New Year’s has always been a time to reflect on life. What resolutions do you want to set? Are there changes you want to make? Are you living the life you want to live? Do you have dreams? Are you following those dreams?
Those are questions Paul and I started asking ourselves 6 years ago. It all started with a tragic event, as do most significant life changes. I was teaching in a school 20 miles away on December 14, 2012 when 20 students were killed in Newtown, CT. My eldest daughter was in Kindergarten in a nearby town and my youngest in daycare. That day I knew that things needed to change for me. I needed to be with my kids. Life is short, you don’t know how long you will have with them and I wanted to make the most of the time we had together. I quit my teaching job at the end of the semester and started volunteering in their schools. I had been unhappy teaching for a while at this point, but now teaching to the test seemed to be the focus of everything we did and I knew deep down in my heart that that was not what learning was supposed to be about. Learning is about exploring what you are interested in, knowing how to find the information you need or want to learn and how to communicate with others. Not just your teachers or classmates, but kids of all ages, other adults, and people from other countries and cultures.
In July 2013 Paul and I took a kid free vacation to celebrate our 11th anniversary on a chartered catamaran in the British Virgin Islands. We were in love! Not just with each other 😉 but with the space you have on a catamaran.
Our previous boats had always been monohulls and we only sailed a few months out of the year because of the cold weather in Connecticut. Owning a catamaran was definitely a dream. As a family we hit the Newport Boat Show in September 2014 and we had a blast checking out all the catamarans.
In early October 2015 we took a road trip to the Annapolis Boat Show. The last time we were there I was pregnant with Heather in 2006! Again we spent all of our time checking out the catamarans and fell in love with the newest Leopard 40.
This was the trip where our dream really was born. It’s also where the name of our blog came from, Sailing Over the Rainbow. We were eating lunch during the boat show and the kids and I were doodling on the paper tablecloths with crayons. I decided I was going to manifest a boat life for us on a Leopard Catamaran. The song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, began playing on the stereo and I knew it was a sign, a sign that dreams really do come true! I actually started happy crying right in the middle of the restaurant!!
By December I got this new journal and started writing about the future that I wanted. I started talking about it to everyone. We started searching for a new boat and getting our house ready to list for sale in the Spring. I started the very long process of selling furniture and giving things away. We had a family trip planned to St. Thomas with my parents in February 2016. Paul and I took advantage of their babysitting help to hop on a ferry over to Tortola to check out the boats listed for sale coming out of the Moorings Charter fleet. On that visit we decided the Leopard 38 was the perfect boat for us. Not too big, has 4 cabins so we can have visitors and the girls can each get their room, and only 2 heads (bathrooms) to clean instead of 4 like most larger catamarans have. It was a better match for our budget, given that Paul would also be quitting his job when we were ready to sail away.
We sold our house the first week it was on the market and found a rental place in town for 6 months called, The WayPointe. Another sign we were doing the right thing? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of waypoint is “an intermediate point on a route or line of travel.” Now we just needed to sell our current boat and find our new home. Originally we had planned to buy a boat out of the Moorings fleet and fly down to Tortola and start our journey there. The more we thought about it, the more we really wanted to find a boat closer to home so we could take our time moving onboard and fixing/upgrading the boat at the same time and while we still had Paul’s income. We just happened to find a Leopard 38 for sale in Florida that had been phased out of the Belize Moorings fleet and sailed by its owners back to Florida. This was our boat, there were signs everywhere. Her name was Mariposa (butterfly in Spanish) and we just kept seeing butterflies everywhere!
We put in an offer on the boat without even seeing it. There were other offers so it was a tense time, but we got the boat and flew down to check her out in June of 2016. We had her delivered to us in July.
We officially moved aboard, after selling all of the rest of our belongings from the apartment, on October 3rd. We hosted an “open boat” party for family and friends on October 9th and we set sail South on October 15th. Almost exactly one year after writing these…
…we were living our dream and Sailing Over the Rainbow.
**This post is part of the Raft-Up Series by Kelly at CruisingMomBlog.com. A Raft-Up is a compilation of cruising blog posts about the same topic.