What happened to us?
We used to be a normal suburban happy family just trucking along in life like everyone else. (Well sort of. We homeschool four kids. That makes us un-normal.)
But we got too complacent. We became so content in our comfy lifestyle that we became, in fact, discontent. The monotony of doing school, making money, paying bills, organizing playdates, running to extracurriculars, and all the blah blah blah of the suburban American dream was killing the adventurous spirit inside of us. We were no longer inspired. Our original plan for 2016 was to leave the city and move to our log cabin in the mountains. We were going to grow a garden and get some chickens and buy some hunting dogs. Our kids were not thrilled about moving to the country but had resigned themselves to accept it and remain positive.
However, after an amazing three-hour sailing lesson on the lake back in April 2016, we all quickly fell in love with the idea of being out on the open water, and we decided to adjust our plans a bit. Instead of going to Montana, we bought a sailing yacht and will spend the next few years sailing around the world!
Seriously. Not even kidding.
A desire years on the backburner, it only took us about six weeks to make the transition to become a live aboard family. My husband, Keith, has informed his business partner that he is taking a long sabbatical. We have moved out of our house in the Texas suburbs and put all our belongings in storage near our cabin in Montana. As of writing this, me and Keith and our two oldest kids, Anna and Jack, have completed our American Sailing Association courses 101-104, and are competent to man our own ship!
The Zatara is now our new family home. She is a 55 foot Beneteau Oceanis sailing yacht and is currently parked in a marina in Ft. Lauderdale. Our main goal will be circumnavigation, however, our itinerary will depend on weather and wind patterns and safety. We hope to depart some time in July -- managing hurricane season as safely as we can.
We realized that now is the best (and possibly the only) time to take this journey with our family -- before we set up the ranch with chickens and horses and dogs and gardens and it just gets too complicated to leave. The kids are old enough to be safe and competent in a boating environment, yet still young enough to not really have a choice in the matter.
Is it safe, you ask? We have done endless research and set up our boat to be as safe as possible. We have weighed the risks and the rewards, and have discussed all of each with our children and with other cruising families, couples, and captains. We know this life isn't for everyone, and a cruising life certainly comes with its own risks. But risk can be balanced by skill, knowledge, and preparation.
So now is the time...
It's the time to get inspired! And we hope to be an inspiration. We have big dreams but we also serve a big God, so I am confident this experience will prove beneficial to the whole family and be an incredible undertaking.
I am so excited for the things we will do and places we will see! We will continue to homeschool as we have always done, however we will be adding Marine Biology, Maritime Navigation, Oceanography, and of course, Sailing 101! We hope that our kids will put in "more sea hours than shopping hours, and become more familiar with the stars in the sky than the ones in the tabloids." (Diane Selkirk)
~Renee W., June 2016