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jason wynn aboard Curiosity reflecting on sailing around the world

REALITIES of BOAT LIFE: Watch Before You Buy!

If hindsight were 20/20 I don’t know if we would have done half the things we have done.

Four years ago, we bought a boat and set out to explore the world with absolutely no sailing experience. Experts and novices all around the world wide web told us we would fail, sink, and die.

Well, surprise, surprise, we’re still alive!  Turns out you CAN just go buy a boat and sail about the world.

BUT…that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

To say we had (and still have) a lot to learn is an understatement.   Knowing we were clueless, we made a video so we would be able to one day reflect on our newbie expectations and compare them to reality.

Looking back at our peculiar beginning now is both comical and endearing.  We really had no idea what was ahead of us. We thought our RV experience would help…and it did…but there is sooo much more to boat life than we could comprehend.

Currently, we’re stuck in isolation in Fiji.  Restrictions and closures keep us from exploring so we’ve been sifting through years of videos, mistakes, misadventures, and victories.  Asking ourselves, if we could go back in time what advice would we give ourselves, what would we want to know?

So, if hindsight is 20/20, here it is, the realities of living on a sailboat. The stuff we wished we would’ve known before we bought a boat, and set off around the world.

We’re curious and we try not to stifle that with too much of our adult tendencies to worry and overthink things.
This is why we don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on things that could have, should have, might have been…if only. Wasted time and energy if you ask me.
BUT…reflecting back to help the next curious soul wandering down a similar path? That we can do!

Big Boat Life Takeaway!!!

Living on a sailboat is an alternative way of travel and life.  You will live and travel at a slower pace but don’t assume that slower equals less effort.

Alternative means different not easy.  It’s up to you to decide if it is a better alternative.

As for us, we love our life at sea and we miss it desperately. We’re waiting impatiently to get back to our floating home, which is so close yet so far away.  Hopefully, this pandemic will loosen its grip on the world, and Tonga will open its borders.

It’s Your Turn!

Did we miss anything? Is there something else you would like to know about, another subject you would like to hear our thoughts on?  Let us know.

 

Topics discussed in the video (in order):

  • Learning how to sail is easy. But do this first.
    • Seamanship is important – educate yourself & take a class (ASA if you are in the USA)
  • Boat Life is a Full-Time Job. – expect double the time than what it takes on land
    • Finding a boat
    • Route planning, visas, bureaucracy, checking in and out of ports
    • Simple things like, groceries, fuel, doing laundry
    • maintenance, upgrades, and repairs
    • Being a Digital Nomad on a Boat can be challenging. Don’t assume you can work a 40-50-hour work week and sail/maintain/explore and not burn out.
  • Time is Money
    • Money is a resource
    • Budget 10-30% for yearly maintenance
    • Double your budget or double your sweat equity
  • You will become handy
    • Good tools are hard to come by once you leave civilization
    • Bolts, screws, spares, you can never have too many
    • The cruising community is fantastic. FB groups, local nets…get social, don’t be afraid to reach out.
  • Sleeping isn’t impossible
  • Ground Tackle is soooo important.  Learning proper anchoring techniques (lots of freebies on the internet) and invest in a solid anchor and high quality, high test anchor chain.
  • Seasickness is real, uncontrollable, and unavoidable for some.  But you can manage it.
  • Driving (helming) the boat
  • Things You CAN Live Without

 

🙏 THANK YOU!

Ups, downs and all around, we share it all.  We’re able to do so because people like you show up each week, read, watch, comment, share, shop our gear store, and toss a tip in our production jar.  If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.  Thank you for being a part of the journey!

 

🎥CAMERA GEAR USED TO FILM THIS VIDEO📷

🎶MUSIC IN THIS VIDEO:

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (44)

  • David & Karen

    Great video you two. Well done producing something wonderful from nothing! No travelling, no new adventures, yet you produced an informative, entertaining, and educational video. Great job!
    Yes, we think of you two often stuck just a few miles from your home. Well things are easing up, so hope to hear the happy news very soon, that you are back onboard ‘Curiosity’.

