How I Made My Break

Teresa Carey Words 19 Comments

When I decided I wanted to be a writer, the first thing I did was try to find out if I could. I asked friends what they thought. I researched the paths that my favorite authors took to accomplish this goal, and I listed topics I had the qualifications to write about. But what I didn’t do was write. For years I thought about it and planned to become a writer someday. I imagined myself sipping tea in cozy pajamas while typing away at my computer. Of course, I wore mysterious glasses, my style was artsy-chic, and my hair was wild and dark, but I couldn’t see what was on the pages. I had this vision for years before I began to write anything at all.

I took a similar path with sailing. I thought “someday” I would live on a boat. I never thought it would happen so soon. So, instead of making plans, I read sailor’s blogs, Joshua Slocum, and collected pictures of Nor’Seas. I wondered how much money I would need to save, but I wasn’t actively saving.

We are often trapped by limiting beliefs. Work, school, financial limitations, or busy schedules seem to hold us back. But most of these limitations exist only in our minds, born from our life’s experiences and a cultural notion of what is right or possible.

Eventually, all dreams are either realized or they die. Writer’s write and sailors sail. That’s where it all must begin. And so, one day I was dreaming, and the next day I was doing. It was that simple and that quick. A friend found a Nor’Sea for sale and the very next day I was signing the loan papers.

The day I purchased my boat and began my blog was the day I began to learn, write, save, and do all the things I thought I needed to do before I could live on a boat and write. There were only two steps:1) Learn how to make my dream possible.2) Start doing the thing I dream of.I only had to rearrange the order of those steps to get from dreaming to doing—to progress from saying, “Someday I will,” to saying, “I am.”


[update] Now I’m taking my sailing dreams to the next level. If you haven’t already, please visit the website for One Simple Question an environmental documentary film project that I’m excited to be a part of. Like it on Facebook or join the mailing list for exclusive updates. Spread the word!




Comments 19

  1. Mike Hirst

    Teresa, so glad to see someone who’s actually PURSUING their dream. Living purposefully. Awesome post and glad to be a new fan! Keep dreaming – but most importantly, keep living out the life you were made to live. God bless!

  2. Christine Kling

    You are most assuredly a writer. You have a fresh, intimate voice and a terrific eye for the quirky details that evoke emotion. I’m probably twice your age, been cruising on and off for most of my life, published books, and yet, I learn from you every time I read your stuff. Sadly, I don’t get to your blog as often as I would like, and with your new design, I find it difficult to locate the previous posts that I might have missed. I don’t see an archive link or a list of the most recent posts. Since I don’t want to miss anything, can you explain how to backtrack and read up to the present?
    Fair winds!

    1. Post

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you are enjoying my blog.

      We are trying to add an “archived posts” list to the home page. But for now, I’ll explain the layout.

      All the posts are in reverse chronological order.

      The banner across the top is the most recent post (or other featured posts.) Then the rest of the posts start with the next most recent at the top left and continue in reverse chronological order toward the bottom right. There you’ll see a “next page” link, which will take you back even further.

      There are categories at the top of the home page that will sort the posts by topic.

      I hope this helps! Thank you for reading.


  3. Bill

    Sometimes one just needs to take a leap of faith and get on with it. I’ve found you can pretty much do whatever you set your mind to, one way or another.

    If you have the fortitude to put yourself out there a path will begin to form and following it will take you to places you only dreamed about before.

    Thanks for writing Teresa, you are an inspiration to many.

  4. Harmony

    WOW! That is amazing. It is so hard, so scary, to take that first step. As much as I know what you are saying, and as much as I know you are right, it is frightening to take a breath and then leap off into the ocean. I have been thinking (just for a few months) about living on a sailboat and I can’t even tell you how scared I am. We fear the future that we might create, never taking the time to think that if we don’t we will look back and wonder “what if.”

    Anyway, your post was inspirational and spoke to what I am going through at this time. Somehow, I have become one of those people that doesn’t live life, they just simply exist without doing much of anything. I don’t want that. And, hell, my childhood self would be ashamed that I let this happen.

