Last week I woke up to some news that made me extremely overjoyed and grateful. Â The Daily Mail had come out with a list of their Ultimate Travel Photos of 2015, and we happened to be on it! Â Listed under the caption it was said that our previous article on the site was one of their highest shared stories of the year. I was humbled and honored that so many people enjoyed our story and were rooting for us to set out and realize our dreams.
Scrolling through the remaining amazing travel photographs, and they were, I found myself at the comments. Â And was stunned and hurt by what I saw. Â The very first comment among all these magnificent images was ‘Oh don’t ya just love it when those pesky americans give up their jobs and raise enough money (crowd funding no less) to pursue their dreams..Well we all have dreams, we just don’t go begging online to strangers about it.’
Us? Â Begging strangers for money so we could travel the world? That couldn’t be further from the truth! In order to live the life we do, we spent years saving up every penny we could and selling every possession we had in order to be able to leave everything behind to travel the world for a few years. Not only that, but while traveling we live as frugally as possible to make sure every dollar can go as far as possible. Â We’ve never asked anyone for a single cent, and it made my blood boil to think that most people would assume the only way we could get to where we are was by the handouts of others. That it would be impossible for a couple in their 30’s to set out plans and goals, and to actually achieve them! It made me realized how grossly uninformed some people are about our lifestyle.
So let me just take a moment to dispel two large misconceptions the general public may have about us. Â We are not crowdfunders, nor do we lead a luxurious life.
Let me first talk about our lifestyle, but believe me, I’ll definitely get back to the crowdfunding. For most people who don’t know much about our cruising lifestyle, they make think we lead a life of uninterrupted bliss. Â Uniformed days of sunny skies, tropical islands, swimming in the worlds clearest waters, and enjoying breathtaking sunsets with a good glass of wine in our hands; all the while never having any worries or having to lift a finger, other than to sail our beautiful yacht to our next amazing location in pristine conditions. I will state for the record that we have done all of the above. Â Although to say that is all our life consists of would be substantially wrong. Â That is our lives, but only a small portion of it. Â Truth be told, I don’t think 90% of people could or would want to live our kind of life.
I won’t even get into the mess of what our current situation is, living in the construction zone of a boat remodel that has me walking 5 minutes to the marinas facilities every time I have to ‘go’, or washing my dishes from a 1.5 liter jug that I refill from a spicket 4-6 times a day. No, I’ll get into the enviable *bliss* we enjoy while traveling. Lets first talk about our living space. Â Our last boat was 34 ft, and current one is 37. Â That’s between 150 to 200 sq ft feet of living space. Â And to be honest, not all of it is livable. Our kitchen and sitting space were all part of one room, the bathroom doesn’t even give you enough room to bend over in, and forget about having any foot space in bed. Â If there’s more than one of you on board you’re constantly having to step aside for the other to pass, and if you want to have guests over you’d better feel very comfortable about letting others into your personal space.
Moving on to personal hygiene and upkeep, and it’s amazing how much of that went out the hatch as soon as we stepped foot on a boat. Â Back in our land life we would start our mornings with a hot shower, I’d take the time to straighten my hair and put on makeup, and we’d both dress in our business attire before heading out the door for the daily grind. In our sailing life we spent the first year and a half taking our showers in the cockpit or swimming off the back of the boat. Â Which was preferable because you wouldn’t even want to think about using up what precious fresh water you had on something as trivial as staying clean. That needs to be saved for drinking and getting the dishes clean enough to eat off again. Usually we try to only allow ourselves the use of 5 gallons a day so we don’t run out.
The t-shirts, board shorts, and cut offs we started to adorn ourselves in have to be lugged usually at least a mile in each direction to any kind of laundromat or cleaner we can find wherever we happen to drop anchor. Dresses? Rarely. Shoes with heels? Not a single pair has found it’s way on to the boat. Not only does my hair not get straightened or styled anymore, it usually goes directly from shower to ponytail. Â On our passage back across the Atlantic last year we had such bad conditions that we averaged six days between showers. Cleanliness has almost become a form of when it becomes necessary instead of whenever you want.
