sailing in polynesia on the horizon line travel blog brianna randall and rob roberts drums yacht club tahiti

Boy, do I love Rob.

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Family and Friends, Reflections on Life

sailing in polynesia on the horizon line travel blog brianna randall and rob roberts

Rob’s writing a song. He sits on the bow, bent over the small nylon-string guitar we bought in Panama City, humming softly to himself: “Duh duh duh, dum dee dum dum, ba-daaaaaa.” I smile as he ends with a flourish. Rob’s only been playing guitar for two months, but the little ditty he invented has a catchy rhythm and clear chords. I have no doubt the soon-to-emerge lyrics will be clever, too.

That’s my husband, I think proudly to myself.

I still feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I say that word. We married each other one year ago today, in a sunny park along a cold river in the center of hundreds of family and friends. We vowed to explore the world and ourselves together. Making music together is just one of the many explorations we’ve undertaken this year, but — to me — it represents so much about our relationship. The willingness to try new things, the desire to be creative, the ability to take risks and put ourselves in uncomfortable situations, the search for beautiful moments, the patience to teach and to learn, the ease with which we find humor in the mundane.

These are the things I treasure about my husband. About being a wife. About living together in small spaces in a vast world.

sailing in polynesia on the horizon line travel blog brianna randall and rob roberts drums yacht club tahiti

I was only mildly surprised when Rob turned to me a week into our Pacific crossing (once his seasickness wore off) and asked me to teach him how to play guitar. “My aunt told me I should try and learn something new on our sailing trip,” he said. “I figure I’ve got time, I love music, and I’ve got a teacher right here.” Many people don’t choose to learn new things at age 37. But Rob isn’t most people.

My husband is special, and I celebrate that fact on more days than just today. Out here in tropical ocean land, days in a row go by where I feel even more in love with him than I did on our wedding day. A few nights ago, as we discussed the many decisions facing us over the next months and the many decisions we’ve already made, Rob said to me: “I feel like the our relationship has been the most sure thing about our whole trip.”

I know exactly what he means. In the midst of queasiness, constant change, wonderful moments and horrible ones, Rob and I have depended heavily on each other. We can’t turn to friends and family, as we normally do. And we can’t just take a walk when one of us gets frustrated, either. It’s all or nothing out here. I marvel at how well we mesh, how well we’ve learned to navigate unknown circumstances, how quickly we adjusted to spending almost every minute of the day together.

Sure, there are plenty of times when we snapped at each other this past year, or when I wanted nothing more than to spend the day alone. That’s just life. But, amazingly, the more days that go by, the more we accept each others’ faults, moods, needs, mistakes.

sailing in polynesia on the horizon line travel blog brianna randall and rob roberts

Here are the simple things I cherish about him today, in this moment, on our anniversary, anchored off a lush island on someone else’s boat, at the beginning of our adventure together across the biggest ocean on the planet.
– He cooks one-pot wonders in record time, and makes sure I always eat enough.
– He can fix just about anything.
– He starts new ideas with, “Hey, Bri, do you know what we should do?” and I smile in anticipation each time, not knowing what the hell he might say next.
– He does what he wants, and means what he says.
– He pats my butt absentmindedly whenever he walks by.
– He has a pretty cute butt of his own.

Tonight, on our first anniversary, there will be fireworks. Not just the romantic kind, either — real ones that bang and boom. French Polynesia is conveniently helping us celebrate by throwing a huge party. It’s Bastille Day, and France is rocking out to celebrate their own anniversary of freedom and representative governance. The party might even be as good as our wedding in Missoula. We’ll be happily swimming in wedding day memories today (just like 30 of us swam naked in the river downtown after the reception): cupcakes and carousels and musicians and magic. Kind words, smiling babies, hula hoops, rap-toasts, elk meat and dancing. Good times.

