Year End Reflection: Almost 2 years of full time live aboards with kids

1 year in the Caribbean and almost 2 since we set sail from Poland! (It took 15 minutes to be back in Germany but whatever!😜) And still my throwback shot from 2009 (2008 even?) in Greece on Betty made it in. You can take the motorcycle away from the girl but you can’t take the memories. (Because the bike is gone gone. Like sold in Mongolia gone. ) 🧜‍♀️💜🧜‍♀️ This time last year I was getting ready to join Patrick back in St. Lucia after he crossed the Atlantic with friends.
Now Falkor is for sale and our “maybe to the Caribbean but I’ll only promise to Amsterdam, and no more than 3 years max” has turned into sell Falkor, buy a bigger boat and do this indefinitely.

Not bad considering today as we sat in the cockpit talking about all that we need to do to move onto the new boat I pointed out that our first year sailing I was figuring out if we would stay together or not. #jokingnotjoking

I really don’t regret buying Falkor. He’s too small for a family of 4 but he has given us some amazing adventures, knitted our family back together again and taught me that there is a huge difference between fear and danger. Knowing what I know now I’d still go for a smaller boat that didn’t break the bank but let us figure out if we could do this sailing thing or not. (Not the travel. We did motorcycling and tenting for years. But the ocean? Gah! See fear and danger. I’m a Newfoundlander, we sank the titanic!) But now that I have committed to this lifestyle I can’t freaking wait to have SPACE and a reading corner.

2017 was heartbreak and mending. 2018 was confidence and growth. I’m looking forward to 2019. And it’s wonderful to be able to say that.

We ARE safe right?

If I am afraid of the water there is no way I am letting them out in it!

Part of Patrick’s initial strategy to convince me to sail around the world with him was to ply me with sailing videos. His reasoning was that the more I saw the more the whole thing would be normalized for me. And in that he was absolutely correct. I would watch Jess of Teleport and her green face and realize that even when it looks crazy and scary it seemed to be survivable. Having done the overland motorcycle travel thing I knew that long-term travel was not all glamour. It might have been fun, but it came with it’s own set of challenges. So the fact she was sick was a minor drawback, the fact she lived was a major plus.

It didn’t mean I wanted to actually go sailing. But people living through the scary bits helped me to at least seriously start to consider it.

And then I saw a video that I really wished I had bookmarked. It was a family sailing around the world and the father said something that changed how I approached the entire venture. He said that (and I need to bold and italicize this, so bear with me! And I am paraphrasing as well.)

“There is a big difference between being afraid and being in danger.”

That alone made me move forward with the plan.

Fast forward a couple of years and you have us actually casting off. We have our 4 and 2 year olds in tow and our dog Mango. (Who is in fact not keen on the sailing thing. He is even less keen on not being around Patrick. So he is also a reluctant sailor).

And a lot of our video from the first couple of weeks has a lot of this:

And this

Or basically me way out of my comfort zone and yet still dealing with it. There were times when I thought I was going to jump out of my skin I was so afraid. And yet we survived. And dare I say it, we even have fun.

The next post I will share how to be a good captain and ensure your reluctant sailors stay at least sailors, and may even be converted to enthusiastic ones. (I even jump off the boat to tie Falkor up now. This is huge!).

Until then jump on the list to get the collection of blog posts on how we went from “never no way” to cast off.

Moving Onto The Boat …. But First You Must Sort

Two posts in one day! There is a first for everything! 😉 But given the nature of the last post I wanted to show you how I envision going forward. These videos are from before I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but you get the idea! 😉

And anyway, if you want to move onto a boat you might want to watch these videos anyway. I want to show the good the bad and the ugly. And taking an apartment, even one that you knew was never meant to be a full home and was more a place to sleep until you were ready to go on a trip, is a challenge.

See first you start with full-fledged optimism. Much like any adventure, you think you can handle anything that is tossed at your head.

Then after an initial period of refusing to see the flaws you slowly realize that you need to remove the rose colored glasses and assess the situation. It may cause a little panic but you still have your head up:

And then you realize that like anything, one thing is not better than another, just different. And something to really remember if you are planning to move onto a boat. Or start any adventure. It is not a holiday. It is life.

But as you can tell from that video, I had wanted to try and do some kind of video diary for awhile. I just had no idea how I was going to do it. Well this is it! A mix of short video with stand alone commentary!

And hopefully, with practice, they get less awkward and more integrated. But as I work on Creative Mermaids I realize it is helping me just as much as I want to help others! That is the best kind of karma!

And this is one of my favorite shots from that week, because getting my family to become a family again after the craziness of start up life is also something that I was afraid would not happen and it in fact is. I love these guys so much!