Going out to restaurants (for us) is saved for rare and special occasions, and grocery shopping usually consists of walking miles in 90 degree heat and trying to fit two weeks of food and beverages into two backpacks. I make my meals in a galley that has about two feet of counter space and constantly switch around ingredients between pots and bowls while I try and make decent meals on a two burner stove. As my friend Michelle just likened it, she said “I feel like I’m trying to be Betty Crocker, making a meal in Barbie’s Dream House while using my Easy Bake Oven”. Â It’s one step up from camping, but one step below an RV. Â At least they’re not rocking back and forth while cooking, trying to keep their plates from sliding off the counters.
Which brings me on to passages. About 30% of our lifestyle, but the thing that requires the most planning and preparation. We can’t just hop from one location to the next whenever we feel like. Sailors are only allowed to cruise an area by season, and even inside that area, may get held up for days or even weeks waiting for the right weather window. Â The two weeks we planned to stay in Isla Mujeres Mexico before sailing to Florida turned into seven when fronts would constantly pass through the Gulf of Mexico.
Our entire schedule for the year was messed up and we ended up starting our Atlantic crossing from Miami, instead of St. Marten like we had originally hoped. So before we can go anywhere we have to think about distance, forecasts, hurricane season, and any other number of things. To just say, ‘I feel like heading from Mexico to Aruba. Â Let’s leave tomorrow’.; does not happen. The weather can sometimes be our best friend and at other times be our worst enemy.
After just touching the tip of the iceberg of what living our lifestyle entails (I did not even get into the part about maintaining all the mechanical and electrical systems yourself), I’m ready to discuss crowdfunding. As I had mentioned above, we have not received a single penny for our journey that way. Â Sure, there’s a couple hundred dollars that come in every year from family in the form of birthday or anniversary gifts, but we would have received them regardless if we were at land or sea. And knowing that I would have headed straight to the MAC counter at Macy’s before, I think they money is going to a much better purposeÂ now. If anyone funded this trip, it was us. In the few years before we left, we stopped going out to eat or to the bars with our friends, inviting them to our house instead. Â All of my clothes, even my business ones, became second hand from consignment shops. Â Our yearly excursions to Chicago for a long weekend turned in to camping trips at the Sleeping Bear Dunes instead. Â If we didn’t have to spend money on something, we didn’t. To say that we made sacrifices is the understatement of the century.
On the subject of crowdfunding though, I will not say that it is unquestionable as a means to bring in a little extra cash. We have friends that have Donate buttons on their website, and I know of others that use sites such as Patreon to bring in a little extra money for their travels. None of these people started their journeys by use of these income makers. Â None of them went out begging saying, “I want to travel the world, give me money so I can!”. All of them started exactly as we did, by scraping and saving to make their dreams a reality. Â Collaborations with these sites are only a means to keep their travels going, and this is after establishing themselves with content via writing, photos, and videos; which their followers want to continue to enjoy and will donate money to make it possible.
I’ve even considered using it for ourselves in the future when our funds begin to run low. It would not keep us going forever, and I’d be delusional to think it might. Â But it may help extend our journey a few more months before we find a way to bring in a steady paycheck. Â It’s all perfectly sensible when you think about it though. Â If a person would spend a certain amount of money to buy a book or magazine, to go out to a movie or enjoy drinks out with a significant other; OR they could spend that same amount of money in the form of a donation to us and receive travel stories or photographs that bring them the same amount of enjoyment, they should be able to . No one is forcing them to give this money away, and if it’s not for you, that’s fine. Just don’t condemn it for others that do go this route.
In short, we love our nomadic lives, but they are quite different than the image that most might hold. We are not the trust fund babies that take our expansive floating home to non stop beautiful destinations in perfect weather where we visit fancy restaurants and spend our days shopping in boutique stores and sunning ourselves on pristine beaches. Although our lifeÂ isÂ full of picturesque moments and incredible adventures (which is what usually makes the blog or social media pages), we also put up with a lot of behind the scenes frustration that you wouldn’t know about unless you’re living this lifestyle or closely following the blog.
So Mr. Tangerine Dream, before you go off making assumptions about our travels and spouting them out over the internet, take a moment to see what our life actually entails. Â How we got ourselves here, what our lifestyle actually consists of, and how we keep it going. Â If you looked really closely, I’d bet you realize that it doesn’t come close to what you originally thought.
I do want to quickly mention that this post was not written as an outlet for me to whine or bitch, or even gain sympathy. Â I love my life. Â I know that it can be hard, or even insufferable at times, but I chose this for myself and, for myself, the joys and freedom far outweigh the other inconveniences we deal with. It has it’s ups and downs, but when it’s good, it’s heaven on earth. Â Now that I’ve started this adventure, I could never see my life any other way.
