On the 11th November I’ll number each share and ask someone to randomly pick a number.
Here’s the blurb:
“We are from Australia, we have cash, and we have jet-lag and a desperate stare in our eye. In short, we are mugs ready to be led down the path of nautical slavery. If you can’t sell us a boat, there is something very wrong.”
The pull of the ocean was too strong to ignore any longer. Four years prior, they’d circumnavigated the globe on their 33-foot boat, Mariah. Now they wanted a new challenge.
So they sold all their belongings and flew to America from New South Wales in search of a boat.
Then Jackie and Noel set sail south, meeting descendants of the Bounty mutineers on Pitcairn, taking in the grand statues of Easter Island (the remotest inhabited island in the world) and making lifelong friends in Suwarrow.
Along the way, they lost a friend and came nail-bitingly close to losing their new boat. But they gained so much more.
This is a story of storms of emotions and oceans, travel, love, and relationships, and two people figuring out life and fulfilling their need to move and be challenged.
Not only does this book have a new narrator, but a snazzy-new cover too. My publisher, New Street Communicationstrawled through my photos and came up with the perfect picture of me doing what needs to be done to boats!
Narrated by the wonderful Caroline Doughty, you can join me onboard our sailboat Pyewacket II as we traverse the bejewelled Pacific Ocean, riding the troughs and peaks.
With six-and-a-half-hours of breath-taking adventures – you can indulge in storms of emotions and oceans.
This blog has lost its way a little – so I’ve signed up for some book-blog-tours on books I’ve read that I’d like to share with you. (All via Rukia Publishing).
I’m branching out into some new genres and the authors of those books will share excerpts and their writing experiences.
One tour will be my own story – with fun, hilarious, and scary stories from This Is It. Like “Shark Encounter” – “So This is What Being Kidnapped Feels Like” – “What Travelling The World Taught Me” – “Mexican Dramas” – “‘Where’s that water coming from?’ – a mid-ocean panic!”
With an intimidating selection of equipment to buy and fit, we found ourselves immersed in several dozen projects at once. With travelling and learning about a new boat, we’d had no time to reflect on our achievements or what we were doing. It’s rare that Noel and I suffer from homesickness; family and friends drift in and out of our thoughts, but the intangible force to move is more powerful; it’s irresistible.
Travelling makes sense to us both. We’re most content when we have a home that can move and relocate anywhere. Entering a new port, we’re filled with the excitement of exploring, learning, and meeting new folk. But when it’s time to leave, we become edgy and fidgety with thoughts: will the weather help or hinder? And when it’s time to go, there’s no controlling the urge – an invisible force pushes us along. On the one hand, we are lucky to have the same drive, inquisitiveness, and sense to explore; on the other, I wonder why we are so unsettled. We are malcontent with letter boxes and a home that doesn’t move. We find contentment in being unsettled, where nothing is the same, where locating the right shops is a skill (and figuring out how to get there), the language changes, the culture challenges.
Being nomadic is not often about being foot-loose and fancy-free; romance plays a minuscule role. Frustrations, costs, and the hardships of uncertainties and fickle weather are all part of the story. But the flip side is immense: a life that’s kindred to freedom, confronting each ordeal to reap the rewards of seeing the world, and meeting people from such far-flung cultures that teach you so much. Luck plays a tiny part – it’s mostly about making it happen. It is an extraordinary life, but it isn’t easy. We split ourselves from our family, friends, and the comfort of day-to-day income and services. We can be up night after night in bad weather, bored listless on anchor watch, petrified of what’s around the corner, and boat bound due to unsafe ports. But that’s what makes it enough. The highs are the foundation of the lows. If we don’t have something to look forward to, something to push our bodies and stretch our skills, complacency replaces joy. We choose this roaming lifestyle because of the challenge and rewards – whatever path we choose, we have to deal with crap; the particular garbage that comes hand-in-hand with travelling is the stuff we can deal with. Noel and I are woven from the same cloth, and I thank my lucky stars we found each other.
In January I will be launching the Pyewacket story. In 2009 we flew to San Francisco, purchased a sailboat and sailed back to Australia via Easter Island, Pitcairn and many other wonderful, far-flung places – over two years.
It sounds so simple when I write it now, but it wasn’t – it was a tough and emotional journey. When I trawled through my notes and logbooks and pulled the story together we were both surprised at the magnitude and variation of events – some were hair-raising!
I will be placing a full photo album on this website when I launch the book (as per usual there will be additional colour photos in the paperback edition), for now, though, here’s just a taster….
Down there is Peru! Tristan Jones inspired us to visit Lake Titicaca. From Ecuador we rode on a bus inland. This was our galley and our host!
Lake Titicaca – we learned fascinating information of how they ‘make’ their islands on the lake
Samoa – during a week-long festival – so many naked bodies, so little time!
Suwarrow – no strangers here…. A place where we picked up the threads of our previous voyage; a place where it all began to make sense….
I had a terrifying shark encounter, which I am still trying to recover from!
The adventure begins in Pitcairn!
Salt encrusted lines, via strong head winds day after day, week after week! We were close to sinking en route to Easter Island, then even closer to losing the boat at the Gambiers!
Guess where. The remotest inhabited island in the world!
