LUPERON! Why We Think Sailing is the Best Thing Ever For Kids & Writings by Hud and Viv

Dune jumping on Big Sand Cay, Turks & Caicos We like old wrecks.  This was in Cocksburn Harbor, Tuks & Caicos F...

Dune jumping on Big Sand Cay, Turks & Caicos
We like old wrecks.  This was in Cocksburn Harbor, Tuks & Caicos

Fishing off the dock, Turks & Caicos

Practicing jump roping, Turks & Caicos

Old speed boats have the Lord on their side.

Mahi Mahi! You should have seen the fight between Capt. Trav and this beauty.  While Trav held her down, I spit a mouthful of rum into her gills to calm her down.  (P.S. The fact that I just wrote that and actually did that kind of blows my mind.  My life is sooooooo different now.)

Sailing into Luperon as the sun rose

Sadie makes some new new friends, Luperon, Dominican Republic.

Gotta love a jetski with bicycle handlebars

Fresh fruit abounds in the mountains near Luperon!  This one sold chickens, too.

Carnival exhibit in Santiago
When a vegetarian kid gets a bag of Carne Asada flavored chips by mistake. (They didn't have actual meat in them, btw)

Vaca en Luperon

Red Light! Green Light!

The town square in Luperon

Mother's Day, 2017

Arriving in the DR

The water on the way into Luperon was filled with giant logs we had to swerve to avoid!  Here are the kids on LOG WATCH.

Sliding down waterfalls, Swiss Family Robinson style

Moog LOVES the boiled corn that they sell by the side of the road- 40 cents an ear.

We popped a tire on our rental car and this was the nice guy who repaired it.  We loved his roadside tire shop.  Patching the tire and switching the spare cost us $2.

At the beautiful park in Puerta Plata

We could smell it for miles and miles before we could see it…the earthiness, the intense green, the SOIL.  We filled our lungs with it again and again, breathing deep.  “SMELL THAT?  DO YOU SMELL IT?!?”, we asked each other over and over, grinning and sniffing.  The sharp tang of the ocean had been replaced by the most delicious, wonderful aroma of abundantly fertile land, of wild growing things, of life, of vibrancy, of goodness.  We had sailed all night, 14 hours in calm, lovely seas, with light, consistent wind and a nearly full moon, achieving more than 8 knots at times, to our delight.  (8 knots is a little over 8 miles per hour, so just let that sink in for a minute.  That’s how fast a sailboat goes).  It was 5 am, and suddenly, the magnificent green hills of the Dominican Republic appeared in the distance, and we yelled to the kids, who had just woken up, to come up to the deck and see.  Hud and Viv ran to the bow to get a better look.  All four of us were absolutely giddy with the thrill of it all, oohing and ahhing and smiling like idiots. Our bleary-eyed exhaustion from being up all night instantaneously melted away, and we excitedly agreed that we wouldn’t rest when we got there, we’d get through customs, eat some breakfast, and explore all day.  “I’M SO PSYCHED TO CHECK OUT LUPERON!” I screamed like a 14 year old girl headed out to her first concert.   It was the complete euphoria that traveling awards us- there’s no feeling on earth like it. Our passion for exploration is the literal and figurative wind in our sails. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it’s fueling us like a Red Bull/Espresso/Pop Rocks smoothie and we just keep lusting after more sights, more ports, more adventures, more food, more stories, more people, more, more, more...      

We’ve been on the boat seven months, and traveling for ten.  It seems like an eternity and it seems like no time at all. There’s so much to process, sometimes it’s hard for me to express how I feel about all of this constant change and newness. But the part of this of which we are most certain is the amazing good this experience is doing for our children. Trav and I have seen them blossom, explode, gain confidence and skills at amazing rates. They take on the world in a different way now, a way that staying home could never have provided them.  Shy Vivian who used to linger on the lonely “buddy bench” in kindergarten now runs up to kids she’s never met, in every country, and drums up a game of Red Light Green Light or Family (it’s like House, and everyone vies to play the mom).  Hudson recently brought his ukelele to a restaurant and spontaneously performed a 3 song set.  Both kids are so much more independent, more capable, ask more questions, consider things in a different light.  It’s more than just learning how to sail, it’s that they’re really learning how to think.  

Whether it’s troubleshooting the dinghy motor when it won’t start, or figuring out strange measurements in a recipe, or experimenting with Spanish-speaking, Hud and Viv aren’t afraid to plunge in and TRY.  I think a lot of this has to do with seeing Trav and I learning, and often failing, right along with them.  As I’ve struggled to become a better sailor, the kids have witnessed every knot I’ve mangled, every time I’ve been terrified at the helm, every time I’ve cursed or shed a frustrated tear.  They’ve seen Trav drenched in sweat, addressing an oil leak in the motor,  figuring it out as he goes.  They’ve seen us at our best (high-fiving after an all night sail) and at our worst (screaming at each other as we flail with the anchor on a windy day), and for all the goodness, badness, and ugliness we've shared as a family thus far, it’s all been honest, real, and fraught with love.  Hud and Viv know, in a first hand way, that learning is hard, and that to get where you want to go, it takes time, sweat, and patience.  If it sounds hard, IT IS, but it’s beyond worth it. And if you’ve ever thought about pulling your kids out of school and traveling for a while as a family, my advice to you is, don’t think twice, DO IT.  If you need one more reason to persuade you, consider this: neither Hud nor Viv has been sick ONCE since leaving Colorado, except for a little seasickness, which doesn’t count.  (I know that you Telluride moms, who are too well-versed in winters full of viruses, will find this aspect of the sailing life particularly appealing).