We haven’t seen a carousel, elk or a rapper in months. We’d pay a lot of money to dance again with all of our friends. But we’re celebrating the fact that we’ve still got the magic, and we’ll renew our promise to keep making music together.

on the horizon line - cruising and travel blog

Finding Peace in La Paz

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Reflections on Life

Missoula Montana downtown over Clark Fork RiverWe just got back from a lovely meal with fellow Montanans who live here in La Paz.  (I know: our recent posts make it like Montanans are rapidly colonizing Baja California).  Josh Schroeder and his wife, Nieves, welcomed us into their home., and made us prawns, pasta and plenty of wine.  We ate with his sister, mom and grandpa, who are down visiting.  They commiserated over our losses, and shared some of their own more poignant and meaningful loss of a loved one.  We laughed, broke some glasses, and heard stories of Josh and Rob catching exorbitant numbers of giant trout in Alaska.

Many folks have commented on how positive we’ve been after the rocky start to our voyage, including Josh, and his mom, Joyce.  It made me realize a couple of things:

1) I haven’t shared the fact that Rob and I had many rough spots the past week.  One of us gets cranky or frustrated or sad or pissed off at the situation at least once a day.

2) What brings us back from the low spots are people like the Schroeders, as well as of our other friends, near and far.

on the horizon line - cruising and travel blogIt does suck to get robbed, not because of the stuff that disappears, but because it’s an insult.  It makes us feel dumb, naive, played, helpless.  In fact, my morning today was one of my lowest spots yet, as I oscillated between clicking “buy now” on many of the items we just lost versus wanting to burn half the remaining 25 pounds of stuff I still have (it’s true: I packed too many clothes).  I felt like La Paz and I will just never get along, as if we’re star-crossed lovers that can’t find a groove.

During the low points, I really miss my sister, and the girlfriends who know me inside and out.  I wonder how, exactly, I think I can live without them for months on end.  But then, hours later, I’ve found that total strangers feel almost as close as the family I ached for earlier.  I’ve found that La Paz is peaceful at night, with bright stars overhead and a cool breeze that laughs away my feelings of fated doom and gloom.

If I haven’t portrayed the frustrations and pain, it’s because the low points are often overshadowed by the view from the high points.  The voids fill.  The troughs crest.  All waves recede…and roll right on back in again.

on the horizon line - sailing and traveling blog in mexico

The Unexpected Treasures

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Family and Friends, Traveling

“May you find light even in darkness.

May the arc of your narrative be full of unexpected treasures.

Be open.

Be vulnerable.

Be you.”

on the horizon line - sailing and traveling blog in mexico

These wise words appeared in our mailbox the day we locked the door of our home to set sail for new adventures.  Our good friend, Kipper, wrote them in a card, which we read as we lifted off from Montana toward western shores.

Today, I’m re-reading them and finding new meaning.  It’s been one week since one of our bags was stolen, along with most of the gadgets we’d amassed to take on this voyage.  It left us feeling extremely vulnerable.  But over the course of the week, we learned that the gadgets we wanted to bring along were not what we truly needed to reach our goals for this two-year trip.  We’ve replaced them tenfold already – not with new computers and cameras, but with an abundance of human kindness and the soothing balm of generous friends.

The loss of our expensive gear revealed an unexpected treasure: reminding us that the most valuable asset on earth is connecting with the people around you.  Since we reached Mexico, Rob and I have been lucky enough to sync rhythms with new friends, and fall into well-loved grooves with those we haven’t seen in years.  It’s remarkable how quickly we can become a tribe tied together by story-sharing, fireside chats, and the games and music that fill the space between sunset and bedtime.

katie and mark on boat

For instance: we’d spent about 3 waking hours with Mark and Katie after a year apart before we were all happily crammed in their little Subaru.  We headed to the beach with no plan, 2 sleeping bags, 1 sleeping pad, a dog, a cooler, 5 gallons of water, some field guides, fishing gear, a change of clothes and a lot of willingness to explore.  We ended up in Todos Santos looking for Missoula friends, and managed to track them down with no cell phone or email, and only Rob’s vague memory of visiting their plot of land 5 years ago.

