If I was a camel, you could consider my back now officially broken. I'm leaving the US. For good. That may sound like hyperbole, but I'm telling you the truth. My husband and I have made a decision, and we are leaving. Why? Because this is NOT the America we grew up in, the one which we raised our children to believe was the greatest nation on earth, the one that my only son FIGHTS for as a soldier in the US Army. Over the past year, ever since my mother was abused the second time at a TSA checkpoint, we've felt real alarm as we've watched our nation deteriorate. We both voted for Obama, believing that he would bring real change. Boy do we feel duped. We're not rabid lefties - my husband actually is more of a fiscal conservative, although we're both social liberals with some libertarian leanings - we believe in civil rights, equality for all (e.g. gay marriage), a woman's right to her own body, separation of church & state (e.g. freedom both of and from religion). We believe that the fortunate should take care of the less-fortunate (there should be safety nets provided by our government, paid for by the people)...tempered by a strong belief in personal responsibility (these safety nets should not be a license for laziness or irresponsibility). We believe that all Americans have a right to health care - nobody should die from a treatable illness because they don't have enough money to pay for it. We believe in the essential dignity and worth of every human being, and we believe that our Constitution is one of the greatest documents ever written. We believe especially in government BY the people, FOR the people - for ALL of the people, not just for the wealthy (of which, by the way, we happen to belong), not just for the people in power. We realize that there are no easy answers to any of these things, but these are our core beliefs, and we know that it IS possible to achieve these goals. And in the past, America WAS achieving them, or at least working towards trying to achieve them...until recently. I don't think I need to review all of the horrific things that have been happening in our nation that have led us to want to leave. Highlights include the total destruction of the Constitution, in particular the 4th Amendment...the infiltration of the rabid religious right into government, forcing a religion we do not believe in down our throats...the war against women...the war against gays...the abuse of power by government entities like the DHS and TSA...and on and on. I know there are many in here just as concerned and upset as we are about the direction our country is headed. My husband and I are sailors - we met on a sailboat in 1981, and have owned boats on-and-of throughout our marriage (taking some years off to raise the kids). We have always talked about someday going cruising long-term - but it's always been something we figured we'd do after we retired, for months or even as much as a year at a time, but always as a "trip", with our home as our base. Retirement age is still a long way off - I'm about to turn 52, my husband is 54 - and the plan was to continue to work and save up for a cushy retirement. But we've decided we can't wait anymore. In a little less than 2 years, we are quitting our jobs and taking off on our sailboat for parts unknown. We've been fixing up our boat, taking seminars, reading books, meeting with experienced cruisers who are already doing this, and making plans...and just this week we announced to our families that we will be leaving for good in Oct. 2013. We have a basic plan for the first year or so - we'll tool around Baja and the Sea of Cortez for a while, eventually do the "puddle jump" (cross the Pacific) to head over to French Polynesia and bop around some remote islands for a while, make our way through the South Pacific to Australia, and from there...who knows. That right there will take at least a couple years. It's not an easy lifestyle, as you are forgoing pretty much all luxuries - but it's a way to live truly free, connected to nature, controlled by the cycles of weather and the sea rather than clocks or electronic timekeepers. It's a lot of alone time, but it's also not cut-off -- there's actually quite a strong community of long-term cruisers out there, and you do make friends, connections, networks. You also get to see how people in other parts of the world live - people who aren't striving to collect the latest electronic gadgets, but to feed their families, till their soil, catch enough fish to supply the village. Leaving our jobs this early means that we won't be able to do this at the same level of luxury we'd originally discussed...we won't be able to afford a bigger boat, or to fly back home very often...but to us the trade-off is worth it. Get out now, before our country goes to complete (expletive deleted). Eventually we'll have to come back, when we're too old to do that anymore, but we have a reasonable nest-egg set aside to use for that, when the time comes. Anyway, just wanted to share this. It seems like the people in this forum would *get it* - many of the reasons you all come here, are the reasons we're leaving. There were some "final straws" - my mother's horrific treatment at TSA checkpoints, my own sexual assault at LAX in July, my friend Gina's recent TSA assault (also at LAX). And things outside of my own personal experiences: the government's heavy-handed responses to the Occupy movement, the heavily-financed war against gays (I will never NEVER understand why anyone would want to deny a loving couple the right to marry each other - that is just hatred and bigotry at its worst), horrific things happening to women's rights (the ongoing assault on women’s health and freedom that would deny millions of women access to affordable contraception and life-saving cancer screenings and cut nutritional support for millions of newborn babies, and that's only the beginning). And the stories just don't end. Rape victims getting arrested for declining to be groped. Grannies getting strip-searched and abused at TSA checkpoints. This might seem like an extreme reaction, but we don't think so. And we are fortunate to have the means and the ability to do this. I daresay more would, if they could. Well, we can...and we are.