Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.
— Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass

How to Live on Vandal

Our family had a few goals we wanted to explore on Vandal.  We knew that trying to sail around the world would be full of surprises, but we felt if we trusted in our values and the fabric that makes us a family, then we could accomplish anything. 

We felt that if we lived in a “house” that was 57 ft. by 25 ft. (with a big hole in the middle, because its a catamaran) and had no city water/electricity/sewer or garbage trucks to depend upon, we would become very intimate with our ecological footprint.  We would truly understand our production of garbage and environmental impact.  We would be forced to really think hard about what we needed in life, and be more conscientious about our waste.  We care deeply about ocean conservation, so no better way to tune into than to put Mother Nature on our doorstep and think about it literally every waking second. 

We also sought a method to encourage independence and accountability among our children—when you live on a boat, everyone is responsible for the safety and well-being of everyone onboard.  It’s not like air travel, where you can catch an Uber from the airport to the hotel and eat in restaurants and call the concierge if you need something.  It’s a highly tuned-in experience, whereby you have to think about the weather, making water to drink, where you will find food provisions, daily cleaning, spare parts, and all the flotsam and jetsam to keep life operational.  Usually I'm an organization mess, but not when other peoples lives depend on me.

Living on a boat is a challenge, but it's also very confidence-building and empowering because you are forced to build new skill sets.  There is no handyman to call, no maid to hire, no food delivery, no Amazon to supply you.  You are all of those things, and if you aren’t , then you better start working on becoming them.  What better way to teach children real life skills and be the example we want to set?



These are the 10 values we wanted to share that guide our decision-making aboard Vandal:

  1. Our family, our marriage and our friends are our greatest enablers.  They inspire us to do good and be better human beings - let’s honor and express gratitude for the people in our lives every single day, especially the communities and other fellow sailors that breathe life into the experience.
  2. Be a good steward of nature, planet earth, and its creatures.  Let’s leave all that we touch in the world better than we found it.
  3. While we travel with very little, we still have much to give and share.  Engage our children in a culture of service and giving to others.  Find charitable opportunities in every community we encounter.
  4. Live bravely and encourage “measured” risk-taking.  Embrace our failures and short-comings.  Strive for resiliency and self-reliance, regardless of where we start from or where we end up.
  5. Believe in Nature’s power.  Don’t battle the wind or the waves, we will probably lose.  Instead let’s plan ahead, but also be prepared to change course all the time.  Don’t fall in love with our own ideas.
  6. Develop the skills to enable us to travel more remotely and further out of bounds.  Nothing is unachievable if we are willing to be beginners.  The best way to start is to start.
  7. Truly connect with remote cultures and diverse peoples, not as a tourist but as a participant and member of those communities.  Give back more than we take from every experience.
  8. Learn to live with less and what authentic “richness” truly is - our health, our family, our communities, and our positive impact on the world.  
  9. No whining.  Most of the hard things we experience are usually “first world problems.” There are entire communities elsewhere in experiencing significantly worse situations and tackling them in stride.  Even if our situation was truly worse than any other thing in the world, whining gets us no closer to fixing our problems.  There is power in positivity and if we don’t like our situation, then let’s start working on fixing it. 
  10. Let humor be our best antidote to struggle and hardship, and never let the adventurous challenges we seek out come between us and our family.
Do anything, but let it produce joy.
— Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass