Coast Guard Couple http://coastguardcouple.com Tiffany and Greg Around the World Tue, 27 May 2014 15:14:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 Where the heck are we!? http://coastguardcouple.com/2014/05/27/where-the-heck-are-we/ http://coastguardcouple.com/2014/05/27/where-the-heck-are-we/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 15:14:18 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5242 Continue reading ]]> Atlantic Ocean

Birthday post!  Another year gone by and so much has happened!

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Like, a lot.

A lot a lot.

So yeah, um…so we’ve been busy. Really really busy.

Not lots of time to keep up with the blog busy.

Busy how exactly?

Well, we learned how to escape overturned crashed sinking helicopters

 

 

so that’s cool.

 

…and there was that whole “Look Greg!   A 10 foot crocodile in the Everglades!”

croc

 

“Oh lets go canoeing with it!”

 

Canoe

 

Seriously, that’s pretty much how it went.

 

and oh yeah, the boats got bigger.

the boats got a LOT bigger.

boat

and when the boats get bigger the licencing goes through the roof.

Because, as we’ve said before, to sail a private yacht through thousands of miles of open ocean to Tahiti you don’t need a license.

But to even step on a ship at the dock you need the freaking paperwork.

and that paperwork has mostly been what we’ve been up to.

Because, and here I quote the US Coast Guard Licencing Agent at the National Maritime Center:

“The US Coast Guard does not recognize the US Coast Guard Academy
as a maritime training academy.”

…Yeah.

So paperwork.  From the ground up.  and classes.

Classes about Radars.

At least they don’t recognize Annapolis either…

So we’ve been busy.  However that does not mean we have forgotten the blog.

Because that story about how we hung out with elephants on the tropical island of Bali,

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that story needs relaying.

So yes, it’s been a while but yes, we do plan to finish this epic tale.

 

Birthdays are usually Greg’s opportunity for a little introspection – and last year’s wanderings are particularly interesting based on what has happened this year.

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagullsopening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com

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We expected to be better at this… http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/09/30/we-expected-to-be-better-at-this/ http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/09/30/we-expected-to-be-better-at-this/#comments Mon, 30 Sep 2013 12:55:50 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5232 Continue reading ]]> Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

So Tami kept her part of the bargain, flying halfway around the world to bring us our stuff.

(That’s not a turn of phrase, by the way.  She actually did.  Fly, that is.  Pretty much halfway around the planet…with our stuff.)

And now we had to deliver on our part…unique and interesting cultural experiences.

But how do we even top flesh eating fish cleaning your pores?

Or getting mugged by a sacred temple monkey!?

Um…hey surfing!

20120309 (18)Yeah, yeah!  Bali is famous for surfing!  It’s a thing!

Yeah, this’ll be good…

So it may or may not be common knowledge but though Tiffany & Tami’s home state of Florida is known for its beaches, it is specifically NOT known for its surfing.

Consequently, Floridians as a rule are not known as a surfing people.

Therein the new cultural experience for the sister…

…and the anticipated high level of amusement factor for the siblings.

In her defense, she did, in fact, surf.  On a wave even.

As for us?  Well, while neither of us exactly come from surf intensive backgrounds we did have the advantage of training.

Australian training even!

So we should be better at this the second time around.

Well, the more accurate expression would probably be

 “We expected to be better at this the second time around.”

 And while expectations did not quite match reality, we didn’t completely embarrass ourselves either.

OK, we probably did completely embarrass ourselves but we did manage to stand up on the freaking boards…a little.

And allow us to dispel a final surfing myth for you-

There is this expectation that at the end of a day riding the waves one ends up, cold drink in hand, relaxing with a view somewhat like this:

20120309A - surfing at Kuta Beach

Allow us to explain that this picture was staged.  It was staged by us.  We acknowledge we should have waited for sunset for an optimal “surf roll credits” picture but we didn’t.  We didn’t because we were too busy dealing with the actual aftermath of rookie surfing, which is kind of more like this:

If watching us catch a face-full of surf amuses you, be sure to take a look at our experience with Kangaroo surf culture and what happened when we put Kiwis on water skis!

