Living the dream … afloat!

Okay, this is going to be fun! As you’ve heard me mention before, in July/August 2011 I took Kristen Lamb’s blogging to build a brand course with about 40 writers/bloggers.

Without exaggeration, every writer should take this course … find out when her next class will be … it will be the best $40.00 you ever spent … I’ll wait right here while you do it …

Done? Alright, let’s move on. Our class was called WANA711 and you can find most of my fellow classmates in the Blog Roll here on the right-hand column. Since completing that class this group has developed  a fabulous tightly-knit friendship … and you know I’m all about friendship! In the process we have become a writing support network, sharing information, opinions,  experience, and a whole lot of laughter. When one of us has a question, we simply ask and the answer appears and if no one knows the answer it gets worked out collectively. Truly AWE-mazing!

Several of us in the group are published (traditional and indie) authors, so our WANA711 class – guided and organized by the intrepid Angela Wallace – decided to do book/blog promotion throughout February and March. We’ll share information and reviews about each other’s work and invite you into our lives a bit more. There are some fabulous tales to be told and a pile of great reads to add to your TBR tower!

This week Nancy J. Nicholson and I are exchanging blog visits and so are Barbara McDowell and Steena Holmes. Take some time to slip over and visit them too!

Watch for more author spotlights, book giveaways, and blog guest visits. I’ll keep you posted.

So here we go. Please welcome my friend and fellow blogger, Nancy J. Nicholson! For starters, dear readers, how would you like to call this beautiful 47′ sailboat “home”? Nancy does!

Hi Nancy, welcome! I’m certain all of your readers are having a great time following your adventure. As you know, I have a friend (one of the characters in my novel … but in real life too) who cruised on her sailboat for 8 years and my sister-in-law did the same for 2 years so I’ve traveled vicariously with them. And now with you!Where were you living before you moved onto the Fawkes?

Nancy: Believe it or not we moved from Iowa, a very land based dwelling. We bought Fawkes, our first boat, and moved aboard within two weeks of ownership and set sail six weeks later with two teenagers aboard.

How did you and your family come to make this decision?

Nancy: The captain grew up sailing the Great Lakes and Niagara River, his job brought him to Iowa where we met. I’m a farm girl at heart and have a great capacity for adventure, so it was only natural I buy into his dream of sailing into retirement.

Though we moved aboard in speedy fashion, we had twelve years to prepare and learn before we made this monumental move. If we had lived closer to the water we may have done things differently, but this plan has worked for us and five years later, we’re still loving it.

How do your children feel about you choosing to undertake this adventure?

Nancy: You could say we had a very reluctant crew tagging along on this adventure. First, we pulled my daughter away from her friends the last two years of high school, which was traumatic. Yet, if we had waited two years before heading out, she would have missed an opportunity.

Both of our children have had experiences that will help them out in life. Besides, they have some really good sea stories to tell their college friends.

As to how they feel now without a land based home to spend the holidays…

I think they miss us and wish a permanent home base, yet, I don’t know they’d make any more time to be with us. Give them a few more years and some more life experiences and I think they’ll be ready to meet us in exotic locations.

Where do you ultimately plan to go and what stops will you make along the way?

Nancy: Unfair question. In the beginning I could tell you exactly what our plans entailed. What I’ve learned after four seasons is nothing is for certain. We live with targets and back-up plans. We can look ahead and be okay with changing course. For now, we’re committed to sailing the Caribbean waters. That means finding a hidey hole for hurricane seasons. We’ll visit the sandy beaches and coral reefs of the Leeward and Windward islands during the winter months. Some day we may make our way to Central America, possibly transiting the Panama Canal. There’s so much to do here, we’ll trust that we’ll know when it’s time to move on.

I appreciate that plans are always subject to change and flexibility is key to living on a sailboat.  I’m guessing  you and your husband are pretty easy-going people. Do you find you are both relaxed and good at “going with the flow”?

Nancy: Exactly the opposite. Having answered all the previous questions, you’d think my answer would be yes, but it’s not. I’m a planner and I like when I accomplish my goals in the steps set forth. The Captain spent his career as an engineer and has a project completion mind set. This lifestyle is anything but simple when it comes to living by planned steps. It has taught us patience like nothing else could. It has shown us a new level of compassion for each other’s emotional needs as plans wiggle and shift.

Life happens for everyone, when you’re land based, there’s more flexibility to put life into the right holes. Not so on a sailboat. In saying that, I think we’ve grown as people and when we choose to live on land again, we’ll be more open to change.

If it’s possible, can you tell us what the biggest negative is to living as you do and what you feel is the best part of the life?

