Lynne Peterson writing on geographical independence

I am a child of the 60s and we were taught — and expected — to have one single job for 30 years. So I worked, mainly, as a secretary…but I also waitressed, demonstrated cookware, sold tickets for a bus company, and more. I figured out that you no longer need one niche in your life. It’s ok to have many choices.

Over the years I have offered freelance admin services, raised funds by phone for college alumni, checked gravestones for genealogy researchers, delivered packages, made and sold origami boxes, and taken on retail positions for the holiday season.

And now, at 68 years of age, I’m having fun thinking about various ways to make income for myself in the future.

Similarly, you have more options than you think about how and where you live. When I received a small inheritance after my mother’s death, I first thought about buying a house.

But I didn’t want all the responsibility of owning a house…so I bought a boat instead.

An adventurous friend of mine had already bought a 30-foot sailboat and set off on a solo journey from the west coast of the U.S. across the South Pacific. The day I received a letter from him saying he’d made it to New Zealand, I began thinking about living on a boat.

First, I took sailing lessons. I liked it. So in July, 1981, I became the proud owner of a 36-foot Cascade Sailboat.

The boat is berthed on the Columbia river which flows (and is the border) between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington (not Vancouver BC). It has been my home for 35 years, during which time I had several full-time jobs.

I love living on the water…the closeness of Mother Nature’s weather, the sounds of wildlife and birdlife, with the amazing energy of water on the rivers (smooth, choppy, rolling, confusing). When I ventured forth on a friend’s vessel, I loved ocean environments with their tides and salt air, the colors and lights reflecting off the water from dawns, sunsets, and bridges.

But it is not for everyone. Whether you’re on a boat or a floating home, you need to be self-reliant. If you like camping, you’ll love living on the water but if the Hilton hotel is your idea of camping you’ll hate it.

I learned many valuable survival lessons and tips from sailors and found a lot of this information is also adaptable to many forms of lifestyles. For one thing, communication and respecting space for moods and personality traits is priority when moving into any small environment.

The smaller the space, the more important that as many items as possible have multiple functions due to lack of storage space. Create storage under staircases, and figure out where there are nooks and crannies that can be used for storage

I learned how to store food when you have no refrigeration…keeping onions and garlic in ladies’ nylons, using knots to separate them…and wrapping cheese in cheesecloth soaked with vinegar. And I found out that handling emergencies requires teamwork. Firefighters, medics, and rescue groups will all tell you the importance of conformity when organizing safety equipment.

Now, after 35 years, I am selling the boat to move on to a new journey that will hopefully be full of new adventures and a variety of ‘income’ streams to enjoy.

Heck I’m getting older, so I’m looking forward to having fun traveling while creating income. I plan to coach on ideas for creating income, and downsizing to smaller spaces. Almost all my ideas are portable…from teaching sessions, retreats, and workshops to housesitting, driving vehicles around the country, and teaching crafts.

At present I have no idea where I’m going to live. It’s a mystery…a new adventure…a new chapter waiting to unfold.

Above all, this is exciting…

Image: ©iStock.com/Kuklev 

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