Turning to the next chapter

“It is easier to keep working than to decide to stop working,” said Scott Allen, our friend who with his wife (also our friend) Abby owns Epoch, a beautiful Nordhavn 47.  I nodded my head while thinking, “Really (scoffing)?  I’ll be so ready for retirement.  I’m ready now!”  Well…fast forward a few months and zoom in on Kevin and I trying to figure out how I would commute from Mexico next winter.  We were looking at photos of the more “outlying” airports.  And being a person who flies 100k miles a year yet hates every minute of it, I started to have a mini panic attack.  Sure PV and Cabo and Mazatlan and Manzanillo are modern airports.  But some of the others, for a scaredy-cat flier like me, seemed a little on the rustic side.

The type of airport that makes me shudder….

And then Kevin said those most frightening words, “You know.  You don’t have to work.”  WHAT WHAT?  I have had a job since I was 8 years old and delivered newspapers on my bike.  Well except for that year in Germany when I couldn’t legally work.  But other than that, work and career has been a huge focus for me. So of course, what did I do?  I became angry with Kevin.  Because, well, it must be his fault.  How could I be a stay-at-home (TBH stay-at-boat) wife? Would I become dependent on him vs. having my own independent identity and life? I had founded a company, I was a strong woman. Some might say a leader of sorts in my part of my male-dominated industry.   And now I wouldn’t be working?  And my kids are pretty much grown up?  And I’m only 49 years old (50 is looming but whatever)? Again, WHAT WHAT?

To be honest, I thought that the day that I understood that I could retire and that we could realize our long-desired dream would be a fabulous moment.  Singing from the heavens, “magic hour” lighting, we’d fall into each other’s arms, cast off our lines and head out toward the horizon.  Or something like that.  Instead, I was struggling.

How to get past this?  I was the one thing standing between us and our big dream.  To be honest, I’m not totally past it.  But after what is likely perceived as endless conversations, I realized that it was time to call it.  I founded my company, Red Propeller, 11 years ago today.  And I was terrified on that day, worried that no one would hire me and we’d spiral into some sort of self-imposed hell.  Now, 11 years later, I know in my heart-of-hearts that it is time to move onto the next chapter and the big adventure.  I’ve made the decision to sell my shares in my company to my partners and get to cruising.  But it has been a decision that took weeks of tears and anxious conversations to come to.  I knew it was ok though when I had lunch with my long-time business partner and much loved friend Jim who told me “If you asked me what to do I would tell you to do this.”  Thank you Jim, you gave me wings.

Hiking in Puerto Vallarta last Christmas, Bud, Kevin, Jim, Kirsten and me.

And now, now we are planning our big adventure.  And I just can’t believe it most of the time.  We’re going to head to British Columbia for much of July and all of August and do a bit of relaxing and mind-shifting.  In September, as noted in previous posts, we’ll head down the coast with some other Nordhavn friends on the Nordhavn Taco Run.  In the meantime, I have a huge list of things to occupy my time and my mind.  I’m going to do some learning.  I have a new fancy laptop with the Adobe creative suite and film editing software.  I have two GoPros and a new drone (well Kevin has a new drone).  We’re getting scuba certified at the end of May/early June.  I’m going to work to upgrade this blog a bit, hopefully with video if I can figure that software out.  I have a bunch of cruising to plan.  And, I’m working on plans for how to engage with communities in the countries and destinations we travel to with a desire to help empower and support women and girls, which is a personal passion and something that I feel is more and more important in our current environment.  More on that as I figure it out!


I don’t plan on using the word retired by the way.  Other options that have been suggested, “Trophy Wife” – by my daughter, Kirsten; “Not currently taking on projects,” by another Nordhavn owner, Spike; “Temporarily Unassigned” by my similarly unassigned good friend Carrie; and “Ex-Pat Alison” – my personal favorite.

With that, thanks for reading – this is a little bit different kind of post, but here we are, entering a different phase of our lives.  The phase we’ve dreamed about for so long.  So odd now that it is finally here!  More to come!

9 thoughts on “Turning to the next chapter

  1. Oh I LOVE that! And we have had the exact same fight with inertia that you have. Nearly 2 years ago I sobbed (not my finest moment) as I called my 2 chief pilots at Southwest Airlines to inform them that the time had come to … impossible even now to say … retire from a job that was a joy and privilege – flying airplanes… at the ripe ole age of 50. It really did take 6 Months to talk about without balling my eyes out and another 6 months to fully get my head around but believe me when I tell you it was the absolute best decision. What the heck is with that compulsion to produce that Americans suffer from? I too held my paper route at 9 and worked pretty much non stop since then and yet, the idea of leaving left me absolutely paralyzed!!! We leave for our Atlantic crossing and European adventure in 2 weeks and 1 day weather dependent and none of this would be possible if not for that decision 2 years ago so yippee for you and for us and our upcoming adventures .

    1. Ohh! Thank you for sharing your story with me – makes me feel better about my crazy reactions to this change. 🙂 It isn’t just me ! I feel guilty and then happy and then I cry. Hot. Mess. SO EXCITED for you for the Atlantic passage! WOW! We hope to be doing that in a few years after a canal transit, a visit up to Newfoundland and then a winter in the Caribbean. So we’ll be a bit behind you but maybe we will catch up! Congrats on your journey and yes, absolutely double yippees for you and for us! Thanks for the comment!

  2. Best of luck on the new chapter of your life, and now that the decision has been made you probably feel that a great sense of relief. I myself can not wait for that time to arrive.

    1. Hi Greg, I think the great sense of relief will truly set in when we head out of Seattle in July. 🙂 But getting there! Thanks for the note!

  3. Welcome to the ranks. Not working is not all rainbows and butterflies, it comes with its own set of concerns/worries. It sounds like your buyout will help with the boat units, our biggest adjustment is no paycheck and declining balances but each day is easier. On the whole, we would not change anything, sipping coffee in the town square of our latest hometown we wonder what would we be doing if we were still back in Seattle… working? Refinishing the deck? Cleaning the house? This is a pretty good life, see you in Mexico. G

    1. Greg, I just love reading your posts and watching yours and Kelly’s grand adventure! You both inspire me. And yes, we will see you in Mexico!!

  4. So proud of you! And I’m so happy for you two as you set off on your adventure. You both are two of the smartest people I know, you’re going to be just fine! Enjoy this next chapter…

  5. Hey Alison, Kevin,
    This is great news!! We’re happy for you. Definitely the right decision!
    Enjoy the time on the water with your beautiful boat.
    We look forward to reading your posts from PNW and Mexico 🇲🇽

    All the best
    Petra, Nils and Thomas

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