    In a way, we can relate. Our boat is in Montenegro, and we are in South Australia – we will not be re-united this year as planned, that’s for sure, but we look forward to you two beating us to that.

    Keep up the good work, and hang in there – closer, and closer ………………..

    reply
  • Mary

    It’s fun to see how far the two of you have come in the past 10 years! So many things still to do and I know you can’t wait to get back home to Curiosity!

    Every now and then I catch myself going back and binge watching five or six episodes to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

    The information you give is priceless! Every time I go into a new state I check out your recommendations for food, drink and adventure. I find myself doing some of the same things you all have done and then throw in a few new things and on my own.

    reply
  • Jules Vern

    Don’t have this , don’t have that but you’re not living in a failed state and you’re not going to the gulag.

    reply
  • Jane Ashman

    Curiosity ….did you ever replace the air conditioner? And did you buy a new fridge to install when you get back to the boat?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      No but the AC is on the list for New Zealand I think. As for the fridge, the looked high & low while in the U.S.A. and at the Miami boat show, but they cannot find any unit anywhere that will fit in the same space as the old one. Replacing it will require major construction to remake the cabinet, so for now they continue to use their 2 electric “coolers”, one as a fridge and the other as the freezer. Whatcha gonna do??
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Pam McClure

    No way would I be a sailor. I live vicariously through you all! ❤️

    reply
  • Jackson Hallett

    I feel your pain. I have not been able to get back to Roaring Aquarius ( Leopard 42 OV ) docked in Belize. We crossed paths when I was leaving Red Frog Marina Panama where we were docked for a year getting ready to sailing to Belize (think Oct 2017). Your videos have been fun and insightful …… put in Lithium batteries ( 4 x 300AH). Now working on rewire to run AC off battery power…. for a few hours. I enjoy tinkering so do most repairs…scrubbing bottom, oil changes , etc myself. I generally plan on spending about 10 days to 2 weeks on the boat then back in Utah to Ski in the winter and fly my glider in the summer. Nice to be a retired airline pilot so travel not very expensive and I have days that end in y off now. Well hope you get back to the Curiosity soon. Blue Skies and Tail Winds…….Capt. Jack———————–call sign ……Sparrow

    reply
  • Richard Stanton CGP

    Well it sounds like you’re having lots of fun don’t worry will still be here when you get in Port. But I do have one question looking at a young couple like yourself would you start a family while and see? Good luck with them thoughts.

    reply
  • Alan Solomon

    Thanks for this video.
    It reminds me of a video you made awhile back. I think you were in Ft. Lauderdale still, just after you got Curiosity. You found a quiet place on the beach next to the water. I remember there was a little dirt road behind you. You set up your tripod and you both sat there and made a video. I forgot the subject but, I believe it was about the unsureness of the boat, how your boating experience would go and the future. Something like that. It was great then and today.
    Best, Safe and Well.. Open, Open, Open Borders!

    reply
  • Elle Parker

    I’ve had a good read here. Thank you…yes….we had limited sailing and boating experience when we started out. We came home after a 10 year circumnavigation. Some people still don’t believe we did it…they think it’s rocket science, so they never leave their little marina berth. 98% of the boats in our home marina have never left the local bay…its a shame….its a courage thing, you’ll never never know if you never ever go…..set sail!!

    reply
  • Arthur Coburn

    Great video as usual. I’ve owned half a dozen or more boats. Great advice you gave. I love boating despite the cost, time and labor involved. I have to add my two cent story. On one boat purchase I became enamored with a 30′ monohull sailboat listing. I purchased it on ebay without inspection because I thought the price was too good to believe. Ha Ha Ha. The repairs and refurbishment cost 200% or more of the original purchase price. The total cost hurt me so much financially and emotionally that I sold the boat. ALWAYS, ALWAYS get a professional inspection. Yes, I own another boat…….. I can’t stay away. Fair winds and following seas to all.

    reply
  • David

    Love following your adventures. I hope you make it home soon.

