The Gifford family left their Washington home in 2008 to travel around the world. Since then, their journey has continued. The Giffords shared their incredible story and experiences, how it all started and how they all get along on a 47ft sailing yacht.
Jamie and Bian Gifford were the most ordinary family from the suburbs. They had three children, a beautiful house and a minivan. Their years passed with endless work, and the children grew up imperceptibly faster and faster. And then something just clicked. At some point, they felt that life was passing by too quickly.
Since then, together they have seen over 30 countries. Their daughters Shoban and Mairen, do not remember much about their life before the cruise, this is their whole life, and the son Niall I am convinced that living on water is much more convenient than on land.
The atmosphere this family has lived in every day for a decade is adventure, experience, experience and new knowledge every day.
When you live on land, attending a regular school, usually school trips, or weekend trips with your family, these are the days that stand out from the dullness and mundaneness. But Jamie and Bian provided their children with an incredible opportunity to experience these emotions every day.
Their boat Stevens 47, built in 1982 and named Totem, became for the family the floating equivalent of a tiny house. They have solar panels, three solar panels and a wind turbine, which provides them with enough energy to live on board.
Whenever possible, they cook in a solar-powered oven. It's a little longer, of course, but that's life on a boat, and the 5-gallon washing machine is no joke. So when you look at the cabin, you see the living space, but you don't see that every piece of space here is being used for its intended purpose. For example, there is a water tank under the sofa.
The galley is used as a kitchen, but part of it is dedicated to the engine room for convenience and easier accessibility. Two forward cabins share son Niall, and daughters Shoban and Mayren... The parents live in the master cabin.
Their typical annual costs are around $ 25,000 per year, and their income comes from multiple sources. Main source of income Is Jamie's work as a sailmaker. He works with cruising yachts, finds the right sails, at a good price, and sets them.
Bian wrote a book with two other traveling parents about life on board and raising children in such unusual conditions. The book is called "Traveling with Children", and provides the family with a small income. They also do other freelance writing activities, and thus earn a little book-independent income. And now Jamie and Bian are advising people who want, like them, to change their lives. The couple helps them overcome all obstacles and questions in order to go on a long cruise. And this is another small cash flow for the family.
Meanwhile, the children live their own lives. If there are other boats nearby with kids their age, they definitely spend time together - going to the beach, boating, playing guitar, playing computer games, or playing card games. Girls enjoy drawing, writing and reading. In fact, it is no different from your normal childhood.
Children admit that their life on board is very social, but they would like to experience at least part of the school culture of their peers on land. But in life it is always like this, on the other hand, children from an ordinary school, find their life more exciting than sitting at a desk.
It is more difficult for parents in this senseas their social life has developed and rooted precisely on land, and as much as they love the life they have chosen, they miss their friends at home.
For Jamie, as the head of the family, going on such a journey was an ambiguous decision. On the one hand, it was necessary to change something, but on the other hand, he associated such a journey with a period of life when nothing burdens you and you yearn to see and explore the world in order to determine your whole future life, or with retirement. when your whole life is already behind you and you don't have to worry about the correctness of your decision.
Fortunately, his son Niall clearly sees the benefits of his international lifestyle and upbringing, and how it can influence his future career choices. For him, every day is an invaluable experience, it seems he is so inspired that he did not dare to wish for a better life. Perhaps this is a sign that the parents have chosen the right path.
The Gifford family made the decision that their journey will continue as long as it's fun. As long as all family members are on board, as long as everyone is happy, as long as they are physically able to do it, and as long as they can financially support their favorite lifestyle, this should be something they do together as a family. - Sailing Totem
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