Talking about money can be uncomfortable, yet it is one of the things we get asked about often and one of the things we are interested in to learn how we can do things more cleverly.
There is a lot of scarcity thinking around money – at least where I grew up and its something I am still learning to overcome. Its at times a touchy object of conversation, especially if there is lack of it and it can cause a whole lot of havoc if there is too much of it. I rarely knew anybody who had just enough of it. My money education is ongoing to get a healthy relationship with it and hopefully teach our children a way to deal with money in a healthy way.
For us one of the biggest deciding factors in doing what we are doing was money, because really we didn’t have any left at the end of the month. I guess we never really “made it” financially. We where one of those typical middle class families with an average mortgage, both parents working full time and just comfortably scraping by every month.
By comfortably I mean that we could afford some “luxuries” like alternative healthcare, purchasing organic produce and good supplements, going out for the occasional coffee, having a trailer yacht for our holidays and and long weekends, having good food on our table all the time and enabling our children to attend the Waldorf School in Hastings.
There are obviously many reasons why we made the decision to try a different lifestyle and you can watch us talk about this in THIS VIDEO, which we recorded right at the start of our journey.
Tim and I always worked very hard, long days and weeks and more often than not one of us was also working weekends or evenings. With us both having our own businesses and at times several jobs there pretty much was rarely a day where we didn’t work. Our holidays where mostly long weekends in our trailer yacht on a lake nearby. The only long holiday we could take was over Christmas, again spent on our trailer yacht.
3 trips to Germany to visit my family over the 16 years we where together left huge gaps in our budget and wondering when we could next organise for the children to see their German grandparents, who also didn’t have money in abundance, but abundance in love and attention.
Each month I struggled to make ends meet, our savings where little to non existent. A visit to my parents in Germany with the kids a distant dream – just not possible with our budget. While we had a very comfortable life and a beautiful house and jobs we really liked, it felt like we weren’t living life to the fullest and worst of all we rarely had time as a family to spend together. Tim and I where mostly in a state of stress, busyness, worry and the older we got the more we questioned if what we are doing is right. Some friends of ours had already died and many others having chronic illnesses, wrecked marriages or where like us struggling to juggle all the balls in the air.
What we have done is either extremely stupid or just a brave, right step in a better direction – we still don’t quite know, but will find out sooner or later, no doubt…
So to get back to the money. Since we didn’t have any apart from our equity in the house it meant we had to sell EVERYTHING we own, including the business assets, cars, house, 95% of our belongings. We had to kiss goodbye to everything we had built together in the past 17 years with our blood, sweat and tears to make this journey possible. There are no investments, no security, no other savings, no rent coming in from an investment home etc.
If you think this decision was easy for us, you are mistaken. We have had MANY moments where we questioned, doubted, made lists, made lists again, had to keep reminding ourselves what we value most and why this idea emerged in the first place. When a very large percentage of people around you follow one blueprint of living it is so scary to step out and walk in the opposite direction. We are by now means judging people following that blueprint, it just didn’t feel right for us and our family at this time. We are all individuals taking individual paths.
I can say for myself that I felt a LOT of fear. During the period of preparing and planning I had to shut off to people who where negative about our decision. I needed every ounce of positive input to keep going on this ginormous transformation. Its hard enough to do something like this on your own, but to carry though as a couple with children is several levels up in intensity. I have a totally new understanding and admiration for people who are brave enough to go exploring alternatives to the mainstream– whatever that may be doesn’t matter. It takes courage to do something different.
If you think we are all happy chappy and completely convinced now – you are mistaken. We still doubt some days and worry, we still get lost some days in remembering past days or venturing into a future we don’t know. But most days we are happy and all days we are together working on our relationships and connection, exploring different places, different cultures and some days are so good we have to actually pinch ourselves.
Once we sold everything we bought the boat from some of the money, we had to do courses, do improvements on the boat to make it suitable for a family to live aboard long term, we all had to fly to Europe and then we had a whole lot of unexpected additional expenses due do Corona, so quite a huge chunk of the money is gone already. With what is left we have maybe 2 more years if we live on a very tight budget and nothing major breaks on the boat. Of course once we feel ready to finish our journey we can still sell the boat, so we have that as equity to start again.
One thing that encouraged us was that other sailing channels on youtube where successful with creating a little income by recording their journey and receiving small payments from people who support them through Patreon. Patreon is platform for creatives like us who try to make an income with their creations / art / inspirations.
Some people think we are asking you to pay for our “luxury holiday”. These people couldn’t be more wrong. What we are doing is to take a brave step out of societies prescription to see if we can live more fully and freely as a family and give our children a different outlook on life that goes past instagram and facebook and their mates and belongings and materialism. We are spending a considerable amount of time sharing our journey, recording, reflecting, editing, writing, researching, so our supporters can share in our experiences, reflections and insights.
If it wasn’t for the other youtube creators inspiring us and showing us what is possible, I doubt we would have been brave enough to make this decision. And our hope is that through sharing our journey we might inspire others to look outside the square and find a more fulfilled life path.
Tim and I spend about 2-4 hours per weekday supporting our kids schooling, We approx. spend around 30 hours recording, photographing, editing videos and photos and writing to record our journey per week. And we do all the things that other families do only most of them are more complicated for us on the boat – washing, grocery shopping, cooking from scratch and eating 99% of our meals on the boat, cleaning the boat, maintaining the boat, admin etc.
