Bonjour friends. Sorry I did not get this live yesterday, but we had a crazy day. Will took off for two weeks to Hong Kong/Beijing so it was pretty much a rush to the finish line for the kids and I. Although we are not used to having Will around to help out in the evenings because he works Boston hours, he is actively present in the mornings so I can work and I felt the void yesterday. I have so much to share with all of you, but I also want to get to the inspiration part of this post. I guess I can put some of it in this Fridays weekly round-up.
Ok, let’s do this. It’s Wednesday (I mean Thursday) and you know what that means.
If you are new here I would like to introduce you to our weekly series “Inside a Traveler’s Walls” where we feature families living in less traditional, unique homes. If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled please contact me for details.
I would like to introduce you to the Peacock family today. Before we get too deep into all of this I just want to say “I want to be them,” yes! Will and I have this dream of being on a Catamaran, JUST LIKE THIS ONE, someday. If it was solely up to Will we would be on one now, but the kids and I have some other dreams we want to accomplish before we take the plunge to sea life (plus we need to learn how to sail). I don’t even want to tell you how many times I have read their story today. I am a bit obsessed with it.
Being together all of the time… not having to be gone all day at work. ~ Michelle
Lets just jump in. These folks have not one, not two, but three pets on board. I think they might hold the record on this series for the most pets traveling with one family. I don’t know how you guys do it, but I am impressed. We are slowly entertaining another pet, but with our current set up it won’t be another dog. We are thinking either a dwarf hamster (the new dog) or maybe a cat (gasp). I will be sure to share what we end up getting and how it all works out. High five to this family for figuring out a way to make the travel life work with pets. We can relate, our dog spent her final months in Costa Rica with us.
Enjoy that living this way is different, and that is why you chose this lifestyle. ~ Michelle
Can you imagine getting your education by way of boat schooling? No, really? Take a moment and lets just reflect on how far we have come with this crazy thing called the internet. Wild, right? We can take off with our kids, spend more time as a family, adventure, dream big and educate the rascals. How many of you would have loved to learn this way instead of in a classroom of 30 other kids? I would have loved this as a kid, hell, I love it now. The Peacock family has found their path, one that works for the goals of their family and it is truly inspirational. They have worked hard to make it a reality and they never take it for granted.
So, enough of my chatter. Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.
Introduce us to the people you live with?
Captain Matt is the dreamer. He came up with the crazy idea for us to sell everything and move onto a sailboat to sail around the world. Lucky for us, Matt is a jack-of-all-trades – he is one of those guys who can do anything and fix anything – from house remodeling to pool pumps to car mishaps – and now boat repairs! Sometimes, he makes the situation worse before he makes it better, but in the end, he always gets it right!
First-Mate Michelle makes the dreams come true. She is the one who put the family on a budget and figured out how much they needed to save to buy a boat and travel full-time. As soon as they put a contract on a sailboat, she started swearing and drinking more to gear up for life as a sailor. She is the one who coordinated selling all of the stuff (house, cars, everything else in a craigslist frenzy and two garage sales) and she LOVES not having so much. Although she is still trying to figure out a place for all the stuff they did bring to the boat.
Austin & Zach – Irish Twins! Born 13 months apart (ahem), they inherited a sarcastic mouth and sense of adventure from Michelle & Matt. The boys are 10 & 11 years old and are still attached to their computers and iPads, although once we can get off the dock, they are ready to explore! Boat school adventures await! They each have their own cabins (bedrooms), although they can often be found in the same one.
Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
We are currently in Kemah, TX. We hope that we will be in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area soon! We are waiting for a weather window (following Hermine) to complete a six-day sail across the Gulf of Mexico. We live on a 38’ Catamaran Lagoon 380 sailboat named GIRO. Italian word pronounced: ˈdʒiro / (think “djeee’-ro”) Translation: to spin around, around, about, circle, scene, turn, rotation, spin, revolution. We named it after naming our blog Around ‘n Circles – we thought it would be funny to name our boat “Circles” so that we would literally be traveling around the world IN Circles. So, technically, we did. J
It has four cabins (bedrooms), two heads (bathrooms), a galley (kitchen), a saloon (living area), a cockpit (outdoor patio), and a trampoline! (It doesn’t bounce, but is fun to lounge on.)
Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
We chose a boat so that we could travel around the world and visit new places and always have our home with us. We chose a SAILboat because we wanted to be able to use natural wind energy to power us (vs. costly diesel.) We chose a catamaran because Michelle gets seasick very easily and the catamaran is much more stable than a monohull. And we chose the Lagoon 380 model because it met our family needs and budget better than any other.