With Mark and Katie, it’s always simple.  No one argues about where or when to eat, who cooks or cleans.  We don’t have to belabor “what we’ll do today,” since we all have the same goals: hang out, enjoy what the land and water has to offer, give thanks for the beauty of our freedom and for each other.  Even in the midst of stressful robberies and chaotic transitions, the four of us made plenty of jokes and took care of the others.

And the next instance: we had dinner with another couple of young cruisers the night after the car was stolen.  After dinner, Sabine and Terry hailed us over the VHF radio inviting us to accompany them to Isla Espiritu Santo on their 60-foot catamaran, Sea Raven.  Rob and I spent 5 days with these strangers-turned-friends, sharing meals, hikes, dives and chores.  Not only did they welcome us in their floating home, they also gave us a small netbook computer they don’t use, which is perfect for staying in touch during our travels.

From the home-front, we’ve felt an outpouring of love and support riding the winds south.  Thanks to all of you for your offers to help out, and your kind words these last few days.  The lightness in the dark sting of last week’s double-whammy thefts was finding the many kindred spirits who live lightly and fully – people who are welcoming and easy, and who look around often to remark: “I’m just happy to be here.”  So are we.

on the horizon line - sailing voyages into the unknown - brianna randall and rob robert's blog - bri and rob sailing

katie and brianna on the beach in baja california - on the horizon line travel blog - gringo shades

Shades of Gringo

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Community and Culture, Traveling

katie and brianna on the beach in baja california - on the horizon line travel blog - gringo shades

The most noticeable thing about Baja (besides, of course, the stark beauty of the desert, the vast blue seas on either side of the mountains, the friendly people, awesome tacos and colorful culture) is the different shades of gringo.

On the light end of the gringo spectrum, you’ve got your rosy-cheeked young families on vacation, your fresh-off-the-plane northern retirees, and your honeymooners hiding under wide-brimmed hats. The darker varieties include the snowbirds who live here half the year, the college spring-breakers dedicated to tanning (and beer), and the ex-pats and mountain-cum-surfer vagabonds who are now Mexicans at heart. The shades of gringo hair vary inversely to the color of the skin: bleached and sun-streaked locks differentiate the long-timers from the Mexican newbies, with their darker and well-tamed hairdos.

Along with the amount of time spent in the country, the shade of the gringo can also indicate that particular foreigner’s willingness to meld with the culture, sink into Mexico’s rhythms, and embrace a new way of life. Or maybe the darker shade simply indicates the gringo’s willingness to shun the traditional 9-to-5-plus-2-weeks-vacation lifestyle favored by their lighter counterparts to the north.

katie and brianna on the beach in baja california - on the horizon line travel blog - gringo shades

Rob and me?  I like to think we’re at the darker end of the gringo spectrum. We tend to embrace new customs quickly. We happily quit our 9-to-5 lifestyle. We are officially vagabonds. Unfortunately, our literal skin shade doesn’t match up … yet. It’s straight up white. Pasty, creamy, pale, translucent. Ghostly. Almost see-through.

I keep forgetting how white we are until I look down at my feet next to Katie’s, or see Rob standing next to our friends, Aldo and Bequia. In my mind, we’ve already transitioned into beach people, and the type of gringos who mingle with locals while throwing out Mexican slang. But in reality, we are the same shade as the tourists who sit under cabanas in Cabo.

I’m trying to be patient while my true shade of gringo slowly emerges. Sure, I want the bleached hair and tan skin that clearly define my place in the gringo spectrum. But I also don’t want skin cancer, and won’t roast myself on the sand like a turkey on a spit. We have the luxury of time, so I know it won’t be long before our bodies reflect the true nature of our vagabond souls.

rob with pole spear and dog

A Typical Baja Beginning

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Outdoor Adventures, Traveling

baja sailing - on the horizon line blog

We made it to Mark and Katie!  And it only took an extra 3 hours more than planned, with only half the expected cost.  In Mexico, that’s quite a success story.

