Radical Family Sabbatical | Give Your Family The World


Families Afoot: The Mathers

RFS December 26, 2012

This is a really hard job sometimes. We encourage people to send us their family sabbatical stories, which they do. And we know our followers read when they can but don’t catch every issue. We, however, have to read every single true sabbatical story that comes through. This week was particularly hard reading about the Mather family’s five-year (wait, let me check…yes, five-year!) sabbatical sailing around the big blue ball. Read it and weep; we did.

Names/Ages of family members:
Emma (40)
Phoebe (8)
Drake (6)

Where did you go?
Sailed around the earth.

The route

How long was your sabbatical?
5.5 years

What were you thinking?
We wanted to spend time together.

Did you volunteer or contribute in some other way to your host community?
We assisted host communities any way we could, such as providing technical assistance and materials with the repair of basic machinery (e.g. refrigeration, electrical, & combustion machinery), and providing basic educational supplies like pencils, chalk, blank books, & paper.

Where is home?
Redondo Beach, CA on our Sailing Vessel Blue Sky.

What was different about your life upon return?
We have a stronger family bond.

What was your education strategy for the kids?
Un-Schooling. Postage stamps worked well to see what the communities and countries saw as some of the most important people, places or things. The small icons also work as a wonderful reminder of our experiences. “A picture is worth a 1000 words.”

How did you pay for your sabbatical?
Saved for 10 plus years.

How did you handle your professional life?
We quit our jobs and did not work for the entire time away. That’s if you don’t include the the full-time job of maintaining and operating an ocean going vessel in foreign & international waters and the commitment of being a spouse & parent with everything that is involved with those two professions. It made the past “day” job feel like the sabbatical.

What was your average monthly sabbatical budget?
It varied world wide. Economies are so different as what is available varies. The trick was to buy low and sell high. (The selling part was to ourselves. That is, we saved the things we desired for when they were scarce and expensive.)

What did you do about language?
English is the language of the Commercial Ocean. We had Spanish and were able to add to our French. Dutch and Portuguese were tough as were local languages like in the Marquesas or Indonesia. If you try to communicate in the host language first then most humans will be very helpful and do their best to assist.

What’s the best piece of advice you could offer a family considering a sabbatical?
Save, budget, and go as soon as possible.

Will you take another sabbatical?
Not likely, but possible.

What bucket list?

Get the full poop (boat joke) on the Mather’s sail around the world at their site S/V Blue Sky.

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