What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
Since moving aboard on June 20, we’ve done a few things to personalize our space. There aren’t really any options to rearrange the furniture since it is all built-in, but we have added some décor that we love. We’ve bought throw pillows, a new faucet, new rugs, new sheets. We also got a new oven and stovetop, but that was more for practical needs than aesthetic. Our favorite piece of art we won from a Halloween contest hosted by SV Delos (another group of sailors we follow) – it hangs in the companionway. We also brought a few little trinkets and good luck charms from our traditional home on board. We’ve recently been trying to manage storage, so most things we buy are to hide or contain our stuff! J One of my favorite purchases are some hammocks we put in the boys’ cabins – they hold all of the boys stuffed animals so they get them off the bed! It looks so much cleaner now.
Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
Favorite “room” is our outdoor cockpit. The boat cockpit is like a covered outdoor patio at home. It has a huge table and can fit probably eight people around it. At night it is cool with a breeze, and we can watch the sun set over the water, listen to music with our outdoor speakers, and have a sundowner… In the mornings (when it is not summer), it is also a great place to have morning coffee and plan our day.
Least favorite is the head. The head is the bathroom on a boat. It is small and cramped and usually has an odor.
What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
It is HOT in the summer on a boat. There is no insulation. So trying to keep the boat cool, or at least reasonable, has been a tough adjustment. We honestly can’t believe we survived a summer in Texas on our boat. We ended up buying two portable air conditioning units to try to keep us cool, but even with both, it can get up to 85 degrees inside when it is 100 degrees outside.
We have figured out ways to combat the heat… 1) We don’t cook in the galley because it heats up the whole boat. In fact, we haven’t cooked in our oven once this summer. And we limit our stovetop cooking to morning only (the coolest part of the day.) We have to have coffee. We use the outdoor grill. But mostly just eat salads and cold food because it is so hot. But we recently bought a solar oven that we are in love with!! The sun cooks the food in the oven. Like a slow cooker… it is amazing. We’re still baffled as to how it works, but we are enjoying eating something other than salads.
2) We try to leave the boat in the afternoons (the hottest part of the day.) Our marina has a fitness center with fast wi-fi and air conditioning and two tables for us to sit at with our computers and work or boatschool.
3) We have those sun reflector thingies (like you would put on your car dash) in all of our windows to keep us as cool as possible. It makes us sad to have a dark inside of the boat, when we would love to be looking out at the water instead… but we have to survive! Ha.
What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
Our boat? Haha… it IS one of the perks of bringing our home with us as we travel – we get to bring EVERYTHING we own with us.
What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
Large bathrooms with showers. Air conditioning.
What is the one item your children carry with them to make their unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
We brought a library of books. They love to read. We thought we were crazy bringing real books on a boat, but our kids stay up until midnight or 1 am reading every night. So, we are glad we brought them.
The boys would say their laptops. They love to play games. We boatschool with them. They definitely use them daily and would be miserable without them.
Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?
We have THREE pets. Flicka, Bebo, and Ninja. Two dogs and a cat on board with us. Because of course. One pees everywhere, one is obese, and one is just a jerk. It is fabulous!
The animals actually do well on the boat. They love to be out on deck. The biggest annoyance is that they are constantly under our feet. Our boys would have been devastated if we didn’t bring our pets.
Advice? Buy life jackets for the pets, too!
What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
Amazon.com – we can buy almost anything we need and it will be here in two days. Not having a car to get places, it is nice to have items delivered to the marina office for us to pick up and bring back to the boat.
If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?
space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
Above average internet hands down… we can go outside (and do regularly) for natural light. We don’t really need extra space. I hate washing dishes, but it is fine… but we CANNOT LIVE without internet.
If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
I’m going to go with our new Solar Oven. It is so practical, low effort, and great for the environment! That’s about how I decorate (practical, low effort, environmentally conscious.)
How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
So far, we’ve celebrated three birthdays on board. Birthdays are usually a big deal for us with breakfast in bed, and choice of restaurant for dinner out. And we can do both of those still living on a boat… I’ve walked to a donut store and back in the early mornings twice now to have surprise donuts ready for the boys birthdays. And we grab an Uber to take us to dinner… As for gifts – we’ve kept it to gift cards and practical stuff they need for living aboard.
