The Plan

Kyle and I like to make plans/dreams and be pretty specific with them. We feel it is a great form of manifesting and has always worked for us in the past. That being said, we make these plans with intentions to follow them, but also to be open to any changes/opportunities we feel suited for us along the way. With that, I will share our “two+ year plan” below.

When we leave in October we will head South towards the Florida Keys. We will then head back up towards Ft. Lauderdale before making our crossing to the Bahamas at the end of November. Arriving in the Bahamas we will explore the Abacos for a few weeks before we head to Nassau where we will meet my parents to celebrate Christmas 2019 together. After Christmas I will be getting off the boat for 1 month and heading to Paradise Island, which is connected to Nassau by a bridge. There I will be living and completing an intensive 30 day Yoga Teacher Training Course (200hr. RYS). Kyle might join me for a week and take a week long course at the center, or he will sail the surrounding islands for a month either single handed or with a friend/s that fly in for a couple weeks to join him.

When the course is over we will leave the Nassau area and head South. Our plans are pretty open for the months of February, March, and April of 2020. We plan to explore the Exumas, the endless uninhabited Bahamian islands, and then will make it to the Turks and Caicos to hopefully meet up with some more friends and family. By the middle of May we will end up in a small bay in the Dominican Republic called Luperon. Here we have arranged to keep the boat for 6 months during hurricane season (June-November). We will be paying a marina to keep an eye on her while we are gone and just have to hope and pray no major hurricanes come through ๐Ÿ˜‰ Fortunately Luperon is rather protected from major storms, and the marina has 24hr security and is set up to keep boats during hurricane season as it is common for cruisers to leave their boats for 6 months in the off season. There is always going to be risk in leaving the boat and we understand those risks. But with proper planning and execution the risks become minimal and well worth the freedom to explore elsewhere during hurricane season.

That brings us to May of 2020 when we will fly from the D.R. to Peru. I have always wanted to backpack the Cordillera Blanca in Peru and Kyle has always wanted to ride motorcycles in South America- so why not combine the two! We plan to purchase used motorcycles when we arrive in Peru and explore the country that way- riding motorcycles and taking breaks to go backpacking. We will each have our own motorcycle as I do not like being the passenger ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I am sure you can imagine endless hours of research has gone into this trip, as well as talking to friends we have in Peru and we are both extremely excited to visit South America in this way. We have spent a lot of hours researching all the gear and are almost done purchasing our head to toe riding gear.

After Peru (around September of 2020) we will fly back to the United States for a couple months and begin working on the property in Virginia. Which I guess now is the time to introduce the property in Virginia ๐Ÿ˜‰ Last year my parents purchased 15 acres of land in a small town of Virginia just outside of Bristol, TN/VA. While a bit hilly, the property is pretty awesome. There is a big creek that runs right through the front of the property, it is tucked away far from the road, is surrounded by mountains, and is located in a spot that is very secluded yet only 25 minutes to a big city. Also there is a place just down the road that has traditional live bluegrass music every Saturday night.. which Kyle and I are thrilled about. Anyway, the deal is that Kyle and I spend the hurricane seasons developing the property and putting up the buildings, in return we will own half of the property. My parents are building a small round cabin/ house (sort of like a yurt but not a tent- has hard sides and is much more house like- see: https://www.smilingwoodsyurts.com/). There will also be a really cool shop made with a converted shipping container, a wrap around porch on the house, a fenced in area for the dogs, and a view of the creek and mountains. This part of the project will take about 4 years of 6 months at a time development. Kyle and I have plans for our own homestead on the other half of the property. The property is set up in a way that we can have our own area without being able to see my parents’ dwelling. It will be like being neighbors but still having the privacy of living in the woods surrounded by trees ๐Ÿ™‚ Kyle and I aren’t quite sure what kind of dwelling we want, so for the first while we are going to build something like this:

8886c928b20e6d91c83ccb7ad8e124da
This is not my photo – just one I found: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/536913586803701366/

Which I honestly am SO excited about. I have always wanted to live in the mountains in a little wall tent. There is a lot more to this project in terms of permits, planning, zoning, rules, land development, etc but I will save all of that for when it is actually happening. So basically Kyle and I will sail for 6 months of the year and then live in Virginia exploring and developing land for 6 months during hurricane seasons. We are thrilled about this idea because we have always said we wanted to do 6 months on the boat and 6 months in the mountains- and now 6 years later we are making that a reality!

Alright, well this has been quite the update, and now I feel I can start using this blog as I did on the river. More of sharing the journey along the way rather than a catch-up and update. I won’t be posting as much as I did on the river, but am going to make a goal of posting 2 times a month until we leave. Once we leave in October sometimes I will post more and sometimes I will post less depending on internet connection and availability.

