At the end of a year you reflect on how the year went, what you liked, didn’t like, learned, and like to do again or do it a bit differently next year. We have had 8 great months since we have started our world trip by catamaran on the 1st of Mai 2021, it went beyond our expectations! We learned a lot about sailing our catamaran, we were lucky with the weather all those months, we visited 5 European countries with amazing nature and lovely people and we liked living on the boat together. Also the 4 days of online teaching went well, usually all days were fully booked, the router and Wi-Fi on board worked excellent and training together with Dutch professionals and meeting old & new clients was very satisfying!
I have to learn a lot more about technical stuff though in 2022 (for example about electricity, navigating and sail methods), because my education and experience is in economics and teaching, I was never a trained engineer. So that will be my goal for 2022, learning by doing all this tech stuff. And keep on enjoying this Digital Sea Nomad lifestyle, because it is so gratifying and makes you feel alive!
These are our top 10 favorite moments sailing in 2021:
- Sailing Start 1st of Mai
This was of course an exciting moment! After buying our catamaran ‘Horizon’, a Lagoon42 in June 2019, we sailed of 2 years later! We really needed those 2 years, to prepare the sailboat to be self-sufficient with solar panels and getting experienced in sailing a multihull. End of April 2021, we had 3 ‘Goodbye days’, when many of our family, friends and business relations came to Stavoren and spend a day with us on the water, having lunch, sailing and BBQ. Those were intensive days but rewarding, it was a good way to say goodbye and show everyone how living on water would look like for us coming years. On the 1st of May, we departed and left Stavoren to sail to Terschelling and 2 other catamarans joined us that day. We had a great time together with them the next couple of days on the island of Terschelling!
2. Sylt (Germany)
We were very impressed by the Wadden islands, not only the Dutch ones, but also the German ones. There is a difference between the East Frisian Wadden islands (we visited Borkum, Nordeney, Wangerooge) and the North Frisian Wadden islands (we visited Amrum, Sylt and Fhr). Especially Sylt had lovely white beaches, great beachclubs with the famous German ‘Strandkrbe’ made of reed and in bright colors like blue/white/red.
3. Aalborg (Denmark)
The first ‘big’ city that we encountered after we started sailing on the 1st of Mai, was the city of Aalborg, located in the Limfjord in Denmark. We were surprised by this modern city, which had lots of great architecture, but also many parcs to cycle through and an old town to do shopping.
4. Midsommarfest (Sweden)
We had heard about the Midsommarfest, the longest day which the Swedish celebrate with special rituals. We had just sailed into the beautiful Göteborg Archipelago and ended up in the celebrations of this day! We learned so much about the Swedisch lifestyle and their healty society and nature, it was a pleasure to have spent June and July over there!
5. Meeting great people
We have met so many lovely people during our 8 months of sailing in 2021! Some of them even left a message in our Guestbook! We will never forget the great Viking dinner with Jesper and Benji on the island of Livø (Denmark) or meeting Emma and her friends for her Bachelor party at our catamaran! It’s these spontaneous moments that make this lifestyle so great! You meet locals who will tell their life story and we tell ours. Gerda and Tony are special to us, they have been sailing for 20 years now when we met them in the National Park Koster in Norway. They taught us a lot about Norway and their lifestyle being Dutch living on a boat! And we loved spending time with Toon and Monique, in their house in Norway and on our catamaran having dinner together, we are still very much in touch with them!
6. Fjords (Norway)
What can we say, this was one of our dreams, to sail the beautiful Fjords of Norway. With walls of 1400 meters high next to your sailingvessel and water of 900 meters deep. It was very impressive, most fjords are at least 100 kilometers sailing one way and back, so we really go to experience them. And every fjord had it’s specialty: climbing Preikstolen, waterfalls in the Geirangerfjord, going on a train and zipline in the mountains, or visiting the summerfestivals in the harbors of a fjord! It was all magical to experience!
7. Sailing with Hurtigruten and visiting Lofoten (Norway)
Norway is such a vast land with great outdoors, after 3 months of sailing we just arrive at the southwest coast and still wanted to see the other 2.000 kilometers of coastline up north! We got the advice to take the Hurtigruten, the express coastal line cruiser, which takes you in 5 days up to the North cape to see beautiful Norway above the Arctic circle! We enjoyed our little cabin on the boat (no navigating for us and getting served 3 meals a day, great!). We even took 5 extra days, renting a car and cruised over the Lofoten islands with their stunning nature!
8. Crossing the North sea to the Shetland islands
This would be our first Crossing done by the 2 of us ourselves: from the Norwegian westcoast to the eastcoast of the UK, Shetland islands. It was 45 hours of non stop sailing, including 2 nights of 18 hours each, because it was the beginning of November already! Everything went ok, it was intensive and the euphoria was great noticing the coast of the Shetland islands. You really have to trust your navigation equipment, especially the radar because nights are really pitchblack on water and it feels like sailing blindfolded…
9. Helicopter practice (Scotland)
After we had seen more of the coast of Scotland, and experienced the challenges of Wintersailing, another sailing experience arose: practicing an emergency situation on water. It was offered to us by a fly by helicopter, another spontaneous moment! The movie of the rescue operation was watched so many times! It was only 20 minutes practice, but the adrenaline stayed with us for the rest of the day!
10. Christmas in Edinburgh
Scotland is a country of extremes and it all seems to come together in the city of Edinburgh! This city has so much history: castles, the underground world with alleys, the tales of the Plague period. But most of all the Christmas Markets during this time of year, it’s a every festive feeling to walk on the streets and see all the lights.
When I was writing these top 10 of favorite moments, I noticed that it is not only one thing that makes this Sea Nomad lifestyle so rewarding and exiting. It’s because of the combination of being outdoors, visiting great cities and meeting lovely people! We enjoyed all the hundreds hours of sailing, working with nature, our ship and teamwork together! Also visiting impressive cities or old villages, sightseeing on our e-bikes, eating in great restaurants. Meeting new people and when I did my online work, also meeting again with esteemed colleagues, some of whom I have known for more than 10 years! And most of all, the amazing nature of the 5 countries that we have visited: mountains, cliffs, lakes and picturesque harbors.