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Retired Grandparents Ditch Mortgage for Life at Sea

Retired Grandparents Ditch Mortgage for Life at Sea


Hi, we are Margo and Tony and we live aboard here on Denelli Gray. She is
a 1987 Catalina sailboat. We also have a 1982 Volkswagen van that we travel on
land. Our passion in life is sailing and traveling. We’ve been married 50 years and raised three children and now we just travel.
We travelled right from day one. We retired in 2010 and we had come out to California
after Hurricane Andrew in Florida where we were living in the Florida Keys and
it became impossible to stay there moved out to California where our children had
taken up residence and we worked for ten years or so and then we retired in
2010. We retired with enough money in the bank to take care of us if we got sick
in our older age and the rest of the time we live on Social Security. We
sailed our boat down here to Ensenada because the cost of living is so good.
We quit smoking so we can save $400 a month and we put that away and then we
travel either by the van or on our boat. So this is the Denelli Gray. It’s a 36 foot
Catalina 1988. She has two sails: the main and the jib. Right now the jib is stored
because we’re not using it too often. We have this boat here in Ensenada Mexico.
It’s our home and this is our home base and it’s a super nice place to live.
We’re retired. We can take the boat anywhere we want to go which is one of
the great things about living this lifestyle. If we get tired of Ensenada we just untie the lines and off we go.
The unfortunate part of our life is that sometimes we like to travel on land. This
is the Baja buggy. We’ve rebuilt it. It’s a 1982 Westfalia Volkswagen Vanagon. We
take it every place we can in North America and eventually we’ll take it to
South America but right now she’s been all through Mexico, all across the US, and
Canada. The longest we’ve spent in the van is six months and we traveled the
entire US up to Canada Banff Lake Louise and then back to the
US and out to Victoria and then eventually back here. We actually weren’t
really ready to come back but we ran out of places to go so and of course that
won’t fit on the boat so if we decide we want to leave here and untie the lines
we got to find someplace to put that van. We have all the comforts at home. There’s
nothing that you would have in your condo or house that we don’t have here
except a dishwasher. She’s got a 25 horsepower diesel engine to help us in
and out of port, but other than that it costs almost nothing to travel in her
because she’s a sailboat. My wife actually put these in the right place so
that either one of us can always maneuver up the deck and always have a
place to hold on to so there’s never any, hopefully no
possibility, of falling overboard and of course we are tethered
and we have our life jackets on. Catalina 36’s are great sailing boats. I
wouldn’t hesitate to take this boat anywhere. She’s got all the navigation
equipment that we could possibly need and we use it. She’s a great boat. We have
our dinghy off the back. Nissan outboard. We have a West Marine kayak
inflatable right on the forward deck and an ocean kayak on the bow. We generally
will cruise about six knots. Under really great conditions we can get up to
eight. My name is Margo Heising and I live aboard with my husband Tony this
thirty six foot sailboat. We run our life from here.
We’ve lived on the boat for over 20 years. I’ll take you for a tour of our
boat and where we live and how we do things. One of the great things about
everything is its small and easy to take care of. This is our, we call it a reefer
in the sailing world, it’s actually a refrigerator and I have a two burner
stove and an oven and I can cook a meal for six to eight people on here with
absolutely no problem. We have a dry storage locker which is here and that’s
very very deep and we keep all of our dry goods in there and then we have
cabinets here where we keep everything that we need to entertain and to keep
ourselves alive with the food. Tony and I have been married for 50 years and one
of my greatest hobbies and loves in the world is cooking and entertaining for my
friends. One of the biggest questions I had when I moved on to the boat was
how will I do that with such little room? I had a very large farmhouse where I
could entertain up to 20 to 25 people and I thought if anything will make me
unhappy here it will be not being able to entertain so I decided the way to
handle the problem was to bring my bone china anyway and my silver and my
crystal and serve, instead of 25 people, I can I can feed eight people here with
all of the beautiful things that I have which is bone china and it’s very very
durable in the boat. We don’t have any problem with it. I can serve pretty much
as many people as I want in our salon over here. I can seat six on the other
side. I can seat two up on my deck here. I usually put all the men out there
and we can sit six to eight men out there to eat so I can have quite a large
party here and all of my needs as an entertainer are solved. We have a double
sink here. We have drawers here where I keep silver and pots and pans. Under here
is the interesting part of the boat. Our engine is under there. We have a twenty
five horsepower engine. As a woman I had to learn how to work on the engine
because when we’re at sea sailing, if something goes wrong, Tony gives me
instructions while he tends the boat. Over here we have a, it’s technically
called an AB cable, when we’re sailing we use it to use our maps and our
navigation. When we’re not sailing this is my art studio and my computer desk. I
do all the little art pieces here in my spare time. I used to do much bigger ones
but I had to cut everything down to what fits to do on a boat to live here
comfortably and be happy. This table goes down and we
have cushions that fit in here and we can sleep two to three people here. This
table also goes down and we can fit another person here so we can have
company. Tony installed our TV so it’s out of the way on the wall. Oh we also
have a half cabin back here. It’s used for storage right now because we’re
retired but we used to, the children sleep in there, it’s a king-size bed so
we have our place for our grandchildren. So we have our ability to entertain. We
have our ability for company and we can entertain our grandchildren well
at the same time. We have just tons of storage everywhere. This is our silverware
drawer. Our batteries are under these cushions and our fuel tank is under this cushion. Over here we have, under that cushion, we
have our water heater and under here we have a holding tank for our bathroom.
Our clothing is kept in these cabinets and Tony has two more cabinets than me
and I don’t think that’s fair. In our bathroom this is our toilet. This becomes
our shower in the morning. The water goes down into this drain and pumps out into
our holding tank. The v-berth is king-size. We have plenty of room and you
see we have a TV in there too and all of our books. Our whole library I used to
have a whole wall of books and now I have a little tiny library with all my
favorite books. Tony has his guitar which he plays and we’re very very very
comfortable. Underneath of that bed it’s more storage and Tony has his own closet.
Right here these are called ports and they open like that. We have a port up here to
let in more air so we have everything we need to
have a happy sustainable life. Our expenses to stay in this marina are $400
a month. We get $2,800 a month Social Security so after we pay our slip,
we have $2,400 a month left and we budget $500 a week. The extra four
hundred pays for our boat insurance and anything extra we would like to do. The
cool thing about living in Mexico is the cost of the peso because
five hundred dollars a week only costs us about two hundred and eighty dollars. We
stay within our budget. We eat nicely. We treat ourselves to an occasional
nice restaurant. We had mortgages and car payments and insurance rates just like everybody else. Now, we’ve got none of that.
Everything in our life is paid for. You know it once you realize it you don’t
have to to devote your life and money to other people and you can just live a
very peaceful quiet life it’s pretty easy. You just have to make up your mind
that you can do it. We owed our soul to Bank of America. Our boat was mortgaged
through them, our credit cards were mortgaged to them, everything that we
owned was mortgaged to Bank of America. I sat down one day and figured out how
much interest a year that I paid them. It wasn’t worth paying. We have more
spendable cash now than we ever had when we were working and when you realize
that then you realize that you can do it. You don’t necessarily have to live on a
boat but if you’re willing to sell your house and buy a smaller house then you
don’t have the burden. You can travel too. You don’t have to live on a boat. It took
us almost three years to get everything under control. I had to pay off the
mortgage on the boat sold our cars and we retired with the boat and no car and
we didn’t have a car for six months which was the first time in our life
that we didn’t have a car and we took public transportation and had a fabulous
time figuring that out. I can’t say enough how I wish that everybody could
follow their dreams to just make it possible. You have to make it possible
yourself you know and you can do it.

