Caspar Craven has long dreamed of a big trip with his family. So how did he do it? This is an interesting story about how a determined family from Britain made their dream to go around the globe on a yacht in two years come true!
Caspar Craven: Behind the Scenes of Beautiful Pictures of Family Around the World
Surreal. There is no wind at all tonight. The sea surface is completely smooth. The sky is completely cloudless and full of stars. The crescent moon illuminates this whole amazing picture. It still seems incredible. We are six miles north of the equator, on the cusp of leaving the northern hemisphere. Nicola and the kids are excited. This is their first crossing of the equator.
We will cross the equator around 23:30. The Equator Crossing Ceremony, presided over by Neptune (and in this case me, since I have crossed the line several times already), will judge each of the crew members for their crimes. Inevitably, they will be found guilty and doused with buckets of cold water.
We had our first visitor from the Galapagos Islands yesterday. Large, unidentified bird (later designated as Red-footed Gannets) landed on board in the afternoon. She sat down on the nose gallery and didn't even blink when the four of us came up to take pictures of her. She was content to just sit there and sway on the waves. It is a large bird - about 40-50 cm in length. She departed the next morning and during the day we had many other birds on board. This is one of the characteristics of the Galapagos animals: they have no predators, and therefore they are fearless; they come straight to you. We hope to find out more about this tomorrow as we are due to arrive at Puerto Ayoru on Santa cruz by the morning.
Family trip around the world with children
All training was completely devoted to the geography and biology of South America. Our two oldest children Bluebell and Columbus, revisited again today David Attenborough's film about the Galapagos and took notes. They are on their way to becoming child experts on the islands. Columbus, who has been slow to write, is making great strides and writes in detail. It's great to see.
I'm going to wake up Bluebellto join me on the night watch. She loved the night watch last night, chatting nonstop for two hours as we lay in the cockpit, gazing at the stars and steering Aretha to Orion's Belt. I think we can now see the Southern Cross constellation, but we're going to check it out tonight.
We are all looking forward to going ashore. The mood is good, in no small part due to the showers from all directions and the cooler temperatures on board. Our next post will be from the southern hemisphere, with stories about the Galapagos. Aret's team hit the road ...
Nicola and Caspar Craven with children
Long term plan
In the early summer of 2009, life was very different. Nicola and I were married for five years and had two children, Bluebell was 4 and Columbus was 2. I was a co-owner of a small consulting business in the technology sector. I worked 80 or 90 hours a week and hardly saw Nikola and the children. By Friday evening, I was so exhausted that my wife joked (without much humor) that all that was left of me by the end of the week was a core of lemon.
We had plans for what we really wanted to do in life: travel; research; live a first-class life. But it was all "one fine day in the future." “When” was something we were never absolutely sure of.
The seed was planted in our minds on June 13, 2009. We were at a birthday party in Kent. At the picnic, my brother-in-law told us about the family that made the trip around the world and then went on to tell us what a ridiculous idea it was. Nikola and I looked at each other. Something clicked in both our minds.
Our world soon changed ... For the next six months, we spent almost every weekend writing down what we wanted to achieve in our lives. I wanted to go around the world again (in 2000-2001 I participated in the round-the-world race BT Global Challenge), and Nicola just wanted to travel more. During this stage of her life, Nicola was on the boat twice.
Piece by piece, we created a dream and two-year plan for our family trip around the world. It was laid out as an official mission, like something straight out of the corporate world that we pinned to the kitchen wall next to a huge map of the world with our intended route on it. We got our children involved Bluebell and Columbus into planning and made it a regular part of our communication.
There was only one problem. Well, a few: one large and many others a little smaller. The biggest problem was money. To safely sail around the world on a yacht, especially with small children, you need to have a lot of money. The cold reality was that we didn't have the money to do it. Even close. We had a convincing vision of the future, we had time and a lot of energy.
From the very beginning, we set the date for the start of the trip. It was supposed to be August 1, 2014 and we left for Dartmouth, eight miles from where I grew up, not far from the lighthouse Start Point... This gave us five years to create the wealth we need to make this all real. At that time Nikola worked as HR manager, and I worked in my business providing data analytics and consulting as a manager. The return on my investment in the company was paltry, and I joked that I would earn more by working hourly wages in the supermarket.
Once we decided on our vision, we told everyone about it. We became known as the family about to travel around the world. Reactions have ranged from skepticism about whether we will actually do this to "you are completely insane."
Family trip around the world
Nicola and Caspar Craven with children
We didn't have to look far ahead of all the reasons why we shouldn't. Most of the people were kind enough to point them out to us. The main ones ranged from medical problems to homeschooling, to pirates, and the fact that Nikola had seasickness the entire time she was on the boat. Besides, we never owned a boat at all.
Our approach was that instead of these issues being a reason for us not to move forward, they were issues that we took into account. We noticed that so many people had strong opinions. But they were all just like that. Nikola and I have been trained in our careers, Nikola as a lawyer, me as an accountant. We're not one of those laid-back people when we have to take risks. We worked on each of the different areas, researched extensively and came to our own conclusions.
By 2012, we have reached the three-year mark in our five-year plan. According to the plan, we had to be already financially ready to be able to sail. What was disappointing is that our financial situation has not changed. We were at a crossroads. We had to do something completely opposite to everything we did.
Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results..
This summed up the results of the previous three years. The answer was to immerse yourself in learning, namely, learn the skills needed to grow a business and make money. As soon as I learned about new things, I implemented them in our business, tested and evaluated. We've changed a lot. It started with our way of life. We have redefined how we use our time, how we manage our energy and make informed decisions, and how it all affects us.
