Garrett and I have announced to the world that we quit our jobs to travel and sail around the world, shared with you how we arrived at that decision, and clued you in on how we learned how to sail and saved to buy a sailboat and then were able to save enough money to have a go at this adventure full-time.
In response, many of you have asked: Where are you going? So that’s what I want to address today.
Garrett and I came up with this plan to go cruising all the way back in 2014. At the start of it, I expressed that I really, really wanted to spend a good amount of time in Europe. The original thought was that we would eventually sail our boat there, but now, we’re not so sure. So we’re flying to Europe for the summer instead and will return to our boat and begin cruising in the fall.
The cruising season in our area of the world falls between October and June. This timeframe is when the conditions are more likely to be ideal for sailing and less likely to be affected by dangerous weather patterns like hurricanes. It has always been our plan, regardless of the year, to leave in October. We were initially hoping to leave in 2017, and then upon realizing that we needed to save more money delayed our departure date until 2018, and finally, when the 2018 date approached us, decided that we weren’t quite yet ready to leave. We had been living on our sailboat in Sausalito for six months by then and were enjoying it more than we thought we would.
But after making that decision…well, we changed our minds. The pull to embark on our adventure has become increasingly strong with every passing month.
This past winter, during a cold, rainy evening on the boat, Garrett turned to me and said, “just because we can’t leave to go cruising until the fall doesn’t mean we have to stay here until the fall.”
I paused a moment before responding.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, we could travel over the summer—we could go to Europe. We could spend the summer in Greece.”
This was music to my ears. I didn’t hesitate one minute.
“Are you sure?” I checked. “Like, really sure? Because I will start planning a summer in Europe right now and I don’t think I could bear it if you backed out.”
“I’m sure,” he said with confidence.
My heart beat fast with excitement. Adrenaline coursed throughout my entire body. WE ARE GOING TO SPEND THE SUMMER IN EUROPE! I screamed internally. I was afraid that if I overreacted, Garrett might change his mind. So I quietly started researching where to go instead.
You see, ever since we started talking about quitting our jobs to travel and sail around the world, I’ve had this vision of myself hopping off of a sailboat onto the docks of a small town somewhere along the Mediterranean. And in a couple of days, that vision will become a reality.
Here are our plans for the summer:
On June 16, Garrett and I are flying to Greece. We’re going to spend our first month abroad unwinding and unplugging in Corfu and Santorini. We want to sleep in and spend lazy afternoons swimming in the sea one day and explore the islands on another. I want to write every day. We want to fish and sail and eat fresh octopus. In Greece, we want to give ourselves the time to slow down and just be, something that we struggle with in our fast-paced working lives today.
Everything will speed up after that first month. Part of me thinks we’ll be refreshed and ready for more action (and perhaps more company), and part of me thinks we won’t want to leave Greece at all. We’ll just have to see. There are worse dilemmas to be faced with.
From Santorini we’ll go on to visit family in London and then meet up with friends on the Amalfi Coast and Sicily. Garrett and I will go our own way, then, onto meet his parents in Germany and then leave them for Austria. We’re hoping to meet up with another friend to go sailing in Sweden, and then will spend a couple of weeks in Ireland. Our summer will end with a few days in Cornwall, England (a destination inspired by my Book Travel List) and a final night in London before flying back to San Francisco in September.
I am beyond thrilled to be spending a summer in Europe. It feels like I’m dreaming, saying that out loud. A summer in Europe. How lucky are we?
So much has changed in our lives since we started planning this adventure in 2014. Back then, I was making $46,000 a year—which, in San Francisco, was almost halfway below the poverty line for an individual—and digging myself into a black hole of debt. At the time, our dream of quitting our jobs to sail and travel was almost inconceivable. But through hard work, promotions, job changes, and uprooting our lives to move onto a sailboat and save money, it all became possible. Garrett and I are lucky to be doing this, but we also made this happen.
I am so proud of us.
Here are our cruising plans for September through May/June:
We’ll return back to the boat in early September and will spend a few weeks getting her—and ourselves—back in sailing shape. We’ll give ourselves time to adjust to the jet lag, sail every day, check that everything is in order, and provision for our journey.
Our plan is to wait for a good weather window (always) before leaving, and we’ll spend a month hopping down the California coast. We plan to stop in Half Moon Bay, Monterey, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, and the Channel Islands before making our way to San Diego. Once we make it to San Diego we’ll take care of any necessary repairs (fingers crossed that we won’t need any!), provision again for a longer sail, and take off to Mexico with the Baja Ha-Ha in the beginning of November.
The Baja Ha-Ha will deposit us in Cabo San Lucas, and from there we’ll make our way to the Panama Canal. We’re still figuring out the details of where we want to go along the way but know that we want to make it through the canal by the end of the first cruising season, if not before. This part of the trip—the not knowing—is kind of hard for me, because, if you can’t tell, I love to plan. But there are a lot of other factors that will come into play that will disrupt those plans, most notably weather, and all that I can do is inform myself of the places we want to go and what’s required (permits, visas, etc.) for each.
So there you have it! Those are our plans for the next few months, anyway. If you know anybody in Europe with a sailboat, let us know! We want to try and get on the water as much as possible when we’re over there. And if you have any recommendations, travel-wise or for cruising, I’m all ears.