As recent young graduates, Jax and I are often asked why we decided to go sailing? And how can we afford it? Below I (Caye) will attempt to answer these questions (With Jaxon’s input, of course)
The night of the third day we had known each other and my third day at Beloit College, Jax and I decided he was going to wait for me to graduate (he was a junior and I was a freshman) and sail the world. Without realizing, that night we had made a “deal” that for some reason we both took seriously, leading to the solidification of our relationship. Within a couple weeks we had moved in together and were committed to make it work and get to know each other along the way. As we continued our studies and life together, it became very apparent that traveling by sea, was exactly what we should do.
During college, I studied public health, with an emphasis on maternal health in “developing countries” and graduated with honors, loving my field, in only three years. Jaxon, studied environmental studies, with a focus on emerging technologies, but spent most of his days starting businesses on campus. When I first met him, Jax and his friend Paul were starting an online general store, that included full-on delivery to your campus mail box of any imaginable needed good, Beloit General. The store was hosted in our shared 7 x 15 ft dorm room. Throughout all of his college years, Jax continued to do web development, which later became our company, AndandoMedia.
A year into our relationship, he was managing the sales of the recycled goods I made and sold to local stores, Yapa. Within two years, we had a crêpe stand that served warm food to drunk college students every weekend, The G Spot. As I hurried to finish school in three years, so we could take off, Jax came up with a new business idea every week, he would present the plan to me following it with “remember that from every 1,000 ideas, only one is good”, while his friend John and I tried to convince him to rather finish his papers and focus on school.
As we both explored our passions for sociology and entrepreneurship, we continued to make films, which kept us busy while the sailing idea was on the back burner. During college we produced a short film about eating disorders and a short documentary about teen pregnancy in Beloit, WI, both of which were mentioned in and admitted to various film festivals around the US. With a shared passion for traveling, people, cultures, community and this world, Jax and I decided that we needed to experience it first hand. I had (and have) a special interest in learning how the theories I was taught in school, regarding public health, sociology and environmental conservation, fit into the “real world”. Being passionate learners, observers and analysts, we both wish to be an active part of this world, learning as much as we can from it.
Having graduated with very good grades and with a good critical mind, yes, I could have gone to get my masters and PHD in global public health and further my academic and career endeavor. Jax, I am certain, could have started incredibly successful companies in a much more stable and reliable environment, but what would that have done? Created two new modern-day, socially successful people out of the millions that pursue a “normal life” annually.
But, where would that leave us in life?
How could we settle down, knowing that there is so much to see and learn from in this world?
What does it mean to be an expert in public health, if I can afford private insurance?
How can I talk about maternal mortality, if I have never known a family touched by such sorrow?
How can we learn about this world from an office?
How can I advocate for those women, who do not have a voice in the public sphere, without knowing if they actually want me to dedicate my life to their cause?
How can we aspire to do some good in this world, if we do not go out and get to know it well, or at least attempt to?
Too many questions have not been answered in our lives to assume we know what we want to do for the rest of them. That goes for sailing as well, but we are eager to explore.
After discussing why we craved traveling this world, we realized that Jaxon’s passion for entrepreneurial adventures would allow us to live life as we wanted, which so very few people can find the means to do.
Prior to June 2011, when we got Surkha, neither of us knew how to sail big boats. But we decided that we would make our trip by water to be more conscious of the environment and it would also allow us to stay longer at each port. Now we sit in an old barn in the Northern Andean range of Ecuador, still exploring our life, starting businesses, making films and having lots of fun.
How can we afford it?
Well, as I mentioned before, our pack of two is completely blessed to have an entrepreneurial soul in it. Jax founded the company, Reneweb.net, that makes most of the money that helps us survive. Reneweb.net is a environmentally friendly WordPress hosting site (now Inventando.in – part of the AndandoMedia family). During college Jax taught me CSS and HTML coding and I started designing most of the websites, integrating me into the company in my sophomore year in college. In the past we have also done website development, but when lots of job started coming in, we were faced by the question of expanding the small company and losing what little free time we had or not taking in more development projects. We decided the latter.
Occasionally, we still do some development work depending on the nature of the project. We also have money invested in a few companies in Ecuador, my home country, and some assets. However, although the words investments and assets are in the last sentence, I have to clarify that in between paychecks, we barely have enough to afford our monthly expenses, which as liveaboards with very few luxuries, is very small. This paragraph would not be entirely honest, without mentioning the help of our parents, who are always willing to lend us a hand when every debit card is rejected. That said, striving for financial independence has been an important part of our development and we have learned much through a constant need to find new income streams. We are certain that our financial situation will improve as we continue this journey. We are resourceful people and love food too much to go hungry.
This is what we think:
The time is now to live your dreams! We are certain about that. If you cannot afford them, then scale them down, but do not keep working to have “enough”, because you will likely never be satisfied. Take a break if you do not feel content and analyze your days and adjust your situation to be happier. Remember that no life is easy and that we humans have a tendency to envy other peoples’ lives, even when we have achieved what we think would make us content. Dreams, do not always have to be big, luxurious or stereotypical retirement plans, just think what really makes you happy?
Acknowledge that if you are reading this text, you are already more fortunate than many, not because you landed in our site, but rather because you have access to a computer, electricity and the possibility to be an agent of positive change. We live in a world full of people of different ethnicities, that speak different languages, that worship at their pace and desire, that dress differently and conceive of this world in their own unique way. We are different, yet we are all human and by being human we can change our situation for the better, especially those in socially democratic republics. So, do not pity “Africans” do not devalue “Latin Americans”, do not fear “Middle Easterns”, do not envy “Europeans”, do not hate “Americans” and do not think “Asians” are one ethnicity, for the words I have used to describe people are used way too often and are worthless. Admire us as one, as a species and remember that generalizing is antiquated, we are one of countless species in this world and they too deserve to be respected just as you and I.