A few months ago we were nominated for the Liebster blog award. Unfortunately this award will not be bringing us fame and fortune, but it does warm my heart to receive the nomination and make me happy to know that there are other people out there reading our blog outside of just our family! This award, plainly said is like a chain letter for the Blogger world. Better put, it is a nomination from one blogger to another showing admiration for their work, their words, and their blog. Usually if I receive any sort of chain letter I delete it automatically, not even giving it the time of day. But when it is sent as a sincere act of endearment by fellow bloggers that I also consider friends, then it is more heartwarming than anything.

   It is a simple process. With the nomination comes ten questions, sent our way from the nominator. All we are asked to do in return, if we choose to accept it, is to thank and link back to the blog that nominated us, answer the ten questions, and then pay-forward the love by nominating up to ten blogs we love and posing them ten questions of our own. Simple, if you have the time.

   Although it was an awesome feeling being nominated a few months ago, I can’t say I really put in the effort to make time to answer the questions posed to me. But a few days ago we were nominated yet again, by another blogging friend, and so now I have to get my act in order! But with the two nominations together that makes 20 questions total. Now I love the idea of question/answer blog posts, it makes my writing a lot easier, I don’t have to come up with a subject, I don’t have to think “what would others think is worth reading”, I have the questions sitting there in front of me, all I have to do is answer; but 20, that is a lot. So for your sake, and mine, I decided to combine the questions from the two nominations and chose ten to answer.

   Our first nomination came from Lyndy with Homeschool Ahoy. She blogs about their family’s life aboard and how they have chosen to educate their two daughters while leading the lifestyle they do. Their blog is full of fun homeschooling ideas and and tips and tricks to raising kids while living aboard, and just raising them in general.

   Our second nomination came from Jessica at MJ Sailing. We met these guys while in Georgetown, Bahamas. Actually the first time I met Jessica was during a “girls night” on the beach, where it was nearly pitch black out and there were more bottles of wine than people! These guys are doing amazing things, currently crossing oceans, and journaling it all on their blog with beautiful pics to go along with it.

So now, to the questions:

1) Introduce us to your liveaboard family, how many in your crew and how old are they?

We are a family of four, two parents, two kids. Eben and I are both 31, and going on six years of marriage this year. We have considered the boat our home for the past five years of that. Arias is 4, nearly 5. We moved on to the boat with her when she was just about a year old. But her first time coming aboard she was just five weeks old. I did my whole pregnancy with Ellia on the boat, and then we flew from Bahamas back to Canada when I was 9 months pregnant, so we could have her in the comfort of our friends’ home with our midwives. We moved back to the boat when she was four months old. So in essence, the boat is the only thing the girls have really known as their “home”.

2) When is the first time you set foot on a boat?

Oddly enough, I spent the first few years of my life on a boat. My parents had a 45ft steel boat that we lived on in British Columbia. But at the age of three, we moved to land and that was the end of that. Boating was no longer a part of my life and I pretty much forgot about it. Eben’s first step on to a boat ended up being the first sailboat he purchased. He went and saw a few other ones but came back to that first one. He had never sailed before. He and a buddy read some encyclopedias and thought they were equipped enough to give it a try. When he emailed me this (this was before we started dating, again, long story there.) I thought I was never going to see him again, that he was going to go down with his boat in an ocean somewhere. So, the second, first time I stepped on to a boat, to start our cruising/liveaboard life, was when we were married and decided to give his little 33ft boat a try and sail to south america. Plans changed, of course!

3) What sort of boat do you have and would you recommend it for family that want to live aboard?

We have a 41ft Morgan Classic Sloop with a centre cockpit from 1989. If you are looking to liveaboard a monohaul this type of boat is awesome. The way Eben explains it is that our boat is like a bathtub, it will not be racing anywhere, but it is comfortable, has lots of space, and built sturdy. Our family of four has lots of room on here. For the non-boaters, our boat has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dinning room and kitchen. We made a couple alterations, adding a bunk bed in our aft cabin for when the babies were small and we wanted them sleeping in our room. And Eben also made our dinning room table so that it can convert into another queen size bed if we have a lot of guests. What sold me on this boat is how wide it is inside, you really feel like it is bigger than other 41ft boats merely because of its width, and the fact that this boat had a hallway…that was a huge step up from what we had been living on before.

Front bed
dining area
back bathroom
our aft bed

4) Where are you now and what is your sailing plan?

We are currently in the Dominican Republic. We sailed here last year thinking we were just going to spend a few months waiting out hurricane season, but then we met a Canadian non-profit, called Live Different, and they took our plans and threw them out the window! After hurricane season we left for Puerto Rico, spent two months there, and then turned around and came back to the DR when this non-profit offered us a six month position hosting groups of volunteers who come to rebuild homes for the less fortunate. We are now done the work, and a few days away from flying back to Canada to spend a couple of months with family and await the arrival of our newest niece or nephew. After that, our current plan is to return to the DR, where we will have our boat waiting for us, and go back to sailing. But here is the tricky part, we still have no clue as to what direction we plan on sailing to, either back to the Bahamas, or down to Grenada and all the islands in between, or over to Central America. Hopefully we will have a more concrete plan dawn on us in the next two months.

5) What did your family say when you told them you were going to up and leave everything to go travel?