A heavenly place we were blown to during a gale… a place we never planned to visit – heaven!
The book, (title to be confirmed) will be launched in January. It’ll have you gripping the sides of your armchair with fear, and clutching your stomach in laughter.
Here of course….. sailing along the NSW coast in Australia, on our way to our next adventure.
Sailing in my slippers! And Writing – this was the beginning of Of Foreign Build… Note the bikes (bike wheels upside down outside the stanchions), the outboard is under the blue canvas by my head. We were on our way!
Perhaps in a TSR (Travelling Stock Route) on the BNT (Bicentennial National Trail) with 5 horses and a tent…
Somewhere nearby there are five very happy horses, gallavanting, galloping, and rolling in the creek! Meanwhile, notes on the horse trekking book A Standard Journey started here….
What about on a 1920s Dutch barge in France? Not bad, but we were (and still are) renovating – it’s a noisy, dusty, and messy place to live and work.
Magdalena Bay, Mexico – the cafe was closed but wifi was on!
We’d recently purchased Pyewacket in San Francisco and were on our way to La Paz… but plans changed rapidly. We spent two years sailing back to Australia via Pitcairn and Easter Island, etc…. a tough journey – detail of which in my next book This Is It, out January 2016.
On a barrel in the boat yard in Panama?
Well at least I got to stay relatively clean!
Puttering along the Intracoastal Waterway of America. Near South Carolina on our 10 metre sailing boat Mariah II.
Flat water sailing – yippee!
I’m a travel writer – literally. If you want to travel and work you can – you just have to make it happen.
Where’s your favourite office? Where’s the most exotic, fun, extreme place you’ve worked?
Freedom, horse gear, hard work, and a journey that will stay with you forever
‘You don’t need all that gear, look what motorcyclists take.’ I was shown two small panniers, not much bigger than handbags, hooked on the back of a bike.
This is one of the comments I’ve received on the equipment we carried when we trekked in the Australian bush with five horse; it’s all listed out in the back of the book A Standard Journey, or you can see it all here: via pictures.
Mid journey, this was after we had whittled down the equipment even more – bare necessities here!
Bike vs Horse
For a start, if you are camping out with your motorbike and you need something, you can hop on your bike and speed off at 80 km to the nearest shops. You can’t do that on a horse that’s just trekked for six to eight hours carrying your world possessions and you!
Secondly, bikes don’t need feeding, grooming, first aid, rugs, boots, saddles, saddle blankets, fencing, electric fence equipment, water buckets, nose bags… and on it goes.
We’d just unloaded here – next job (once the horses were taken care of) was to sort our gear and pitch the tent
I’d say fifty percent of the equipment comprised saddles (riding and pack – five in total) saddle blankets, halters and reins. You can’t get very far without any of this.
We were throwing out the hard panniers and buying back-packs – the saddle is in the camp shop – they are big and heavy
Forty percent of the gear would be for the horses, the fencing, water buckets, rugs, food, grooming kit, first aid kit…. etc
Our camp – second tent phase! The grey lump near the horses is all the horse gear
That leaves ten percent for Noel and I. That’s five percent each for clothes, food, cooking gear, first aid kit, tent and… well that was pretty much it!
First set up with hard panniers
Second, and much improved, set up, with back-packs
We made comprises and worked harder than we ever did in our entire lives. But there were great rewards, we had one mobile phone for emergencies and ninety percent of the time that had no signal. We had no internet, no car to run, no office to sit in. What we had was nature, freedom and five of the most incredible horses you will ever read about.
Take a look at our photo album of our trip and if you’d like to read the story, here’s the link. You can read an excerpt first if you want…. then the reviews.
I don’t usually deface books or magazines, but the other day I did – out of desperation.
I should apologise to Motor Boat Monthly Magazine. But the magazine in question was several years old, ten I think, and it had been read several times, by us both – AND, they went out of print last year (according to Wikipedia).
Instead of throwing out the magazine we became inspired. Most people, who live the nomadic life (especially on boats) learn this knack, everything has at least two uses. We certainly had a use for the stiff folds of paper.
Saving your sanity
So, what can you make with an old Motor Boat Magazine, coloured tape, paper, scissors and string?
You can make something to save your sanity – that’s what!
Freedom at a price
Mooring on the French canals is a wonderful freedom. At many places, most times, you can stop for the night or even a day or two.
Currently, shade is our top priority. Fortunately, we have found great shady spots, safe depths and tied up safely on a straight stretch. (Why oh why do so many boats tie up on a blind bend?)
It’s here, tied blissfully to a quiet spot we are hounded by hire boats that insist on racing alongside with total disregard of the ‘rules of the road’ – you must pass all moored vessels at no more than 3 kms/hr.
As the water is sucked and pushed alongside a speeding boats’ hull, we shift forwards then backwards and our mooring pegs, that have been driven into the bank, are literally pulled out.
When we see a boat approach and ask them to slow – most do. Some look at us as if we are mad!
So, we made a sign, that’s reinforced with Motor Boats Monthly magazine. It is nowhere near big enough, it’s a little amateurish (hastily cobbled together in desperation and fear of being set adrift!), but it’s a start. I am already planning Mark 2.
What creative ideas have you developed to improve your life on the road?