I am often asked about cruising with kids. Is it difficult? I’ve overheard people talking about us. We’re brave apparently, and it’s not because of the ocean, or the remote places we go, it’s because we took our kids. We’re also crazy, according to a guy hiking behind us recently. And we love the commotion, mess, and noise of 5 little kids running around the boat, thought the guy in the slip next to us for a week in La Cruz. Most people out here have waited until their kids are grown up and from what I gather, most people are unwilling to live this closely with their kids day in and day out.
Here’s how it is. I make breakfast, and do dishes, and read books, and bake bread, and perpetually come up with dinner ideas . I wash laundry and remind the kids to flush the toilet, and wash their hands, and pick up their Legos, and finish a chapter. I take the clothes off the line and sweep the floor, and tell the kids to get their shoes on and find their water bottles and get in the dinghy (read: car). I’m always behind on the laundry, the toilets need scrubbing and it’s difficult to take the kids to the grocery store. This is how my life is the exactly the same as any stay at home mom of two little kids.
So those cruisers without kids that wonder why I would travel this way in spite of having kids are asking me if it’s worth it to travel with kids rather than live in a house and send them to school and send my spouse off to work while I continue to do all of the above. They’re wondering why I would trade the ease of dropping my kids off at school, hiring out the cleaning, going out to dinner for the trouble of doing it all myself, while living with them in our tiny space.
It’s true, because of our kids we don’t get to spend a whole day snorkeling. We don’t get to take the longest hike and climb to the highest view spot around. We don’t get to go out to a fancy dinner or (successfully) sneak into a resort swimming pool. We don’t get to stay up late on any one else’s boat.
On the other hand, because of the kids we do get to meet locals. We connect to families we don’t share a language with because we figure out that our children were born weeks apart. We are understood when our little one’s legs get too tired and need a shoulder carry. “Fatigue,” they say. They’ve taken care of their own little ones too. Because of our kids we’re handed a couple more bananas before we walk home, and smiled at as we order ice cream, and laughed at because Miles walks right up to everyone and begins to speak, in English, without ever stopping to notice that they don’t understand a word. Because of our kids people seem to understand that we’re not on vacation.
We wanted to go cruising before we had kids. In fact part of the reason we had kids was because we wanted to travel with them. We always planned on taking care of our own kids (and that is not to say that I didn’t research boarding schools for three year olds in Switzerland once or twice) and that one of us would stay home with them. So for now we both stay home. And it is SO MUCH EASIER. We get to share in the work of child care and the joy of the kids making some pretty amazing discoveries.
And what we get and give our children are life stories that include sailing across the Pacific, hiking to the third highest waterfall in the world, wading with black tip sharks, swimming from the boat in clear warm turquoise water, snorkeling around a coral reef, bike riding on an atoll called Fakarava, and birthdays that will be celebrated in Tahiti, Suwarrow, and Fiji. We’ll see mountains, and jungles, beaches, and volcanoes, full moons, and shooting stars. That is only part of it. That is only this year.
Their world view already includes three languages. They mix Spanish with their English and are adding French every day. That speed boat that went by looked like a panga, for example. They don’t look twice at a man wearing a boar tusk necklace, with a half tattooed face, and a pencil urchin spine through his ear. They are explorers with no end to their questions and discoveries.
So, for the people wondering why we’re out here in the South Pacific with our kids, we couldn’t wait! We worked hard to make sure this was one our our choices in our life, and OF COURSE we’re going to cruise with our kids. We love the warm breezes and beautiful ocean too. It’s amazing to be here, even if we miss out on a thing or two because we’re busy picking toys up off the floor, again. We’re working hard to take care of our home and our children, and we’d rather keep doing that with an absolutely stunning view.
13 responses to “Are we crazy?”
Yes. Yes. And Yes. Absolutely. And people who don’t get it, just won’t get it. Their loss.
I think that what you guys are doing is amazing and wonderful. We love checking in on your adventures. My husband and I are in the process of changing things a bit so that we (the two of us AND our kids) can spend MORE TIME having fun together, go on more adventures, see more of the world. It is funny to me that it seems to annoy and confuse people when I say that vacations and family adventures are our new priority.