So, I asked the kids to tell me something for the blog, and here’s what they came up with.  (They talked, I typed).  Here is what they're thinking and feeling about all of this, in their words:      

The freshness of the breeze swiping across our faces…I was in my Mom’s sweatshirt and we were almost there.  We were pulling in (to Luperon) and I thought it almost looked like Colorado with the mountains. 

Sailing is a peaceful thing, but sometimes it can be very annoying, especially when I start puking off the stern.  But one way or another, sailing does it for me.  Sailing is calm, peaceful, exciting at times, and fun.  Living on a sailboat is very different than living in a normal house, like in Colorado.  It’s definitely smaller, and it moves.  A LOT.  But that’s the beauty of it. 

I have learned many new things on this trip.  I have learned new knots, and almost every day for homeschooling we take a recording of the weather.  I’ve learned to play the ukulele, I’ve learned to wakeboard, and now I’m in a stage of having to learn Spanish, which is fun.  I’m starting to think that I am learning more every day here than I was back in Colorado.

I miss a lot of things about Telluride, like for example, my friends, skiing, and Telluride’s climate.  When I get back to Telluride, I’m really looking forward to skiing.

 I love living on the boat.  It’s so fun, and I love laying down not really doing anything and feeling the boat rock.  Though I love the boat, sometimes I’m sad not to be seeing my friends and my house.  I miss those things and people.  But sometimes it’s so much fun so I don’t miss home and I forget about it and I don’t want to go back to Telluride.  The boat life is actually pretty fun.  There are a lot of things that make it fun and I’ll tell you some of them:  I love the hotness and swimming, snorkeling, playing on the beach, knee boarding, boogie boarding, and paddle boarding. 

Not only do I like adventures and stuff, but I also like riding in the dinghy with the wind blowing on my face.  When the wind pushes up against my face, it feels smooth, soft, and nice.  I sometimes think to myself that if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t have been having all this fun.

We’ve met a lot of friends, and some, if we’re lucky, have kids.  Like the Mills girls, and the Potters, and a lot of other people that I didn’t mention.

My favorite place of all these places we’ve adventured has been Lee Stocking Island in the Exumas.  I liked it because it was beautiful and the water was especially beautiful.  The sun was hot every day.  It was hard leaving that place because it was beautiful and I love beautiful.
Here is Viv in her favorite place on the trip so far, Lee Stocking Island, Exuma.

Until next time, sweet readers!  xo
PS I forgot to mention that we got out of the Turks & Caicos without a single soul saying boo to us. 

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  1. This is your best post yet.... because of the kids quotes. I also travel frequently but very differently - mostly on cruise ships. My first time on the ocean though was in 1980 (or so) on a 57 ft sailboat as crew from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. I came away from that adventure wanting to live on a sailboat. My kids, Jill (and her brother), were waiting at home for us to return and I let that dream go away. So I admire you for giving your kids this experience. Wow, and thanks for sharing it with us. Viv and Hudson have described exactly why I love to travel.

    1. Hi Marla! Thank you so much for reading and for your support and enthusiasm for our journey. Jill is such a firecracker and it's obvious the apple didn't fall far from the tree. I'm glad you're traveling and loving it, and as for sailing-- it's never too late to get back at it!
      Big Hugs,

  2. Are you guys staying there thru Hurricane season? How about sailing straight to Trinadad, 630 nm and leaving boat there. You could then sail back up through islands Nxt Nov?? Best, Skip ps. You guys are bringing back so many memories.

    1. We have thought of heading to Trinadad and still might. DR is great, but the water and sitting still might kill us. We are thinking of heading to Maine (via plane) and so leaving the boat in DR would be who knows. Cheers Travis

  3. This post is amazing! I love hearing about the highs and lows, how you're learning everyday and setting such a great example of overcoming unknowns and challenges for your kids! I truly believe Hud and Viv will forever take life and learning by the reins having had this experience flow through their veins. Good job mama, you and Trav are doing it right. So proud of you!

    Of course I also love hearing Hud and Viv's perspectives. So sweet to hear their voices - and let's be clear, they are so mature! Yes there are negatives, but there are positives too....amazing insight for those under 10. What special souls they have. Miss you all. xo

    1. Yes, there ARE lows. (BIG TIME! CONSTANTLY!) You're the best, and thank you for this. We are counting the days til you meet up with this crew. xo

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