 

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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In The Details http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/09/23/in-the-details/ Mon, 23 Sep 2013 15:58:06 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5214 Continue reading ]]> Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

When we called Bali the Cancun of Australia, we had no idea how right we were.

Because, like Mexico, people do come to Bali to drink cheap beer on the beach, party and buy cheap souvenirs so Bali caters to that.  And they even have a good sense of humor about it:

20120228H - Bali at night (2)But that’s not all this island is.  Because Bali, like Mexico, is far more fascinating when you’re paying attention to the details.

Bali may put up a commercial face that caters to the western tourist.

20120307A (13)But when each side street we turn down reveals a new temple,

20120229A - Kuta Beach (11)

A new garden,

20120229C - Bali god offerings (2)

A group of people worshiping

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The house cat taking a nap in front of the “family temple” (because they have those…)

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Or people building floats for their annual parade to scare the demons away

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We quickly got the impression there is a lot more going on here than cheap beer and nasi goreng.

(not that those things are bad, Bali has amazing food and their beers, simply put, floored us with the quality for price but still…)

 

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Probably the best example of this is what appears to be at first glance road litter.  All over the roads in Kuta we came across these packets apparently discarded with no rhyme or reason.

20120229C - Bali god offerings (7)

The packets often contained food, and so animals were attracted to them.  Overall it seemed a strange street litter that made very little sense.  Why would the Balinese people intentionally throw garbage in the streets?

 

Eventually we asked and found these were not garbage, they were offerings to the gods.  Every day the Balinese either created or bought these “offerings” and laid them out for their gods.  Especially in front of their temples.  At a basic level the idea is similar to tithing – to give some of the blessings one receives back.

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Some of them get quite decorative and it was obvious a lot of effort had gone into their creation.  So why did they let them get run over by a car or destroyed by an animal or eaten by a sacred temple monkey or cleaned up by a street sweeper?

Well, if that’s what happened then that’s what the gods wanted done with their offering and who are the mortals to argue?  It’s not the preservation of the gift that matters, in fact most if not all of the offerings are quickly destroyed.  The importance is in the giving.  In the sacrifice.

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Now we could have stopped there having learned a tidbit about the people of Indonesia but there is even more to learn from this because we were informed that it is very likely that we will not see this offering tradition practiced on the main Indonesian island of Java.  Because though the island of Java, along with the majority of the Indonesian islands were at one time Hindu, the country is now predominantly of the Muslim faith.

Except for the Island of Bali, which is, despite being a fairly significant part of the most populous Muslim nation on earth, overwhelmingly Hindu.

 

Like we said, lots of interesting details.

 

Where the Island of Bali retained their faith, the people of Tahiti took the faith of the European colonists and branded it with their own unique style.  As Christians ourselves, we’d say we’re better off for it because there’s quite a bit to be learned from Polynesian Christianity.

 

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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Who even buys tin!? http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/09/16/who-even-buys-tin/ Mon, 16 Sep 2013 12:25:16 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5204 Continue reading ]]> Tampa, FL, USA

Really? Really!?  10 years.

10  YEARS

and we’re supposed to buy each other tin?!?

Freaking TIN!?

(ok, or aluminum…yeah)

What the heck would we even use tin for?

And are we supposed to carry this in our backpacks!?

Dude, lame.

Forget this, it’s not like we’ve been following the rules anyway, so why start now?

10th wedding anniversary sounds like…amusement parks and fondue.

 

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Yes.  That should work well.

Come on there are analogies:

– Marriage is full of ups and downs.

– Sometimes you’re not sure whether your laughing or screaming in terror.

– Sometimes it’s both.

– You go into it not knowing exactly what’s going to happen

– Once you’re strapped in there’s no going back.

– It’s one heck of a wild ride!

– It’s fun!

Look, at least we can all agree it’s more appropriate than some tin.

(Seriously?  What’s the gift supposed to be?  A can of soup?)

And as for the fondue.  Well, it’s fondue.

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Nuff said.

