“IF YOU WANT TO TRAVEL THE WORLD, DON’T BUY A COUCH.“
What We Do
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let us first take a few steps back. “How the heck did we decide to live on a boat and sail the world?”
When we started dating, we had a five year plan, we had a successful residential renovation company, we had a place to live, we had cars, motorcycles, steady incomes and a pretty good life overall. We had everything we needed, but something was still missing. So what was the catalyst that sparked this whole idea? Well, this story starts in a small apartment in downtown Atlanta.
It was not even our apartment. We were helping a friend move into her new place. While carrying in the last few boxes of her stuff, we were introduced to her new room mate. He seemed like a nice enough guy. Once the last boxes were carried in from the car, we started chatting with him over a beer and fresh baked cookies. The subject quickly shifted to travel once we discovered we were the punchline to a bad joke—”a Haitian, Canadian, German and an American were sitting on a couch drinking a beer…”. He told us everything he owned could fit in two suitcases. He traveled quite a bit and always rented fully furnished apartments when he settled long enough to make money for his next trip. Then he would pack up his bags and move to another country. I don’t remember much else from that conversation except one piece of advice he gave us that did not fully sink in until many months later. He said, “…If you want to travel the world, don’t buy a couch!”
We were at first confused by this odd, so called advice; but, upon further consideration, it made perfect sense. If you are in the market for a couch, it means you are trying to settle down. A couch necessitates a place to put it. This often involves a mortgage or rent. Once you buy your first couch, you then need a coffee table to put beside it, a TV for in front, bookshelves behind, lamps, then you find a great deal on a washer/dryer, a cute pet, then kids, and without realizing it you start filling up your place with all sorts of “STUFF.” The couch was the first step down a path we were certain was not for us. So, it did not take us long to realize we did not want to buy a couch. We did not want to be defined by the stuff in our lives, but rather by our life experiences. We wanted to be free, to write our own story, instead of living according to a predestined script.
Ok, now fast forward a few months. There we were, in a little fishing village on the north east coast of the United States, with everything we owned in a van parked beside a sailboat we now called home. Our boat, Uma, is a 1972 Pearson 36. She is neither fancy and expensive, nor cheap and flimsy—to us, she is perfect. Uma, means number one in Portuguese. The impetus for this name, is that all plans in life require a first choice, idea or step. But for us, “Uma” is more that just a name. For us, it is about prioritizing hard work, patience, and determination—putting one foot in font of the other, making steps in the right direction. We hope, that by sharing our first step, our Uma, we can inspire others to do the same.