Update: We Did Actually Leave

We did it. We actually left. Of course being homeless always helps with this.  it so much easier to go if you have no place to stay! Although we were not officially homeless until today.  Patrick handed over the keys to the landlord this morning. Not that there was any point of return during this month. We had signed on the dotted line and the new tennets were just counted down to May 1st.  In fact, they were eager to lay claim to ours as theirs. SO much so, we gave a set of keys to them and they were in there the whole of April creating a brand new space.
So cute! So like a Tetris piece!

Secret side note ninja tip to those of you wanting to do something like this:  just like having no other place to sleep helps you actually move onto your boat, not spending money on the apartment you have also helps in saving enough money to make the choice to go.

This present week aside (#smarterartistssummitrocked), we have lived for 3 weeks on the boat. The first one being on land. (I was only half joking about starting a trip in Mercury Retrograde by starting backward to counter it).

Taking the boat out of the water

April 1st: We start our sailing trip by taking the boat out of water

And then started a week of work! Patrick had the task of checking the underbody and painting it before installing our new solar panels.

And as not impressed as he looks in the above picture, it would appear the solar panel installation made even less of one on him ….

While he did that we hit the beach with friends….

I think we had the better deal. 😛

But more to come next week! (And it will, I am going to be cheeky and write it right now and date it to post next week!) But those on our newsletter get a little more detail as I assume they actually want it, so hop on over there if you are not already!

The Plan …. So Far

Stuck Falkor

The good news is that the ice has melted! Our fear of being stuck in the ice for our departure the first week of April has proven to be unfounded! (We more or less thought it would be, but still, seeing your boat very frozen in the ice in the middle of February makes you wonder).

A lot of people have been asking us what our plan is. Other than moving onto our boat April Fool’s Day that is! (Seriously hate telling people we move on board April 1st. I plan on making it to the boat the evening of March 31st!)

Our general plan is not to have a plan, as that post on Unleash Your Adventure talks about. Having said that we do have a general idea of what we want to do. So here is our general plan up until the end of November!

(And for those who do not want to read the details, here is the spoiler version: Hamburg then Amsterdam then onwards to England, followed by the jump over the Bay of Biscay into Portugal where we assess if this works as a family. If it does then Patrick sails onwards to the Caribbean and I fly back to Newfoundland with my babies for Christmas and I will meet him on New Years Day.)

Want the full version? Read on!

Falkor awaits us in Poland

The first week of April will be spent on the boat doing all the last minute stuff. Getting the boat de-winterized (Hurra toilet and goodbye you hideous bucket!)  as well as taking Falkor out of the water and checking him over (Patrick will tell you about him being stuck in his next post), painting the bottom, cleaning the accumulated scum from the last year off of it and sorting and storing all our stuff. Patrick’s parents are coming up as are some friends to hang out that week and see us off. So some of the stress of doing that with 2 small children should be taken away with that!

Then we are off – but not for long!  ;P We have a little over 2 weeks to get to Hamburg at a nice leisurely pace. There I fly to Austin for the last week of April for The Smarter Artist Summit . And since we have our apartment until May 1st, Patrick will take the train to Berlin and put the kids back in Kita that week. That way I can actually enjoy the summit and not be worried about my babies outnumbering the adults on board!

Patrick meets me in Hamburg the following weekend and we are off again! This time our next big stop will be Amsterdam. Patrick’s mom has planned her 60th birthday celebration there for about 3 years now, so the boat will be left in Amsterdam and Patrick and the kids will fly to Tuscany for those 2 weeks. I have a friend visiting from Canada and she will hang out on the boat with me for part of the time. The other part I will spend writing.

Doing the biker thing in Tuscany:

Then Patrick rejoins me and we make our way to England, where I will then leave him again while he does the Bay of Biscay. Not going to lie, I have no real desire to be on a boat with small children for multiple nights with no land in sight. Let alone when it is known for its uncomfortable passages. Myself and the kids will fly and hang out on a beach in Spain waiting for daddy to show up!

Totally got this beach thing covered

We then make our way to Portugal, where two major things happen. The first is my parents visit us. Yippee!!! And the other is that we make our first major decision (supposing we don’t decide to stay in Amsterdam  ;P #jokingnotjoking)  – if we like it then Patrick makes the jump to the Caribbean and I fly to Canada with my parents for Christmas. If we decide this is not something we want to continue (not impossible if Emjay proves to be a reluctant and seasick sailor as she has been in the past) then we hang out in the Mediterranean for a year. Otherwise, we meet Patrick and we keep sailing!

The important thing is that we are going into this with an open mind. I believe there are 2 massive things that block people from doing a trip like this. The first one is actually leaving. Of course, this is huge and can be scary. But I also believe the underlying issue is the fear that they will look stupid if it turns out they don’t like it and want to come back.

Here is the thing, anyone who laughs at you for being brave enough to admit it was not for you is a coward in their own life. Coming back early often takes more guts than ever starting out.

So that is our plan without a plan! Everything else in between we plan on just letting it play out and see how it goes!  🙂

This photo has nothing to do with the post, I just think it is adorable…