What’s it like to quit your job and sail the seas? One guy shares his tale
For almost two years, 27-year-old Dwyer Haney has been living on the high seas. But it was only this week that his nautical adventures attracted worldwide attention.
His viral stardom stemmed from a post on image-hosting site Imgur. In it, the Colorado-born former engineer described how he quit his job, sold all his belongings, bought a sailboat and hit the open waters in April 2014.
The whole thing took a year of planning and required him to learn a new skill: sailing.
“I think it’s important to not just quit in a moment of passion without deciding exactly what it is you want to do and how you’re going to accomplish it,” he told Global News from Chilean Patagonia, where he sailed to from Washington state.
“I’d read a ton about sailing, but I basically had no practical experience. That’s right, I bought a sailboat without knowing how to sail.”
He picked it up quickly, saying it “isn’t the horrendously challenging thing that rich ‘yachties’ make it out to be.”
“The Rascal,” as he named his oceanfront mobile home, cost him $15,000. It’s about the same amount he spent while living on it each year. That paid for things like boat maintenance, marina fees, cell phone service, health insurance and, of course, food.
Choppy waters made chopping food a little tricky, and the kitchen also served as his bedroom, living room, dining room, engine room “and a dozen other things.”
But he’s not complaining. One of the perks of living on a boat: all the fresh seafood. In Mexico, he estimates about half his meals came from the sea.
“I eat pretty damn well on the Rascal, despite the challenges. Lots of local ingredients and local dishes, but also the occasional American classic, too. I try to stay away from canned and processed foods, but sometimes on very long passages it becomes necessary.”
Over the course of his voyage, he’s anchored in hundreds of coves, bays and nooks, each with its own character and charm.
Haney admits he has gotten lonely at times. The biggest low was probably during a 37-day stretch of sailing from the Galapagos to Chile.
“I was totally and completely alone. Literally a thousand miles from the nearest land and I didn’t have any human contact for more than a month,” he wrote on Imgur.
“Before the passage, I vaguely wondered if I’d go crazy, but I managed to adjust to the rhythm of the sea and keep my sanity.”
Somewhere along the 3,500 nautical mile trip, the boat engine caught fire. Haney said it was the scariest moment of his life.
For the most part, though, he’s enjoyed the solitude and has met a lot of “tremendous” people along the way whom he thinks will be life-long friends.
Wherever it may take him, it will need to involve some form of work, perhaps in alternative energy.
“I want to be constantly learning new things and expanding my skillset and I don’t think a ‘regular’ job will fulfill that need for me.”
A high salary isn’t a top priority for him either.
“I’m very comfortable with a simple life…That’s perhaps the most valuable gift this voyage has given me financially.”
His maiden voyage started with $75,000 in the bank — $20,000 of which came from selling his possessions (including his truck), the rest from hard work and frugal living, he said.
“That’s the big secret and most people don’t like that answer.”
“I was making a solid engineer’s salary, living well below my means — buying clothes from thrift stores and sharing a house with several roommates — and I was debt free,” Haney explained.
Scholarships helped fund his degree, and a work stint in China let him save a good chunk of cash. Wise investments helped it grow.
He admits spending the money on a two-year sailing adventure may not have been the most financially responsible decision. But his philosophy is to live life to its fullest, and with no regrets. After all, he said, you never know when the next day may be your last.
“I’ve watched a lot of people from my grandparents’ generation work non-stop for 50 years to save money for retirement only to find that once they hit age 65, they no longer have the health to enjoy themselves.”
His advice to anyone wishing to follow in this tracks?
“Work hard. Live frugally. Save your money. Make a plan. Execute it with passion.”Follow @TrishKozicka
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