After leaving Missoula at 5:30 AM in the dark, chilly mountain air, we landed in SanJose del Cabo Airport at the southern tip of the Baja Californ
ia peninsula at 3:45 PM.  We’d hoped to take a bus directly from the airport at 4:30 PM, but …. well, it’s Mexico.  Though we had boarding passes written up by the cashier, we were a tad late in handing over the pesos, so the driver left without us.  “Siento,” he said, in an un-sorry voice.  “Bus is full.  They will call another driver.”  And how long would that take, did he think?  “Oh, 40 minutes.  Maybe 2 hours.  Hard to say.”

hummingbird in nest-smAfter much hemming and hawing in a mix of two languages, turns out the cashier REALLY wanted to go home.  She said it would be “mas rapido” to take a taxi to the nearest tiny town and grab a different bus from there.  Santa Anita didn’t have a lot going for it, except for the highway running through its center.  After a confusing round of differing instructions from a variety of helpful (but not always right) people, we finally bought tickets for the 6:00 PM bus (which showed up at 7:00).

The coolest part of the delay: as we waited with ice cream sandwiches on the side of the highway for our bus, Rob spotted a humming bird fly into a scrubby tree on the highway median.  He snuck up and saw it sitting  on a nest … the first hummingbird we’ve ever seen on a nest!  And beneath it?  Two tiny eggs the size of Altoid mints.

bri yoga on dock w selkieMark and Katie were planning to greet us at the Malecon in La Paz at 730 PM after our 3 hour bus ride. Luckily, we used our handy DeLorme InReach (more on this nifty tool later) to send them a message that we’d arrive at 10:00 PM instead.  After a Pacifico and empanadas, we all snuggled down on Selkie for the night.  And I did some dock yoga this morning, too.

Now we’re packing up to go explore some remote beaches for a bit.  Well, Rob and I are already packed.  The trick is fitting the 4 of us, our big bags, a golden retriever and an inflatable kayak in a tiny Subaru for a week of camping.  Stay tuned for pictures of that tetris game.  Hasta luego!

packing for todos santos

packing the house to leave for our sailing trip - on the horizon line

Packing Your Home into a Small Space

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Sailing, Traveling


packing the house to leave for our sailing trip - on the horizon line
The Goodwill pile. We found approximately 221 cozies in our cupboards.

Our first day of (our first) retirement is full of dust-bunnies, boxes, and lots of trash bags.  The full chaos of moving is upon us.  Luckily, we have a whole week to move our life and our house into a 12×12-foot storage space before we fly away to Baja California where our adventures begin.  Even more luckily for us, Rob had the super-awesome idea of building a wall to divide our garage in half so that we can use the back half to store our stuff.

The up side: we only have to move all of our worldly possessions downstairs, which is rad.  But we still have to seal it, box it, wrap it, tie it, and stuff it carefully so that: a) it doesn’t mildew or get water damage, b) no rodents or creepy-crawlies destroy it, and c) it all fits into a space roughly the size of a bathroom.

rob's pile of stuff to put in his travel backpack - on the horizon line
Rob’s pile of “coming with us” stuff that’s supposed to fit in a backpack.


(Interesting factoid of the day: if you wrap your mattress in plastic or put clothes in Hefty bags, you should insert some silicone packets between the plastic and fabric first to suck up moisture.)

Here’s a typical conversation this afternoon: “Rob, I’m throwing away this ratty old blanket with holes in it,” as I toss it toward an overflowing trash bag.