    We cruised the west coast of North/Central America in 2013 and 2014 – Seattle-Alaska-Panama-thru the canal.

    I thought we really needed a watermaker. I spent $5000 and a whole weekend installing it before leaving. I bet we only made 100 gallons of water that would have been really hard to get – mostly in El Salvador. Good water was available everywhere – you might have to buy it but it was cheap when you did. By the time we got to Costa Rica, rain kept our tanks full. The 100 gallons that would have been hard to find cost us $50/gallon. Yikes. The most I ever paid for water was in Belize: $1/gallon. Next time – I will skip the watermaker.

    We went crazy and bought spares for everything we could think of. And ended up using a lot of them: filters, belts, starter, etc.

    We thought A/C was important and ran the generator all the time. Sure, it was comfy. One of the A/C units went out and we paid $4000 to fix it in Costa Rica. We got back to being cool at anchor until the generator caught fire and died. No more having A/C at anchor but we got used to it. By the time we got done cruising and returned “home” we could not set our A/C in our cars below 80. I still need to fix the generator.

    Fast forward 6 years and the boat is back home in the Pacific Northwest. I do miss the cruising community and $1/foot bottom scrapes.

    reply
  • David Scherrer

    Where are you in Fiji? Have you tried the buffet at the Suva YWCA?
    I have some family in Fiji. Might be nice for you to meet them.

    reply
  • Popeye

    I’ve been a boater for years and enjoyed your video very much. My only concern in watching this, is why isn’t your cat wearing a pfd? They make them for cats and dogs, and have a sewn-in handle on the back to lift them out of the drink if needed.

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      Nikki has done research on this and even jackets made “for cats” are usually just scaled down dog vests and can actually drown cats in certain situations.
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Cathy

    Just as a point of curiosity, how much sunscreen do you go through when you’re on board?
    Really enjoy following your adventures.

    reply
  • JERRY

    Is there an boat you have your eye on to purchase in the future?

    reply
  • Thane Roberts

    Hi Nikki & Jason,
    Was recently turned on to your website and have become addicted… living vicariously through your fun, and amazingly well produced, videos. Since I made a similar voyage between the years of 1997 to 2005, there is also a lot of “deja-vu” moments since we visited many to the same places (.e.g. Palmerson island). Perhaps one of the most interesting, and at times scariest, was being one of the frist westerners to explore the Lau Group of islands that, at the time, was “off limits” for foreigners. This was due to the extreme isolation of the population that were still living as they had been for hundreds of years… an amazing trip back in time. As it turned out, however, it was also where we had one of our scariest moments as we were anchored in a secluded bay with a half submerged U.S. flagged sailboat next to us and had to make a daybreak escape through a narrow, narrow reef passage with breaking surf into a tropical storm when things got “dodgy”….a story for another time? Anyway I am looking forward to more stories and videos once you are able rejoin your boat in Fiji. I think that the Las Group of islands is now be open to foreign yachts and, if so, might be worth considering when you start sailing again. Wishing you both happy sailing and many more fun, and safe, adventures. Regards, Thane (from the sailing yacht “Shakti”) If you are interested, you can use this link to see my website and full itinerary: http://evo-tecture.com/9-year-voyage

    reply
  • Mike

    Hi guys great video as usual. Many thanks. And can we get an update on PIP and the amount of money that got donated to the animal shelter? Cat lovers are sitting with bated breath.

    reply
  • Kevin

    Thanks for the video. Seems like they were just starting touching on all the chores, problems and costs of live aboard life. I was thinking of the RV life vs live aboard and it seems the RV life is a lot less headaches, costs and stress. What say you?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      They’ve said repeatedly that RVing is much easier than sailing. But sailing has its own rewards and it’s where they want to be right now.
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • paciii

    Nice video, especially when viewed along with the earlier predictions and recaps along the way!! Really goes a long way to show how much you’ve learned and grown (and how much Nikki’s hair has grown!!)

