We Were Tired of Living in a House*

When we told our friends that we wanted to take a sabbatical and live on a boat for a year with our two young kids, some said, “That sounds really hard,” and others said, “You’re living the dream.” The reality is that both are true. We have been planning this adventure for years, wanting to expose our children to new cultures, turquoise waters, challenge, beauty, and the wonders of sailing. A dozen Excel spreadsheets later, here we are, making it happen. We put our house in Madison, Wisconsin, up for rent and packed our things. For the next ten months, we’ll be sailing north, up through the Caribbean, back to the United States, stopping where we can. We have an idea of where we want to go but also know that the future is uncertain. We’re going to try and roll with that.

*Thanks to Auntie and Unc for gifting us this fun picture book that’s perfect for any family with wanderlust.

A Good Omen for Our Trip

When Leon and Margot went for their wellness checks before our trip, we met a woman named Chong. She was the person who measured their head size, took their weight and height, and did Leon’s hearing and eyesight test. The kids and I told Chong about our sailing adventure. She was encouraging and curious about it. A few days later, our family returned to the doctor’s office to get flu shots and the woman at the front desk handed us a beautiful scrapbook. Chong had told her sister about our trip, and her sister who was also excited for us, made the scrapbook. Time went into this thing. We tell you this because in what feels like a year of many divisions, connections like these really matter. A stranger connecting to another stranger through kindness.




Anyone who has spent time with Eric knows that if you hang out with him long enough, you will likely end up on some surprise adventure. He is an enthusiastic hiker and sailor and was the chief instigator of this trip. Eric has sailed across the Atlantic Ocean twice and has earned his 100-ton captain’s license. When Eric and Alex had their first date, he took her out for a sail on his boat that he was living on in New York City. Unbeknownst to Alex, Eric had replaced the boat’s wonky toilet prior to their date just to impress her. This must have been a sign of good things to come for their relationship. One thing is for certain, life with Eric is never boring.



When Alex and Eric met over ten years ago, Alex had never sailed in her life. She would get motion sick on a hammock, so sailing seemed out of the question. But Alex has always liked a good adventure and will do a lot for love. She may be more of a fair-weather, wine-and-cheese kind of sailor, but she is also motivated by new places and things that make her kind of uncomfortable. She is determined, curious, and (mostly) calm. Once, Alex found a giant scorpion on the inside of a dress she was wearing and quietly removed it without making a peep. She is really good at pre-mortems and recently finished a podcast called 6 Months or Less.



When Alex went into labor with Leon, he was almost born in the car on the way to the hospital. Since day one, Leon has always had many irons in the fire. He is a bright, sensitive, curious, and energetic five-year-old, who calls himself the “Son of Sherlock Holmes.” You can often find Leon solving mysteries, writing stories, listening to audio books, or asking questions about how the world works and his place in it. He used to hang back at playgrounds but now dives right in. Leon can out-tag almost any kid and would eat cookies all day if we let him.



During one of our early sails as a family, Margot was the first one to scream in excitement when the boat sailed into choppy seas. She is a smart, loquacious, adventurous, tender, and very squirmy two-year-old. Her favorite phrases are, “I can do it myself” and “why?” Margot learned to put her own shoes on the correct feet at eighteen months and regularly takes thirty minutes to talk herself to sleep. She is usually really happy until she is really not. You can often find Margot taking care of her baby doll, coloring, pressing every button and pulling every handle in sight, or swinging in a baby swing.