 

So this is how all that worked out:

We regret to report that, due to penalty of being charged with a heinous crime, we were not able to have our 10 year wine…yet.  Oh but it will be there for us and drink it we shall!  We also have a few choice candidates for the next decade’s worth of anniversary wine!

For more on our other anniversary high jinks, check here.

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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Sacred Monkey Theives http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/09/09/sacred-monkey-theives/ http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/09/09/sacred-monkey-theives/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 12:28:20 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5191 Continue reading ]]> Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

The Balinese have an odd relationship with their monkeys.

On the one side, they are considered sacred (and therefore protected and allowed to live where they want) for their ability to ward off evil spirits from the temples they inhabit.

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20120310E - Monkey Forrest walk around Ubud (31)

…and that’s good.  Because those temples are pretty amazing

On the other hand, they raid rice paddies for food and snatch the tourists’ purses, wallets – pretty much anything they can get their hands on.

…which is kinda bad.

Monkeys as a force of good and bad is nothing overly new to the Balinese.  Even in one of their epic poems, the Ramayana, the monkey king helps the good guys save the kidnapped princess…

He just does it, as was demonstrated to us in the reenactment, with his own comparatively “unique style”


Moral of the story – for causing mayhem & chasing off demons, pretty much the monkey king is your go to guy…or monkey.  You get the idea.

Also, to be fair, the Balinese warn you right upfront when you enter a temple.  They tell you to put on a sarong (cultural thing) and take off your sunglasses, watches and anything else that is shiny or in some way detachable.  You’re supposed to put it all into a bag or purse and loop it satchel-style over your head.  Otherwise a sacred temple monkey will be very quickly blessing you by relieving you of any material burden not tied down to your person.

Want to use your camera?  Hold on tight and better make good use of that retention strap.  Otherwise the last picture you take – but never see –  will be of a “cute little monkey who came up to say hi…”

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Of course, you can not attack, chase or otherwise harass the sacred temple monkeys.  Again, they are there to keep the evil spirits away.  There are even have handlers around who make sure you don’t disturb the thieving little sacred guardians.  Now these handlers aren’t just there to keep you from throttling monkeys, they actually do try to help by trading the monkeys a banana piece if they will let go of whatever they stole.

Obviously, the monkeys figured out pretty quick some very important facts of life at the temple:

1)      Tourists are gullible

2)      Monkeys are immune to retaliation

3)      Anything they snatch = free banana

As you might guess, this results in the same scenario playing out, again and again, with each new batch of tourists.  And just in case you were wondering what a sacred temple monkey pickpocket looks like, we managed to get a snatch-and-grab on film:

While not the first thieving animals we’ve encountered, at least the monkey’s don’t eat babies.  Unlike a certain other animal we could mention.

 

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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Traveler’s Tax http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/09/02/travelers-tax/ Tue, 03 Sep 2013 00:04:56 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5176 Continue reading ]]> Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Here is an important bit of travelers’ etiquette that you should become aware of:

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When you join a long-term traveler, you need to be ready to pay the tax.

Tiffany’s sister Tami is not the first member of our family to join our adventure.  We are actually very blessed in that we have been able to share a different piece of our global wanderings with every member of both our immediate families.

And when they joined us, each one paid the tax.  Just like you will very likely be asked to do should you leave your home country to join the adventures of a long-term traveler.

This is especially true if you are signing up as a volunteer crewman.

But don’t worry, it isn’t payable in money.

It’s in volume.

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As in baggage space – your baggage space to be specific.

 

We need you to bring us stuff from home.

While we, along with most long-term travelers, carry pretty much everything we need on our back and have learned by far and large to simply do without, going from the tropics of Tahiti to the snow fields of Australia to the beaches of Bali require the acquisition and disposal of regional-specific essential equipment.  Many of those pieces of equipment are either logistically difficult or prohibitively expensive to acquire outside of the United States.

(Snow gear in Australia, for example, was so expensive it was almost cheaper to fly back to the States to outfit for the trip.  As in the money we saved buying the same gear in the States vice Australia would almost offset the round trip ticket.)

International shipping can also be brutal.