People are just jealous they haven’t figured out how to do it and refuse to think someone else may have figured out a better way. Obviously the only way would be to ask strangers for money! (sarcasm)
I love the “I feel like Iâ€™m Betty Crocker making a meal in Barbieâ€™s Dream House while using my Easy Bake Oven” – that’s brilliant! Your post brought me back to when I was doing dishes in the 5 gallon bucket in the boat yard with freezing water when the temps dropped to the freezing Florida winter we had that year. It does take a special breed of person to be able to live on a boat under construction! Kudos to you both 🙂
I think jealously is a large part of it as well. I’m so impressed with you guys. I would love to be able to do that but with kids, a mortgage, clients and the like, I will not have the opportunity until after I retire. Sadly, by then I doubt my wife’s health will be good enough to keep up with the demands of cruising full time so we will see what happens. You are doing it right, guys. Don’t let the haters get you down. And if you ever need a mate for a leg on the eats coast, shoot me an email. I would love to keep a watch or two and I’m a decent cook. Jim.
As someone very familiar with yachts I can’t imagine a less glamorous life! I guess the pretty pictures fool people. And the fact that people equate having a yacht to being wealthy. People just don’t understand how many of us can travel the way we do. No were not rich and we don’t have people paying for us…it’s just our priority rather than buying new cars or nice clothes.
A worthwhile post to write just to get it out of your system and for future reference for anyone that thinks otherwise.
Now that it’s published and you’ve said it all â€” don’t give it a single other thought. Your time, and all of the energy you guys are putting into the refit are worth FAR more than the comment sections of the world.
The greatest thing about what you’re doing is aiming to go to one of the last places in the world where there isn’t a comment section: the sea and remote lands.
But then the second greatest thing is that you’re willing to share that experience with the world and with people who would otherwise have no idea about the places you are and the life that you two have worked hard to get.
Opportunity doesn’t care about your age. When it’s there and you see it, and go after it, you are already ahead of the vast majority of the population. When you actually make something of what you’ve gone after, well, that’s an even greater achievement.
I know you’re well versed online, but don’t let the comment sections get to you. If anything, if possible just let it make you happier that you are not that person, or those people. Take some joy in the fact that you aren’t spending your time typing uninformed opinions about others doing what they want with the short life we all have.
Keep it going, you two.
Mikee & Katy
I love reading about what you 2 are up to and it also makes me mad when people say hurtful things about something they know nothing about. Try to pay no attention to those type and enjoy your life the way you want to live it. Be safe and God bless.
I think of comments from the ‘Tangerines’ as someone who must be miserable with how their own life has turned out. Who else would criticise anyone for pursuing a dream? What a sad person!
So shhhhh, don’t tell them the tough stuff we’re selling the dream here 🙂 and btw what’s so wrong with crowd sourcing? People give $ for something they think is worth supporting, no crime there.
You’ve more supporters than critics M&J and thanks to this wonderfully honest post we’ve all now moved upwind ha ha 😉
Comments on the big websites like that one are always the worst. Always best to avoid them (yes, I know it’s hard!), because they are just filled with extremely jealous people.
Everyone that has commented here has said what I was thinking while reading this post. So I won’t repeat what has already been said.
One thing I’d like to see is some progress pictures and details on Daze Off. It’s been a while! I gain so much knowledge and excitement watching people tackle jobs and overcome obstacles that seem so daunting.
Keep it up! Also I heard wearing dark tinted sunglasses blocks the haters!
Thank you for that post. Now I shall have something to show my friends for a concise explanation 🙂 (not that I have many friends who don’t sail…).
People really underestimate the ability of an ordinary person to make her or his dreams true. But even if they believe in such an ability- they grossly underestimate an amount of work needed to do just that. They will treat us as useless dreamers – whatever the amount of explanations. They simply cannot grasp the concept, that it is not about an amount of money or luck – it is just about choosing another way of life, where different things are important.
They judge me as rich, when they hear I have “yacht”. Only when they learn, how much time I spend in a year restoring her, how much money, how much work and how many years I spent to restore her they start to grasp it must be something different – otherwise, why would I work 3 jobs, with holiday spent working 16 hours a day on a boat? But they still don’t understand.
