The Plan:
Rent the house in Ipswich, Massachusetts for two years, buy an old canal barge and cruise the waterways of Europe.
So far:  (1) The house is rented. (2) In April-May 2011 we went to France, got our inland watersways licenses, met with brokers, looked at boats and spent a week on a barge. (3) We found a boat we liked and, after we returned home, we made an offer. Later, we had second thoughts and backed out. (4) We decided a second trip would be needed to look at more boats. (5) A friend in France happened on a nice looking barge, took loads of photos and spoke with the owners, who said they were  going to list the boat for sale at the end of their summer cruise. We spoke with them by phone and arranged a rendevous. Fortunately, they were heading to the Champagne district. (6) A second trip to France was set up and a meeting with another boat, and possibly more, were arranged. (7) We met with the owners of Hoop Doet Leven, a 1926 21 meter Luxemotor Dutch barge. When you see the right boat, it lets you know. Hoop let us know. Several bottles of champagne later, we made an offer and bought Hoop Doet Leven.
Departure date: Late February 2012
Return: Two years later … or maybe more.