July 24, 2002 - "Enjoying Life On a Sailboat"

Most of us have felt worn down and beat up by the rat race, the freeway and the nine-to-five pressure, but few have the courage to do what one Los Angeles couple did back in '96. They started a journey which is still going on and which has taken them to St. Tammany parish.

The bearded sailor guides his boat down the Tchefuncte River and says, "There's a lot of things you have to deal with, but I think you have more control over your life."

Mike and Cecilia Deaton took control of their lives by chucking just about everything they own and moving onto their 42-foot sailboat, the Paragon.  "It's a way of life," says Mike. "It's a lifestyle. It's just another way to live. It's no different than you and your house and your car. Ours just happens to be a boat, and we pick up and go someplace else we want to see."

Mike and Cecilia have spent six years on their boat living in really close quarters.  "You kind of look at what you've collected, and you decide, gee, I don't need all this stuff to enjoy my life," says Mike.

One look at their ever changing front yard, and you certainly couldn't call their lifestyle cramped. Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua -- they've tied up at all of those spots. On the down side, Cecilia misses hot showers and family. Mike misses ice cream. And, says Cecilia, "You know, most couples, they get angry and one goes to the store, and the other goes and works on the car or does the yard work. We can't do that."

So they learned not to fight over anything which was worth giving up the house and car for.

The Deatons plan to spend about a year-and-a-half in Louisiana, where they have family. When they weigh anchor, they look forward to the eastern seaboard, the Great Lakes and maybe eventually the Mediterranean.