It is hard to believe that it’s been two years since we sold our house in Indiana and started this journey. We are now off the boat and have moved into a rental home in Asheville, North Carolina. We have had many transitions over the last few months so I thought it would be fun to interview the family to get their take on things.
1-Now that we are living in a house, what 3 things do you miss from traveling either on the boat or in Costa Rica?
Joellen – 1) Dogs in Costa Rica but I really love our new dog Mahi 2) Exploring and finding sand dollars and shells and making forts on the beaches 3) The orphanage
Camden – 1) Catching mahi-mahi 2) Catching wahoo 3) Snorkeling with fish
Jen – 1) Having no schedule 2) Dinners in the cockpit watching the sunset 3) My friendship with Cherie (director of the orphanage) and Rosa (orphanage housekeeper)
Marc – 1) Carefree timelessness – Not sure with the next day, next week, and next month will be or what we will be doing 2) Meeting amazing new people every day and hearing their stories 3) How entwined our daily life as a family was 4) Moving our family outside of our comfort zone
2-What three things did you learn from traveling over the last two years?
Joellen – 1) How to make friends quickly 2) How to speak Spanish 3) How to get invited aboard another person’s boat – This is how to get invited aboard…”Your boat is very beautiful, I wonder what it looks like inside” (don’t push it too much though) 4) How to get pampered. Like on the boat September Song, Bob and Stephanie always gave us grilled cheese, cookies, and candy. That was great.
Camden – 1) How to catch fish 2) How to take a hook out of a fish’s mouth 3) How to talk to adults
Marc – 1) That kids are much more adaptive then we give them credit for 2) How important it is for our kids to see that we (Jen and I) don’t know everything and that we are constantly learning 3) People no matter their race, background, economic status or current position in life value families and kids. 4) I am really lucky to be married to my Jen. I am not sure how many other wives would be supportive of this dream. Not only was Jen supportive, she was a true co-captain. There were so many things that she did on the boat better than I. Some important things that she did better were course plotting/navigation, interaction with local people, homeschooling, figuring out where to get provisions (ie-food) and doing the blog. Also, I learned how hard it is to be a mom or stay at home dad. When I was working full time, I spent as much time with the kids as I could. But it was mostly dinners/evening, the weekend, and vacations. Once we shifted to being around each other 24/7, I grew in deep appreciation for the parents whose primary responsibility it is to raise the kids. I love my kids dearly but they are a lot of work needing more love and attention than I realized when I was working.
Jen 1) How living without a dishwasher and a laundry machine (and a refrigerator for the months of March and April) can be frustrating but fun at the same time! 2) How little things can make you giddy…like when your heads (toilets) are at full capacity and you have the perfect anchorage in Georgetown, and you don’t feel like sailing 3 miles offshore to empty your waste. And then the pump-out guy comes by your boat just at the right time. And then…voila…empty, fresh heads. I told you it’s the little things in life! Oh, and for $2 he’d take your trash too! Now that is a luxury when you live on a boat. The pump-out guy was the nicest and our kids always looked forward to seeing him. And I just love his yellow rain slicker that he wore for protection. Smart guy!3) Marc is actually REALLY good at fixing things now. You would not believe what a ‘Marc’Gyver he has become. 4) I love homeschooling
3-What three things do you miss about the boat?
Camden – 1) Fishing 2) Seeing other peoples’ boats 3) Sailing in the gulf stream to catch big fish
Marc – 1) Sailing and the beauty of the open ocean 2) Living in 350 square feet and the closeness of the family 3) Sunrises and sunsets 4) The cruising community
Jen – 1) The cruising community and the folks that live aboard their boats 2) Living in the moment because you can’t plan too far ahead because of the weather 3) Our family getting to know the local Bahamians. They were so much fun.
4) Marc’s perma-grin. It’s not that he doesn’t smile now (because he’s the happiest person I’ve met) but living on the ocean really made Marc happy. It really was fun to see him on the water in his element.
4-What were the two scariest times over the last 2 years?
Joellen – 1) The long passage from Nassau to the Abacos 2) Nothing
Camden – 1) Scared that the hook was going to come out of the fish as we reeled it in and I’d lose it 2) When a barracuda was on the gaff and I was afraid it would come and bite me
Marc – 1) The day that I couldn’t get the engine started and our watermaker lost it’s ability to make water. We were remote and a two days sail from any potential help. In the end, a boat named Freedom’s Wind came to our rescue and got our engine going and our watermaker working. This is a really cool God story that next time we are together, remind me and I will share the details with you. 2) On the way back to the US our second year, we had sailed for almost 40 hours straight and we were anchored on the north side of Bimini on the banks but a storm came up and our anchorage was very exposed. We were anchored in 15 feet of water and had 10 foot waves breaking over the bow of the boat causing dishes to break. It was midnight and our kids were sleeping sound while Jen and I were up on deck very anxious. In the end, we ended up going into the harbor with big seas, low tide, and a channel entrance that was not well lit in the middle of the night. We hit the sandy bottom a couple of times and then there was a fuel tanker on the T-dock where we were hoping to dock. After tying up just after 4 in the morning, Jen and I were exhausted.