However our downtime is way more fulfilling and interesting and the journey as a whole is an experience of a lifetime. We get to see and explore so many things, having new experiences and insights and we are doing it together as a family with a dog in tow. In the past 6 months we spend more time together than in the last 2 years as a rough estimate if not more. This is not always roses and sunshine by the way. We have to relearn how to be with each other in such a small space. We are negotiating the needs and wants of a 13 year old teen and a 10 year old approaching teen, who are now down from 30 friends each to 2 annoying parents.
Doing this journey in this way with very limited financial resources and as a family means very careful managing of those resources. I hover over our budget every month anxiously to see if we are still on track, when we go and explore the places we are in, it means not being able to do many “touristy” things and it means walking past 99% of the cafe’s and tavernas with longing eyes, it means questioning twice and trice on the grocery shopping trips if we can really afford the items, it means talking the kids away from the shops, it means a rental car is a rare treat.
But it doesn’t mean we can’t do it. We can still park in the same harbor as a fancy multi million dollar yacht with the same view, even if their dinghy motors are worth more than our whole yacht. We can still walk to places, we can swim and snorkel, we can buy local food and cook it ourselves, we can smell, see and experience the atmosphere. We can soak in the rich history, walk on paths that are thousands of years old and look at excavated ruins that are older than we can imagine. We look at views from our boat deck that are breathtaking.
Living your dreams can be possible, even if you are on a tiny budget. It just means adjusting the experience to the budget. It also means there are arguments or disagreements about money, I imagine like in every other family. Tim is very protective of the budget, although he leaves all the management to me funnily enough, because he wants to do this for as long as possible. His fear is that we are spending too much and next year its all over. I on the other hand would rather have more quality rather than quantity. For me to experience the journey fully it means that if I want to sit down in a beautiful old chora and soak in the atmosphere, having a coffee in a cafe or being able to stop at a taverna for a small snack when I am starving and need to use a toilet, I want to be able to buy the kids an ice cream or a treat occasionally. Its a fine balance and a struggle at times to find it. No point having the coffee and then feeling guilty about it…
So our patreons are in fact not funding a luxury holiday or a holiday full stop – this is not a holiday. This is now our lifestyle. We live, school, work on a boat instead of living in a house, schooling in school and working in a workplace. Our patreons help us to be able to keep recording our journey, to replace the very expensive photography and videography equipment when it breaks, they are supporting our work (yes we are working), they are paying for the data it takes to upload the videos and they are supporting our family in trying to find an alternative lifestyle.
On our Patreon platform if you sign up you can support us from as little as 2 USD per week (the cost of a take away coffee per week). You get to see our videos first, you get regular bonus yoga videos taught by Silke (it takes about 5 hours of work to put one of those online) and you can cancel your support anytime.
Here is a multitude of ways to support us, our work, our journey:
- Sign up to Patreon with a contribution of your choice.
- Like and subscribe to our youtube channel here – we get a little bit of ad money from this when people watch our videos.
- Like and share our platforms on Facebook and Instagram and we love to connect with you on there – comment and message away we try to get back to everyone.
- Purchase some of our Merchandise Here.
- Purchase some of Tim’s prints or canvases Here.
- Purchase through our Amazon links – we get a little commission. Boat equipment DOMESTIC HERE, VIDEO AND PHOTO HERE. Silke’s favorite books HERE.
- Purchase doTERRA essential oils through Silke’s business from here – she receives a commission on sales
- Book a distance Reiki session with Silke.
- Book personal distance yoga tutoring with Silke (depending on internet connection).
- Recommend Tim’s (photography & videography) & Silke’s (yoga, reiki, sound healing, doTERRA essential oil education, writing) services to people you know in the countries we travel.
- Make a one off donation on Paypal and state what you would like the donation to be used for, e.g. dog food, books or learning resources for kids, boat stuff, a special family meal out, data, camera gear, a night in a marina etc.
- And something most important – your encouraging words, messages, likes, your interest, your inquiries and your reflections warm our hearts beyond – please keep them coming. We have so many doubts, worries, fears already, to get encouragement and feel supported really makes our days.
I hope this blog is not to be misunderstood as to how hard we are having it, because we are not. We are very aware how lucky we are to be able to do what we do, to have grown up in countries where we can travel freely, to have had enough equity in our house to be able to explore a different lifestyle as a family, to be healthy and capable and brave enough and have the right constellation as a couple to do this.
We feel very grateful and fortunate to be where we are at the moment. And we hope that taking a brave leap into the unknown will lead us to find a better and more fulfilling path for us as a family and to give our children a different outlook on life and what can be possible.
But we also wanted to clarify that we are not using our patreon funds to drink champagne and cocktails and eat fancy meals out and visit one tourist attraction after the other on a daily basis, sitting in fancy marinas lying on deck all day in the sun 😉
Another question that comes up a lot is what are you going to do when the money runs out? Who knows – there are so many possibilities. We could settle back in New Zealand or we could settle in Europe. We could be super successful in what we are trying to do and / or find a sponsor and do this for another 10 years. We could sail the boat back to NZ if we where brave enough or we could stay in the Med and explore for a couple more years and then sell the boat and do what we did before – rent or buy a house and work full time. At the moment we are really trying to live in the moment and trust that if we take one careful step at the time, the path will eventually appear or the wings will grow to fly to places we never dreamed of. Of course there are moments when we worry what to do about retirement and that we most likely will not have a house that is paid off etc., but then again who can guarantee us that we will reach retirement? What is guaranteed to us at the moment is the present moment and we try to make the most of that.
Would love to hear about other peoples stories and what your thoughts are.
As always, thank you for your interest, support and for being here.