“But, what if we want it for later?” Rob yells from the freezer he’s immersed in cleaning.  “Hey, cool!  I just found a whole bag of lemongrass.”  Rob also found frozen brussel sprouts, watermelon, cake with suspicious-looking blue icing, hops, and 12 packages of frozen beef.

brianna's pile and travel backpack - sailing on the horizon line
My pile of adventure stuff … minus that big drum in the black case.

Rob and I work well together — especially when we take on separate projects in separate corners and don’t ask permission when sorting and purging.  Just kidding.  We both agree on the fact that less is more in life, which will help us immensely as we pack up this week.  And, thankfully, we both agree that our couch and our bed are the most important items we own.  Everything else is just icing on the cake (though much nicer icing than what was on that nasty cake in the freezer).

Packing your life into 144 square feet + one backpack each is a good test for a relationship.  So far, so good.

I’ll let you know how we fare when the heavy lifting starts.





blue latitudes by tony horwitz

What Should We Read?

Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in Sailing

blue latitudes by tony horwitzFriends, family, loved ones and internet browsers: can you help us stock our library for the next year or so?  I’m a voracious reader, and about to have some serious time to consume lots of written words while floating the seas.  Rob, too.

Unfortunately, I feel lost and adrift while browsing Amazon, paralyzed by the endless choices.  So, this is a call for recommendations.  Leave us a comment below or drop us a line to share:

– your favorite book of all time

– a well-loved classic (which are free to download from the Gutenberg Project)

– a good read we shouldn’t miss

– something you simply couldn’t put down

lamb by christopher mooreThe last book I read was Blue Latitudes, about Captain Cook’s expeditions to the islands we’ll be visiting.  But, generally, I’m way more of a fiction girl, as you’ll see from the list of our favorite reads to the left (scroll down a bit in the sidebar).  For instance, this Christopher Moore book made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants, which is often something I look for in a book.

My goal is to stock the Kindle this weekend, and then keep a go-to list of books we can add as we travel.  Mystery, romance, comedy, drama, history, intrique.  We want to take it all with us.  And, if you happen to read something spectacular a few months from now, toss the title in the comments below and we’ll have a special treat waiting for us at the next port!

Thanks for your advice, and the gift of good books.  Can’t wait to hear from you.


bri with backpack ready to sail away on the horizon line

Travel Preparations: What to Bring With You

Posted on 6 CommentsPosted in Sailing, Traveling

bri with backpack ready to sail away on the horizon lineAre you ready for Part 2 of the Travel Prep Mini-Series?  We sure are!  This entry is much more fun, since it means we’re getting closer to a final packing list and farther from those nagging logistical details of leaving our life behind.  (In case you missed Part 1, click here to read “What You Should Leave Behind.”)

Did I mention that Rob had us do a “test pack” on Christmas Eve?  Yup, that was 2 full months ago.  And that’s how excited he is to get the backpack on his back and get out to explore the South Seas.  The test pack weighed in at exactly 50 lbs, which means we should be just under the checked baggage limit (fingers crossed!).  I just laid out everything on the floor again this weekend, trying to see how the hell it will all fit.

The goals of this post include: 1) share our preparation research with other wanna-be sailors/explorers/world travelers; 2) inspire you to cast off all bowlines and simplify some; 3) convince you (and us) that we can fit everything we need for 2 years in one giant backpack each.  See below for our packing list.

abe in laundry basket - pets scared of packing parents as we get ready to sail - on the horizon line
Our dog, Abe, goes to his “safe place” in the laundry basket when he sees us pack. Wish he could come with us!

And — please — let us know what we’re forgetting!  Although, as my grandma just told me on the phone, “I guess you won’t miss what you don’t bring, right?”  Hope not.