    The question it prompted me to ask: Do you have a list of the top 5 or 10 things you brought with you that you’ve never needed so sold or gave away and the top 5 or 10 things that you specifically didn’t bring that you had to get later because you didn’t have it (I know, I know, you mentioned the stainless steel tools, but I was thinking of something for fun or for the kitchen or for long passages or something like that.)

    I hope that you can soon be back home to the boat to on with all the stuff that you need to do to have Curiosity back in the water!! That will probably supply several weeks’ worth of video (if you are willing to share the “fun”!!) Fingers crossed and best wishes from Maine!

    reply
    • Tom

      This would honestly be a fun video even. Would love to know the answers.

      Hope you guys are staying safe in Fiji!

      reply
  • Elisa Stewart

    It’s funny you made this post, as I was watching your most recent video 2 weeks ago when my father came by. He started asking questions about your adventures (the how and why kind), so I kind of jumped around to various videos to let him see the answers to his questions. He was totally hooked, so I started over at the beginning of your sailing life with him… and I wondered if you ever watched through your beginner stretch and laughed at yourselves or wondered what you would have done differently with hindsight… and now here you are!
    More on my father, he has been stopping by every few days and asking me to show more of your videos. We just finished your Panama Canal crossing yesterday. He’s fascinated and sounding like he’s considering an adventure at the age of 74… a very young 74 since he refuses to retire and still mows the yard, climbs ladders and works like a 50 year old. He’s always been a hard worker and I think some kind of sailing or RVing adventure might convince him to do something for himself.
    Thanks for the videos, blogs and adventure sharing. You two are inspiring people around the world!

    reply
    • Brian

      Geez, I’m 74, mow my lawns (large), climb ladder to paint my roof, and sail my boat up the coast.
      Good luck to your dad. He’ll enjoy it.

      reply
      • Rick

        Same here. Mow a large lawn (not a riding mower…), shovel the snow, paint the whole house, do all carpentry repairs, some plumbing. Lots of tools! Know how to sharpen them, use them, maintain them. Try not to lend them but have to some times…(and they usually come back dull or broken).

        reply
  • Marjorie Nehlsen

    Just LOVE your videos. This one was especially good. I hope it isn’t too much longer before you are able to g back to your home. How is Pip?

    reply
  • T C Spencer

    YOU CAN WATCH NIKKI’S TV COMMERCIAL ON
    CHANNEL GAC – GREAT AMERICAN COUNTRY

    reply
  • Thomas F Stroud

    World can be a dangerous place….what do you now about piracy and possible dangers? Where not to go? Can you carry protection or is it illegal?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      Nikki and Jason use resources like the U.S. State Department advisory for travelers, and sailing forums and sites like Noonsite for real-time updates from other sailors on safety in anchorages. There’s a lot of info out there. As for “protection” I’m assuming you mean a firearm of some sort and the answer to that is no, they do not carry one. It is illegal to bring firearms into many countries, so you either have to surrender it when you check into a country (you can get it back when you leave) or you risk being caught with an undeclared weapon and fined, jailed or worse.
      Hope that’s helpful!
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Gary Quigley

    Just kind of curious, since being out on the boat alone and away from other people most of the time different from RV life. Has the boat life changed your personal life together much. Some seem to get closer as husband and wife while out on the boat than those RVing all the time. There are those who care enough for each other to make no difference, so has your relationship changed much from the RVing life to the sailing (cruising) life. The fact that you both seem to have matured much since I first started following you when you were RVing might have something to do with it, so maybe I answered my own question but I would still like your opinion.

