Thursday, January 15, 2015

Big News...and a little bit of nostalgia

Savannah at anchor in one of our favorite places
in Palau
When we sold our house, all of our stuff and bought Savannah, it was the hardest, scariest and most exciting thing we’ve ever done.  After 10 years of planning and saving, w were finally realizing our goal of a five-year cruise around the world.  Looking back, I guess we were kind of na├»ve on the timeline…after all, it is a great big world.  Anyway, I agreed to six months in Mexico to see if I could, indeed live on a tiny boat with my husband and son 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Six months turned into a year and soon enough we found ourselves crossing the big scary ocean to tropical islands far away.  At some point, Savannah became home and our little life of traveling from place to place via the ocean became normal.  When asked how long we would sail, we quit quoting our five-year plan and instead said “when one of us isn’t having fun or we run out of money.”

The morning we left San Diego.

3 days later, our approach to Isla Guadalupe

Fast forward five years and we find ourselves only half way around the world.  We’ve traveled to 16 different countries visiting some of the most remote places in existence and crossed the largest ocean in the world.    We have seen and done some amazing things.  While it’s not always an easy life, for the most part, we’re still happy and having fun.  However, after many long hours of discussion and doing some math, the sad fact is that we have finally run out of money.  It’s something we knew would happen one day, we just hoped it would be later and we’d be closer to home.  We could probably get to South Africa, but then we’d be stuck without many appealing options.   We’ve both stopped and worked before and while we could do that again, we don’t want to be separated again for so long (or in Andy’s case, get shot at).  In reality, with the travel involved and living expenses, we really don’t ever save as much as planned and it ends up just being a long time apart. 

Our first bonfire in Mexico

Pirates in La Cruz, Mexico

Crossing the equator for the first time

Island kids (and Jake) in the Tuamotos

Jake, participating in the French Polynesian games
at a school in the Tuamotos

In our effort to pretend to be responsible adults and avoid that ever growing population of people receiving gov’t assistance (Andy says we have a taste for fine cheddar, not gov’t cheese! Which may be part of the problem…), we have come to the very hard and sad reality that we need to put Savannah on the market here in Malaysia and go back to the United States to take a break.  We’ll get jobs and settle down somewhere on the south east coast while we save up for our next adventure. 

It’s been a hard couple of months.  Jake “refused to allow it” when we first told him and there have been tears all around.  But just like in the beginning, this is the hardest, scariest and most exciting thing we’ve done.  They say the two happiest days of your life (aside from marriage and children, of course) is the day you buy your boat and the day you sell it.  We’re trying to focus on the good things about selling, like being back with family, dishwashers, washing machines, The Big Green Egg, and Chick-fil-a!

I believe this was in the Mortlocks in Micronesia

Christmas celebration in Lamotrek, Micronesia with the locals.

Our first anchorage after arriving in the Philippines
I’m sure this won’t be my last post on the subject, but I’m going to try and not dwell on it all too much.  There’s no point.  In the meantime, we’re on the hard here in Thailand getting her all fixed up (being reminded of what BOAT stands for….Break Out Another Thousand) In between working on Savannah, we’ll try to squeeze in a little more fun before we actually list her.  It’ll be a few weeks before it all happens so don’t abandon us just yet…I promise lots of honest, if not exciting posts on the trials and tribulations of wrapping things up.

Feeding giraffes in the Philippines

Amazing vacation in Australia

Sailing to Thailand


Anonymous said...

It is scary to come back to America after sailing around in a boat. And it's down right hard sometimes. But so was learning how to live on a boat. Just wanted to say that we have never, ever been happier than we are right now. Two years, and six months ago, I couldn't imagine what life back in America was going to be like. It took the first six months just to come out of the mental haze. But now I can honestly say that all the things we hoped for came true, and so much more. Life just keeps getting better. Wishing you lots of strength through your upcoming transitions.
The former crew of s/v Just a Minute

Nancy, Ethan & Zada said...

No matter can always, always go back.
The ocean is there.
Boats can be found.
Sometimes that thought alone might just help...
Transitions can be hard and insightful yet telling and true...
Here's sending our best to you as you branch out on a new path.
We love you guys and what memories we've shared.
xoxo s/v Eyoni

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on cruising as long as you have, and providing a host of lifelong memories for everyone in your family. You will certainly take your cruising mentality of exploration and curiosity with you as you start a new phase of your lives ashore. And, as any good cruiser knows, no plans are permanently etched in stone.