Maybe with time they will get it but I won’t hold my breath for that 🙂
See you somewhere in the oceans 🙂
Great cathartic article ! What I find so funny is that people think you could completely support this lifestyle with crowdfunding. (Or maybe the joke’s on me and I should try it…?). Anytime you blog (and blog BIG like you guys) you open yourself up to all the psychopaths out there. Thanks for sticking with it despite the nastiness. And good luck with the ongoing refit (glamour galore !)
A lot of people have dreams and are too afraid to ever try and attain them. They only see the way that “everyone” is living, the easy way. Each day is a choice between the easy way and the hard way to have your dreams come true. When you make the choice to do something amazing, like cruising at your age, you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable and normal people will see your success and find it almost unbelievable. The unknown of going to a foreign country or anchoring in an unfamiliar port in the middle of a dark night will keep most people land locked and their imagination even further confined. They see the success and never see the grind.
People like Mr. Tangerine Dream think only through alms or luck can anyone ever have what you have. But alms are temporary and luck is the last dying wish of those who want to believe that happiness can happen by accident. Sweat on the other hand, is for those that know it’s a choice. So keep choosing to ignore the voices on the interwebz. Sweat and work on Daze Off to get to your dream.
Great post, Jessica! Excellent description of what it is really like for those of us on boats. It’s easy to overlook the bad because the good is So Good.
And re: the crowd funding – I think you nailed it on the head.If someone can get thru what it takes to get out there, and have followers that want to support them, then go for it. It’s just like boat life – not for everyone. But it certainly has it’s place.
Thanks for sharing. People need to see all sides of this life. Now get back to getting that boat ready to sail!
Trolls or even people who are not trolls but just write a negative comment or question something I do is something I am very scared of. I have the intent to be on a boat by the end of this year and just started my blog. So far, I do not have one comment…hahahaha. When I do get that first comment though, if it isn’t positive, I may be crushed. I know that to be a writer on the internet you need thicker skin because not everyone is going to like what you have to say but just because I know that does not mean I won’t let it affect me. I am really worried about that!!!
Besides writing a post about it, is there anything you do to not let negativity ruin your day or week?
Pretty much sums it up!
We spent 3 months at Indiantown Marina and Boat Yard from Nov/14 to Jan/15, when we intended to splash after only a month. Great community there, helps to get through the tough times.
Three boys on board our boat. I remember the middle-of-the-night frantic 2-minute trek to the washrooms, six-year-old-spooked-by-zombies in tow. On the really cold nights, I would try to hold it until the sun was out and I was bursting to go.
I hope you will splash soon – it will all be worth it! And I wish we had overlapped at Indiantown. Would have been so nice to meet you.
Great post Jessica – you nailed it! This is definitely no life of glamor here at Indiantown and you and Matt live more frugally than most people would want to or be able to.
M&J…been a while since we last corresponded. There is a fine line between appreciation and jealousy. My experience is that critics are those whose world is so small they can’t fathom ever getting outside of the box which they believe is the wonderful world they live in. To see what lays over the edge of the tiny thimble they call life is incomprehensible. And for those who not only realize the thimble but actually manage the courage to climb out of it and pursue their dreams, whatever they may be, is a thorn in the paws of those who can’t.
Out Morgan Ketch is on the hard. We are rebuilding the engine and transmission ourselves. We are trying to figure out how to sew a new cockpit enclosure. We are studying all there is to study. We never did these things before. We are way outside of our comfort zone with many of these projects….but we are learning….We are growing. And when it is done we will feel that sense of accomplishment that only comes from achieving the seemingly unachievable. But we are also sacrificing and saving to cover our own costs. You know how it is when you expect it to be $300 and it turns out to be $800; bout you keep on going and you figure out a way to make it happen and when it does you know the feeling that comes with that. Keep enjoying these feelings. Keep experiencing the highs and lows. This is what living is all about and this is what is missing from those whose ignorance results in the comments you have received. Our move aboard date is June 2018 and hopefully some day, some where, we find ourselves in the same beautiful bay…no doubt fixing something that broke.
To those critics out there….well, say a prayer that someday they too can climb out of the thimble. Maybe even send them a post card to help them along….after all, we also pay for our own postage!!
Dennis & Maria
Great post. Idiots will be idiots and, of course, ignorant and jealous. But I also want to thank the idiot for motivating the above text detailing important aspects of live-aboard/offshore sailing that most people don’t know about. M&J’s story is inspiring and has reminded many of us that there are other options to 9-5 living. Those who listen may learn. Those who don’t will probably remain asleep. Hope you’re back on the water asap.
