"Sometimes you gotta wonder -- why would 2 seemingly sane people pull their kids out of school, quit their good jobs and go sailing? Trust me, a lot of people have asked me this -- especially my mother."
So begins a blog from Lisa Broom of Ham Lake, Minn., who along with her husband and two kids will be sailing through the Great Lakes, out to the Atlantic, and south to the Caribbean (and back) over 14 months. The voyage on the family's boat, Dilly Dally, will begin in Lake Superior next week. Lisa plans to blog about the adventure.
The Brooms have been planning this trip for a couple years; Lisa is quitting her job at Xcel Energy while husband Dale's business shut down amid the recession. He drove truck in recent months to raise money for the trip.
As a parent, my questions strayed away from the challenges of sailing as far south as Grenada and toward the challenges of parenting in the confines of a boat -- even one with bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom with a tub.
"This is one of the biggest worries," Broom emailed. "Will we drive each other crazy????? There is enough room to get some private space and we will all have to learn how to respect others' needs. It will be a learning and maturing experience for all of us -- adults included."
Internet access will be spotty, so Broom obtained the appropriate school curriculum from the Forest Lake school district for 13-year-old Madeline and 9-year-old Wyatt and will be loading the boat with books. After morning lessons, the kids will be active on the ship -- involved in sailing, boat maintenance, shopping for food on shore, etc.
"A 9 year old can certainly jump in the water and check the anchor and both are able to stand short watches (1-2 hours) without much problem. It will take the whole family to 'run' the boat. Plus, it is important that we develop a team attitude and routine. As for destinations, everything is up for family discussion!! The weather is the ultimate 'decision maker', however, we will stay or move on based on how we all feel about a certain area."
The kids are worried about missing friends, but excited about the adventure ahead, she said. Volunteers from the Northern Lights Sailing Club are scheduled to join the family at various intervals to help with longer stretches -- such as the 1,500 miles from North Carolina to St. Martin that will take two weeks to cover. Sailing only encompasses a fifth of the trip; the rest will be in port so the family can explore cities on the East Coast and whatever Caribbean Islands they seek out.
Safe travels to the Brooms! I'm told these kinds of family voyages are somewhat common, but it still blows my mind to think about leaving everything behind for a year! Whether on a boat or by other means, could you do it?