Hello my much younger but wiser cousin and family ~ When I was growing up, my Dad once told me that, because he came from such a large family, there wasn’t very much time for each kid with the parents. The parents worked, as a nurse and store owner of a small market and butcher shop. Therefore, my Dad wanted to enjoy us as much as possible when we were young. We went on bike rides and picnics. We went to the Pelletier camp on Estes Lake and saw snapping turtles, eels and hornpout. We toasted marshmallows and hot dogs over a fire and went snow camping at my Aunt Rachels little camp behind her house. We explored the woods, saw animals tracks and found constellations. When I had kids, I did these very same things and more. We vacationed at ski lodges, Disney and on the lake. We learned to ride knee boards and four wheelers. I believed it “was a Pelletier thing” to share my childhood with my kids. You and Tucker have taken it one step further than we could have but would have loved to. You are living a dream of a lifetime, creating memories very few children will every know. This is the REAL world out there that you are showing your kids, not just the tourist traps. They are gaining real life experiences and they are doing it with their parents. I am honored and proud to be your cousin and follow all of your posts. Your parents instilled in you not just finding your dreams but going after them and taking the family with you. By continuing your posts, you are thus extending your adventures and dreams to everyone you know who follows you. For that, I am sure that I speak for us all when I say THANK YOU. For sharing your adventures with us and for making some of us believe that parenting comes in so many forms. The best ones, and the “Pelletier” ones, are those that create memories. It costs nothing to walk hand in hand through a new village, meet new friends and watch your children experience something you or I never had the opportunity to experience. I think you and Tucker are the bravest, most wonderfully giving parents I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Your children now know that nothing can stop them from pursuing their dreams as they get older, because they have been shown that. All my love and admiration, Lisa
Crazy? I think not.
I feel like this post was written just for me and my husband…because we’re on a similar path, albeit 3-5 years behind! Best of luck as you and your family enjoy this time together, and thanks for inspiring those of us who also seek-and are planning for-a very ‘alternative’ lifestyle!
I proud of you all !
There is a simple explanation to everything we do in life. People ask us why we attend Laconia Bike Week and serve free snacks and water and coffee in a church. We do it because we enjoy it ! I’ve met folks from all walks of life working in a job they hate , driving a car they hate , living in a house they hate and can’t help but wonder why they continue to do so. Life’s too short and you never get to do it over. Love you guys, stay in touch. By the way , Laconia June 9th – 17th.
How wonderful for you and your children. As an adult who grew up in diverse Pacific locations I know growing up among many different and unique cultures is the greatest gift you can give your children. As an adult who still craves new adventures I know the joy and fulfillment travel brings. Thank you for giving me vicarious pleasure from your travels – the exciting and the mundane.
I will ask the rude question: how do you do this financially? We have an adopted boy with trauma issues and we are both mourning our previous lives when we did a bit of adventuring around. I always wonder if stability is all it’s cracked up to be. In my single life, I lived in different places around the world. What are your thoughts?
Dafyd, sorry it’s taken so long to reply, the Internet here is something else. To answer your question about how we did it read this article http://forgeover.com/articles/2012/01/13/faq-cashing-out and our about page. I give quite a bit of detail. We believe that our kids get a fair amount of stability from taking their home everywhere they go. I would also recommend you google “third culture kids” there are a lot of folks who talk about their experience living in expat families. There is also a family RVing with adopted children who came from abusive environments, last time I checked in they were in Maine, I think I have linked to them in bmy blogroll but if not check out the Del Viento blogroll.
Some people don’t understand, or they forget what it’s like to have young kids. Your life shouldn’t stop! I’m amazed at the patience that parents seem to come equipped with. I applaud you!
i so appreciate you posting this – we’re getting up to coffee and a little foregover (yup – internet on the boat. fiji baby!), and this is a perfect conversation starter for us, so thanks.
also, amanda points out that you can stay out as late as you want on britannia – m&r have a lifetime spot in our vberth.
love you guys.
Who said there was anything wrong with being crazy? Crazy people are the best kind of people.