I’ll admit, being 45 at the time, I already had a history of 15 years hard work behind me, so I was not starting from scratch, but I was still many hundreds of thousands of dollars away from our goal of sailing away.
OK, so don’t be scared off by the many hundreds of thousands statement – cruising can be done on many boats at many different cost levels, but having a family (now 3 kids) we decided we wanted a Catamaran and we wanted space, so we will be looking in the 42 to 46 foot range, which come with a certain price tag and maintenance costs are considerably larger than say a 38 foot monohull. We did consider a monohull, but the kids really don’t like the healing and its just plain tiring continually having to brace.
A few years before this monumental decision I was made redundant and with the pittance of a redundancy package I decided to set up my own small company. Having many years experience in the post production film industry, I decided to go it alone and set up my own film and DVD business. Now owning a small business is very hard work, especially at the beginning, where it is all work and very little pay, but with perseverance and baby steps, they can be built up to provide a good income.
A good income though is simply that, a good income, nothing spectacular and with children, certainly not enough to propel you into the realms of cruiser-life, unless maybe there are two of you with a good income and no kids. So what to do? Having arrived in Perth, Australia before the housing boom, we were lucky to get into the housing market before it went bananas, so after several years we had a very large chunk of equity in the house. In a moment of pure madness, I thought why have one business when you can have two? So we leveraged the equity in the house and purchased a small and run down Cafe in the heart of Fremantle WA.
After some quick renovations, bringing in the finest coffee machine money can buy (a hand made Synesso out of the USA) and some serious barista training from the WA barista champion, we brought in a new cook and set up shop. Now before we purchased the cafe a friend of a friend (previous Cafe owner) told me that the two best days of owning a cafe are the day you buy it and the day you sell it and man I can tell you that is spot on, with the selling day being far superior.
I my eagerness to get up two businesses I had not really thought it through and was quickly hit with the stark realisation that running a Cafe is not easy and is hugely time consuming, which was compounded by the admiral getting pregnant. So the next 18 months were spent working 7 days and around 100 hours per week and caused some serious burnout and a couple of health issues that are still kicking around today.
The good thing was that we had turned the cafe around from its previous owners, so managed to sell with a bit of a profit and put to bed one of the darker chapters of our lives. So financially with the profit from the sale and running two businesses we had moved a step closer, but were still massively off our goal, so onward and upwards as they say.