100 thoughts on “Retired Grandparents Ditch Mortgage for Life at Sea”

  1. I really enjoyed watching this video. This couple is so inspiring on so many different levels. If I can do half the things theyโ€™ve done at their age I will have lived a fulfilled life. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I will be retiring in the next three or four years. I will have my company pension, canada pension and old age pension. I want to sell my house and just hit the road with a backpack and an IPad. I just want to wander the earth and eat good food and go to art galleries and museums and beaches. And see the orangutans. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. God bless you.

  3. I could totally live like that. So many people are just so caught up in materialistic shit. The older I get the more I realize you don't need all that shit you think you do. This couple is just so cool.

  4. Wonderful Video! Glad to see someone else living comfortably off of SS and enjoying their best life!! You can enjoy your own life NOW if you make hard decisions and plan it out.

  5. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ

  6. I have done the same. I have no house note like these people Iโ€™ve got a nice older car thatโ€™s in perfect shape that I owe zero on. I rent a 50โ€™ slip at a marina for 425.00 a month with free water. On my 17th year full time. Sold my house in 2003 and have no desire to live on land. We have security and its very rare to hear of any kind of theft. My social security easily covers my living cost. Iโ€™ve got a 44โ€™ cruiser. Itโ€™s plenty of room for me. This life style isnโ€™t for everyone but if youโ€™re on a budget and donโ€™t need a lot of space itโ€™s very comfortable.

  7. Discovered the meaning of life ….so happy for you and inspired…what a lovely couple …its not that far to paradise at least it's not for you …safe travels from Australia

  8. I am so happy that you two are having such a great time in your retirement. My husband and I plan to retire in an Air stream and travel.

  9. I love your story, thanks for sharing it! I have to ask how you came about naming your boat……my grandmother's name was Nellie Gray.

  10. exactly what I want to do – buy myself a 36 – 42 foot Sloop – simple single mast, with Jib , great for solo sailing which I plan to do a lot of in a few years from now…..

  11. You guys have renewed my dreams to live aboard after retirement. Youโ€™re a wonderful married couple of 50 years. If ever in Solomons MD, please look me up. Alex at Spring Cove Marina.

  12. As I get closer to living this lifestyle…you really inspire me. Love your spaces. Love your art. I hope we all come to the choices that simply our living for what makes us really happy. To realize how much we have work for the basics when there are other ways. I hope we all return to living….really living. Not working for a living, but living. Best wishes.