Kyle and I have had a dream board since the first few months of our dating 6 years ago. For a while it was full of graduation stuff and buying a new boat. Then once those things happened it was about getting out of debt and building a boat to take down the Mississippi River. Then that happened and it was about making enough money to refit Sirocco. Now that has happened and our dream board is filled with pictures of far away places and adventures we can’t wait to have. I am sharing a picture of our dream board because Kyle and I both believe whole-heartedly that this board and other forms of manifesting are a big part of how we are able to live the life we do. I encourage each and every person to have a dream board. Put it somewhere you look at it every day and don’t think any dreams are too big or too far-fetched. (Do you know how insane I thought it was that we would ever be able to build a boat and actually take it on the river?? We put that on the board TWO years before we even started building the boat!) I also am sharing a map of our tentative plans in case anyone wants to come meet/join us for any of our adventures. We would love to meet up with anyone who wants to (even if we’ve never met!) and this gives an idea of where/when we will be different places! Anyway, onward and upward.

Danielle

 

fullsizeoutput_205fullsizeoutput_20d

Meet Sirocco!

Some of you may know that Kyle and I own a 35ft. Ben Bow Cutter sailboat. We purchased her in the summer of 2014 and sailed her from Urbana, Virginia down to St. Petersburg, Florida. She is a unique boat with an even more unique story behind her! The story is worth sharing, but it is a long one so I will save that for another post on its own.

Our boat’s name is Sirocco which was given to her by the couple that built her in the late 70’s (who happen to live in Sarasota, FL and we met by complete coincidence, but that’s another story). She is a professionally home built William Atkin design (his personal cruising boat) and as far as we know, the only one ever made in fiberglass. She is a heavy displacement full keel design derived from the infamous “Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters”. Sirocco’s heavy weight means she is not fast in her maneuvers and will not point/sail into the wind like any of the modern boats do. But in cruising you spend the majority of your time at anchor and when at sea, you try very hard not to sail into the wind. The idea is to use nature to your advantage. Our priorities are safety and comfort, with a little affordability sprinkled on top.

Sirocco Facts: she carries 25 gallons of fuel (worth 50+ hours/300nm+ of motoring), 80 gallons of fresh water, displaces 8.5 tons, has 13 points of ventilation in the cabin (tropics!), and will have 5 fans.

Meet pre-refit Sirocco:

 

But as I mentioned, she was finished in 1981 which makes her almost 40 years old. She has been very well cared for and loved by her previous owners and Kyle and I have enjoyed thousands of sailing miles with her ourselves. But now that we have big plans with her, it is time for a refit, which is what we are doing full time right now. It is a major project, and we are about half-way done! Here are some of the major projects we are doing on the boat as well as pictures from the refit thus far:

-Custom made cockpit benches

-New deck paint

-New sails

-New standing rigging

-New chainplates

-Engine pull and makeover

-Deep clean and paint of every crevice of the boat (lockers, bilges, etc)

-Removal of tradition head system and replaced with composting head (toilet is called a head on boats)

-Faring of all thru hulls and hull rudder joint

-New wind vane

-Top side paint

-Copper bottom paint

-Some new additions down below- shelving, storage, colorful paint, etc

-Repairs of oven and new sink and pumps in galley

-Modernizing of wiring through the entire boat to ABYC standards

-Additional water tanks and fuel storage

-Repair of all hatches

-An overall makeover in every area of the boat to make her custom to our wants/needs as well as look like new ๐Ÿ™‚

A random array of photos from the refit over the past couple months. In the last photos we have removed her bow sprit for repair and are getting ready to paint the deck next weekend:ย 

 

 

We will be finished with the refit by August of this year. And in October of this year, we will be sailing away, but this time our travel adventures are going to last a lot longer. For the last two years we have both been working extreme hours whether at a job to make money, or on the boat to fix her up. We have the next few years tentatively planned out and from a financial stand point should be able to sustain our travels for 2 + years without having to work. We both plan to work along the way- me writing and Kyle doing online design projects and finding boat/repair work- but we are finding some real freedom in the idea that we have saved up enough money to live comfortably while traveling for 2 years. Working 80+ hours a week has been insane, and definitely not sustainable long term, but when we cast off in October I know every minute will have been worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay tuned for my next post which covers our tentative upcoming plans in detail. After that post I will be caught up, and will get back on track with posting somewhat regular updates of the progress of Sirocco’s refit.

-D

An Update: Graduation, Scuba, Motorcycles, Family, and a New Adventure

Hello all! It has been quite some time since I have updated this blog, but as our next adventure is getting nearer, I decided it was time to do a little update! A lot has happened since we returned to St. Petersburg in July of 2017, but I will do a random little recap ๐Ÿ™‚

In August of 2017 (a month after we returned from our teardrop adventure) Kyle started school to get a two year degree in Computer-Aided Design and Drafting.. and just a few months ago, he graduated!! He now has two degrees: a certificate in Computer-Aided Design and Drafting as well as one in Rapid Prototyping and Design. He also has a Solidworks Professional Certificate which is the program he will be utilizing the most. The motivation behind Kyle getting all these certificates is to find contractual design work along our traveling way and to deepen his understanding of Solidworks in order to be more versatile in its use. So if any cruisers need a custom part designed: we are your people!

try1

As for education for me, I have been taking Spanish lessons once a week for 2 hours for the past year. I also have met some friends overseas that I Skype with and talk with almost daily in order to practice my conversational skills. I chose to take the formal method in learning Spanish and started pretty much from square one. It has a been very difficult to learn a new language, but I would now consider myself nearing the intermediate stage and can hold a basic conversations in Spanish as long as the person is speaking SLOW!ย  I absolutely love learning the language, but know that it will be many many years before I am anywhere near fluent.

