people I work with now.

I want to find more time to work on my art. I like to draw, paint, etc. I’ve seen some classes I can take locally, but never seem to have the time to make it to any of them. Problem is, they’re usually for 4 weeks or more and I’m never home for that long. Maybe I can just go to 1-2 classes? Here’s a picture of a pastel drawing I did while I was out on the tuna boat.

I want to learn more about photography and find the time to work on my photos some more. I want to get signed on to (and accepted at),  at least ONE stock agency.

I want to work more on my writing and improve my style. I really need to figure out how to describe things better. I have always been just a very straight-forward person, both in writing and in person. I don’t know how, but I need to learn how to “show, not tell” when I write. I want to get off my butt and at least ASK a few editors to take a look at my articles!

 

I want to do better with my blog. I’m still learning. I haven’t been able to stick to any kind of ‘editorial calendar’ like I was trying to. I’ve had a really hard time keeping up with other bloggers in the challenges or even keeping in touch at all.

At this point, I have no idea how much (if any) of all that I’ll be able to accomplish this year. My list of things to do this year will probably wind up just like my list of “things to do today”, or “this time home”. Never finished, but never ending. 😉

Do you have lists like that?