Check out our very first blog post on SailingBritican.com! It’s all about our decision about selling everything and sailing around the world.
That’s it – I’m selling everything and sailing around the world – the initial reactions to our sell up and sail decision covered the fear of death to worries about our child’s education.
Upon my announcement to sell up and sail around the world, the reactions from others have covered a wide spectrum. One relative yelled out, ‘you’re going to die,’ and another jumped up and down with excitement screaming, ‘can I come too!?’
You’re going to die!
When hearing our decision, the majority of people took a stern stance, became very serious, and questioned: “what about Sienna’s schooling?”
Sienna, my 3 ½-year-old daughter is due to start school next September, and our open-ended sell up and sail plans have no exact start date nor do they detail when our epic adventure will come to an end. My response regarding Sienna is that “it’s very common nowadays to home-school so that’s what we’ll do.” I say it with such confidence and have therefore avoided any kind of argument.
Otherwise, most friends and family have expressed their sadness to see us leave but they’ve also been our biggest supporters. I keep reminding them that our voyage won’t be forever, we’ll be making periodic visits home, I’ll be writing about our adventures and they can join us on a leg of our journey at any time.
The decision to sell up and sail was an overnight decision that took 10 years.
Previous to my daughter’s birth, my husband and I enjoyed a yearly sailing flotilla holiday in the Mediterranean or Caribbean. On any other vacation, hubby and I would be eager to return to our ‘normal’ life, but not when we went sailing! Sailing was different – it was fun, free, fresh, and enjoyable. It was a way to switch off yet still be active. Ever since our first flotilla holiday, we dreamed of sailing around the world. And going to the yearly boat show helped us to dream big. The first time we went on an Oyster Yacht we knew we wanted one.
One year after our daughter was born, and too frightened to take a baby on a sailing vacation, we went to the south coast with a friend (in the picture with me) and my father-in-law. Hubby and I stole a few minutes while Sienna was sleeping and sat out on a marina looking at boats – both moored up and some out sailing. A burning fire was gaining momentum in us. Being unsatisfied with a ‘beach’ vacation I said to hubby,
‘Simon – we’re not going to endure another vacation on land! Let’s get a boat. It’s now or never.’
We discussed the idea of getting a boat to practice with for a while and then when we made our millions we could buy an Oyster Yacht and sail around the world. And when we did that we were going to name her ‘Britican’ – a combination of British and American. Simon is British and I’m American.
Our first sailboat ‘baby’ – a 34.6′ Moody.
Three months later, and after finding a bargain deal, Simon flew up to Oban, Scotland, hired a skipper, and took possession of a 34.5′ Moody sailboat. Skipper Mike and Simon brought Selene down to Port Solent. The decision was a good one as we were out sailing every weekend. Lucky for us, we went out over the winter and the Solent was rather quiet in comparison to the summer months. We were able to make a real mess of things without too many onlookers!
For the first few months of taking Selene out, I would have minor panic attacks. My mind would race – will we be able to leave our berth without hitting something? Will we moor up in the lock without hitting someone? What if we take on water? What if we sink? What if we need help? What if we sail somewhere and there’s no space for us?
Over time, my panic attacks reduced in size, and not before long I was able to moor the boat myself. Surprise, surprise. (To watch a video that my girlfriend made of us all on Selene for a weekend, click here: Video of Selene)
Unfortunately, we had to live in the real world too!
Enjoying Selene on the weekends was great but I had a job that required my attention too. And to make matters worse, my employer was me (and my business partner). Some people like to start their own companies for the freedom it provides. Somewhere along the line, I messed up because my company was more of a ball and chain rather than a vehicle to enjoy freedom.
After eight years of growing my company, I felt stuck, frustrated, physically weak, and nearing burnout.
After considering the path I was on I knew that if I didn’t make a change my health was going to force me to alter course. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I decided to leave my company.
Not knowing what was going to happen I quit my job and entered a series of negotiations with my business partner. It felt as if I was going through a divorce and losing everything that identified who I was. In the end, we agreed on a solution where my business partner purchased a percentage of my shares through a cash sum and deferred cash over two years.