Nancy: The negative is always storms and foul weather. This can be managed, but sometimes they just sneak up on you. Managing these storms and adverse conditions means sleepless nights and constant vigilance. This is our home and if we run aground or sink, no amount of insurance will rebuild our boat. We have to be cautious and careful.

Oh and B.O.A.T. truly stands for Bring On Another Thousand. Cruisers all over the world have learned to replace marine equipment with hardware store fare. Drops the expenses ten fold.

And the best part….

Travel, sundowners, friends, warm weather, bringing our home with us, exotic location, oh I could go on and on. Come join the voyage, we welcome all new guests.

Your blog is fabulous to follow. It gives us all a brilliant look at life from such a different perspective as you cruise the Caribbean. Do you anticipate writing a book about your travels eventually?

Nancy: Fiction is definitely in my future. I’ve got a couple ideas I’m batting about, but it probably won’t be an autobiographical travel piece. I’ll reserve those vignettes for my blog. Rather, personal growth with mystery and romance elements set in a community of water folks is more to my liking.

How exciting! We’ll look forward to updates on your writing plans as they progress. In the meantime, we’ll continue to feel like we’re sailing those turquoise waters along with you! Safe travels!

Nancy wrote a great post about my novel The Bridge Club on her blog today. Please take a few minutes to slip on over and see what she had to say about friendship and what it means to her.

Do you have a dream about living your life differently? Do you see it as simply an enjoyable fantasy or are you working to make the dream a reality? 

Published by patriciasands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada when she isn't somewhere else, particularly the south of France. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and has now published three novels, including two that are part of a six-book series set in the south of France. Love France? Love her work! Check out her website She is particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships of women and the challenges many embrace once their families are grown. "It's never too late to begin something new," she enthuses. "As the saying goes, just do it!"

20 thoughts on “Living the dream … afloat!

  1. Hi Nancy,

    As a fellow boat owner, I totally get the B.O.A.T. reference! My husband and I stay on a really big lake in Texas, so I’d say you’re a little braver than we are 🙂

    1. LOL Traci, only those who own boats really get that. But I wouldn’t trade the issues for anything. We get to go so many neat places.

  2. Kourtney, I think years from now they might understand what they had and appreciate it more. I just don’t think you can make teenagers happy anywhere. I do think they learned some valuable life skills.

  3. Patricia, I can’t thank you enough for inviting me to share in your blog. I loved The Bridge Club and all that it represented. I love sharing your blog and the book with my readers. Here’s to a fabulous week.

    1. It’s great fun having you here, Nancy! I know readers are going to be intrigued by the lifestyle choice you have made. Not everyone gets to live their dream, whatever it is, but you are proof that it can be done!

  4. What a superb interview! I loved getting to know more about Nancy and have always been curious where you started out from. Who knew you were such a landlubber before owning your boat!

    Like you said, your kids will understand someday just what an amazing gift you gave them. For now, I know you and the Captain are enjoying those gifts. Keep the awesome posts coming, Nancy. It’s my way of living vicariously through you. Just like Patricia!

  5. I think it’s awesome Nancy that you and your husband along with your children seized the opportunity to fulfill your dreams! Your family will certainly reap the benefits from this time together. I have spent time in the area that you’re sailing in and it is simply beautiful. You are going to have some wonderful ideas for those fiction novels that you’re going to write! Can’t wait to read them. And like Tamari, I was wondering the origin of your landlegs. Big change. So glad you all are enjoying it. Thank you for sharing your experience Nancy! 🙂

  6. Wonderful blog swap you two – amazing!
    I gotta say, I am a tad jealous of Nancy and her lifestyle adventure. Hubby and I often talk about living a very different lifestyle and this year started really looking at how we could make that happen. Soooo exciting! Yes, sometimes making dreams comes true takes an investment of years of upfront work but I think it’d be well worth it. Nancy and her experience is a testament to that!
    Thanks soooo much for sharing you two! 🙂

  7. What a fine pair, the two adventurers together! I love hearing about your life aboard your boat, Nancy. How you cook, the weather, the mechanical problems. It’s a fascinating story that’s constantly unfolding. Good for you and your husband for following your dream. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I loved reading this interview because I have fantasized about what living on a boat would be like. I think it would be an amazing experience. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Great interview! I’ve often thought about living on a boat and have met people who do. Not sure I’d be up to it, though. I think I’d settle for a couple of weeks of sailing each year.

  10. Wonderful interview, ladies! I’ve thought often about adopting house-boat living, but this is another level of adventure altogether. Thanks for giving us all a glimpse into this world of yours!

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