I think a lot of people find it hard to believe that you could do such a thing as travel the world without spending an obscene amount of money and assume that there’s something else going on. You two are doing just fine. You’ve done a lot more than most people have ever done. Many more dreamers out there than doers.
Brilliantly said! As someone who’s been living aboard and cruising with her husband for 15 years, I’m so pleased to see so many people in their 20s and 30s pursuing this lifestyle. I was 33 when we started this adventure and definitely the exception to the rule — most of my friends were in their 60s. I’ve heard the phrase “must be nice” more times than I can count and always from people who have no concept about what it takes to live this life.
Well said, Jessica. When family, friends and acquaintances go on about how wonderful our life must be on the boat (not full time like you & Matt), I try to explain that it’s no more than glorified camping. And seriously, there have been times I’d rather be camping: I could probably talk my spouse into checking into a motel once in a while. But hey! Today’s a good day: shower & laundry day!
I’m glad you addressed this issue so now you have a link to paste when someone spouts off nonsense. But look, you’ve chosen to live in the public eye, this goes along with it. Nobody likes the brazenness that Internet anonymity provides but you simply CAN NOT let it get under your skin. You’ve got 99 problems and getting upset with mentally ill people isn’t one of them.
Have you ever visited the forums of Cruisers & Sailors? Now that is a murder board. Tangerine Dream is likely there and is part of an army of my unhappy armchair sailors.
Anyway, keep your chin up. 🙂
Spot on! We are a few years older than the two of you, but still young enough that we are often asked how we could retire so young. Most people have no idea the sacrifices that were made/are being made to live the lifestyle we choose!
Thank you for this. I love the comment â€œI feel like Iâ€™m trying to be Betty Crocker, making a meal in Barbieâ€™s Dream House while using my Easy Bake Ovenâ€ it is sooo perfect! I had to share it on Twitter. I hope to pick up small vessel sailing again it has been years since I used to race.
All the best!
You and Matt are a great couple that enjoy your lifestyle. On your last blog you said all, keep doing what you guys love and good luck.
Great write up with grit.
Remember that those who kibitz about oh those people who sail around the blah blah blah …. Are really – not regarding any fact or reality – are kibitzing about personal inability to commit to a dream and are envious.
Hope to see you two on the hook in the same bay someday.
We do not get have our liveaboard dream realized yet.
Enjoy your blog and efforts.
Great response! After saving and working towards cruising (and still not there yet) we know how much discipline and sacrifice it takes to live your lifestyle. I don’t think many would trade with you in the boatyard.
There are always gonna be those that are clueless and jump to conclusions. Don’t let them get to ya.
It takes a ton of time to maintain a blog .. nothing wrong with accepting a few bucks now and then. It sure doesn’t amount to enough to live off of.
Keep on living your life as you choose, and hope we’re both our there soon!
After reading all your most recent posts I am anything but jealous. You guys are very brave/crazy to take on this new project. I would never consider your path the easy way out. I hope when we go cruising we don’t give up and take the easy path either.
I’m so with you on this. I am a truck driver, I’ve sold all my possessions, I live in the truck, (About 50 square feet!) I’m saving every penny, and in 5 years I hope to do the same as you. Nothing good in life is ever free, you really have to want it and be willing to ask yourself…What am I willing to give up to get what I want? I will see you out there!
I love reading about your adventures and seeing all of your pictures! Keep up the great work! There are far more sailors and cruisers that love what you do than haters out there! If you’re ever in Northern California drop by L dock â›µï¸
Fairwinds and following seas…
CJ & L
Lol – if only it were that easy to be crowdfunded in to adventures like this! Then everyone would be doing it!
Great post about the realities of sailing. Hardly glamorous, but the life we choose is unique and has its own challenges and immense rewards – none of those rewards are financial. Some people just don’t get it.
I’ve been following your blog now, for about six months, and I have to agree with you – I’m shocked that comments you received. That must have hit like a blow to the gut. I’m not an adventurer like yourselves. I’m a father of four with grandiose dreams of writing stories that others may want to read someday – in the meantime, I work in IT. But, I also live a bit vicariously through you both. You saw a chance for a dream, worked your butts off for it, and made it happen.
