There might be hundreds or even thousands of people traveling around the world, switching to digital nomad lifestyle. Most of them use planes and trains to do that. Or these awesome old-school minibuses. Recently, I’ve got in touch with Lynn, who’s been traveling with her boyfriend Bregt since 2013 with… 34-foot long boat.
This sailing duo comes from Antwerp, Brussels. Lynn (29) studied graphic design and used to work in advertising agency. Bregt (34) worked as an IT presales consultant. They hit the road (well, the ocean) in July 2013. You can follow their adventures on their blog Boxing Kangaroo.
What pushed you to start your journey?
We realized this was a good time to go because we are still young, don’t have children, were both working for an employee and didn’t have real estate. Nowadays more and more people leave for a while. We’ve noticed it also with our friends. We are less attached to material things I guess and want to have real life experiences.
Where are you right now? What exciting things happened last week?
After a 10 day sail from Fiji we arrived in New Zealand last week. Since our arrival we’ve been sorting things out on the boat and getting to know the country and western civilization again. We opened a bank account, bought a car and soon will move south to Auckland to look for a job.
Boxing Kangaroo is the name of your 34-foot long boat. Where and when did you learn to sail? How long it took you to get ready for your big sailing trip?
When he was 8 years old, Bregt’s parents put him in an optimist sailboat in Belgium. He loved it right away and after many years of sailing and reading other people’s stories he started dreaming of his own voyage.
I had never sailed before we met. I always wanted to make a trip around the world, so I was ready to give it a try. He bought the boat in 2012, fixed it up, made some adjustments and we left in July 2013. I learned all things along the way.
It wasn’t always easy in the beginning. I guess it’s like when you learn to drive a car with your parents. For someone who knows how to do it, everything seems so easy and that can create some interesting discussions. By now we are a good team, both know our place and duties on the boat.
Have you met more boat-nomads? Do people on the water behave somehow different than the „regular” travelers?
We meet solo sailors, families who homeschool their kids on a boat, younger couples on small boats (and with small budgets) and mostly retired couples who dreamed about this their whole life and finally got an opportunity to travel this way.
The cruisers community is one of the great parts of this trip. Everyone is so easy going and we always have something to talk about. We meet the same people in different places because they’re mostly traveling sort of the same route. It’s always nice to meet again after a while and share all our stories.
I guess yachties are more relaxed than regular travelers. We can’t go anywhere unless the weather conditions and everything on board is fine so we often have to wait. Along the way you learn to take things as they come and don’t plan too much ahead. We often change our plans.
Along the way you learn to take things as they come and don’t plan too much ahead. We often change our plans.
What was the most difficult part of your journey so far? Have you had some technical issues with your boat?
Definitely the trip to New Zealand and some of the other long crossings in the South Pacific. From Galapagos to the Marquesas took us 23 days, which is actually not too bad for our size of boat, but it was just so long and we were ready to put the boat for sale on arrival. The same idea crossed our mind on many other crossings as well. But once we arrive in a new spot, it’s so beautiful and you feel you’ve really accomplished something special, so you quickly forget all your doubts.
They say ‘cruising is working on boats in good weather’. There is always something to make or repair on a boat. We have had some technical problems in the past but luckily – knock on wood – nothing major. We could always fix it ourselves or prevent it from getting worse.
Now, after two years of sailing there are many things that need to be replaced and repaired. Along the way in the South Pacific there aren’t too many shops and it’s difficult to get parts. In New Zealand, where one out of three people has a sailboat, it looks like a good place to do that.
Do you work during your sailing trip? What type of job do you and your boyfriend do?
I worked as a graphic designer in an advertising agency and Bregt worked in an IT company in Antwerp.
After our first year of sailing we left the boat in Curaçao for 6 months and went back to Europe to work. At this moment we’ll try to find a job in New Zealand. Once we save enough and make adjustments on the boat we’ll leave again.
Sometimes I get assignments for photography or graphic design. I would love to do that more in the future.
At this moment I’m working on a photography series about people on their sailboat, also I’m making my portfolio website to send around and hopefully get some new assignments. I’d like to work more while we are traveling but it’s sometimes difficult with internet connection on remote islands.
Bregt is very good with computers, outboard motors and other boat-problems. From time to time he helps out other sailors and gets something in return.
One section of your blog is called Lynn’s Kitchen and consists of the recipes. Is food an important part of your traveling experience? What was the craziest thing you’ve eaten abroad?
Food is my absolute favorite part of this trip. Living on a boat, traveling with your home and kitchen allows you to experiment with a lot of different cuisines. Also, Bregt likes to fish and he does that very well so I often have nice fresh seafood to cook with.
We haven’t actually eaten weird things yet but one thing I did learn to cook and appreciate is octopus. It’s something we’ve found on fish markets in most of the places we visited and we love to eat it. At first it seemed like a hell of a job to clean and cook but when you try it a few times it’s really not difficult. We eat it with pasta, as a salad, in risotto… I love to experiment! A few days ago, in New Zealand, we caught one ourselves with a speargun. It was the first time we found one. It’s very difficult because they can change color and manage to hide in small holes. It’s a very interesting and delicous creature.
You guys spend so much time together, especially during long ocean crossing. Is it easy? How do you coexist during your trip as a couple and travel-buddies?
We are together for 4 years and were a couple only 1,5 years before we left and never lived together.
By now, the moments we spend apart are very rare. Although it’s not always easy we learned a lot about each other on a short time by being together all the time. Where in the beginning there were more heated moments and discussions, now we know when to shut up and just let the other person be.
All images: courtesy of Lynn Van Den Broeck / Boxing Kangaroo