Why did we Cast Off?
First, there’s a back story. Casey, my husband, and I, Erin, have been happily married long enough for two, squeeze-your-heart-out, children to join the crew. As of this writing, Gunner @gunnerschilling is 6.5 (Gatling is my maiden name. Get it?) and Paige @paigestellaschilling is 4. (My middle name.)
From the first SpaceX Falcon 1 orbital launch to the Falcon Heavy, Casey, in Instrumentation Mgt., and myself, in Manufacturing Mgt. (Rocket Scientists, no kiddin) have our fingerprints all over every rocket that lifted off. Workaholics for 10 years, that word had real shape and meaning.
We worked long days and had lots of help raising our kids. Milestones were flicking by, yet we were missing a lot of the slow-motion scenes. It was time to reset the stage. We are about to make a 180 degree lifestyle change.
Work was a thrill, yet, what do we really treasure? – Travel, sailing, swimming, learning, just being out of the house and office.
When did we first cast off?
In July 2017, we charter a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands (BVIs). Best vacation ever? No question.
The sun is setting, Gunner is playing Tarzan on deck, I say something like, “Let’s buy a boat and sail around the world with the kids.” Before I catch my next breath, Casey says “Yes”.
From that moment, every waking hour is spent planning and researching. It wasn’t hard to discover that other families travel full time via RV, boat, & airplane. We had no idea until after we made the decision to travel via boat. They are a village for learning and inspiration
After a major setback, described below, we run our budget through the wringer. We go boat shopping. We discover a Catana 47′ catamaran. It’s gorgeous. Could this be our new home? We fall in love with it. We put a for sale sign in the lawn of our bricks & sticks house, and make the down payment.
On October 25, 2018, after a full day of work, we say farewell to our beloved careers and to some of the best friends we’ve made in our lives. That same night we take a red-eye to Virginia to move aboard full time.
After 10 very busy days, including officially changing the boat name to match our aspirations – Endless Playtime, we cast off to the BVIs in our floating home. It was a ~1600 nautical mile open-ocean sail, with about 70 other private yachts, all heading to the Caribbean in what is called the Salty Dawg Rally.
Does anyone complete a journey without having to work around a SETBACK? Even before you get going?
The first of our major setbacks occured two weeks before we planned to close on a boat we didn’t end up buying. Casey Joins a sailboat race crew aboard Bretwald3, a Rogers 49′, to race the Cal 300 (Santa Barbara to San Diego).
It was May 31st, 2018. As they rounded Santa Rosa Island, 50 miles off shore, they decide to do a spinnaker change. In the middle of the change, they lose steering. In an instant, all control is lost and one spinnaker is now in the water acting like a sea anchor. Casey is standing in the coiled line of a spinnaker sheet and, like a coiled snake, it jumps up his right leg and strangles his thigh. The team quickly cuts the line, saving Casey. They wave goodbye to the spinnaker as it sinks in the Pacific.
Casey gets helicoptered by the US Coast Guard. A midnight emergency surgery by fantastic doctors save his leg. He had a crushed femoral artery, crushed nerves, and severed muscles. The surgeons told us they saved his leg, but he likely wouldn’t walk for 2 years. His super powers of positive attitude and determination have him walking within 2 months. We buy our boat less than 3 months after the accident. He climbs aboard Endless Playtime on crutches, wearing both a leg brace and his signature grin that says, “What’s the big deal?”
Why are we in a RV?
The 2nd Major Setback.
After sailing a glorious 6353 nautical miles together, mostly around the Caribbean, we are certain our family made the right decision. To better prepare our home for an around the world sail, we head back to the US for major electrical and kitchen refits. These occur in FL and go in without a hitch. We sail to Virginia, my hometown, where our home is hauled out to repaint the bottom. Things suddenly change.
While our boat is being painted, we fly to California to say goodbye to family, less than one month before departure. While there, we get a phone call telling us that our boat had been severely damaged – YIKES – our vessel fell off its jack stands in the middle of the night. The entire boat hit the gravel ground of the boat yard. No one’s around. No video footage. No winds. No earthquate. It’s badly damaged. We must move everything we own out of our boat home immediately. What happens to our dreams?
We are devastated. How long will repairs take? Is it repairable? Even after days and days of insurance phone calls, we still don’t know. But, we know getting back on board will take time, at least a year. After a couple months of hotel & rental car shuffling, we knew we needed to focus on the positives and create a home again. This was a big speed bump, but it is not going to devastate our long-term ambitions.
We decide to shop for what we call our land yacht, a motorhome. It would allow us to have a place of security and maintain our travels and world schooling, which keeps us happy. We qualify for a couple of loans (as we definitely did not budget to buy a vehicle or home anytime soon), we buy a 2013 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited and a 2019 Newmar Ventana Motorcoach. Just like a curtain going up, once again our world has a panoramic horizon. Don’t change the dream: change the plan.
We look back and are thankful to have enjoyed our dream careers. We look forward and are excited about the future memories we will make traveling the world as a family. We are now full-time parents. Homeschooling the kids? Better than that, we are world schooling them. And part of the fun, mom and dad are in the same class.
Endless Exploring, Endless Learning, Endless Adventures, Endless Boat & RV Work – Our Life.