Simply put, our plan is to not have a plan.
I was a project manager in a previous life. I managed to find some success in those kind of jobs where the targets get set on high and your task is to find a way to make it so. I am a planner if there ever was one. But this adventure has no goal other than happiness. We're not heading out on Pristine with any kind of target or a timeframe, so the planner in me gets to take a backseat to the relishing-the-moment human being.
We're two people who love sailing, love the outdoors and love traveling. If we find such joy in the Sea of Cortez that we never want to leave, we will have achieved our wildest dreams. If we decide after a year or two of cruising that happiness involves more time on land, hurray. And if we end up going all the way around the globe, hallelujah. After lifetimes spent working our keysters off, we have no more boxes to check. No bucket lists to attend to. And we've gained enough wisdom to realize happiness comes in many forms. Nearly all of them simple.
The key word here is spontaneity. So when people ask where what our plans are, I explain that we have no plans, only intentions. Ask me tomorrow, and I'll likely have a different answer, but for today I'll say our current intention is to slowly work our way down the Pacific coast in the direction of Panama, exploring every snorkeling reef, surf break and taco stand that calls to us. That means that while we bow to the Baja Ha Ha and all the people it inspires to head south to Cabo, our intention is to take the road less traveled for now.
There are, of course, a few safety and sanity considerations as we make these spontaneous decisions:
1. Baby steps. While we both have lots of experience sailing boats, we could use a lot more practice navigating, anchoring, radar watching and a host of other cruising-related skills before we fully feel like old salts. So hop-skipping it down the coast of California will be our shakedown sail, primarily sailing during the day and anchoring in protected coves and harbors at night - a la the Highway One road trip, minus the road.
2. Weather windows. I like to say that Mother Nature is always in charge. On a small scale, that means staying on top of the 24-96 hour forecasts and making safe choices about when and where to sail. On a larger scale, it means avoiding areas of the globe that are prone to hurricanes during the dangerous seasons, and being in the right places places, with the right winds, at the right times to take us in the directions we want to be going.
3. People we love. Last, but definitely not least, is family. We love ours. And we want to be able to occasionally leave Pristine in safe places to fly home to be with them. Some places are better set up for that than others.
So with all the caveats made, the image above gives a hint of our thinking about a potential five year horizon (and vividly demonstrates how hard it can be to set the planner side of myself aside). The further out we go, the more of a wild guess our intentions become. Beyond five years, your best guess is as good as ours.
For now, we're just focused on getting the heck out of Dodge and enjoying Leg 1: Coastal California.