They say you can live on sunshine and coconuts.
Certainly, there are plenty of people living the dream on frighteningly small budgets: Young couples on tiny Wharram catamarans – old men sailing ancient gaffers held together with string…
But it’s always going to be easier if you have some money behind you.
If you’ve read my story, you will have noticed a cryptic reference to the way I “learned to make a living without going back to work.”
That was in 2005. We had been ashore for six years. We had tried everything. We registered as childminders, started doing Bed & Breakfast in the attic. I earned what I could from freelance journalism.
In the end, I was reduced to applying for jobs paying about a quarter of what I used to get for the one I had given up – except that his time, nobody hired me.
That was when I got lucky. Somebody gave me a leaflet describing a way you could make money from home in your own time – a regular income, or so it seemed. What was so lucky was that, if I had found a proper job by then, I would have dismissed the leaflet as some sort of a scam – but at that moment I didn’t have any other options. I put my doubts to one side and gave it a go.
Actually, I did more than that. I worked hard to learn the business and then I worked hard at doing it.
It was only then that I discovered why I had been so lucky: If I had worked that hard in a job for someone else, I would have been paid whatever they were offering but if I wanted any more, I would have had to ask for it – and persuade the boss to agree…
More importantly, if I had wanted to stop work and go sailing, the money would have stopped – and if I had not taken some of my income and paid into a pension fund, then there would have been no more for me when I got old.
To my enduring astonishment, the “little part-time thing” described on that leaflet (the one that I very nearly dismissed as “some kind of scam”) continues to pay me in full even though I retired in 2016. Moreover, the company gave me share options. The shares did well and I was able to buy my boat and pay not only for all the work the surveyor demanded but also a “wish list” ranging from a £1,200 feathering propellor to a new teak rail and Coppercoat anti-fouling.
All these years later, it is still paying me. It is my major source of income. If I do nothing at all, the money continues to come in every month. If I fall over the side and drown, the money will continue to come in every month (and be paid to my estate instead).
When I have a mobile phone signal, I like to go back to it and do just as much as I please – in which case I get paid extra. But that’s up to me. I don’t have to if I don’t feel like it. I’ll still get paid.
I could tell you what it involves but for that, I would need to get the company’s marketing department to approve every post on this blog and all the new ones in the future – and after a lifetime fighting to get my copy past newspaper lawyers, I’m afraid I can’t face going through all that again.
But I have written down a full explanation together with all the pro’s and con’s and placed this in a private Google Documents folder.
If you are based in the UK (or living aboard and have a UK bank account) and you would like to know more, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org