For 2018 New Years, Kyle and I flew to Guatemala to visit my family. My uncle (my mom’s brother) has a house there and my cousin operates a restaurant in a tiny village called Jaibalito on Lake Atitlan. We flew into Guatemala City, took a 4 hour van ride to Santa Cruz la Laguna, and then took a small boat to the village. The village is only accessible by boat, which Kyle and I both very much enjoyed. The restaurant my cousin operates is right below the house, and is called Club Ven Aca. Our time there was quite incredible- we went on a range of adventures and really enjoyed time with friends and family celebrating the New Year and my cousin’s 40th birthday party.

 

Shortly after Guatemala we listed the teardrop for sale. We spruced her up a bit and painted her in order to better protect the wood. Varnish is not waterproof. It was sad to see her go, but as our focus had shifted to our upcoming adventure, it was time to find her a new home. Sunny sold rather quickly and her new owner was very excited to have her.

IMG_1270

Within two weeks of returning back to Florida, we both had jobs and were working on building back up our savings as it was completely depleted after the Mississippi River, Caribbean, and Sunny road trip adventures. I went back to working as a personal assistant for a bit, but decided I wanted to go back to working with kids and focusing on my writing. For the last year and a half I have had 3-4 different part time jobs at a time- staying quite busy and making as much money as possible. I nanny for a couple different families (one overnight gig!), I teach English online to children in China, I help out my friends’ company with invoicing, and I have written quite a few articles. I wrote one main article once returning back from our Mississippi River trip which was featured both online and in print for Small Boats Monthly. I have also written 5+ different gear review articles for Small Boats Monthly online publication. Check out one of my articles here: https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/7149/

Kyle has been working for the same company since we returned – Gulf And Bay Divers (https://www.gulfandbaydivers.com/). Our very good friends own a dive company and do boat hull cleaning, dock and pylon repair and dock building. Kyle is the warehouse manager and is in charge of all the ordering, maintenance of machines, etc. He recently cut back his hours and now only works one day a week and otherwise is working full time to get us ready for our next adventure.

Last year it was also time to say our goodbyes to SOLVI. She treated us so well and was such an incredible home for our time on the river, but it was time for her to move on to a new home where she would be used and loved. It was a long process of fixing her up (remember our ship wreck) and getting her ready to sell, and then another process to find a good home. Thankfully, in the end it couldn’t have worked out better. She was purchased by a guy who lives in Boise, Idaho. Kyle fit her in the back of a budget truck and drove her all the way to Salt Lake City where he met the new owner. The most exciting thing about her sale is that her adventures aren’t over! She will be participating in the R2AK race- an intense race from Washington state to Alaska.. for more information and to find her profile check out this link:ย  https://r2ak.com/ย  ย  Kyle and I can’t wait to see how she does and we are super excited that we get to follow her along another adventure. Go team SOLVEIG!

IMG_2191
Spruced up for sale!
IMG_2194
Our last sail on SOLVI

IMG_2172

 

During the last half of 2017 and all of 2018 we made an effort to visit friends and family as much as possible. Our next journey will take us out of North America for quite some time, so we wanted to really focus on spending quality time with the people closest to us. This has led us to travel to Delaware, Salt Lake City, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and different parts of Florida. My parents also have rescued two new dogs since we returned so I have been really enjoying spending free time with their now three dogs and going on walks and playing outside.

And of course, we made sure to have as much fun as is possible even when each working 80+ hours a week. We took advantage of our time on land and both got scuba certified and I got my motorcycle license! Kyle has always loved motorcycles, and I wasn’t quite sure, but I gave it a go and passed my test and now we both have our own motorcycles and try to go on rides when we have the free time. Kyle commutes every day to work on his motorcycle, but I only ride mine for pleasure. I am still pretty cautious and will only ride in certain conditions. We wear full gear from head to toe, so riding in the Florida summer can be pretty brutally hot, but the breeze from the ocean always helps so during the summers we try to ride near the beach. We went on one motorcycle trip to a state forest a few hours North of us, and it was quite the adventure filled with flooded back roads, torrential down pours, ran out fuel, and then had a flooded fuel system ๐Ÿ˜‰ but it brought us to an amazing forest and we greatly enjoyed the quiet and greenery of our campsite.

Kyle also taught me how to change the oil in my car, so I have very much been enjoying the ability to complete that task on my own. During the time we have been back in Florida, we have focused a lot of our attention on self-reliance, becoming financially independent, and sustainability. I also have put a lot more focus on cooking and learning a broader range of vegetarian meals. It seems 2018 was the year of acquiring new skills and mastering the ones we have!

 

IMG_0739

I hope you enjoyed the array of random photos from over the past almost 2 years! Also read about our newest adventure in my next post ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers!

Danielle