We got a little built of a guilt trip at first. Understandably. We were taking Arias with us. I think that is what most people were upset about, not that Eben and I were going traveling, but that we were taking the baby and that they wouldn’t get to watch her grow up. But as everyone realized that this was going to be our lifestyle then they slowly accepted it and instead turned us in to the yearly vacation spot. Why not come and visit us in a new tropical location each year, stay on the boat for free, and get to hang out with us!? We held on to our house in Edmonton, rented it out, in case we ever decided to return to Canada, but as the years kept flying by we came to see that that house was more of a hassle than anything, and that we didn’t ever see ourselves moving back in there anyways. So we sold it. Now all we really have left in the “land” world is a seacan of clothes, furniture, and some things that we couldn’t let go of. 

6) What’s the best learning experience your kids have had since living aboard that you could pass on to other sailing families?

There are so many benefits to raising your kids on a boat that it is hard to nail down the “best” learning experience. I love that our girls have been raised with the “less is more” attitude. When it comes to boating, you can only fit so many toys into a vessel, so our girls got used to playing with what they have and love it all. They are not lacking in imagination. Then there are all the outdoor experiences they are getting to enjoy, playing with stingrays, and starfish the size of their heads. Or learning about the environment around them and ocean life. There is an infinite number of things to teach them just by stepping outside. And since we have been in the DR we have actually enjoyed enrolling them in school here. They have picked up on so much spanish that they are correcting us at times, and they have made a ton of friends. Their lives have been packed with enriching experiences. As a parent, on a boat or on land, just be open to teaching them with whatever interest or subject that comes along in their daily lives. Arias and I have done projects on everything from snow monkeys to eyelashes, just because that was what was intriguing her that day.

7) What’s your best memory from the last year?

We have had some amazingly emotional experiences this year, with sailing and with rebuilding homes for people and handing them the keys to their new place. But oddly enough, one of my biggest highlights was hearing the girls argue and talk in their sleep in SPANISH! so stinkin’ cute. 

8) Do you think you have found a place you would like to retire?

We have started throwing around the idea of ending our cruising/liveaboard life and trade that in for a land life. But we know that it would still be in a tropical country. We have really enjoyed the DR. The people here are nice, life is cheap, the schools are good, and we have made plenty of friends here. But we still feel like we need to check out a few more places before investing in property. In the past month we have had people tell us they see us living in Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico. And I have always had a soft spot of Guatemala. There are also an infinite number of other tropical places that we could choose from that we have yet to discover. So hard to choose just one! So we are not ready to settle just yet. But the idea is brewing.

9) If you had the option to transport yourself anywhere in the world right now where would it be?

SouthEast Asia. I fell in love with Thailand when I lived there years ago, and have told Eben so many stories about it. He keeps asking me when I am going to take him there. And I know I will. But if we could be transported there immediately that would take away the procrastination factor and the cost factor (with two kids we are now looking at the costs of 4 international plane tickets, not cheap!) And no, we have no plan on sailing that way, that’s not my cup of tea.

10) If a genie granted you a lifetime supply of one kind of alcohol, what would you choose?

Can I say wine? Is that too vague, since that would give me so many options in just one answer! If wine were not so expensive I think I would enjoy a glass, or two, a day. 

There you have it. Thanks again for the nominations ladies. If any of you other readers have questions for us that I didn’t answer above feel free to send them my way. 

In turn I would like to nominate a few of the blogs that we like to follow, as a sign of my appreciation of your writing skills and adventurous lifestyles. I nominate:

Windtraveler, your a busy momma of a toddler and the “twinado”,so understand if you don’t have the time, I just love you
Turf to Surf, you always make me laugh and I am sure you will have some crazy adventures or stories to share with us
Salty Kisses, I have loved watching your family grow and you guys sailing around parts of my own country that I have yet to visit
Sailing Totem, I can’t get enough of reading about you guys since you are sailing in countries that I love and that I never see myself sailing in
Rebel Heart, I am not sure if you are back to full time blogging but I have always felt a connection to you guys since we are both sailing with little girls around the same age
Bumfuzzle, I can see us one day moving off the boat and into an RV like you guys did, so I love to follow you guys, and your pics are always amazing
Lahowind, if you want to see beautiful people taking beautiful pictures while sailing around, check these guys out
Where the Coconuts Grow, another blog I love to follow. They have sailed much of the same areas we have and are now going past our boarders and opening our eyes to what may be ahead
Zero To Cruising, met these two crazy fun people our first year out sailing and our friendship is still going. Can’t wait to see you guys again some day.
Travel with Bender, this family is traveling around, not on a boat, and I have really been enjoying following their adventures

And now for my ten questions for these bloggers:
1) Describe yourself in 5 words. No more, no less. 
2) What do you blog about? What do you NOT blog about?
3) You have $10 US to spend, what is the first thing you buy? 
4) What is the worst travel spot you have been to?
5) What is your favourite saying/slang/term you have picked up through your travels?
6) If you were invited to a dress up party what costume would you wear?
7) What is your favourite drink (alcoholic or not)?
8) How much wine is too much?
9) What are you afraid of?
10) If you could have one wish granted, what would you ask for?

Wanted to make them a bit fun, and get some awesome ideas for the most stellar blogger costume party ever!