The Packing List:

  1. BAGS.  One giant 115-liter waterproof backpack, and one small daypack each.  A small purse/travel wallet for the items in #2.  Several different dry sacks/ditty bags to organize the stuff in the giant 115-liter backpack.
  2. WALLET & DOCS.  Passport, credit cards, ATM cards, license, health insurance cards, scuba certification cards, cash.  We also made electronic and paper copies of all of important travel docs to bring with us and leave with our parents.
  3. ELECTRONICS.  MacBook Air laptop, LaCie hard drive, iPhone (complete with Navionics charts and Bad Elf GPS plugin, and its own life jacket), camera, GoPro Hero 2, recording mic, mini-speaker, iTouch, plus a Joos solar charger to keep ’em all alive and waterproof/durable cases to keep ’em all dry.  *Stay tuned for a Travel Prep post on our communication plan while at sea.
  4. CLOTHES.  3-4 of each of these items: lightweight pants, shorts/skirts, long-sleeved shirts, tank-top or t-shirts, sarongs, underwear, visors/hats, bathing suits.  Rubber rain gear and a lightweight windbreaker.  Small, lightweight puffy jacket.  For Bri: 1 dress and 1 long skirt.  Shoes: Crocs, Vibram 5-Fingers, flip-flops.
  5. SAFETY.  Delorme In-Reach for emergency tracking and rescue (you’re welcome, moms!),
    inflatable Coast Guard-certified life jackets with harness attachments, headlamps, a UV SteriPen to filter drinking water, mosquito net, dive + rigging knives, and a bomber medical kit.  *Stay tuned for a Travel Prep post detailing our medical supplies and vaccinations.
  6. a snapshot of stuff we're taking sailingTOILETRIES.  Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (doubles as shampoo), toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, hair bands, sunscreen, all-purpose lotion, bug repellent (Rob made natural bug goop), chapstick and towel.
  7. FUN STUFF.  Snorkel and mask, rash guard, fins, books and Kindle, jump rope, yoga mat, fly fishing rod and saltwater flies.
  8. SLEEPING GEAR.  Fleece sleeping bag liners, small travel pillow and silk liner for Bri, a sarong and folded-up-sweatshirt pillow for Rob.
  9. NOVELTY ITEM.  Bri: travel backpacking guitar.  Rob: pole spear.


Click here to read more “Travel Prep” posts!


rob and abe our dog sleeping in bed

Travel Preparations: What You Should Leave Behind

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Sailing, Traveling

Red notebook lists

Last week, I had coffee with my friend, Kim.  She and her family are planning to take a year off to sail soon (go, Kim!), and I talked her ear off about how to prepare.  Kim madly scribbled down notes as I rattled off websites, resources and advice about the logistics of leaving.  After 30 minutes of so, I caught myself marveling at the sheer amount of stuff we’ve checked off lists in the last six months.

Remember that Little Red Bible?  It’s a serious masterpiece now.  We have pages full of cross-referenced lists, organized by month and category.

Then there’s all the sticky notes and half-crossed out to-do lists littering our offices and house.  I’ve even started emailing myself reminders, since I think of details when the Little Red Bible is not close at hand.

boat funSince we decided not to buy our own sailboat (yet), I’m surprised by all these details.  I mean, how hard can it really be to fill up a backpack and go play on the ocean for a year or two?

Kinda complicated, it turns out.  Sailing away takes some serious organization.  I’m proud of how organized we’ve been, and how much we’ve taught ourselves about sailing, traveling and life-maintenance in preparation to head off.

Now we want to share our lessons in preparation here, in case you’re planning your own adventure (and we encourage you to do so!).  This is the start of a little mini-series on how to cast off your bowlines and head into the sunset.

