The Roll with Me interview series has been so focused on land dwellers that we almost missed out on featuring a different type of tiny house: a sailboat. Meet Lynn & Bregt, who find the best way to roll is with the waves on the sea. Trade your hiking clothes for a swimsuit and hop aboard!
Square Feet: 54
Our boat is 34 feet long so it might have 272 square feet of walking space both up top and down below, but it only has 54 square feet of living space. Cruisers tend to say the boat gets smaller every month, but it's a good size for a couple.
Make, Model, Year: 1986 Steel Van de Stadt 34
It's called Boxing Kangaroo. The previous owner was an Australian who lives in The Netherlands.
Years Living Mobile: 2
We'd lived on the boat full time since July 2013 when we left the Port of Antwerp in Belgium. After one year, we left the boat in Curaçao (a Dutch Caribbean island) for six months to work in Europe. Since the beginning of 2015, we've been back on the move.
Currently Living: New Zealand
We just arrived in New Zealand after a 10-day sail from Fiji and will stay here for a while. We'll have to wait until hurricane season is over in the South Pacific, and we also have to work to save money so we can continue our trip.
What were you doing before you went mobile?
I worked as a graphic designer/photographer, and Bregt worked in IT. We lived and worked in Antwerp, Belgium.
Why did you make the change?
Bregt started sailing when he was eight and dreamed about this trip for over 10 years. When we met, I didn't know people were sailing around the world, but I always wanted to go on a big adventure, and this seemed like a good time and opportunity.
How did your family and friends react to the decision?
They didn't really like the idea of us going away for so long and the dangers of the trip but now they are happy for us and understand why we are doing it. We keep in contact on Skype or satellite communication.
What was the process like to move into your sailboat?
We bought the boat in Amsterdam one year before we left. After moving the boat to Antwerp, we did some adjustments for offshore sailing, but mostly it was already in good condition. We added self-steering and bought a new sail, some safety gear and satellite communication.
Before leaving, we sold my car and some other belongings, but most of it went to our parents' basements. We never really lived on the boat before we left. We stopped working one month before, moved some things to the boat and one day took off while family and friends waved us goodbye—a very special but sad moment.
How do you get Internet?
Mostly from bars or restaurants. We also have a Wi-Fi booster antenna on board, so when there's a place nearby with Wi-Fi, we can get it to the boat. In many countries, we buy 3G cards. In the Pacific, the Internet was very slow and expensive, so we are really happy to have a good connection in New Zealand.
Where do you shower?
Mostly we shower with salt water and rinse with fresh water. We carry about 260 liters of water in tanks but are very careful with it. When we are in a marina, there are usually showers we can use. It's always a treat to have a warm shower once in a while.
How are you able to fund this trip?
We saved up money before we left, and it brought us this far. After one year, we went back to Europe while the boat was in Curaçao and worked for six months. Now it's time to work again. With our jobs, it's possible to work on the boat, but you need a good Internet connection, and that is often a problem. I would like to start working from the boat now that we are in New Zealand. I do get some assignments now and then but would love to get some more.
What are your hobbies on and off the boat?
Besides visiting countries and learning about different cultures, we like fishing, cooking and photography. On our blog, I post pictures and videos from our trip.
Since the beginning of this year, I have been working on two projects: photographing sailors on their boats and compiling recipes I use on this trip.
Also, our social agenda has never been so full since we have been sailing. The community of long distance cruisers is relatively small, and in one way or another, everybody knows each other. We call people not by their name but by their boat's name. Making connections is very easy, and they are all extremely social and helpful, as if you've known them for years. It's actually one of the best parts of this trip—not only the people we meet on land, but also our cruiser friends.
What are your top three go-to items in your boat?
Windvane: It's our main self-steering system. It's quiet, doesn't use electricity and steers perfectly. It's our third crewmember and probably the most important thing on board.
Solar Panels: They give us electricity for everything. The engine, fridge, navigation and electronics, laptops, cell phones, radar and our electrical autopilot if we need it.
GPS: Although people used to sail around the world with a chart, sextant and compass, we couldn't go anywhere without our GPS.
What has been the most rewarding thing about living small?
Learning about a different way of living. When you live on land, you are so used to having all these facilities like hot water, electricity, transportation and garbage bins. We have to look for other options, but it also means that we don't have a lot of bills. We have our travel and boat insurance and that's it. All the other costs we can manage quite well.
We meet so many nice people along the way who live their lives differently, and it really opens our minds. People with children who go away for some time and homeschool their kids, retired couples who dream about this for a long time and finally hit off and solo sailors who left everything and everybody and never want to go back to a different way of life.
What is the most challenging?
Definitely the crossings. When you are on the ocean for days in often rough and uncomfortable conditions, everything becomes a challenge—cooking, doing dishes and sleeping. But the feeling of arriving somewhere new makes up for everything.
Also, spending so much time together. It can be difficult sometimes, especially in the beginning when we had to get used to each other and our new life. But it also makes us very happy. We're a good team.
What is your advice to people who want to live small?
The most difficult part is making the decision. After that, everything will turn out fine and if it doesn't, you can always go back to your previous life. At least try it, if you really want to.
Do you plan to go back to your previous way of living?
I guess so. We won't live on the boat forever, and I like the idea of having a cozy little house somewhere with a garden and a nice kitchen. But we are making plans for another trip in the future with possibly a bigger boat and budget.
What's next? Any news you want to share?
We hope to find jobs in New Zealand and are looking forward to being in one place for a while and not sailing. Traveling is nice, but being on the move all the time is tiring.
After two years of sailing, the boat needs some major maintenance, and we would like to do some changes as well like renovating the floor, ceiling and cushions and painting the boat. But first, we must save money.
When we are done with all the renovations, we would like to keep sailing so that we can arrive at the same spot where we started. One of the biggest things we learned on this trip is to not plan ahead too much, so we'll just see how it goes. As long as it's fun.