Friday, May 28, 2010

Time Millionaires

The cure for "Time Poverty" is to slow down, be less productive and enjoy every minute of the day. As a sailor I have come more and more appreciative of the concept of time being the only true possession that we can be in control of. Pursuing the dream of becoming a long distance sailor allows for true focus on what is really important in life.

How does one start to accumulate time and become a time millionaire? Stop, sit down, and assess what you are doing while sailing. Do you have all the gadgets and toys on board? Are they making your life simpler or part of the competitive accumulative lifestyle of the modern Western culture?

Take control now! Less is more except when it relates to time. What does 'Slow Living' represent?

Slow living is not doing less. It is pursuing a life with an eye for details. Goals are attained in a less aggressive fashion. Each individual enjoying what they do and interacting with people and live in harmony with both man and nature. The core motives of the slow living include re-inventing the art of simple living, re-establishing family ties, reviving family values and creating leisure time.

For those setting out on the passage of slow living consider building your own boat. While it may not be a great saving in money over the purchase of a used boat, it will be the first slow passage that you will make. The time it takes to consolidate your ideas, find the boat plans that will best meet your needs and then build the boat will establish a bond between you, the boat and everyone else involved in the building process. We built our boat "Easy Go" in less than a year. We have met people who took twenty five years. The end of the process was the same, going sailing in a boat that exactly meets the requirements that you have established. Don't have the skills or initiative to build a boat? Find one that you can afford with your savings, leaving at least half to set out with as a nest egg, then go sailing sooner.

We set out on Easy Go with only the minimum of electronics, no engine, no generated electricity and with less accomplished our goals in crossing the Atlantic Ocean from North America to Europe, Africa and returned with a fresh perspective on what is really necessary for sailing. No motor meant we needed to improve our sailing skills and find alternative modes of propulsion for entering tight harbours and anchorages. Perfecting the use of the yuloh sculling oar allows us to manouever silently in the tightest of harbours. A little breeze makes sculling difficult? Get to know your kedge anchor and work up into that spot you would never have tried with a motor. Setting or retrieving an anchor in absolute silence that sailing on or off the anchor provides many of the most pleasurable moments we have experienced. On passage the wind strengthens and weakens but seldom do we get becalmed. We seldom make a record breaking passage by today's standards, but reading about the passages during the historic period of sail makes us very much the norm. I've always preferred a few extra day at sea enjoying the ocean wilderness and picking up an extra fish than be stuck in an anchorage. Slowing down and assessing the perfect tide and time to come into a harbour or anchorage allows one to transform from the passage maker to the more sedentary life of the harbour community. For us the passage is the destination and when it is over the new place and people we have found are equally important.

The developers of the high-tech world have devised endless "time-saving" devices that range from electronic navigation devices to automated weather reports. These really do reduce chore time for some people, but how do they spend those saved hours? They give them away on the phone or texting friends with inane updates. Not to mention all the time wasted looking for parts or people to repair all these time saving conveniences

We don't have a cell phone. Cell phones were seen by many as the biggest time-waster until texting came along, and now that seems to consume every moment. Studies continue to demonstrate the time wasting that texting causes with thousands of momentary thoughts being transmitted every minute. Who cares? Are we so insecure that we need to tell our 200 closest friends everything we do?  We use email to advise our friends and relatives when we have arrived in a new place. To minimize their worry and give them more time to slow down we keep our information flow to a minimum.

Keeping expenses low and have no preconceptions of where we were going along with a flexible and open itinerary allowed us visit places in depth and get to know the people and cultures. The rewards were greater than visiting more places fleetingly.

We made a few trips inland. We found the best way was to see what was available locally through our new found friends and with contacts in local tour companies we have never been disappointed. Other travellers, whether they are sailors or other long term travellers are the best source of advice in every place we have travelled. Being open, honest and interested in other peoples viewpoints along with a spontaneity and a positive sense of following your instincts will provide just the adventure you were looking for.

Forget the private car. Travel on public transport, chat up the locals, make contact with Taxi drivers and get a "guy" to be your local fixer.

If you don't feel good about the town or anchorage that you are in move along to somewhere that you feel would be better. It is amazing how your perspective of a place can change! If you really like a place and feel sad to be leaving soon, stay a little longer even if it means skipping another destination. Its your time. Use it to acquire the best memories you can. This is capital the we time millionaires collect.

'We are what we eat' goes the adage. The 'Slow Food' culture takes us one step further. It lays emphasis on the belief that 'we are how we eat'.

Slow Food afficinados consider mealtime as a quality time to be spent in the company of  family and friend. We encourage people to take time to prepare their meals and to relish it, by eating slowly. Nnothing can be worse than wolfing down junk food and washing it down with empty calories. This ruins our metabolism and promotes obesity.

Slow food promotes a 'back to nature' culture and persuades people to grow veggies and
fruits in their back yard , support local produce and promote organic products. We find this aspect of 'Slow Living to not be possible with the exception of growing sprouts on our boat. We do however visit many places both urban and remote that have exceptional local fresh food markets. Fish fresh from the sea, vegetables with soil adhering and meat that was freshly butchered in the morning are all experiences we have had. Staying long enough in one place allows a personal relationship to develop between the market vendor and yourself. More than once an item for a special customer has found its way into our grocery bag. We've also been advised to come back tomorrow as there will be better produce coming in then. Need a special item? No problem, just ask.

Cooking slow also adds to the quality of our life. A slow cooker on the stove all day provides an aromatic ambience. Using a pressure cooker can speed up the cooking process, when necessary, and also adds an element of safety when at sea in a lumpy seaway.

There's no question that the stress of modern life is causing numerous health problems, but much of that stress is self-inflicted. Many people are just trying to do too much, trying to fill every moment with "stuff," and it's killing them. These people are suffering time poverty.

Sailing is, by its very nature, a Slow Movement.  Whether you're going out for a couple of hours or a couple of years, it's a fine way to reduce the stress of our everyday lives. 

During a long passage, Slow Books are prized and you actually have the time to enjoy several chapters at one sitting. Once you arrive at your destination, trading books and doing more reading takes the place of mindless television and video games. Looking for the local library is always a high priority for us. Slow Living allows us to sit back and enjoy the sunrise and the sunset, without feeling that we need to be accomplishing something else.

When we're offshore, there are no video games or cell phones or other distractions to erode "family time."  We work together to make the boat go … we trim sails and set courses and check the windvane steering to ensure that it is steering the boat properly. Its not as easy as pressing the starter in the car and going for a drive, but its far, far better.

In these changing economic times, we need to rethink our priorities and return to the values of a simpler time. Inexpensive sources of energy are being getting harder to find. Wind is one of the few sources of energy that cannot increase in price. Its always had the same Wind is there for the taking by those who have the time.

Let's start a Time Millionaires Movement, but let's do it slowly and build our own time equity as Time Millionaires!

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