All of this is especially true of specialty boat gear…assuming they even deliver to your remote island in the middle of nowhere.

So it is considered a huge favor for you to “donate” some of your luggage space to your traveler friend in order to enable them to get some essentials in and send some disposables home.

That being said, we appreciate that our family members were so willing to help us out and we showed our appreciation by providing them with memorable experiences –


So it all balances out in the end.

 

And thus Tami joins us for Indonesian explorations.

 

Tiffany’s sister Tami is not the first member of our family to join us on our adventure:

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com

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Criminals vs Rebels http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/08/26/criminals-vs-rebels/ Tue, 27 Aug 2013 00:03:41 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5142 Continue reading ]]> Departing Australia

Australian friend: Well, we are a bunch of criminals over here.

Us: Is that considered better or worse than the bunch of violent rebels we come from?

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One of the things that has amazed us about Australia has been its similarity to the United States.  In some previous articles we talked about how the “imperfect mirror” taught us some pretty profound lessons about racism (theirs and ours) but the little things were just as fun.

We have the same TV shows
(2 and a half men is a big deal down under…who knew?)

we drive big cars
(Mad Max was an Australian movie…)

and we speak
(…’a horribly maimed version of’…)
the English language.

After all, we we’re both colonies formed by the same father country!

So as a salute to the continent that is a country and that constituted one of the largest single portions of our journey, here are some of the little things that made “down under” so interesting…

Here’s a brief list of some of differences we encountered:

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  • Australian’s drive on the wrong (left) side of the road.
  • Which means their steering wheels are ALSO on the wrong side and you have to shift gears with the wrong hand!

(Amusing fact: the way locals can tell an American is driving in Australia / New Zealand?  Their windshield wipers come on at the intersection.  Think about it…;-) )

  • They use European road signage.
  • Young people have no idea how to think in Imperial units (Feet and lbs and whatnot), but like Canadians, people over 40 can!
  • Like parts of the United States, Australia has a large herbivore that constitutes a significant road hazard.  Unlike the United States, that animal is not a deer, it’s a kangaroo.
  • Road trains can be four trailers long.

(They shimmy going down the highway.  Freaking TERRIFYING)

  • Australia really does have a multi-party election system with more than just 2 political parties in their parliament.
  • Third party car insurance is mandatory, paid annually, and proof of payment in full must be presented to the DMV before you can register your car.
  • Registering your car costs almost $1000.00 USD as opposed to the roughly $60 USD we’ve paid in the US.
  • Prescription medication and doctor’s visits can be pretty cheap (benefits of universal healthcare).
  • Also, the flying ambulances are cool.20110405 (19)
  • Road side rest stops, city parks and some campsites frequently have nice, electric BBQ grills.
  • and free overnight camping spaces on the side of the road.
  • Speaking of barbecues…they call shrimp “prawns”

(…and therefore do not understand the phrase “put another shrimp on the barbie.”)

  • We have a very different sense of humor.

(The whole “taking the piss” thing was difficult to really understand)

  • Very few people live in the middle of the country.  Only about 15% of their population…
  • Ketchup is called “tomato sauce”.

burger

  • They put beets and eggs on their burgers.
  • Large areas of the northern part of Australia regularly become flooded in for weeks or months during the rainy season.

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  • They are a social drinking culture, unlike our social eating culture.
  • Their main coffee drink is a “flat white”.
  • And they don’t have drip coffee.  At all.
  • Each denomination of their money is a completely different color and the notes are different sizes.  Also dollars are in coins only.
  • Cigarette tax makes the price of smoking extremely high – $17 for a normal pack.
  • They have strange and regional names for their beer sizes: bottles are “tall-ies” or “stubbies”, drafts are “pots”, “middies”, or “schooners” and are different sizes depending upon where you are in the country.
  • Drink tax makes all of the above stupid expensive.
  • Cockatoos are not exotic animals and are considered pests…as are kangaroos
  • They’ve never heard the Chili’s Baby Back Ribs commercial and can’t sing along.  When enough North Americans sing it together they get scared.

