It’s a romantic idea, sailing around the world. You’ll understand the vastness of the world, find its nooks and crannies, see places and people others only dream of. It seems practical, too: You can avoid the high costs of living on land and traveling by air by residing in your very own vessel. It is a fantasy lifestyle – one that many people already enjoy, so why can’t you?
Yet, like most fantasies, sailing around the world is more difficult than it seems. There are plenty of logistical concerns, such as what you’ll sail, where you’ll go, and most importantly, how you’ll make money. Still, it isn’t impossible. If you want to turn your sailing fantasy into a reality, here’s how to do it.
It’s never wise to over-invest in a hobby before you are certain that you enjoy it. The seafaring lifestyle is a unique one with dozens of benefits – as well as dozens of downsides. Before you say goodbye to your land life, you must know how to sail and know that you take pleasure in sailing.
Fortunately, every state has dozens of sailing education opportunities offered by a variety of clubs, schools, and individuals. Where you obtain your sailing experience will impact how quickly and thoroughly you grasp the knowledge and skills necessary to become a world sailor. You might prefer to attend sailing courses offered by schools affiliated with the American Sailing Association, which guarantee swift, comprehensive, and fun learning.
Then, you can spend some time crewing for other seafarers, exposing you to different styles of watercraft and different responsibilities on an ocean-going ship. When you feel competent enough to captain your own vessel, you can begin seriously planning your world travels by boat.
Buy a Boat
Not all dinghies are equipped to survive on the high seas. The boat you use to sail around the world should have enough space for you to feel comfortable living aboard, enough power to get you from one place to the next, and enough accessibility to ensure that you can run it yourself (or with the crew size of your preference). That’s not to mention that your boat should fit your budget.
The boats used to sail around the world have been incredibly diverse, from production boats to yachts, from mono-hulls to multi-hulls. Still, there are a few features that are undeniably important. As you peruse cheap boats for sale, you should keep an eye out for vessels with abundant storage space, which is necessary for safety equipment, food and water, fuel, tools, and other essentials for long voyages. Additionally, many seafarers have noted that these features are ideal:
- Shallow draft, to increase cruising range
- Sheltered watchkeeping position, to protect from heat, cold, and precipitation
- Ergonomic cockpit, for comfort while navigating
- Retractable ladder, for easy access
- Autopilot, for stress-free sailing
Get a Job
Unless you recently enjoyed an outrageous windfall – or unless you have been saving your entire life to move to the sea – it is unlikely that you can afford to take several years off work to sail around the world. Fortunately, thanks to the internet and the rise of the gig economy, there are more jobs than ever that allow you to work from anywhere. Depending on your skills and experience, you might be able to secure reliable employment in the following fields:
- Social media management
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Online teaching
- Blogging and affiliate marketing
You can also try to pick up gigs in the destinations you visit. For example, in non-English speaking countries, you can usually find English teaching and tutoring positions with ease. However, it is far better to have a reliable job and income before you leave home, so you can be certain of your budget throughout your travels.
As exciting as the possibility of circumnavigating the globe is, your first trip shouldn’t be crossing a major ocean. Instead, you should practice seafaring with a relatively short trip to a nearby destination. For example, if you live in Los Angeles, a safe first adventure would be sailing south to the Baja Peninsula or north to Vancouver. Such a small journey will allow you to get accustomed to your new lifestyle while remaining close to familiar territory. Once you make a few short trips successfully, you can plan more far-reaching voyages.