Welcome aboard!

I’m Behan. In 2008, my family went through a radical lifestyle change. We sold most of our belongings, moved onto our boat, and sailed away from home. With a deep commitment to sustainable living and a desire to live life to the fullest, we’ve been slowly sailing around the world ever since.

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Similan Islands, Thailand: January 2014

We hope to encourage anyone thinking of taking the leap to live a differently by sharing a slice of the cruising life through inspiring stories, practical tips, and destination information. If you’re new, these posts will help you get oriented. If you have questions, get in touch with us though the contact form, or read on Ask the Cruiser about how to get in-depth 1:1 mentoring from me and Jamie. Here’s a jump list for categories with selected blog posts to introduce you to our crazy life, how we make it work, and some of the incredible adventures we’ve had.

Cost of cruising | Choosing a boat | Downsizing | What do you need? | Passage making | Homeschooling | Safety | Staying healthy | ProvisioningTransitioning into cruising | Everyday lifeLocal culture

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Channel Islands, California. 2008

Cost of cruising

We hear this question a lot, and the simplest answer is that cruising costs whatever you have. People travel on all manner of budgets, from micro to macro. Of course, it does take money.

 

Choosing a boat

There is no perfect cruising boat. We do not take any stand in the mono vs multi camp: a good boat is the one that meets your needs, carries you safely, fits your budget, and makes you happy.

sailing

 

Downsizing

Living afloat is minimalist living, and truly liberating. The less we have, the lighter we feel, the happier we are.

 

Cost of cruising | Choosing a boat | Downsizing | What do you need? | Passage making | Homeschooling | Safety | Staying healthy | Provisioning | Transitioning into cruising | Everyday life |Local culture

What do you need?

You need less than you think. With limited living space and a goal to live simply, we are well trained to think of Stuff as the enemy. That said, your new boat won’t come with everything, and while you have time (and an income), sourcing in advance by trolling eBay and Craigslist so you minimize paying retail at the last minute. The hard part, though, is knowing what you really need vs succumbing to something shiny.

 

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Staying inspired before cruising with our Giant Map of Dreams

 

Passage making

We sailed thousands of miles in the inland waters of the Salish Sea, then coastal for more than a year as a family before taking off on our first major passage: nearly 3,000 miles from La Cruz, Mexico to Hiva Oa, in French Polynesia’s Marquesa islands. Each step along the way has taught us more.

 

Cost of cruising | Choosing a boat | Downsizing | What do you need? | Passage making | Homeschooling | Safety | Staying healthy | Provisioning | Transitioning into cruising | Everyday life | Local culture

 

The Gifford family on their cruiser yacht, Totem, moored in James Bay, St Helena. L-R: Siobhan, Behan, Niall, Mairen and Jamie.

St Helena, April 2016: photo (c) Darrin Henry, www.whatthesaintsdidnext.com

Homeschooling

I worried about this. I worried a LOT. I wish I could tell my pre-cruiser self to worry less! Hopefully my hindsight perspective will help others find their homeschooling legs more easily.

kids-check-out-a-turtle-under-a-coral-head-in-maldives

 

Safety

There are different ways to evaluate safety as a cruiser. We’re most often asked about pirates, although it’s very, very, VERY low on our likely risk scale.

 

Cost of cruising | Choosing a boat | Downsizing | What do you need? | Passage making | Homeschooling | Safety | Staying healthy | Provisioning | Transitioning into cruising | Everyday life | Local culture

 

Staying healthy

 

Provisioning

Before we went cruising, stocking the pantry (and fridge, and chest freezer) was easy. We sourced much of our food from local producers. The gaps were filled in at the neighborhood grocery store. It turns out, everyday provisioning as a cruiser- without a car, in a foreign country, is a little more complicated. What it’s not, however, is a problem. It’s just different.

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Beef vendor at the public market: Ambon, Indonesia, 2013

 

Transitioning into cruising

The cruising life has a different rhythm. For most people, it takes time to adjust to the cruising life. For our children, that time was about twenty minutes. For Jamie and me, it was much longer.

 

Everyday life

It may be a little harder to picture how some aspects of everyday life translate into cruising. Here’s a peek.

 

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Cruising kids put on a performance of The Wizard of Oz. Malaysia, 2013

Local Culture

Experiencing other cultures, to learn, share, find our differences and commonalities are one of the joys of cruising for our family. Here are a smattering of examples to give you a peek.

swimming-off-totem-whats-a-little-rain-anyway

Cost of cruising | Choosing a boat | Downsizing | What do you need? | Passage making | Homeschooling | Safety | Staying healthy | Provisioning | Transitioning into cruising | Everyday life | Local culture

© 2007-2017 Sailing with Totem. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.