  13. Rude awakening is in store for these folks, that line about 'costs almost nothing to travel in her…" , well captain? that slip of the line is enough to cause catastrophes that end lives.

  14. Accidentally I meet them in Mulege Baja south not knowing who they were. Such a Humble friendly approachable couple
    Thereafter I learned how interesting and full of energy this "young" (mind) couple were. In my way down to Los Barriles I meet other people and seems that every body knew the couple driving the "Blue Westy " such cool couple , they are an inspiration for me!!
    Looking forward to see them in Ensenada!!

  15. Now that I am retired (twice), I spend most of my free time as a volunteer at my local VA Hospital. I plan to leave most of my Estate to charity.

  16. It is stories like THIS*, not just the sailing but 50 years – ups and downs, sickness and in health…. it is stories like this that make waiting for the right person, WORTH IT!

  17. I love quotes….. She just made my quote diary. YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE YOURSELF (FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS) AND,…… ……you can do it.

  18. @ 9:40 "Once you realize you don't have to devout your money and life to other people and you can live a nice peaceful life…" Sooooo very powerful!

  19. Truly Beautiful. What intelligence. Skip the daily taxation of mediocrity. Living life as a free spirited couple. Definitely admire your love for each other and your lifestyle. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘โค๏ธ๐Ÿค—

  20. My retirement goals. Can't think of a better way. Anything worth living in here in Ct is about 2k. Not going to do that. In 20 yrs we will be all set up. Bye bye bills

  21. Great video !!! So inspirational! My plan is to liveaboard, hopefully on a Catalina sailboat..Thank you for the video.

  22. Confirmative, after retirement my wife and I choose to live in Goa,India and explore Asia from this base.

  23. My husband and I are retired and we have a catalina as well. It's a 2003, 35ft. We also live aboard on the boat to

  24. I absolutely LOVE this! Good for the two of you. God bless. May you live to be 100 or more. Health and happiness.

  25. Awesome and inspiring, you two are living life to the fullest on less. May you have safe passage wherever you may go.

  26. Wow (ok can you tell i'm from the 1960's?) ., you must be an excellent mechanic to know what the VW needs to keep going ., I've had several but they were not vans , I"ve seen people seize the engines driving to the store without the single belt on the motor , & yes they were going to the store to buy the belt! That said , they can go a lot of miles if they just have that one belt maintained, & clean oil.I have some sailing experience , only a few overnight trips ..I agree if most people knew that they were practically paying for their house 3 times over,houses would be smaller & people free from debt more content .Great video , hope you pick up advertisers , now you just need a short catchy title so people can remember your story & spread it around ..keep up the good adventure.

  27. The movement of the ocean must be like a comfy cradle. Must seem weird coming back to port where everything is still – not moving.

  28. $400 a month seems like a lot for slip fees for a boat of that size. Can anyone tell us if this is typical in Mexico? And how is it in Tijuana? Or farther south away from the border on the Baja?

  29. Thank you. Iโ€™ll never forget as a child growing up in Panama Canal Zone back in the early fifties meeting thru my parents a young couple with several children who had docked at amador boat pier They-described to my parents that their children were getting the best education in the world while visiting all the different countries cultures languages and historical sites! Iโ€™ll never forget they had a baby grand on their boat too full of books maps music etc!

  30. Well done you two, great vid. My gf from from Hollywood aged 75 and me from uk aged 65 live on my 49ft yacht here in the Algarve. We both escaped to seek a new life 3 years ago and fate brought us together. Dont know much about sailing though so I bought a Zodiac rib for fishing and trips to the sea caves, Church on Sunday in Luz, we eat out everday and I gotta 5 string banjo and a guitar on board. We swim most days. No tv no msm no bbc bs no cnn no msnbc. Following Jordan B Petersons 12 rules, listened to Yuri B got red pilled. Next book gonna be Hugh Ross the Creator @ the Cosmos. Take care folks. MAGA, MUKGA.

  31. These folks are unusually intelligent and perceptive. Both of those characteristics make retired life
    easier and more fun. Kudos!

  32. Love from England ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟโœŒ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

  33. I lived on a sail boat from age 10 to 19. That was a long time ago but I have so many memories. I will one day publish a book about it, for now I have a WP blog and FB page for it called Moon Shadow, My Live aboard Days. I'm currently quite antsy about being free to live my dream. I plan to do RV full-timing. I'd be off and runnin already but I've got some pesky debt to figure out. It'll happen though. I have to keep that as my goal so I don't let being stuck in cold weather world depress me too much.

  34. What a fantastic boat. Well thought out and designed to meet your needs. thank you for the tour. Really enjoyed it.

  35. Good for you guys. Iโ€™m also retired and am in the process of buying a 30 sailboat. My tiny house on the water.

  36. Great Video! Skylar and I met you in Long Beach as we were in the adjacent marina. We are now in San Diego aboard Independence. We will be taking her to the Caribbean at the end of the year. We love hearing about you two great people. Mike and Sky on Independence.

  37. Thought this was a couple living on a cruise ship. This is much better. Retired and sailing. Not bad at all.

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