September 29, 2003

What Are We Doing in Cornwall?

The simple answer to the question “What Are We Doing In Cornwall?” is that we are staying in Rachel’s summer cottage during the off-season. The rent’s cheap, I don’t have to work for awhile, and I can take some time off to figure out what I want to do next.

The more complicated answer is that Cornwall is a stepping stone on the path to what we hope will be a new, simpler, more meaningful, life for the four of us.

We left California on September 4, 2003. Coincidentally, exactly 25 years before, on September 4, 1978 I arrived in California, after driving cross-country with my sister in a 1972 VW bug, to attend graduate school at U.C. Berkeley. In the intervening 25 years I have worked at Intel, Apple, Wired Digital, and at quite a few internet start-ups (none of which, unfortunately, made me enough to retire on). I traveled to India, Nepal, Greece, Yugoslavia, and Cuba to name just a few places. And I studied mathematics at U.C. Berkeley, and electical engineering and computer science at U.C. Davis. All in all, it was a very wonderful, very full, and very fulfilling, 25 years.

The idea of doing something different started taking shape about three years ago. We were in the middle of refinancing our house in Sausalito, when I was looking over the paperwork and it hit me that as I was then 44, I would be 74 before the house was paid off. I had to stop and ask myself whether I really wanted to work for the next 30 years in order to live in that house. The short answer was no. The longer answer was, as you might expect, more complicated.

Instead of trying to explain everything here, I will sign off now, and pick this thread up again tomorrow under a new title. Until then, sweet dreams.

Posted by: Frank @ 11:55 pm — Filed under:


  1. Can’t believe I stumbled upon you via Google….lucky me! Hubby and I are debating the merits of a life in England with two children-what rent prices are like near Molesworth, cost of living in general. We will be leaving a happy life in Olympia, WA for……adventure? Culture? Shall we do it??? Having a difficult time gathering information….anything would help. Power to you!

    Comment by missy watts — February 7, 2005 @ 5:55 am

  2. Hi, not sure where to post this, and I couldn’t find an email address. I’m an Architecture Student at Texas Tech University working on my Thesis Project. I was wondering if you would mind if I used some of your photos from the Gaia Energy Center in my Thesis. I would really appreciate it- haven’t found any good photos of the building and I’m wanting to use it as a precedent.

    You can respond to the email I provided, or to my school email address which is jessica dot gomez at ttu dot edu.

    Like your blog here =-)

    Thank you

    Comment by Jessica Vasquez — November 2, 2006 @ 11:15 pm

  3. Hi I just stumbled across your blog. Are you guys still in Mill Valley?
    I was born in the houseboat community in Sausalito and moved to Blisland in N cornwall when i was 11 then back to the houseboats in 1990 at 20 now after a time in london i am back in Cornwall in Blisland and my 2 year old twins are going to be going off to blisland school.
    I am quite envious. just a year and a half a go I was determined to move my family back to Marin and was at my dads in San Anselmo for 6 months but due to visa problems for my english husband we aborted my mission.

    I found your blog while i was looking for some info on the viability of importing housboats to the Waderidge area of Cornwall. For possible holiday rentals. I don t suppose you have any insights do you?
    By the way how did you find living on a houseboat with small kids and which dock did you live on?

    Comment by tina romero-cross — November 25, 2006 @ 2:42 pm

  4. Hi,
    I’m a freelance journalist and I’m currently working on a feature titled, ‘Is Cornwall The New California?’
    Having just stumbled upon your blog, I thought it would be interesting to find out your views about the similarities between the Cornwall and California, in terms of lifestyle, health and well being as well as our commitment to supporting local farmers markets and the like.
    Having lived in Cornwall for six years and living in California for three months in 2001, I can spot the consistent trends emerging from both places.
    I’d greatly appreciate your comments, and anyone else who may have an opinion on the subject.

    Comment by Holly Wicks — February 8, 2007 @ 11:23 am

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