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Old 22-05-2018, 16:03   #1
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Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

My wife and I are contemplating a ~2 year cruise with an 8 or 9 year old son and have all the expected concerns regarding his well being and social/intellectual growth. I'm not concerned about how to pay for the trip (not rich but not poor), how to provision or how to pick the right boat for such a task, but how do you come home to "normal" society at the end of it all. What impact does it have on the kid and how did you handle it when it all went wrong.
I don't see us cruising the world indefinitely as an option and frankly don't want that for our son. We want the chance to show our son the world and show him that it can be yours if you want to take it, but also make sure that he's got the skills to "play the game" if that's his path.

20 years ago I used this forum to find a boat to begin a life changing sail across the pacific. 10 years ago my wife and I used it to find our way to an exotic honeymoon. And now I'm hoping I can find a mentor to help us survey the reality of making world cruising a lifestyle for our family.

Specifically, what I'm looking for is a chance to sit down to dinner with another family that has done this or similar and has come back to rejoin "regular" life. I'm not so concerned with the launching the rocket but more, what happens when it lands!

We are willing to fly out anywhere east coast USA and make a long weekend trip to wherever, simply for the opportunity to sit down one evening and learn in a casual setting from someone who's been there and done that. Not looking for professional life coaching or anything of that nature, just an honest viewpoint from folks who bit the bullet and did it.

atlanta, ga

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Old 22-05-2018, 16:51   #2
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

We are still out there...but our daughter was 9 when we started.
She is now 29, and doing just fine. A 2 year trip is going to make your son a better person, as long as you use the opportunity to make the most out of every opportunity. It is life-changing, and we know many cruising kids, and they are....better.
Sure, if you want to fly down and spend a few days with us we can arrange that...but it will be on board. Take a look at our web page, and at Liz's online resume at

Tight sheets to ya.
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Old 22-05-2018, 16:56   #3
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

Years ago I was impressed by the Dashew family as they cruised the Pacific.
Steve and Linda Dashew took their kids with them, and it appears they had a great time.

You can probably find a few chapters about cruising with kids in this free, 1200 page book they wrote. It is now free for download. I paid $80 fir it years ago and enjoyed reading it.

I don't have kids, but if I did, I would not hesitate to take them on such a cruise.
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Old 22-05-2018, 17:00   #4
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

Here is a family (of 5) that just did that, very nice, normal people. Although... flying there to meet them...... just a tad difficult.
Wishing you all sunny skies above, clear water below, gentle winds behind and a safe port ahead,
and when coming this way check,_Australia
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Old 22-05-2018, 18:13   #5
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

When our children were 8, 11 and 14, we sailed from San Diego to southern Mexico, out to Hawaii, up to Alaska and back to San Diego. It took us about a year and was by far the most influential experience our family ever had. Our children learned to live without telephones or television and developed a love for reading which has stuck with them, despite the intense demands on their time. Even though we were often in remote places, our kids made many friends, albeit mostly among other ‘boat kids’. My wife did the lion’s share of the home schooling (it’s just as much work to prepare a lesson plan for one child as it is for 30 children and my wife had to do it for three grade levels) but when our children returned to public school, each one of them were at the very top of their respective classes. More importantly, the time we spent together defined our family - the unique shared experience is something that we still cherish. My children are all grown, two of the three are married but all of them are very successful. However, not all children will adapt to the cruising lifestyle just as not all adults will. Ours did and I believe it made a positive and indelible impact on their lives. My wife and I would love to have dinner with you sometime but currently we’re in Panama and we’re not sure where we’re going next.

Good luck, fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 22-05-2018, 18:19   #6
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

I know multiple familes that have done what you contemplate. One just returned to the North Eastern US (however, is still cruising). All the others I know are not US citizens and have gone back to their own countries (actually, US citizens with families are a minority out here.. at least outside the Bahamas).

We are still out here and would answer any questions you have (family of five, 7, 9, 11). Phone call, skype or even e-mail. You pick... Just PM me, I would be happy to talk.

The other suggestion I have is the Facebook groups. Its a much smaller audience of people currently out there (or just finished). I think you will have more quality responses there.
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Old 23-05-2018, 05:55   #7
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

See sailing vessel TOTEM.....have website and facebook and have written a book on cruising with children which will help you. Parents are two of t
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Old 23-05-2018, 05:57   #8
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

Sorry.....two of the most common sense people we have met sailing and the kids are fantastic...oldest son just accepted into college.
They are available by skype to help others and I would recommend a discussion with of luck and we respect what you are doing with your children....
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Old 23-05-2018, 08:22   #9
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

I know a couple who did that with their two sons around the same age, perhaps a little older. Their sons went out as troubled kids, and came back as responsible young men, so much so that I trusted them to babysit my then-small daughters. Both went on to be Eagle Scouts, joined the military and served with distinction. One is still in the Army, the other is now off sailing with his own young family, about the age of your kids. The parents live in the Florida pan-handle after losing their subsequent boat in Hurricane Irma. We'll be seeing them all this weekend when they come down to South Florida as the son and his family are temporarily back in the States. I can put you in touch with them if you'd like, great people all around!

