I don’t have an address. My home is aboard Desdemona, a 37’ Jeanneau, a French built sloop. I live on the sea. By the time this is published I don’t even know what country I’ll be living in. At age twenty-seven I didn’t think I’d be living on a sailboat with my boyfriend and three other friends. I didn’t know how to sail, none of us did. Most of my girlfriends are married with a second child on the way. But as a first generation American, the daughter of a Russian mother and Pan American father it’s no surprise I’m making full use of my passport with no specific address or agenda. While our boat only occupies 37’ of ocean at a time, my father, now retired, spent his life on big ships on the high seas traveling from port to port. My mother, an immigrant, adapted and adjusted to her challenges, learning a new language and raising a family. My older brother played a big part in preparing me for survival in any situation being an Eagle Scout and US Marine. My family is proud and hesitantly supportive of this life path I have chosen knowing there will be difficult challenges yet amazing adventures ahead.
Changing my life from a traditional lifestyle in Tallahassee, Florida to one as a nomad occurred somewhat unexpectedly. In September 2009 I met my boyfriend of three months at Tropical Smoothie on his lunch break and while we ate, we sketched out rough ideas on how we could escape Tallahassee and America. The brown drawing paper titled OUR ESCAPE was covered with ideas written in Sharpie, ones that everyone thinks of when they first consider escaping to another lifestyle, ideas like Peacecorp to being an Au Pair in Spain. Friends of ours, a couple, were having parallel thoughts and conversations about saying goodbye to everything. After the ritual hyperbolic conversations about how cool things would be if this or that we settled on sailing, signed up for sail school and from there things started to happen quickly. By November we’d moved in together and each of us had sold all of our furniture, clothes (except for bathing suits) and other valuable possessions. By December we owned Desdemona. We left our career, readied the boat for cruising and set sail for the Caribbean Valentine’s Day 2010.
Each day I wake up without knowing what the day will entail. What do we want to do? What do I want to do? Sometimes it’s exciting, other times it’s lazy and there are times when it’s stressful. Whatever kind of day it is I’ve never felt more alive. The beauty and nature is ever present as we sail south through colors that Crayola knows nothing about. The energy of the sea is energizing and rejuvenates the spirit. Being an artist and Interior Designer I find myself inspired by the colors, the nature and the architecture around me. Each day could fill a memory card. A typical day might start with yoga on the bow, followed by drawing and painting on the stern we often fish for our dinner. I enjoy exploring the islands (both inhabited and uninhabited), meeting locals and other sailing cruisers, eating delicious meals from the ocean, reading writing, biking, snorkeling, swimming and cleaning the boat.
Living on a boat with another couple and the brother of the couple isn’t always easy. There are differences of opinion on where to go, what to eat and how things should be done. Each of us has only 7 ft of personal space; not very much when you’re confined to the water and all you want to do is get away. My boyfriend share the V berth, we have one small closet, a sink with under cabinet storage and a 6’ shelf lining the bed. We have every single nook and cranny of the boat stuffed with necessities. I find myself with an entire different set of challenges than ever before like washing dishes without using freshwater, using a minimal amount of power, cooking meals all 5 of us can agree upon and simply the amount of personal possessions that are reasonable to bring aboard, on a 37’ sailboat you realize the importance and unimportance of each of your possessions. If you have ever been to summer camp and packed a trunk, imagine all your life fitting in a chest. I love the minimalist lifestyle that we now live. We are very resourceful. I still paint my nails, wear make up and match my outfits, there are some things I am not ready to leave behind.
There are a lot of people who were skeptical of us actually executing out plan. It was very difficult for all of us to keep our adventure a secret when we were plotting to quit our jobs and leave all of our friends. I was working for myself during the day, designing a resort in Aruba and managing a local bar/restaurant in Tallahassee. I feel we all lust for an escape and freedom but some never get the chance. It takes support and determination, courage and mostly humility. Knowing the world is so big and the ocean dangerous, everyday I am thankful for the people around me and Desdemona, who keeps us afloat. What’s next for me? I plan to make my life on the sea permanent. I hope to sail forever, become a great fisherman, paint my experiences, marry on an island and raise a happy healthy family on the water appreciating the locals and beauty of nature daily.
I can be followed on Facebook and my website www.phpsailing.com!