One suggestion, borne completely out of self interest, is that you continue to post some of your thoughts and experiences as you "re-enter" shore-based life. We cruised for three years prior to having a couple of kids and are on the cusp of setting out on another cruise as a family. We have the boat, we have the money for a few years, but are still lacking the courage to actually quit working and jump off the cliff, as it were, because we have a hard time seeing the exit plan once we reach the point that you good people have now reached. Not many cruisers write about this part (which almost everyone faces eventually). Just a thought.

Best wishes,

SV Serenade

Just a Minute said...

Serenade, if you've got the dream, the boat and the money......Jump. A safety net will appear. Worrying about how you will reintegrate in three years is silly. There's no way you can imagine it, because by then, you will be a completely different person. Trust me on this. We left, we sailed, we returned, we reintegrated. Happy to have gone, happy to have lived a dream, happy to be home. All of us completely different, and so much happier for our experiences and growth. Thousands of people are dreamers and only a few are doers. Be a doer and it will change your life (and your kids's lives, too!).
Laura, formerly of s/v Just a Minute, four year cruise in Mexico with kid and dog.

Adventures on Sea Fever said...

Congratulations on your adventure!! We finished the Great Circle Loop this year (after doing it in sections over 14 years…). Getting half way around the world is even "more better" than the Loop. It's an easy bet that you will sail the other half sometime very soon! Enjoy your next adventure of being home for a while.
Debi and Jim
M/V Sea Fever
(friends of Melanie and Jason)

The Crew of Savannah said...

Now I know why so few people post a comment...what a pain in the arse. I just wrote a big long note to each one of you and lost it. anywhoo....thanks so much for the notes...I'm touched that someone besides my mother cares! s/v Serenade...good suggestion...we'll see how long I can babble before people quite reading! As for leaving...I agree with Laura, just go. quitting my job was the hardest thing, but spending time with my family all day long is incredible. as for not being comfortable without a plan...make a broad one...for us, it was "if all goes right, we'll work doing something we love. if all is lost, we'll go back to the grind and do what we did before" in the end, it will be some bit of a combination of those two things...but what I've learned is that after being totally responsible for yourself and everything around you (water, electricity, family, etc), getting a job doesn't seem so scary. Just won't regret it.

The Crew of Savannah said...

Oh and for m/v Sea Fever... I remember you! Congratulations! Maybe we'll meet up again and swap stories...would love to hear about your adventures too.

Anonymous said...

as i sit here reading your blog so many wonderful memories run through my mind, What a unique and life changing gift you have given Yourselves You have all grown in ways most people will never ever experience. I can't help but believe that your little family will always be closer and better prepared for life's "bumps" than almost any others you will come in contact with in the future! Life is change, embrace it, aren't you lucky to be have been able to live this wonderful life on the water? Crew of S/V U'lalena

Samarah Madson said...

wow!!! that was really beautiful... the sea was calm.

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Shakirah said...

that was a beautiful paradise...
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Louisse said...

that was a great bonding indeed....
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Anonymous said...

We were glad to be with you at some of the firsts of your adventures and to enjoy the memories as we look back on them,
The crew of S/V Ulalena

Lianah said...

a happy family in a beautiful paradise :)
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Top rated Diesel Repairs Austin website said...

wow these place are amazing, I love the beaches, and this beach is beautiful, you really had a fun time!

Top rated Austin Landscape Lighting said...

what a great vacations you had, i wish i could do the same with my family, they are my gems

Mac Mckaskle said...

Monica I am glad you shared the experience of posting on this site, it does bring some understanding to the flustration of it all. it is not that we have nothing to say 0r the desire to communicate it's as you said just a pain in the arsh. after 5 years I have just about got it now. go figure. love you guys much keep up the blog it means so much to so many

Peter Earle said...

Hi Guys,
I was hoping to contact you folks about the possibility of purchasing Savannah...I've been searching for a nice cat for a while now, and Rebak Marina is a very pleasant place to start....I imagine you enjoyed the Taj Marina pool while you were's a gorgeous spot.
if you would like to contact me, my email is
Regards...Peter Earle...(Aussie)

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