All my Christmas’s came at once but I didn’t see it that way
You would think that my opportunity to sell up and sail away presented itself with the exit from my business but that’s not the case. After leaving my company I was terribly lost. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. Every day I kept working from 8 am until 6 pm on various small personal projects just because I didn’t know what else to do.
My main focus was to figure out how to make money. Month after month I bumbled around worrying about what to do with my life. I did a serious amount of soul searching and I started to realize that my life was a product of what society deemed to be successful – I made lots of money. It wasn’t what I deemed to be successful. To me, success is being happy – I surely wasn’t happy!
Looking back, all my decisions were based upon what I should and shouldn’t do.
Nothing was based on what I wanted to do. For example, in high school I wanted to be an artist/writer yet I was told: “you’ll never make money doing that – become an Accountant.”
I don’t regret my life path but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone either. It’s hard looking back and realizing that your ladder was against the wrong building!
A massive amount of frustration forced a decision to sell up and sail.
After a couple of years of consulting and trying to find a purpose in life, I finally came to the conclusion that perhaps it’s best for me to do something drastically different. It just wasn’t working – consulting was easy but it wasn’t enjoyable. Some thoughts included becoming a fisherwoman in Fiji, building houses in Africa or of course – the usual, ‘sail around the world.’
At the same time of thinking about taking a leap off a career cliff, we were in the process of selling our house and moving to somewhere on the south coast. We looked for months to find the right house but nothing seemed that great. Our plan was to move closer to the boat so that we could sail even more.
And due to my soul searching I really started to analyze what I liked and didn’t like about my current lifestyle.
I realized that I didn’t like my eating habits – eating out often, processed food, and non-nutritious meals. I was tired of physically crashing in front of the TV at 7 pm and using a few glasses of wine to keep me awake until 10 pm. Furthermore, I started to question why we had such a big house with so much stuff. None of the stuff mattered to me – I just had the house because that’s what you do when you grow up. You get a bigger and bigger house to fill it with more and more stuff. And then you have to spend your time cleaning it. Nothing made sense to me anymore.
I was tired, frustrated, and ready for something huge to change in my life.
And then it happened. I said to Simon:
I’m ready for a change. Let’s sell our house, use our retirement fund, buy a boat and sail around the world. I don’t now how we’re going to afford it in the long term, but we’ll figure it out.
Both hubby and I lived with the decision for a few days and although it was overwhelming and scary it was also exciting – very exciting. Almost instantly, everything started to flow. We found the perfect boat, our house sold immediately, we figured out a way to afford the boat and life started to be worth living again. Really worth living.
We’re selling up now but when will the sail away bit happen?
At the time of writing, we’re selling everything in our house and packing up what we want to store. We’ve just put Selene up for sale – ironically a previous owner of Selene is selling her for us. We’ve also made an offer on the boat we’re in love with. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to negotiate a sale on our budget. I keep telling myself that whatever happens, we’ll get the perfect boat for us.
Simon and I are lining up various courses we need to take before we leave. I need to do my radio course, two extensive first aid for boater courses, and a week-long engine maintenance and repair course. Simon will be finishing his Ocean Masters course in addition to the first aid and engine courses.
Our plan is to leave around April 2014.
We need to be out of our house within the next month so we’re thinking of finding a holiday let or someplace to live near the coast for a few months. That will help us to be near the training course venue and Selene, our Moody.
It’s all so exciting, scary, overwhelming, scary but mostly exciting. What I’ve learned through all of this is to never give up. Keep figuring out who you are and what you want. Realize that you might be a product of what society deems normal but your normal might be something totally different. Be prepared to dream and also be prepared to live that dream! Amen.
To carry on reading about ‘The Journey,’ go to: Oh crap – Are we healthy enough to sail around the world?
Or…if you’d like to carry on reading all about our journey from selling up and sailing away, you can purchase my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles – Trading the Rat Race in For A Sail Around The World,’
It’s great to hear that you are determined to live life. I wish you the best!