What You Should Leave Behind (and hopefully not worry about):

  1. Taxes.  Do ’em before you go.
  2. Jury duty and voting.  Tell the county elections office and courts that you’re leaving the country for a spell. They can forward ballots if you know where you’ll be (we sure don’t!).
  3. Your address.  Set up a forwarding address for U.S. mail and change all relevant billing/contact information.
  4. Typical health insurance.  Buy international travel insurance, including emergency flight evacuations — it’s actually cheaper than U.S. plans.
  5. “Will and Testament.”  Write one, get it notarized and file it with your county.
  6. A home safe or bank safe deposit box filled with copies of passport, birth certificate, marriage license, house/car titles, bank account info, and wills.  Give copies or safe access to a trusted friend or family member, too.
  7. Your house and car(s).  Lease it, sell it, and get it in tip-top shape to avoid disasters while you’re a world away (stay tuned for a future post on how to do this).
  8. Financial complications.  Cancel all but one credit card, and open a new checking account and credit card that don’t charge fees out the wazoo (like Schwab or Capitol One).
  9. 99% of your clothes: only bring what fits in a 2-cubic-foot sack. Yup: that’s all you get.
  10. Furniture, gear, dishes, books, odds and ends.  Give ’em to Goodwill, sell on CraigslistAmazon or eBay, or have a white elephant party.
  11. Subscriptions.  No more newspapers and magazines, unless they get e-delivered to your Kindle or tablet.
  12. rob and abe our dog sleeping in bedStorage area.  If you can’t get rid of everything, build a storage space (we put up a wall with a locking door to use half of our garage as storage) or rent one.
  13. Pets.  So sad they can’t come with us on our adventures!  Luckily, our doggie Abe already has 2 sets of parents and gets to stay and chase turkeys and deer in Montana.  Our chickens found an excellent retirement home, too.  We’ll miss them all.

Next up in the Travel Prep Mini-Series: What to Bring With You.  Give us a shout with questions — we’d love to help you get out and explore!   (And, if you want detailed logistics info and a good laugh, we’ll lend you our Little Red Bible.)

Crew on a Sailboat or Buy Our Own?

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Sailing

bri and rob sailing in BajaLately, we’ve been asked often by our friends and family: “Why are you going to crew on someone else’s sailboat instead of just buying your own?” (Check out our Panama Canal post to read more about who we’re crewing with across the Pacific Ocean.)

Great question.  Here are several answers.

1) It’s cheaper.  Crewing means that we will either: a) pay enough per day to cover our share of food and diesel (which we’d pay anyway if we had our own boat), b) get free passage in return for helping sail these boats, or c) maybe eventually get paid a little bit.  Plus, once we crew our way west, we just might find a better deal on a used blue-water-capable boat in Thailand or Bali than in the U.S.

2) It’s safer.  We aren’t experienced blue-water cruisers … yet.  Sure, we’re both capable sailors and fast learners.  But neither of us have sailed long passages, anchored near coral reef, or navigated complicated shipping channels.  The best way to get up to speed and become experts on sailing in tropical waters or offshore is to learn the ropes first-hand from experienced captains.

Boat Outline.PE05983) It’s smarter.  As our neighbor said when we explained the rationale for crewing the other night, “It’s basically like being engaged to make sure you want to get married.”  Exactly.  Why spend thousands of dollars on our own sailboat without making sure we really, really like being at sea for months on end first?  Plus, this way we can test drive lots of sailboats to see what type fits us best.  Basically, we’re planning to date boats for the next year or so.

4)  It’s easier.  Leaving our home, jobs and family for years is tough enough to prepare for.  If we had to find a boat, outfit it, and learn all its ins and outs on top of that … well, let’s just say we’d be on the 10-year plan instead of the 2-year plan.  Plus, getting our own boat means we’d have to sail across the largest ocean on the planet straight away, which seems like an overwhelming task to plan and execute right now.  This way, we can get out of dodge faster and with a LOT less stuff to cart around the globe.

5)  It’s an adventure.  We like leaving room for flexibility in our travel schedule, both for meeting new people and for seizing opportunities as they arise.  Neither of us are wedded to a set agenda, and crewing will give us the chance to let fate determine where we end up.

We’re still hoping to buy our own (used) boat one day.  Meanwhile, we plan to enjoy the heck out of other people’s spiffy sailboats as we hop, skip and skim around the South Pacific.




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