(Funny story that…)

  • Fuzzy Wuzzy was not a bear.  He was a tribe of Papa New Guinea natives who led Australians through a hazardous journey across PNG to defend the northern coastline from the Japanese during WWII.
  • They eat Vegemite, “tiger toast,” “fairy bread” and Milo…and they eat it all in very specific ways.

 Australian / American similarities:

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(Yes, you can drive in a straight line for 24 hours straight and still be in the same country.)

(Though, with currency conversion it’s technically about $0.54 in OZ)

For more of our adventures in cultural differences, check out our exploration of how the people of Tahiti’s views on Sex & Jesus differ from our own.

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagullsopening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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What are the odds? http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/08/19/what-are-the-odds/ Mon, 19 Aug 2013 16:03:15 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5119 Continue reading ]]> Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

There are those things you hear about but you assume the chances of them happening to you are just so scarce as to not even give it much thought.  Then, of course, it happens to you.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, so let’s start at the hotel.

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We managed to find a really nice place to stay for the few weeks we were on the beaches of Bali.  But “nice” has a lot of different meanings when you talk about international destinations…

Think of Las Vegas.  “Nice” could be used to describe a hotel off the strip that is clean and has a pool…or it could be used to describe a deluxe suite in a 5 star hotel on the strip that you are paying hundreds of dollars a night to sleep in.

For us, we were not looking for the cheapest place in town  or the luxury penthouse – we were looking for a nice cheap place.  Something that was, while inexpensive, gave us the best “value for dollar” in backpacker accommodation.

20120227A - Suka Beach Inn, Kuta (7)

For example, air conditioning was just not something we considered very important in the tropics.  That probably sounds a little nuts but we lived on a boat in Tahiti and boats don’t typically have air conditioning.  We got used to it.  Besides, we’d be out all day and at night it cooled off.

The Suka Beach Inn was not the cheapest place in town, but when stacked against its competitors it was clearly the best value in budget accommodation.

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20120229D - Suka Beach Inn (3)

 

20120227A - Suka Beach Inn, Kuta (6)You can blow a lot of money in this town, but for $15 US / night for two people, we had a clean private room protected from the noise of the main street, our own balcony, a swimming pool, free breakfast and a really nice setting in downtown Bali.

Which was pretty much awesome.

We also got confirmation that this place was one of the best in town when this happened:

Two California high school classmates choose the same hotel to stay in and randomly run into each other while travelling through Bali.

20120228F - Greg and Gavin in  Bali

What are the odds?

 

Guess it’s not too surprising considering our previous experiences with friends and proximity.

And while Gavin is the first completely random encounter we’ve had, he is not the first fellow Bell to have joined our adventuring party.

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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The Cancun of Australia http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/08/12/cancun-of-australia/ Tue, 13 Aug 2013 00:42:41 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5107 Continue reading ]]> Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Sailing out of Australia would have been a great idea except for two things:

1) We had arranged to meet Tiffany’s sister in Bali on a specific date.

2) Our work holiday visa in Australia was expiring fast.

As we’ve said before, a key element to being good crew is being able to be flexible.  Since we had to be somewhere at a specific time…oh and that our visas were set to expire in about 12 hours, flexibility was not something we had in abundance.

So a quick flight later and we found ourselves in what we’ve heard called the

 “Cancun of Australia”

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Kuta was special to us for more than one reason.  Not only did Greg get a masseuse to actually walk on his back

 119_2443Come on, that’s cool!

But our two weeks waiting for Tami would be one of our last opportunities to “simply be” in a place – to have no agenda, no schedule and no checklist.  We knew the opportunity for that style in our travels was coming to an end.  Though we had planned a good amount of time in each place we intended to go, both of us also knew that because of the specific natures of our visas in certain countries and our own desires to be in Europe at a given time, a schedule was necessary.

We would have to keep moving on.

Also, we had just spent the last few months in the middle of nowhere working every chance we had to make sure this “whole new leg” of our adventure would be sufficiently funded.

So between having worked fairly steadily for the past few months, being kicked out of Australia early and having to wait for Tami to arrive, we had some down time.