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
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Old 23-05-2018, 08:40   #10
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

don't worry about the kid - he'll do just fine - adapting at that age comes naturally.

But don't underestimate the effect positive effect of such a trip on you and your spouse.
However - trying to fit back into YOUR old life might proove difficult + frustrating, since you have changed a lot more than the place, people and society you're going back to and your horizon has opened up a lot too.

Don't ask me how I know ...
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Old 23-05-2018, 09:02   #11
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

I'm sure with your past experiences with cruising you've run into families with kids. We have.

This is what our impressions of cruising kids are:

- situational awareness is similar to that someone in their 40's
- adaptability to and acceptance of other cultures is through the roof.
They can actually have a conversation with adults (!!!)
- able to amuse themselves with whatever they like; reading, music, etc.,
not so much "input" needed (internet, soul sucking games), more
imaginative in general.
- immediately make friends with other kids when they meet up, since it's
not an everyday thing. There doesn't seem to be a "cool" quotient
required like land based kids.

The down side is that these intense friendships usually end after weeks or months (when the boats move on) and the kids seem to feel it more than land based kids and might resent moving on. I've seen that twice.

Me? I'd consider it a huge step forward for any lucky kid. Good luck!
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Old 23-05-2018, 09:27   #12
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

While it might be great fun having a dinner with perfect strangers asking them about their "reentry" it would still be having dinner with perfect strangers, even as much as they would be more than glad to share their stories and experiences with you.

I'm not so concerned with the launching the rocket but more, what happens when it lands!
I haven't gone on an extended cruise. The longest one was the six weeks I took with my son to sail our boat to BC from SF two years ago. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. Not so much for him. His mother says he thought it was just going from one restaurant to the next since we pulled in to harbors or only the four anchorages on the way up. So for him, not much changed. This would or could be different if you're going longer and to far off lands. I'm sure it would be for my son. Could I take him for that long? Honestly dunno...

But MY story is and will not be YOUR story. One dinner with some people you don't know won't help much, a reality as I see it.

I have owned boats for the past 40 years. I still consider myself a weekend warrior who uses his boat a LOT more than most. But I have read extensively, both before the internet and since.

Everything I have ever read says that kids come back healthier and smarter than any of their peers. They have had different experiences than their new classmates would ever have the chance to have.

Could it be that folks who come back and their kids are failures don't write about it? Who knows...

I also get a lot of pm questions on the boating forums I am active on. I almost always recommend that the questioner take the question to the group, not just to me, because they'd get a wider variety of opinions and points of view.

If I were you, I'd do some serious internet sleuthing on "reentry after sabbaticals" and the like. I've read lots of those, you could, too.

Good luck, have a great trip.
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Old 23-05-2018, 09:45   #13
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

We came back last year from a year off sailing the east US coat and the Caribbean with our two kids (8 and 10). It is difficult to think of a better experience that we had or will ever had as a family. The only regret I have is not doing it for at least two years. None of us was ready to come back. Adapting to "normal life" is still a challenge for us adults, not for the kids. They grow so fast socially and intellectually that is amazing. Our kids read more books on that time than many people in the whole life. They became sociable out of need, you are going to see other boat kids running or paddling to your boat as soon as they notice there is a kid aboard, and your kid is going to be doing the same thing in no time. Language is definitely not a barrier for them. Just relax and go for it.
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Old 23-05-2018, 17:43   #14
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

Your post made me laugh a bit.... "return to normal life".... what is that these days? It seems to me that we have all become slaves to a system that wants to dictate most of the things that you can or can't do in your life. We are unpaid tax collectors. I say go, and don't look back. I am sure that after 2 years you will look at things very differently. Have a look here Anasazi Racing it's about some people who became very good friends after I put graphics on their boat. They have 3 kids and have circumnavigated the world with 2 of them. It's a fascinating story. If you wanted to make contact with them they are in Grenada at the moment.
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Old 24-05-2018, 04:50   #15
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Re: Looking for a family who has been there.. and come back.

I’ll bite!

You’ll have to fly up to Alaska though :-)

I cannot think of a single cruising kid we met who turned out bad and all of them that come to mind are very well adjusted and dynamic.

A few looked like they could go off the rails and didn’t. Instead, once again they are thriving.

Met two cruisers we first met in Guatemala 14 years ago. At the time their boys were same as yours. Once again now both in early 20s, prospering.

Given the odds go :-)

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