Future Plans: The Fisherman and the Businessman

The first time I heard this story, we were in Bimini.  Another “young” cruiser was telling it to a group of people at a cruiser’s pot luck.  I’ve since stumbled upon it a few times on-line and it has been rolling around in my brain, kinda’ uncontrollably.  Maybe you’ve heard it before too, but once you quit your 9-5 job and live on a boat for a few months, it seems really, really relevant.  This version is borrowed from Paolo Coelho’s website.  What are your thoughts?

The Fisherman and the Businessman

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

Pier at Black Point, Great Guana Cay, Exumas.

Pier at Black Point, Great Guana Cay, Exumas.



  1. Yes! !!! The short version to this story is a song that Kenny Chesney sings called, “The Life.” See if you can listen on line somewhere. …..
    Amy Owens

      1. I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of that!. Here’s the lyrics. The song is a good one – when you get a chance – download it.

        The Life

        It was early one mornin’, Playa del Carmen
        That’s when I first met Jose
        He had a 12 foot Schooner, a 3 foot cooler
        Full of the catch of the day

        And he was wrinkled from grinnin’
        From all of the sun he had been in
        He was barefoot, cerveza in hand
        He said gracias senor when I paid him too much for
        All of the Snapper he had

        Now I told him my friend it ain’t nothin’
        In the best broken Spanish I knew
        I said I make a good livin’ back home where I’m from
        He smiled and said amigo me too

        He said I fish and I play my guitar
        I laugh at the bar with my friends
        I go home to my wife, I pray every night
        I can do it all over again

        Somewhere over Texas I thought of my Lexus
        And all the stuff I work so hard for
        And all the things that I’ve gathered from climbing that ladder
        Didn’t make much sense anymore

        They say my nest egg ain’t ready to hatch yet
        They keep holding my feet to the fire
        They call it paying the price so that one day in life
        I’ll have what I need to retire

        And just fish and play my guitar
        And laugh at the bar with my friends
        Go home to my wife and pray every night
        I can do it all over again

        And to think that I thought for a while there that I had it made
        When the truth is I’m really just dying to live like Jose

        And just fish, play my guitar
        And laugh at the bar with my friends
        Go home to my wife and pray every night
        I can do it all over again

        Wouldn’t that be the life?
        Wouldn’t that be the life?

  2. I’ve always enjoyed that story too. We’ve got it all backwards in the states!
    Just stumbled on your blog and have been enjoying reading about your time in the Bahamas. We are headed there soon on our sailboat too.

  3. Reblogged this on Sailing Wanderer and commented:
    This story puts a lot in perspective about how we live our lives. We don’t need much to be truly happy. You can always make more money, but time is gone once it’s spent, so you’d better spend it wisely. Do what it is you want to do my friends.

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