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      I have known Nikki and Jason personally since the RV days and I would say that the amount of time they spend with other people probably hasn’t changed too much. Back in the RV days they tended to boondock or dry camp most of the time and even then they were spending more time working (filming, editing etc.) than socializing as a general rule. If I had to guess, I would say that sailing has probably brought them closer together because they have overcome some huge obstacles together, like their Pacific passage. For some relationship insight, you can check out this vid that they shot just after all the stress of prepping for their big Pacific passage: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/confessions-at-sea-sailing-pacific Hope that helps!
      Curious Minion

      reply
      • Jon Dudeck

        Another small clue dropped as to the identity of the mysterious CM.

        reply
  • Tom Walters

    So, when its just the two of you 24/7, how do you handle the adversity of disagreements a couple will inevitably have, without damaging your relationship . Are you stronger in love , better at preventing any hate toward each other? or, do you sleep on separate side of the boat. I know this is probably personal but a couple needs to have a unique relationship to sail together. how do you do it?

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      They do get asked this all the time and Nikki has replied that they hardly ever get cross with each other but when they do, living in a small space (especially if you can’t just go take a quick walk) forces you to talk it out. That way little problems don’t become big problems. If you haven’t seen it, watch this vid, shot just after all the stress in Ecuador of getting ready for the Pacific passage. https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/confessions-at-sea-sailing-pacific
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Richard Fenters

    Another really nice educational and informative video … Thanks as usual! Hope you can soon get back to your home and revive your spirits! 🙂

    reply
  • Bernard

    Hi guys, you are just a delight to watch! I truly am looking forward to Sunday every week. Stay safe and hopefully you’ll get back to your boat within the next two to three weeks, fingers crossed… All the best to you two from the island of Mallorca.

    reply
  • Everett Foster Adams

    I was sailing before I learned to fly. I’m amazed at your obvious growth in skills and safety considerations. The good Lord has covered the rest of your learning just as He does new pilots.

    Were you to buy today, would you look for a smaller or perhaps monohull rather than your cat?

    The Aviation Buff

    reply
    • Curious Minion

      They get asked this pretty often, and they will stick to catamarans. There’s a 2 part series where they talk about that: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/cat-mono-safety-comfort

      And probably no smaller – Curiosity is about the minimum size (43′) that you want for making long ocean passages.
      Hope that helps!
      Curious Minion

      reply
  • Erica S

    Thank you so much for a new video to brighten my morning! It was wonderful to be swept away to sea with you! I’ve been following you guys since the beginning… when I saw you on House Hunters looking for your first RV! And I’ve adored you both since! Thank you SO MUCH for being so open and sharing your adventures! Even my daughters enjoyed seeing Pip! I’m homesick for you, too! I can’t wait for you to get back to Curiosity! And Nikki, your pink scarf looks amazing tied like that! 😍

    reply
  • Bonnie Morris

    I have been a full-timer in a motor home for 6 years now and would love to try the boat life, however, I am 65 and travel alone and no totally nothing about boats. How much money. approximately, to buy a boat, take classes and set sail does it take? Just an estimate, no holding you to it.
    Also, safety…how safe is it traveling in a sail boat…pirates?

    I follow your blogs from the time you were RVing to buying the boat…Stay well, happy and keep following your dreams.
    Bonnie

    reply
    • Elisa Stewart

      They made a video about this after purchasing the boat… maybe look through from the beginning of their sailing videos and you will find it 🙂

      reply
    • Curious Minion

      I’m afraid there are just too many variables to answer the question about costs for a boat. Too many kinds of boats, used vs. new, fixer-uppers etc.

      It is very safe to travel by boat if you use your head. Jason and Nikki are careful in their research and use things like travel advisories from the U.S. State Department, and sailor’s forums and things like Noonsite to plan their trips and anchorages.
      Hope that’s helpful.
      Curious Minion

      reply
    • Curious Minion

      Oh – you *can* see how much it cost Nikki and Jason to buy, register, and insure Curiosity here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/exhausting-journey-buying-cruising-sailboat
      Curious Minion

      reply

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