I am excited about the forthcoming sailing book, Voyaging with Kids, which will be released in September 2015 and is available as of tomorrow in pre-order from Amazon. For anyone thinking of sailing with babies, little kids or teens, this is the best collection you’re going to find. The book not only shares the experiences of the writers — Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson and Michael Robertson, three sailors who have taken their own kids traveling across oceans and continents — but also presents stories and experiences of dozens of others with their own sailing adventures. Sidebars with personal narratives cover everything from medical kits to homeschooling to the teen experience to stowage to religious holidays in foreign countries. I have a couple sidebars in there, too — one on the question of risk and one on offshore safety. My favorite section of the book is the last chapter, in which a dozen former cruising kids, most of them now decades older but some still quite young with fresh memories of the sailing life, reflect back on the years they spent with their families on the water, and how it impacted their lives then, and how it continues to hold meaning today.
But the book does not sugar-coat the sailing life. Besides painting an enthusiastic and encouraging picture of life aboard, the authors do a fine job of looking at the hard things too, including transitioning to a boat and leaving security behind, homeschooling kids of various ages, finding medical care abroad, understanding offshore safety issues and coming to grips with the inherent challenges associated with moving back to shore (with a special chapter devoted to sailors who’ve ‘swallowed the anchor’ and are now seeking to find their footing on land again, sometimes with ease, sometimes with difficulty).
For me, even more fun than contributing a couple small notes to the book as a sailor and parent was the experience of being on the editing team. I could not have worked with a better team on a book of this kind — which included the publisher Lin Pardey (whom I’ve followed for years) and the editor Tim Murphy (whom I’ve known for years). And designer Stephen Horsley has laid out the contents to make a beautiful, easy-to-navigate and visually pleasing volume as well. A very cool confluence of circumstances and creative energies!
Be sure to check it out — especially if you are thinking of sailing off into the blue with your wee ones.