Wednesday, 7 December 2011

So it Falls into Place

The Golden Cloud 7/11/11

And so the future begins to fall into place. Although it is hard to organise 2 boatyards, a haulage company, and the broker, as everyone has different perogatives, insentives, and holiday's booked, I feel I'm begining to get there.

Today was an important day in the development of this story as today a date for moving my boat was decided. Friday the 30th December. So the plan is set, instead of coming back to the hotel on the 29th after my xmas holidays at home, I will carry on up to my boat. That evening I will prepare her for travel, de-rig her, de-mast her, and secure everything onboard. The next morning the boatyard will put her in the water on a crane, there she will stay for 2 hours to check the hull is watertight and sound. After that onto the lorry and the the ~70mile drive through the Welsh Mountains to my final destination.

The proximity, the closeness of this all makes it so exciting and yet so scary. Soon I will not be living a normal life, I'll be living out there, kept warm by a mere 15mm of plywood. 

Now dad, mum, my sister, my neighbours, god parents, friends, and relatives all can see this is something my heart is set on, and can see that this is the way I'm going, for now at least!

Now before I start this journey I need to secure some ground rules. Reading the book "The Moneyless Man" (a great motivation towards my new lifestyle choice), a key part in the authors success in becoming sustainable and successfully moneyless was ground rules. While in the film "Yes Man" the lead character at first can only successfully say yes to every opportunity in the believe that he had to due to a "covenant". The ground rules must reflect the key objectives of the project, and so must be carefully chosen. They must help me get to were I want to be, and get there happy and healthy. 

1) Every month's food bills cheaper than the last:
The main issue I'm up against is living costs. With my future rent at the yard at £14 p/w, my biggest regular cost is now food. Now as an avid fan of on TV and books based on sustainability and outdoors (such as River Cottage, episodes of Grand Designs, Ray Mears, Moneyless Man, Sustainability Bible, and Food For Free), I know there is no need for this to be the case. Nature has a plentyful bounty available for my nurishment, and I can think of no place where this is more true than in a river estuary by the sea, with woods, pasture, cliffs, rocks, sand dunes, salt marshes, and sand flats all in walking distance. Now the reasons I don't start the ball rolling by saying I want all my food to be free, are numerous. A) Its now the bleak mid-winter. The totally wrong time to start living off the land, there are few mushrooms, no fruits, few vegetables, and many of the summer fish stocks have left welsh shores. There simply isn't enough food about for a novice to go in head first. B) I'm a novice, yes I've read books, yes I've watched almost every episode of River Cottage, but I have few ideas where to start. C) I'm doing a masters at the moment. More than anything I am doing this so I can afford to finish my masters so I cannot give all the daylight hours to looking for food. As the days grow longer in the new year, more time will be available for finding food, I will have more knowledge of where to find it, and I will have more skills and equipment on how to catch and cook it.

2) Finish the Masters by 2013:
The whole point of doing this is so I can afford my masters, there is no point saving the money to finish but not actually completing it. 2013 however, does give me an extension on the expected hand in date of sept. 2012, yet I think I can do so much in this summer to improve me as a person the extra 4 months will be worth it.

3) Write a record everyday:
This project is something huge in my life. The stories, experiences, and adventures along the way will change the way I live in years to come. They'll also be something for the family at Christmas! So I need to make sure I don't forget it. I also think stopping for half an hour each day to think what I've done will help me see the good points, the advantages, and the improvements. Chances are in the long run i'll forget the bad stuff. Also a record of what works and what doesn't will help when I do something again. I'll write the record every day, and then every so often turn these entries into the blog. Fingers crossed it doesn't just go boring!

4) Any spare cash is spent on the Golden Cloud
Now this is the moment my parents get to reading the blog then call me saying are you being stupid!!!!
But there is method in the madness. The 'Cloud is the core of this journey I'm beginning, and so if I work on her, and improve her, I improve the journey. Now admittedly it won't be every penny of spare cash, it will be the cash with a spare grand to push me through any hard times. A major issue of my plan that many don't understand is "if you've got the cash to buy a boat, how can you not afford a house". But I'm playing a very delicate balance here at the moment. I earned the majority of my years budget working the summer, and so I'm trickle feeding the penny's across from these savings to pay for the years costs. Projections in conventional housing were not pretty. The move to the 'cloud  should save massively in the long run, its investing in the future.

5) Take any opportunity that presents itself.
The film Yes Man and the book Moneyless Man shows this perfectly, if an opportunity arrises, it may be hard work to help someone out when your tight on time, but in the long run, Karma will ensure the people help you back!

6) The Good Life, or Sustainable Man, not The Gypo, The Pikey, The Hermit, or The Loner
I need to make sure of the fine balance that I'm not turning into something that people frown upon. Yes I will be living in a caravan of sorts, and yes It will not be a permenant home. But I want to do this in a way where I'm still happy, and I'm still happy of peoples view of me. Theft is not an option! So no stealing steal gates to sell to the scrappy. I want/need people to look at me and say WOW thats awesome, he lives sustainably and off the land and he's still respectable, I want to live like that. Not PIKEY!!, GYPO GYPO GYPO (for one i'm not Stephen Hunt!)

7) Sustainable route where possible
As said a main aim is Sustainability. Now this will not always be possible, I can't varnish the boat in cowpats, however hard I try. But choosing a varnish that has the lowest environmental impact and the longest lifespan is possible. It may cost 20% more initially, but in the long run I may save 50%, and the planet. Everything has to be looked at in the long term. A Xbox 360 would be great to keep me amused, but in the long term it will cost on electric, needs a 240v power supply, needs games. For the same money as the Xbox I could buy a Wind Turbine or Solar Panel and a load of fishing gear to replace the games, which will give me free electricity when I need it and fun/food from the fishing gear!

Now I know I've got a few Friends and Family reading this, so please do not hesitate to comment on the blog, you may have ideas of rules I should put in, or see flaws in my design. Any ideas are appreciated.


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