On 1. Mai 2021, we started our Great Voyage, that’s almost 1 year ago now. It has been a fantastic journey in Scandinavia, Great-Britain and Holland and we hope to have the same joy in the Mediterranean where we are headed towards now. It’s a complete different lifestyle now than we have been used to all those years before, so have to reinvent yourself. And we like this lifestyle a lot, so far it’s even better than we expected.
Every week I have been writing a blog about our adventure. The blog has been followed by 8.500 people during last year, which we are so thankful for! Since this is blog number 53, it means: celebrating 1 year of sailing on our worldtrip! We went out for a special dinner: at 1 of the restaurants of chef Sergio Herman. He has 2 restaurants in Cadzand with a Michelin star, we were lucky to book a table at the restaurant at the sea: AIRrepublic. It was a great experience: a 6 meal course including wine and very friendly staff. The entire menu was based on seafood with local recipes and ingredients. The food was served on matching tableware, all in seafood design. We loved every dish, the colors, the love with which it was presented by the staff and all the extra information they gave about the matching wines, etc.
And during the dinner we reflected on our first year of this worldtrip. What have we experienced in this digital sea nomad lifestyle so far? Here are our 10 lessons learned:
- Nature decides. When you live on a boat, you live with nature: the wind, current, waves. Your respect for nature grows every day, because nature decides if you can sail and where you can sail too. And it’s a 100% honest process: mistakes and nonchalance are never forgiven. On a boat energy is not self-evident, you become aware that water, electricity and heat is scarce, which is a healthy situation to live with. You are very aware of what natural resources you are consuming on a ship, because there is no endless supply.
- On a boat you are elusive. When you travel by boat, no one knows where you came from and they don’t know where you are going. The harbor masters are interested in the harbor fee that you pay and in you and your trip, but so far we have crossed every border we wanted. No questions asked. The freedom and independence being at sea is unbelievable. As famous sailor Thor Heyerdahl said: ‘Borders, I have never seen one. But I hear they exist in the minds of some people’.
- No more deadlines. We are in pretirement, we work 4 days a month with online trainings, and the other 26 days we sail. That means we don’t have the daily work pressure anymore. The ‘should’ has stopped which is a great treasure to have.
- There is no ‘lost time’ anymore. When you are in the daily working process, you often feel you have too little time, because working (for others) consumes so much of your daily time. Since we are free of the daily work, our agenda is open. Every day we get up and we are living in the present time and have no expectations, because we are in a new city/sea that we are going to explore and is always with a visit if you keep on open mind and are relaxed in time. With no agenda, you go with the flow and step into new adventures like joining a Viking dinner of practicing at sea with a helicopter!
- There is always a solution, you just haven’t found it yet. Because we come into new situations every day, there also is sometimes a problem. The harbor that we have is mind in full, something has broken on board, etc. We have found out that living on a floating house means you have to fix the problem, otherwise you sink. That makes you very flexible and creative. You have to have a positive attitude. You have to be like WD40: working in every condition. So we make plans, but only to have a global direction, every day we change our plan according to nature, people we meet or our mood.
- Living outdoors make you a healthier person. When we sail, we are 10 hours a day outdoors. That was usually the time that I worked behind a computer in the office or at home. Also when we arrive in a harbor, you are going to explore a city, cycling in nature, etc. We have noticed that being outdoors, gives you better health. Your skin is better, you are more fit, eat less and more healthy and your sleep is more soundly. And as the Norwegians say: ‘there is no bad weather, only bad clothing’. You can dress for every weather condition.
- Anything that can break on a boat, will break. A valuable lesson a sailor gave us before we left for our worldtrip. And he was right. Sailing in salt water and living on a moving floating house, every week we have a repair. Mostly small repairs, but it’s a must do, otherwise you’re putting yourself in danger on water. And we also do upgrades to our boat, since we have time and like to make a boat every time an even more greater place to live!
- A good team is being additional, but based on the same values. Gilles and I have different skills: Gilles is a good technician, cook, navigator. I am a good organizer, practical and love to plan trips. The fact that we complement each other is a great gift, because it’s hard when you have ‘2 captains on 1 ship’. We have our own tasks on the ship, the tasks that we enjoy, but our vision is the same: we want to sail the world and explore nature and cities. We share the same core values in life: freedom and independence are very important to us. And that makes every day a joy to live together.
- Every day is different. Every day you meet other people, cities, nature and get into different situations. All these changes can be hard to process, but our feeling of stability and rest, comes with the ship being our home. There we have our personal belongings, favorite coffee, our own bed, shower, books, etc. This makes travelling also has a constant conversant place to withdraw and where you can be around familiar personal belongings, which gives a peaceful feeling in a live with so many new experiences. So we often say we have the best of both worlds: we have our own stable home which we love and it has a different view every day because of the travelling.
- Leaving was easy. When we look back a travelling 1 year and working towards that 3 years prior to that ‘big’ Moment of Leaving on 1. Mai 2021, we now wonder what all the excitement was about and why we hadn’t done it even earlier. Because afterwards, leaving was the most easy step we took! So if you have a dream that you believe in and are passionate about, turn it into a plan. And do it now, life is too short, don’t wait for the right moment when you have big plans, because there is never a right moment, life continues with all its demands (work, family, children, payments). Determine your own course. If you don’t build your own dreams, some else will hire you to build theirs.