We came to the island of Bali with no expectations or agendas…we just wanted to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy ourselves.

As it turns out, Kuta was great for that.

The last time we had the opportunity to just sit and “be” was on a farm in New Zealand.

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com!

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House or Travel? http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/08/05/house-or-travel/ http://coastguardcouple.com/2013/08/05/house-or-travel/#comments Tue, 06 Aug 2013 00:37:25 +0000 http://coastguardcouple.com/?p=5092 Continue reading ]]> Karumba, QLD, AU

As our time wound down in Australia we found ourselves having a difficult conversation about a choice we could not had foreseen coming when we first started this adventure.

Karumba beach sunset

Like we said last week, we had a good time “living the dream” and we were successful at said dream; we had completed what we originally set out to do.  Much more than what we originally planned actually, as this whole “sailing to Australia by way of Tahiti” kind of came together on the fly.  What we had not anticipated was that the dream would actually be fairly profitable. You see, Australia had been good to us on the job front and their wages for the jobs we worked were, when compared to the United States, 2 – 3 times higher than what we would have been paid in the states.  Alongside that we had watched our money very carefully and saved every chance we got.  Also don’t forget there were 2 of us. What that all boils down to is that when we originally planned our trip, we had not expected to leave Australia with a surplus of cash. As it turns out, we did have quite a reasonable surplus…which led us to a question we weren’t sure how to answer:

House or Travel?

Now, as with Greg’s birthday message there is what would we would call the “adventurous life” response: Who cares about houses and mortgages! You’re only young once! This could be your only chance! Travel darn it travel!

20120929A - Viking ship museum (14)(Is YOLO the appropriate turn of phrase here?)

Here’s the thing though – we have traveled, at this point we have traveled for years.

Years. As in consecutive ones.

And we have already done well more than we planned on this trip. So let’s ask this question another way…

If someone handed you a down payment on a house, one that you had not expected to get, during a down economy where the value of that money is even greater than normal, would you invest in an asset to create long term income?

Or would you blow it on an extra vacation immediately after you just took an extended one?

For us there was no obvious answer. On the one hand, we had in front of us the opportunity to circumnavigate the planet almost entirely overland (boat, train, etc…). To go “all the way around.” Not something we had ever really even considered a viable possibility. On the other hand we had the opportunity to acquire an asset that will provide us with income for years – up to the rest of our lives. That’s no small thing and the sooner we buy it, the more valuable it will be. As we understand such things, house prices have been on the rise in the States. There was a window of maximum value to dollar that we could jump on…but that window was closing. As many of you know, we made our choice and the basis for our decision primarily was opportunity. When looking at the likely course of our future lives once we return home, the chance to orbit the planet is less likely to present itself again than the chance to invest. At the very least the ability to buy a house will very likely present itself much sooner than long term travel. Also, we were inspired by the stories we were told by many of our sailing friends. Remember in general we were much younger than the other sailors out there and each and every ship we were on we heard similar stories – each captain told of friends who wanted to sail the world but couldn’t:

– Because their retirement collapsed,

– Because they got grandkids,

– Because they got cancer

…or because their parents got sick and needed help,

– Because their business hadn’t developed as they wanted,

…or their business developed too well and required their attention to handle the growth,

– Or just because something else in their lives took precedence.

Right now we have health in our favor, both our own and our family’s. Barring anyone else up and deciding to ask Greg to be a best man, we are free from obligations on the home front for the foreseeable future.

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Right now our lives are specifically set up to support long term travel – and that might not happen again. Also our relative youth grants us the ability to “rough it” – meaning world travel is very likely the cheapest it will ever be in our lives. Besides, we were already half way done so we might as well finish. We are, in retrospect, happy with what we decided to do. But we didn’t make the decision lightly and we thought long and hard about what we were giving up to make this choice to continue to travel because something significant was given up. Given the same circumstances, and the same consequences, what would you have done?

Special thanks go out to Australia, for making goofing off for a year more profitable than we could have imagined and giving us this opportunity in the first place.

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out atwww.CoastGuardCouple.com!

 

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