Jen – 1) Our last week on the boat when we were sailing into Bimini in the middle of the night and hit a sand bank and then tried to dock in the dark with fast current and high winds (I’d be curious to ask Marc how many cuss words I dropped that night) 2) When we ran out of fuel in Eleuthera at night time (I think my sailor potty mouth was in full swing that night too). Please see the quote below. These little sailing quotes always look so cute when on Pinterest don’t they? But from my perspective during the scary times on the boat, I’d say in regards to this Pinterest quote, “You’re not bloody jokin!”
5-What were the two happiest times over the last two years?
Joellen – 1) Playing with the kids at the orphanage 2) Shelling with Mom
Camden – 1) Catching the big bull Mahi on our way to Bimini 2) Going on fishing boat Hope and catching all those mahi-mahi and a wahoo with Mr. Tom and Mrs. Margaret
Marc – 1) Watching Cam learn to fish and fall in love with fishing. In particular, our second gulf stream crossing where he caught a 60 lb Mahi and then his decision to share it with the entire marina creating a heck of a fun party. 2) The time we spent at the orphanage and seeing how it affected our kids.
Jen – 1) Making tamales at Christmas time at the orphanage 2) Bringing the 60 lb Mahi aboard the boat. That was EPIC!
6-How do you describe where we live now?
Joellen – Hilly, steep, lots of trees, raspberry picking, building forts
Cam – No good fishing yet. Bingo the bear lives in our neighborhood
Marc – We live 10 minutes south of downtown Asheville up a mountain that as you go up, your ears clear at least 2x.
Jen – We live on the side of a mountain with bears, coyotes, and bobcats as neighbors. Camden mentioned Bingo the bear, but he lives really close…a quarter mile up the road in a cave! A month ago I almost hit Bingo with my car when he jumped out on the road. I grew up in the woods but this is crazy. I also feel like I’m the only one without a tattoo in this town. And the only one that can’t play a banjo or fiddle.
7-What activities are you looking forward to in Asheville?
Joellen – Horseback riding but I’m allergic to horses (I just take an allergy pill before my lesson), continuing to homeschool, reading more book series like The Chronicles of Narnia, the Hobbit, and re-reading Harry Potter
Cam – Fly fishing, hiking with Mahi (our dog), and building onto the fort more
Marc – Hiking in the mountains, going on dates with Jen in downtown Asheville (super cool downtown), listening to good live music, getting my coaching business, Tack, up and going
Jen – Learning from friends about how to own and raise chickens (we are in the minority here in that we don’t own chickens), camping, taking the kids downtown a lot to listen to the live music and the Friday night drum circle, and taking guitar lessons with Joellen and Camden
8-What has been the best part of Asheville so far?
Joellen – 1) Horseback riding 2) Having a room that is bigger than the one on the boat and not having to sleep with paper towels and canned goods in my bed 3) Making a fort in the woods behind our house 4) Opening our storage boxes and finding old toys
Cam – 1) Getting my rescue dog Mahi 2) Opening my old train that was in storage 3) Exploring the woods
Marc – 1) Sleeping through the night and not getting up multiple times to check the weather and the anchorage 2) The beauty of the mountains 3) How cool downtown Asheville is (live music, drum circle, local restaurants, farmers markets, all the local breweries) 4) Mark McAllister (my best friend from high school) and his two sons came to surprise me for my 40th birthday at the end of July. We had a great weekend hiking, hanging out, and camping.
Jen – 1) All the farmers markets 2) The beauty of the mountains 3) Having a washing machine and a dishwasher again. Oh and a refrigerator that works.
9-Tell me one thing about each of your family members
Joellen – My favorite snack when my parents aren’t looking is cookies and I like not moving side to side when I go to bed at night.
Cam – His favorite activity is fishing, fishing, fishing
Dad – He needs to work on his breath
Maria –She is sometimes highly irritating when it comes to my toys
Mom – She is dangerous when she knocks down bees nest
Cam – I love to pee in my fort in the woods
Joellen – She snuck a movie one time on the ipad
Maria – She gives great monkey grip hugs
Dad – Is good at making paths in the woods but not good at avoiding poison ivy
Mom – Is obsessed with her compost pile
Cam – I am not sure if he loves fishing or his dog Mahi more
Joellen – Is a complete book worm
Maria – Talks like she has marbles in her mouth
Dad – Loves living in the mountains but misses seeing the water on a daily basis
Mom – Is super excited to have chickens one day when we buy a house
Cam – Does much better on math story problems when I change the wording to fishing terminology
Joellen – Is in her element on a horse
Maria – Could be the most sensitive person I have ever met. She even gets sensitive with the dog. If Maria loves on the dog too much and Mahi walks away, she takes it personally and starts crying.
Dad – Loves Asheville but is kind of a fish out of water these last few months being away from the ocean
Mom – I miss the water more than I thought I would