Michael Bury says
i stumbled upon your blog & think its awesome, to actually take action to do something like this takes an enormous amount of courage, determination & character.
Love reading your journey, from the beginning, sourcing your Oyster, it was meant to be sounds like you, Simon & Sienna have/are having a ball…congratulations.
I have sailed from a youngster & I am in awe of your achievements to date, I have sent the url for your blog to my wife, only trouble is she hates sailing, may have some=thing about her first experience with me, sailing a laser in somewhere in Liverpool, she thought I was kidding when I tried to explain ‘lee ho’ & ‘Jibe ho’ to her detriment, she ended up in the water!
One day, you never know, enjoy your life, live it to the full & I shall certainly keep reading your story, one day I may actually convince my wife…
Kim Brown says
Thank you for your comments Michael! I can’t tell you how many men tell my husband how fortunate he is to have a wife that likes sailing! That being said, I’m not the best sailor in the world as I do still suffer from sea sickness. There is, however, such a sense of freedom and space that I believe most women would enjoy sailing if they really gave it a go. Considering I get quite unwell, I’m willing to push through it as the benefits of sailing outweigh the difficulties. Thanks again for getting in touch and best wishes with convincing your wife! Smiles, Kim
Frank Kelly says
I love reading stories like yours – really inspiring.
I have just lost my mortgage broking job (I worked in a cramped office, an hours drive each way, and really disliked it – only there for the ‘security’ it offered) still have a big mortgage (but with quite a bit of equity – and savings), my girls are grown up and away (both encouraging me to ‘just do it’) although I help support one at Uni. I see a solution in letting my flat so the mortgage can be paid and, I am thinking of buying a boat (not as impressive as yours) to live on (lots of harbours near my home in Edinburgh) – and working, self-employed, via my laptop, which is what I did as an employed broker.
I get really excited and enthusiastic and then, within a short space of time, I get dejected, because it’s so unconventional.
Do you have any advice – are these mixed feelings natural?
I’m looking for a little inspiration.
Kim Brown says
Hey Frank – the way you feel is totally normal. Sim and I both had years of getting excited and then dejected. Eventually we just got fed up with being frustrated and we made a move. We actually purchased a boat on Ebay…it’s not the boat we have now, but it got us closer to selling up and sailing away. So my first bit of advice is to take action…and when you’re feeling enthusiastic set yourself up for more action – perhaps sign up for a course OR get a book… A friend just recommended an inspirational book about full time cruising, it’s called ‘The Missing Centimetre’. You can do it Frank! Smiles, Kim
A bit late in replying, Kim – life! Changed, better, circumstances now than back in 2015 – new venture set up allowing flexibility and inspired by my 2 daughters (and your tales, of course) my older girl, Laura, is moving to NZ in a week to be with the love of her life – when I queried her giving up her amazing (fashion design/world travel) job, she replied: ‘Dad, it’s a JOB’! – my youngest us heading off after completing a first class law degree to six months travel in the Far East. They both tell me to get out of the very poor (security!!) relationship I’m kinda in and to get the boat I’ve always talked about / I had one for nine years. You are a huge inspiration – keep inspiring.
Kim Brown says
Frank – listen to your daughters 🙂 Get the boat. (And thank you for the kind feedback)!
I love your blog!! I am planning on sailing around the world, leaving in about 18 months. I’m trying to learn all I can first! I love that you’ve done this.
Kim Brown says
Thank you for you’re feedback Kristin…see you on the seas soon 🙂
Duncan Davies says
Hi guys love your story I have just had a heart attack and had a triple by pass my wife lost her right Brest to Brest cancer at 34 I am trying to convince her to rent our house out and buy a yacht to sail around Australia we just sold our Bertram and I miss the boat and going to Morton Island and around our Queensland coast.But my wife doesn’t think we should do it she has never been on a yacht so she is a little apprehensive and refuses to think about the idea. So I have to take her on a hire yacht so she can see what she is missing and see if she changes her mind. Hope to see you on the water soon. 🙂