Off the Grid and on the Water

Out of the rat race, following my spirit of adventure, kayaking, and writing

Off the Grid

Back in 2012 I had this thought about dropping out, selling everything, and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I had enough financial obligations at the time to make that difficult. Add in the impact on my relationship with my sons, I couldn’t take that leap.

The idea never faded.

In June of 2016, after another relationship ended and needing some time to think and an escape, I answered a Craigslist ad for a room for rent. Not ideal for someone in their mid to late 40’s, but it was a chance to live, at least in part, that lifestyle I dreamed about since 2012.

Three years later, I am still on Salmon Beach. My home is a rustic cabin at the edge of Point Defiance Park on the Tacoma Narrows. I traded in much of the rat race and drive to line my bank accounts to live and enjoy life. I live a minimalist lifestyle with a penchant for self-sufficiency, and wilderness survival skills.

Robert Nissenbaum off Owen Beach in 2018 on a Wilderness Systems Tempest 170

On the Water

Living on Salmon Beach afforded me an opportunity to not only live on the water, but to spend more time on it and exploring it. I was kayaking a bit on lakes in Arizona before I moved to Washington, but not anything serious. That changed quickly.

The homeowner made his 18 ft, 21 inch bean Seda sea kayak available to me. With PFD in hand and knowing very little, I headed out from under the house and into the Tacoma Narrows. Not smart by any means!

I was hooked!

I did some research and bought an older 16 & 1/2 ft plastic Current Designs Squall GTS, some basic safety gear, and off I paddled. Now I’m a bit obsessed with the sport. The idea of being able to pack up the essentials and to head off on an adventure, to be self sufficient, to be in control of where I go and when I get there….

As my passion for sea kayaking has grown, I have shifted more and more out of the rat race to living the life I want. I made a change in my core business, shifting to an agency model. It allows me to limit my role while still providing some income.

Kayak Tacoma

This has lead to creating Kayak Tacoma – a fledgling business designed to foster a love for the sport and provide education and resources, and a side gig with Metro Parks keeping me on the water. Aside from my own kayaking adventures, I lead guided paddles through the Tacoma Nature Center and am working on my ACA certifications to lead private groups, ultimately under the Kayak Tacoma brand.


My first passion has always been writing. That love started back in the 8th grade thanks to an amazing teacher. Since freshman year of high school, I have had articles published in newspapers, have written for school papers, and other publications.

After two decades of writing for brands, my passion for story telling has been rekindled. I have been exploring multiple forms of writing, as well as other mediums. Over time, I plan to publish some of my writing but most will have a permanent home here.

I will continue to do some freelance work, from ghostwriting to content editing. More than an income stream, it’s a way for me to work with others to tell their stories and/or help to improve as writers.