It’s pretty amazing, honestly. I wish I could travel the world, and who knows, maybe in my retirement, I’ll be able to take the wife (and maybe adult aged children, by then) on a few adventures. In the meantime, if you ever do put up a patreon page or something of the sort, I’d certainly contribute a few bits here and there, as I’ve certainly enjoyed your adventures, your travails and your information.
Don’t worry overly much about the people who poo-poo your idea, or worse yet, don’t even bother to learn the real story before casting judgement. However, I won’t be one of those who will tell you to ignore those things. Sometimes, you have to fight mis-information, as you have done, else it can spread and cause lasting harm. I’m not saying to stay up nights searching for it, but certainly take a bit of time, as you have, to answer it squarely. Good on ya. If I may be so bold, and as I am, if nothing else, yet, a fan of you both – I’m also proud of you and the way you’ve handled things.
Frankly, the sooner you put up a donor page, the better.
Take care, you two, good sailing, fair weather and I hope you don’t mind my saying it, but may God protect you out on the often-times lonesome seas.
Jake Dunnegan (my writing handle)
We recently had a really negative comment on our blog as well and I let it get to me. Some people who comment are so far removed from the lifestyle that they have no frame of reference and don’t stop to realize that we put our heart and soul into what we write. Others are simply just trolls with no hope for reform. I’m trying to learn to shrug it off, with limited success. Fortunately, most of the readers of both of our blogs are thoughtful people who enjoy sharing our experiences and learning something about this wonderful, but often challenging, life along the way.
Don’t let it get to you and keep up your writing. I, for one, wholeheartedly support you.
Got a solution for the bowls flying around. http://www.amazon.com/Now-Designs-STZRA02ORG-Staybowlizer-Orange/dp/B00A6S6RLC
It’s a stay-bowl-lizer.
Don’t let these people wreck your wonderful. I don’t want to start a blog, because of the people that I don’t know, I can’t talk to directly, I don’t see, can say whatever they want about my adventures and me. I don’t believe I’m that thick skinned.
Ignore the internet trolls, a recent study showed around 5% of those surveys showed enjoyment in making derogatory comments, and by responding you feed their antisocial behavior.
Really enjoy reading the occasional article and pics, keep it up! For every one troll there are probably 100s who appreciate how hard life is living on a boat, at any age!
Yeah…. don’t let haters get to you. They will always be there. If they simple took the time to look up the people they are criticizing they would learn something. You are living out your dream. Me…I’m a little jealous. I’ll be nearing 47 before I get to sail away. I did not get introduced to a sailboat until a few years ago….. now it’s my dream. But….. life, kids and priorities for now….. I tell my kids…. 23, 20, 17…. do it. Go do what your are dreaming about now, life is very short. Yo can’t get new dreams while there are still current dreams in your head. I had dreams when I was younger and I did pursue them…. but thru time and space dreams change….now I have new ones to pursue… because if you don’t have dreams…. what do you have?
Thank you, Jessica, for finally addressing the negative comments. I encounter them myself in modified form when people talk to me about your decision to cruise. Most are supportive and express admiration, but there are others who hint that parents are funding your “vacation”. I am quick to dispel that theory. Those who are ‘in the know’ are aware of what you and Matt gave up to make your dream a reality. You two envisioned a dream and worked your butts off to reach it. We, your parents, supported your goal in our hearts only — not by pulling out our checkbooks. Nor have you resorted to public funding, although you have pointed out that that is not all bad. It is just that you have not yet gone that route, either. Maybe you will in the future, but not at the present time.
Most of us would never choose to do what you are doing. We are content to lead more traditional lives. But that does not making any of us right or wrong — just different. It’s fantastic that you two found each other and can now work side by side to achieve your goals. You are to be admired for your courage and determination.
So, do your best to ignore the haters. Keep focused on the tasks at hand, and you will be writing about new sailing adventures soon enough. We are all looking forward to reading about them when the boat refit is completed.
I love both of you so much!
You two clearly work very hard, much harder than most with a traditional job. Try to not listen to the jealous haters out there.
There’s a saying here in England that “every village has one” a back handed insult to someone spouting nonsense/trivia through ignorance of arrogance & refer’s to the village idiot from times long past. Probably not PC these days but the point I make is please bear in mind that every village has ONLY one, so don’t take their mutterings to heart, seems to me from all the positive comments you’ve had that the rest of the village is very much in your favour.
All the best to you & don’t let the crabs nibble your toes 🙂