Family trip around the world with children
In my business, we recruited a team, launched new products, tested a variety of sales and marketing approaches, and instilled in everyone a non-selfish mantra: "It doesn't matter who is right, only what is right matters." I learned to be a leader again, and relied heavily on value-based leadership, which I implemented both in business and at home.
We went on to build several new businesses, online marketing sites, and 500 niche sites, some of which flopped. But some of them have become successful. The next few years turned out to be very intense, as we piecemeal the business that would enable us to accomplish what we set out to do.
While making money was an important part of this, we had a lot more to do. We had to practice as much as possible on the water to acclimate the kids and Nikola and make sure everyone enjoyed yachting. We went on a charter with a flotilla in the Mediterranean and made sure to choose places with the least wind and waves so that we could allow Nicola and the kids to create happy memories free of any scary events. A bad experience early on would be a failure for our cruise plan.
At the same time, we had many other points to focus on: how to become medically self-sufficient so that we can cope with emergencies; how to organize home schooling. We had to study boat maintenance and repairs, radio licenses and so on in detail. It was a long list, and the weekend was full of learning and planning and research, as well as current life issues, including the growth of our business.
Nicola and Caspar Craven with children
By the spring of 2014, Nikola and I were working hard for the benefit of both of our businesses. In addition, two children became threeand now we had Willow, a very energetic two-year-old girl. I practically didn’t work in my business. We have strengthened the team and transferred the role of CEO from me to my business partner and at the same time hired an experienced person to help run the business. Nicola worked hard to build her business and hired an excellent general manager to run the company in her absence.
There was only one thing missing. We still didn't have a boat. When we attended the workshop ARC, the most common question was, "What kind of boat do you have?" The reaction of the people spoke for itself. Nobody believed that we would be there and be ready on time. Many people we knew looked at us and asked if this would really happen. They said it was too late to take the boat; you will not have time to prepare properly. Maybe you'd better postpone it for a year?
Buying a boat
When deciding to buy a boat, we consulted with people we trusted and focused on recommendations. What became apparent very quickly is that Oyster yachts was one of the leading safe yacht building yachts in Britain. Also, from all the discussions, it became obvious how much work we have to do and how much to learn about the repair and maintenance of an ocean yacht. We've heard one story after another of how Oyster is quick to help out with advice on how to fix any problem on the boat and get parts all over the world where you need to go. The decision was easy and we spent very little time on other boats. We decided that since there are five of us, we would need a boat over 50 feet to provide us with enough space, plus it should be fast and safe.
Family trip around the world
In April of this year, we freed Saturday and organized a series of thorough screenings of about 11 boats per day. The kids were with us and it was supposed to take a full day, starting with the first views at 09:00. As time went on towards evening, we did not find anything that seemed to be the same, and the children became more and more tired. We came to the last viewing at Hamble. By that time Bluebell and Willow so tired they wanted to stay in the car.
Columbus and I went to see Aretha. She was the closest boat on the pontoon, painted a stunning blue. She instantly stood out as a very special boat. When we boarded, I had the feeling that this is the same yacht. There were 4 cabins, including a stateroom with bunk bunks, which would be ideal for two children. She would need adaptations and upgrades to get her ready for what we wanted, and some of the things, like the clean cream seats, were not as practical as we knew they would be magnets for kids' hands covered in marmite. Aretha made a strong impression on us. Nikola and I already knew that we had found our home.
By the beginning of May, we conducted negotiations, water tests, surveys and completed the purchase Aretha... We had a lot of work to do to refit it and make it transform from the boat that was used on English Channel, to the one who was going to sail on a long journey across the oceans. Everything had to be thoroughly checked, then security equipment installed, satellite communications installed, and the watermaker repaired. There was a lot to do.
It was extremely important to find out how she behaves on the water. For this, we conducted a test drive. I put together a team of three experienced yachtsmen, guys with whom I went a lot in Mediterranean. In mid-May, for a week, we headed west from Hamble to see how well things were doing at sea.
Only a month ago I finished the London Marathon. I had back pain and leg pain in the first 20 miles of the run. It turned into excruciating pain for the last six miles, and during the last stretch along the London waterfront and to the finish line, I stopped every half mile to stretch. Fueled by the energy of the crowd, I pushed myself further than I should have. In the weeks that followed, I needed a lot of physical therapy and took a lot of ibuprofen to manage the pain. It was awkward but manageable.
We docked at Weymouth on our first night. Walking through the city, I felt the pull in my right leg not at all the same as before. Five days later, on our way back, we stopped at Brixham and I was walking along the promenade with my good friend Jani. Suddenly, a great pain shot through me, and I was immobilized. “Yani,” I called to him. "I can't go." As if hot coals covered my leg and back. I have never experienced such pain. Tears rolled down my eyes.
This happened just ten weeks before our long-planned departure date. In short, our plans were in real danger that this would never happen. We even had a boat already, everything was settled, but now I could not walk. I had a swarm of thoughts in my head: what will happen next? Am I responsible for the failure? It all seemed like a cruel joke ...
Caspar Craven (Caspar craven) went on his first trip around the world in 2000. Now he teaches others about teamwork, leadership and how things work. His book Where the Magic Happens came out this month and is available to order at Amazon... It will be interesting to those who, like Kaspar and his family, are planning to make a grandiose journey of a lifetime!
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