I grew up on a sail boat for the first 6 years of my life. I was born living tiny, traveling across large oceans not seeing land for months. My diet consisted of food my parents harvested from the ocean, mostly freshly speared fish and lobster. I spent my days running around blonde, brown and naked catching hermit crabs, watching dolphins and whales swim off the bow of the boat. Instead of Barbie dolls I played with dead flying fish that had crashed on our boat and dried out in the hot afternoon sun. I was born into a life of simplicity, a "tiny" living space but with a world of adventure.
My parents decided to sell everything and move on to a boat for their honey moon. They didn't want to be in the rat race, but wanted to go at life at their own pace. My parents did not have any sailing experience whatsoever, but they had a dream and a vision. They bought a sailboat without ever having sailed, read sailing books and practiced for a couple years sailing in the San Juan Islands. They set out on what was to be a two year trip for their honey moon, but came back to Washington 13 years later after circumnavigating the world.
My mom popped me out in the small town of Nelson, New Zealand three years into their journey. Two years later, my sister Marina was born in Mooloolaba, Australia.
Those first six years of my life were surrounded by wildlife, adventure and survival. We lived in some of the most remote places on earth, sometimes anchored up on just a submerged reef for months at a time. One special place that I recall was Chagos Archipelago a place in which was uninhabited. A small chain of islands directly South of India, dead center of the Indian Ocean. We parked the boat in the bay and lived on the small island for a year. We had no reason to leave or go anywhere else. Living off coconut crabs, and fresh fish. The beaches were white as snow and the water as clear as glass.
We stopped in other remote places like Papua New Guinea where I ran with the native children. Madagascar where I caught chameleons and played with the lemurs. I carried an orphaned baby orangutan on my back in Borneo, Indonesia. I chased zebras through the African Savannah. Everyday was different and change was constant.
My family and I were living in a small space but it gave us the vessel to live the majority of our life outside. Living tiny never bothered us, it was a simple and convenient way to live.
As my sister and I got older my parents were feeling the pressure of socializing us and getting us an education.
Towards the end of our adventure my parents stopped at the beautiful island of Kauai. They fell in love immediately with the garden island, but needed to go back to Washington to see family and put my sister and I into formal schooling.
Once we got back to Washington they sold the boat Reefer. Reefer kept my family safe for years, when they sold her they found themselves very unhappy. It was hard to transition from everyday being a new adventure to the typical routine lifestyle. After 13 years of living off the sea in a 37 ft living space they knew that they were not meant to be back in Washington. They told me and my sister we each get one bag to pack our things and that we were moving to Kauai. My sister and I were thrilled.
We moved to Kauai with nothing hoping that something would work out. My parents put up posters of us looking for a place to live and work. The locals would tear down the signs or write on them to go back to where we came from.
My parents were loosing hope when a women wrote to us and said that she had a place for us if we were willing to help work on her farm. So we did. Auntie Lee opened up her home to us and we ended up converting an old a run down chicken coop section of the barn into a livable loft space. We were used to living small so it felt right.
From 8-14 yrs old I ran around the farm with dirt in between my toes, catching chickens, frogs and spiders, rolling in mud, and pooping in 5 gallon bucket with sawdust. I was now a farm girl.
My life growing up was very special and unique. I grew up with everyday being different. Always a new adventure. I found change is the key of feeling alive. It became ingrained in me from a very young age so when I came to move into a van at the age of 22, the change felt natural. One of my favorite things about living in the van is we can decide where we want to park, it could be seen as one of the hardest things as well not knowing exactly where you'll sleep tonight, but that's the adventure I love. It reminds me of dropping anchor on the sailboat in different coves and beaches, it's how we decided on the name Our Land Yacht because it can take us anywhere we want to go on land.