people always think Nick’s dad is the real
owner, assuming boating must be only for
older, wealthy people.
Well, we haven’t won the lottery, nor do
we have an inheritance. We’re just telecom-muters. My husband works full time as the
virtual manager of a support organization
and as a part-time boat broker. We rarely
have issues with cell or Internet access during our cruising, so his availability and work
have never been negatively impacted. I’m a
freelance writer; my work is deadline based,
so I can work nights and early mornings
and still be available for my kids and family.
We’ve learned that as much as we want our
Summer Route, 2010
boat projects finished, family comes first, so
it’s OK that something doesn’t get done if
it means being with the kids or enjoying an
Most cruisers are retired, living on retirement savings. We’re working while we cruise.
We have a strict budget, which requires us
to eat in instead of enjoying restaurants as
so many cruisers do. We’ve learned to find
free fun instead of hitting every aquarium or
expensive museum that we come across. It’s
about being together and self-reliance.
EVERYTHING IS A LEARNING
As a cruising family, we had to figure out
how to take care of our children’s education while enjoying this adventure. When I
used to hear about homeschooling, images
of the patient mom sitting at the kitchen
table while earnest, quiet children worked
diligently on their schoolwork flashed in
Reality is far different, at least on my
boat. Our scholars have serious focus issues,
and honestly, who can blame them with all
the cool stuff going on outside the boat window? We moved schooling belowdecks, but
combating seasickness while working out
math problems or reading a story was coun-
terproductive. A family conference offered a
compromise; schooling is done belowdecks
but not while underway.
Our homeschooling is done as much
outside the boat as inside, and Nick and
I do our best to incorporate our location
into the lessons. Nature and travel present
lots of science opportunities, but places like
a retail art gallery can offer an art class. A
gallery owner in Annapolis took us around
and talked us through all the different techniques the artists used to create their work.
For math class, we have the kids calculate
miles to our next destination or the speeds
of engines — “that one has three 350-
horse engines, how many total horsepower
is that?” We had an economics lesson in
Manteo, North Carolina: We went to a furniture store, and “gave” each child $5,000
to furnish a small house. We walked around
the store, prioritized what to buy, added
up their purchases, and calculated the tax.
Voila! Economics, math, and a practical
life lesson, all wrapped up on an otherwise
average day. Everything is a learning opportunity. Going to the grocery store is learning,
every fix to the boat is learning, charting our
course is learning. Nick feels he’s learned as
much as the kids: “It’s like going to school
all over again when we homeschool.”
We’ve been back in St. Petersburg for a while
now. We’re trying to catch up with friends
and readjust to life in our house. The travel
bug is still in us, though, and we’re already
planning our next cruise. Apparently we’ve
talked positively enough about our adventures that we now have a waiting list of
people who want to join us.
As we reflect on our journey and talk
about all the fun adventures we’ve shared
as a family, we see how our perspective on
life has changed. Nick and I are thrilled that
our kids are growing up knowing that life is
what you make it and not a passive acceptance of what you’re supposed to do.
We hope our children have learned that
they can have a career, enjoy things they
like, be responsible and self-sufficient, live
within their means, and still be an active
and integrated family. They can work hard
and have it all.
Angela Metro blogs about her family and their
travels at www.themetrofamily.blogspot.com.