We are excited to spend our first Thanksgiving and Christmas aboard this year! Maybe I’ll make a turkey in our solar oven. Ha! I’m sure we will decorate for Christmas – we brought a few decorations and stored them on the boat so we would have them. We’ve assured the boys that Santa can find us wherever we are and he will come down the mast instead of the chimney.
How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
We will decorate a little bit for Christmas, but not nearly as much as we did in our house. That’s really the only holiday we would decorate for in the past… I’m thinking lights on the mast, in the saloon, around the cockpit… Lights are fun and easy.
What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
Being together all of the time… not having to be gone all day at work. I love being able to hang out with my kids. We haven’t done much cruising from port to port yet – but I feel like that will be my favorite part once we start moving.
Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
We do feel like our boat is our home. We each have our space… I’m not sure we would be as comfortable traveling and moving all of our stuff in/out of different places… that stresses me out way more than bringing our “home” with us.
What makes you love the place you live?
That is a great question – in fact, every night at dinner, we choose a random question from a list of questions and we all answer it. That was our question last night! Here were our answers:
Boys – “Sailing!” They love living on a boat and being able to go out for a sail.
Matt – “Forced closeness” haha we gave him a hard time with his word choice… but he likes that we are all together all the time.
Michelle – “Ability to travel” Living on a boat gives us a chance to explore the world.
Can home be a person, or an idea?
Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
Be open to the differences. Sometimes they may be frustrating like “why the hell is something always broken on this boat!?” or they may be majestic like “holy cow, the sunsets are amazing.” Enjoy that living this way is different, and that is why you chose this lifestyle.
Anything else you would like offer?
Follow your dreams! I have a favorite quote by Jim Rohn, “If you really want to do it, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse.” I live by that… So, if anyone else wants to do this, they totally can.
What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
Since we just moved aboard in June, we are definitely going to continue! We hope to leave Texas in the next couple of weeks and head to Florida. We will cruise from St. Petersburg down to the Keys. And hop over to the Dry Tortugas – which is a major bucket list item for us! Then back up the Keys to Miami, up the coast of Florida and into the Carolinas. We hope to jump up to Maine by summer 2017 and then start making our way back down the east coast USA… ending back up in Miami by November/December 2017 to leave the U.S. for the Bahamas, Caribbean, and beyond! We’ll keep going for as long as we love it. Or until the money runs out. Or until we find a piece of heaven where we
How do you educate your children?
We are boatschooling our kids! A mix of curriculum, world schooling, and unschooling… We are all learning French. We are doing yoga. We are doing 6th grade math curriculum. We are doing project-based or interest-based research on different topics (like we just did one on coral reefs and ecosystems.) And the boys are doing minecraft online school for writing and science. As we travel the east coast USA we plan to hit all of the museums, libraries, historical tours, etc. that we can and learn all we can!
How do you make a living?
Matt is currently working full-time. He has been working remotely for past five years, so it was easy to transition to the boat and work full-time from the boat. We just have to make sure we have reliable internet so he can work. We plan to sail/cruise/move to different ports on weekends when he is off. During the week, Michelle and boys will go on field trips, boatschool, and kayak while Matt is working. Evenings/weekends will be for exploring the ports together as a family.
Michelle left her full-time position in August, and began doing freelance work to keep some income. She makes 1/3 of what she was making, but boat life is much less expensive (well, in theory, after we fix everything on the boat!) – and is looking at ways to build a business online in the future.
The hope is that by December 2017, we have enough saved to both quit working and comfortably travel for 2-3 years, while also building an income from an online business to extend our travels… we are also willing to stop for extended periods to work and build up the boat kitty so we can keep traveling.
Quote to ponder:
Follow your dreams!
If anyone is interested in boatschooling – we started a Facebook group called “Boatschooled” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/boatschooled/) where we talk about resources, tips, curriculum and share ideas with other families living aboard and schooling their kids.
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Amazing, right? I started this series to share families who are living differently. Starting this series for all of you readers has made me realize how much a part of it is for me as well. I need this weekly dose of inspiration. It makes me smile, it gives me hope and it makes me want to push harder when the times are tough. So thank you all for reading the blog and welcoming these crazy travelers into your heart.
Now, for the Peacocks, wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story and being so honest. Your words show that you have a true zest for life. I love that you took to the water when you could have easily stayed put with your current situation of working from home. I am sure that there have been transitions, tough times (boats break, I get it), but aren’t you glad you took the plunge? No regrets, no looking back wondering, you are doing it. Congrats. And thank you for sharing your home and your story.
What are you NOT doing today that you will regret in 20 years? Think about it, hard.
Have a fabulous Thursday.