  5. Cal 20 Sailor

    All the power and success to you, Teresa! I hope all your dreams come true!

    Looking back, I realize that I made a number of my dreams come true, pretty much by just going ahead and doing them regardless of worrisome advice to the contrary. Being in the past, I just don’t stop to recall them often enough. Regrettably, some of my dreams didn’t come true, some for financial reasons, and some for lack of will. Now I’m working on my next set of dreams…

    Personally, I hate making loan payments, and have been waiting to build up the kitty before putting plans to work, but your story has at least re-opened my mind to that possibility again. Sometimes, putting oneself in debt can be just the push needed to keep one stumbling forward instead of wasting away being an armchair adventurer…

    Thanks for sharing your positive and encouraging story.

  6. Sky Myers

    Greetings from Dervish! I am in the process of doing the same: moving aboard, writing full time, making films and manifesting dreams. It is a pleasure to have found your blog. I look forward to the film.

  7. thecakebuoy

    I certainly am glad you ‘made your break’ because it’s very exciting to read about your journey. One question though, you began writing, and then what? Did you send out your articles to boating magazines or did someone “find” you?

    1. Post

      Both! I’ve written for some publications, but I focus on writing of this blog and finishing a book that I likely will self-publish this coming winter. People have found me to. I was just recently asked to speak at a TEDx conference, which I’m very excited and nervous about!


  8. Lee

    Steinbeck once told the son of a friend of his who was an aspiring writer, “finish the book, and when you are done with that one, finish the second book. If you don’t, you are no kind of writer”.

    I read that in A LIFE IN LETTERS crossing the Pacific Ocean solo when I was dreaming about being a writer. Somehow getting my first book out has turned into a bigger challenge that crossing oceans. Show me how lady.

  9. Douglas

    About the writing part. I read and comment of several blogs by writers who have become successful over the years and they all say the same thing to those who say the would love to be a writer. If you want to be a writer, write. It is nice to see the same thing here on your blog as well. You say it about sailing. If you want to be a sailor, then sail. Same thing, if you want to be a writer then write. Maybe my path well be the reverse of that. I want to be a writer and a sailor as well. I am working on the writing part now and maybe i will be able to make the sailing part work as well. The image in my head is sitting in the cockpit of my boat, looking over the water at the setting sun, wondering why the characters in my book are being difficult when life is so good. 🙂

  10. Jane Lawson

    Hi Teresa! Glad to see you’re still pursuing the dream. We’re still working the tough middle school crowd: Julian just had a baby, my oldest just graduated from college, the other two are at Smith (Northampton) and Champlain (Vermont). Bill and I are looking at retirement in the Azores, simplifying in our own way and melting into the global pot. Great blog, keep the dream! Jane

  11. Mary Beth Gleaves

    Hi –

    It was great to meet you in Annapolis and, like all boat owners we were more than happy to have you come aboard so we could dote a bit over our boat. We enjoyed your video of the Bahamas trips and hope we can meet up as we head north. We aren’t going as far as you but tentatively plan to go to the Buzzards Bay area in June and then up to Maine and Nova Scotia. We’ll keep an eye out and give a call on the VHF for Elizabeth and we’ll follow your trip via this blog. It would be great to get together and hear about your trip.

    Mary Beth & Karl – Hattie Lee

  12. Robin

    Thanks for this! I made my break a little over a year ago, and I’m still not sure what the “plan” is, but the best part of living aboard my Bristol 24 is seeing all the different ways the people around me are making it work. Live-aboards are quite a set, and most of my energy is drawn from their ingenuity and sense of adventure.

    We spend so much time thinking about why we should break from the rat race, thanks for putting a fine point on how!

  13. Joe Romani

    Just wanted you to know that your old posts are still inspiring. I am about to make my jump to my boat in a couple months and while I was very much the dreamer described in your second paragraph; you are correct, sailors sail. I look forward to finally catching up to the present day blog in the next couple days.

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