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Introduction

"Adventure, danger, culture shock and personal growth...Out of Africa meets The Perfect Storm. That's how I describe my 1997 midlife journey from Oregon to the Caribbean, courtesy of antiquated, 33-foot trawler, Ruff Life. Sharing my exploits: Czar, a water-loathing collie, and the anonymous but ubiquitous 'Captain'; all of us blissfully unaware of impending perils.

"For more than a decade we relied on our wits, and one another, to overcome hurricanes, hormones and the IRS. We transformed from white-collar managers into flip-flopped, full-time gourd artists; opening a modest kite shop and later an artist's cooperative in Puerto Rico; and learning to tackle life's curves in ways never dreamed imaginable.

"You've heard of adventures at sea before, so what makes our story different? Well, for one thing neither of us knew the first thing about handling large boats; and secondly, at 40 we were NOT financially secure by any means. What we did have was guts, untapped talent and devil-may-care attitudes...after all, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

"One chapter leads to another; or you may flip through any chapter as you please, see the list on the right. I am currently dealing with Google's changing policies: in this case your ability to receive new posts through emails. It's another challenge for me, so please Bookmark this site and check for new stories in case I don't get it right the first time."  Andrea Jansen, June 2021 

On behalf of Ruff Life's crew, thank you; and please enjoy the ride:
Chapter 1: A Rough Start

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