Greetings! My name is Sarah Woods, and you may already know that I live on a boat with my family on Magnetic Island, Tropical North Queensland, Australia. This is our starting point for our around the world adventure.
What you may not know, is the story on how I got here.
(this is the part in the bio where I start to get a bit sweaty)
It's a somewhat complicated story, but the pivotal moment was when our 'collection' of businesses (my husband is a prolific entrepreneur), that ultimately turned pear shaped caused by a combination of family, (valuable lesson there to not go into business with family again), and the current economy.
Forced to sell our properties, we moved onto my Father-in laws boat as a temporary solution (it was only sopposed to be for two weeks), one and a half years later we're still on it and couldn't be happier, much to our and others disbelief!
The first boat in this image is the small 35 foot canal boat 'Summer Dream' that we have managed to live on for the past year and a half. Manly Harbour, Brisbane.
When it was time to sell the house was a bit traumatic at first, we had put so much into it and we saw it as being our dream home. But once we decided to sell everything in the house it became an unexpected cleansing process, we piled all our 'stuff' ( being a designer, we had some pretty awesome stuff!) into the garage and stood there looking at it all, I felt physically sick about how we were so stuck in the 'consumer' way of living. Since then I have been obsessed with keeping things simple, and try to live by a new "collect memories not things" way of living.
I'm not saying I'm completely free from the hoarding mindset, I do love pinterest, and when I pin something, it kind of feels the same as if I've bought it, which is great as it costs me nothing and I don't have to find a space for it. (It keeps the mini hoarder inside of me content).
From the shift in mindset from selling all our stuff, we found living on the boat to be sort of a loop hole, a way we could still have a fantastic lifestyle and have very little overheads, we had no intention of renting a crappy little house and starting again from scratch. We talked about taking the opportunity of not having any more ties to land and plan to go on a world cruise now instead of waiting till the kids grow up or retirement.
Moreton Island is a stunning sand Island about 2 hours boat trip from Manly Harbour in Brisbane. We would spend our weekends here every chance we got.
We decided why wait! the thought of cruising and discovering amazing places with the kids was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. What kid wouldn't prefer to be schooled with 100% attention from two teachers (Carlos and I) till noon, then spending the rest of the day swimming, surfing, fishing and exploring?
Best friends.....for now anyways.
I could now see that we were on a path that contradicted our core values and further away from our original dream when we met in our early 20's, to travel and explore the world on our own sail boat.
"It's only when you loose everything that you are free to do anything" - Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club.
The funny thing was, we had thought the only way to achieve our dream was to make copious amounts of money semi-retire and then set off. Even though we were making a lot of money through property and the building company, we were on a hamster wheel and had our heads buried in the sand.
I now have a hunch that the universe has a way of changing things to set you back on the course you were sopposed to be on. Not quite the road map we were looking at before, but definitely a more creative/exciting and surprising course. As soon as I stopped fighting it, things just started to happen and fall into place.
From there, we came to the conclusion that we don't need much to live, much money and no longer the need to buy stuff. If nothing else, the kids have had a total mind shift that was also not expected, they don't want for anything, and not having a TV hasn't hurt either.
They are thriving with the new lifestyle, with most time spent at the beach, fishing and discovering. From having a giant toy room, to now, a very small tub of toys and they are perfectly happy. We also enjoy being in such close quarters, we are constantly interacting and learning to work things out like a mini tribe.
The kids toy room. They don't miss all their toys, in fact, they had a ball selling most of them at our garage sales and at the market.
Syd and Indi (the two kids with the curly hair) playing with a friend at Picnic Bay, Magnetic Island. They love to play with what they find that has been washed up on the beach.
Though we enjoyed living in Manly Harbour, we loved to take the boat to the nearby Islands, we just had to leave, to start moving and to start our new adventure. The longer we stuck around, the more unlikely we were not to go.
Another big thing was that I needed to remove ourselves from the 'dream stompers.' The ones that say "you can't live on a boat", "you can't home school" and my personal favourite, "it will be dangerous". I think it would be more dangerous not to chase a dream.
Syd and me, about to head out for a surf. There is something for everyone, I get to go surfing, Carlos loves his kite boarding and the kids have boogie boards. I look forward to going surfing with the kids at remote islands on our trip.
Now we're here, the very start of our trip, on a tropical Island that seems to have it all, even surf when the wind is blowing from the right direction! The only problem is I think we will miss living here when it's time to set sail.
"I can feel my body unknotting itself a little bit more every day, allowing me to finally breathe freely".
The self imposed barrier to our dream we had before has been broken down, we are saving like crazy at the moment to own our own sailboat. I'm currently working on an online business related to the building industry, that will hopefully enable us to stay location independent for years.
One of my favourite spots along the beach to work.
Another unexpected bi-product of boat life is living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. It gives me a very nice feeling that we have a smaller impact on the environment, I'm sure we are all a lot healthier too as we catch fish almost daily.
Mud crab caught in our crab pot, freshly picked cherry tomato, basil, fetta and Chia seed salad.
Best of all we are doing it all together and having a ball in the process.
Now you know where I've been and where I plan to go, what happens in between is not set in stone, but I have a feeling it will never be boring.