“Are you having some sort of midlife crisis?” – asked my doctor.

“Aren’t you too young to retire? You’ll be bored. You’ll want to go back to work.” – said by a multitude of well-meaning people.

“Aren’t you concerned about pirates?” – pondered the worriers.

“I’m so excited for you and proud of you.  You are actually achieving your dream.” – said by those who know us best.

“How does it feel?” – asked almost everyone.

That’s a good question really, how DOES it feel?  Well, to answer that question we have to rewind back about a month.  As I write this we are cruising the Broughtons, in British Columbia and we are super behind on the blog.  We’ll catch up in short order here (well when we have cell service/adequate WiFi).  Back to the story.

On June 12, I went to work at my company, Red Propeller, for the last time.  No one, including me, knew quite how to act or what to say.  But my business partner Jim, being the amazing man that he is, brought mimosas for breakfast.  That helped.  I felt excited but sad.  Complicated.  I left my company that I founded and a big part of my own identity.  Time to work on a new identity.  New chapter, new me.

Playing the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Escape Room game with the RP team – a part of my send-off.  Such fun!

In that vein, I updated my LinkedIn profile and title to be: “Co-Captain at Red Propeller Marine, LLC.” I now receive LinkedIn notifications about salary ranges for captain roles.  Thanks LinkedIn!

For the next couple of weeks we executed what Kevin and I called the “Farewell Tour.”  Note here that our daughter feels we stole this title from her.  Could be.  She’s good, that one.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Kirsten!  We went to all of our favorite restaurants, had dinner with good friends, visited our old house (just a drive-by), and chatted up all of our dock buddies.  In the meantime, we worked on readying the boat and talked about what we would miss the most.  People we love.  The mountains, water and cool air of the Pacific Northwest.  And really, simply, just Seattle – all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is home.  Always will be, no matter how far we roam.

The view from Matt’s in the Market – one of our all-time favorite restaurants, at the Pike Place Market – the most quintessential Seattle place in Seattle for sure.
The ladies of Red Propeller took me out to an awesome restaurant, Willmott’s Ghost, at the Amazon spheres.  South Lake Union was a big part of my RE development world, so this seemed only appropriate.

I also took a quick trip across the country to Boston to help our daughter Kirsten get settled in her new apartment and to see my parents, brother, sister-in-law, nieces and family.  My parents are going to move out of the home I grew up in at the end of the summer – another form of “leaving.”

Our daughter Kirsten, in front of the Radcliffe (Harvard) boathouse where she will be an assistant coach for the novice lightweight women this year, as a part of her fellowship.

What was hard during these weeks were the questions and statements like this one:  “We might not ever see you again.”  Other than the fact that we’ll be back in Seattle for a couple of weeks in September, this could potentially be true.  At least maybe in person… certainly we’ll see everyone on social media.  But this is where “how do you feel” becomes uncomfortable.  Over the past few weeks I came to understand that it is harder to be the one who stays than the one who leaves.  We’re excited, we’re heading out, starting to live our dream and for many of our friends, life will be status quo for a bit with kid, business and family commitments.  How does one leave with grace?  By saying see you down the road…

So, how DOES it feel?  It feels exciting!  And sometimes overwhelming.  And full of happiness.  At this point, it feels a lot like we are on vacation, really.  But now and then it hits us.  Mostly when we ask each other, “what day is it?”  Or when a certain song comes on the radio and I burst into tears with the realization that truly, we have changed our entire life.  Not in a sad way, but more  in a mix of anticipation, excitement, happiness, and a healthy dose of apprehension.  We did it.  We untied the lines, pointed our bow north and left Seattle.  After years and years of dreaming and then another year of actual planning, we’re off!  We are so fortunate.

IMG_20190614_180134_103.jpgPhoto from the deck after leaving Shilshole Marina on my last day of work for a weekend getaway to Bainbridge Island.

Us, leaving Shilshole as photographed by Dave one of Kevin’s work friends who came to see us off at 6 am!
goodbye 2
Kevin saying goodbye to Darren and Lisa our much loved neighbors and good friends.


14 thoughts on “Leaving…

  1. Not selling the house yet. Working on retiring this year (at 60) and taking off on Sea Trial (N55-40). Good luck and safe travels to you!

    1. Thanks Dave! These months will go so quickly. Congrats on the upcoming retirement! Will you be in CA this fall? Hope to meet up with you while we are there. Happy cruising!

  2. Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!

    Kevin, congratulations to you and Alison! Trust us, you made the right decision, and you’ll never regret it. It took me a whole day after my retirement to get over it, but after day 2 all was good!!

    Really looking forward to meeting up with you in Mexico, and would be interested in hearing about your plans after Mexico?

    Let the cruising begin!!! Karl&Nora Klewiada Bravo N6309

    1. Thanks Karl!! We are having a great journey so far. Still feels a bit like vacation but that is slowly changing. Can’t wait to meet up with you guys too – that will be so fun! Right now we are thinking we will come back north to Prince William Sound Alaska for the summer (2020) and then head south again for the winter, continuing onto Panama that year. But as they say, cruising plans are written in the sand at low tide so we shall see! What are you all planning next?

  3. I’m so happy and excited for you guys. When I sold my company three years ago to go cruising, I thought I would struggle to settle in to the lifestyle, but in reality, I was exhausted and ready for a change. We signed the paperwork on a Friday afternoon and on Monday we flew back to Florida, untied the lines, headed to sea, and I’ve never looked back – except to wonder why I didn’t sell out sooner!!

    I hope our paths will cross at some point so we can share an anchorage and an adult beverage or two!

    All the best in retirement,

    Clark Haley
    MV Roam

    1. Thank you Clark! Three weeks in and I am feeling much more relaxed. And as I suspected, I am amazed I ever had time to work. 🙂 Would love to catch up with you guys back east. We should be there in a few years. Until then I so enjoy following your adventures. 🙂

    1. The “one percent” of following one’s dreams? I hope more people do make the leap! Safe travels north! So lovely up here.

  4. Alison and Kevin-
    Congratulations on starting the next phase of the journey. We’re about six weeks into it up in Alaska, so several of the feelings you describe ring true for us. On leaving work, the possibility of boredom, etc… a friend of Gwen’s, who lives in Point Baker, AK, captured it perfectly. He said, “Up here, I feel present every day”.
    We, too, have felt like we’re on vacation… until we ran into the issue with the generator. And the stabilizers. And the holding tank discharge pump…

    1. Thanks Larry and Gwen! The idea of being “present every day” fits perfectly. Love that statement. Sorry about all of the woes…hope they are behind you! See you guys this fall! Until then safe travels!

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