Living on a Sailboat: An Incredible Family Adventure
Our travel story began back in 2014 when we bought a cheap sailing boat for our family to sail the east coast of Australia. It was a test to see if we enjoyed travelling on a boat. That boat turned into our home and that home took us 20,000 nautical miles throughout southeast Asia for the following 5 years.
We weren’t rich or special. We were just a couple of surfers from Australia with our two kids who decided to sail away from our hometown with no plans, not a lot of money, and no return date. Our first stop was Indonesia to surf uncrowded waves.
We wanted to travel with our kids while they were still young enough to want to hang out with us and we didn’t want to wait until it was too late. So we made it happen! Our dream was to sail the world as a family because both Lee and I lost a parent and experienced first hand that life is short and sometimes you don’t get to follow your dreams later in life. Therefore, it was important for us to not miss the opportunity to explore the planet with our kids.
At the time, our daughter Bella was 8 years old and our son Taj was 10. They were home schooled on the boat along the way, seeing first-hand new cultures and meeting people from all walks of life. The funny thing about living on a boat is that you meet people that also travel on the sea, and those people quickly become like family. It’s a hard thing to explain, but we have met some incredible people on our journey whom we will forever be grateful for and who will remain friends for life.
Sailing away from all that we knew, with all that we owned on a 44-foot boat, was scary, but it made for interesting conversation with people we met along the way, and soon became our new normal.
The conversations would often go like this. “You live on a 44-foot boat with your 2 kids and travel? Wow, I don’t think I could do that,” is usually the response. The decision to sail away opened us up to so many incredible opportunities like living in Indonesia, Timor Leste, Thailand, Malaysia and now America.
Life on the sea is tough, don’t get me wrong. This lifestyle is not all sunshine and rainbows.
This life is not for everyone! We have had our fair share of bad weather situations, like 50-knot winds and rough seas, scary moments where we could have sunk (a few times) and frustrating moments like being stuck in a place for weeks or months at a time waiting on boat parts to arrive to a small island in Indonesia.
So why do we do it? Well, it’s the moments in between those boring, scary or downright frustrating times that make it worthwhile. Like surfing waves off a secluded island, just us four in paradise together, or meeting locals and having dinner in their homes, seeing how they truly live and learning all about their culture. Or swimming with sharks, and manta rays, watching turtles lay their eggs in the sand and experiencing the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets you can ever imagine. But the most special and amazing thing for us is being able to sail our own home by the power of the wind, to new countries, and doing it all together as a family.
If living on a boat sailing the world is a dream of yours, then I’d love to give you some advice. Let me start by saying, it’s a great dream, and it’s totally possible! We had no idea what we were doing when we decide to buy a boat and sail away, but we made it work and if we can do it, so can you!
Our biggest tip would be knowing how to fix things that break down. If you or one of your crew are mechanically minded or a real-life Macgyver, then that is a massive benefit. There is no doubt in my mind if it wasn’t for my husband Lee being the incredible Mr Fix-it that he is, then we would not have got very far at all.
As for now we still live on a boat with our, now teenagers. We have upgraded to a bigger, more reliable boat to continue our journey and still love this lifestyle and each other, which is what it’s all about.