How many people are happy with their life?
Nina shares her thoughst about children on
board, a free translation from Frank ©Amberella 2001/02
|It is a question I ask myself
more often lately. Not only because we get a lot of email
response from our website. People tell us part of their
own life, dreams and worries. They cheer us on or give advise
from their point of view. Sometimes it makes me thoughtful.
What are we doing?
The only thing I can think of is that we live out our egoism,
escape from a routine live, doing what we want is right.
We don't want to follow the systems order and put it a scheme.
Well that is a lovely thought and easier written on paper
than realized. To find such an idealistic form of live we
have to give up a lot and of course we have to arrange our
lives with the one of our children, because we do not want
to withhold this normal world to them. I think we don't
have the right to do so
But we do give part of our way of live back to them. What they
do with it when they've grown up is entirely up to them.
If I was on my own. I could surely say that I have found my
way of live in living on board. I wish to live far away from
the daily mass media, TV and news, influence- at least hidden
from us if I don't not ask for it. Away from car jams, the rushing
and unhappy city people, who would like to change their microwave!
every week. Distance from jealousy and know-all people.
But life is not as easy if you have to take care of children
and prepare them for the world as it is.
Children on board?
Almost daily I get questioned about this subject. If passing
tourists or people sending mail, the list of questions is uncounted.
"What about school? Do you have enough space, enough toys?
What if they get seasick? Do you have insurance? What about
hygiene and medical assistance? Do the children get bored?
And often the playmates of Nastasja who come on board ask- Where
is your TV?
I think these are just normal questions and easy to answer,
but I wonder if we get questions so much because we live differently?
Don't get me wrong. I do like to chat about this and that, and
I do like to answer questions to the interested person. But
very often I feel in the way I am ask that people only want
hear an answer, that helps them confirming their own perspective.
The sailing subject and questions of the non sailor almost always
aims at the subject of bad weather, storms and catastrophe on
board. Nobody come to think, that we live a similar routine
than land based people. Of course we have different priorities,
like the safety of our swimming house, but than again we do
not worry about aspects which are more importantly for house
people. Like mowing the lawn..:)
It it clear that these priorities become a routine by itself.
I think we make already clear in our diary/logbook that boating
live it a constant job without a salary. Its like never finishing
a house. Especially in the winter season we have to work down
the to-do list in order to get sailing in summer. While sailing
we spent a lot of time at the helm and attend to the children.
Often we are very exhausted from the trip, would like to sleep.
But as soon as we set the anchor, it takes only minutes until
our children want to explore the beach and playgrounds. For
them it is pure adventure. They get much attention, learn and
sea a lot and live a healthy children life. Boredom is as naturally
I think we deal much more with hygiene and take care of our
health more deliberately as if we would live on land. It starts
with buying food and ends with cleaning the boat. We deal with
preserving food freshly and healthy, and seldom have fast food
as a meal, simply because we can't afford to eat out frequently.
We use the medical service of the countries we visit without
insurance and pay cash. Selina was born in Greece in a hospital,
no problem. We insure ourselves only for accidents.
Time and again I am ask if I am scared that the children fall
into the water. Yes, of course. But do you always think about
your children get run over by a car?
I think this kind of wariness becomes a routine and of course
we take care. For example we never let Nastasja get on or off
the boat without attention.
Our children are used to climb the reeling and they get used
very quick to a moving house. Nastasja did in fact fall in the
water, when we wintered in Rhodes, Greece. She was trying to
walk the gangway with oversized slippers and Nina's shoes on
top of them. Frank did jump immediately after her and pulled
her out of the water. Since then Nastasja thinks she can swim.:)
More problems arise when Nastasja brings along her playmates,
because they are not used to this environment, but always want
to do things the way Nastasja does.
But in my opinion I don't want to build up to many fears in
them. Children feel the anxiety of their parents very fast.
And at sea we don't want them to be afraid.
Nobody of us gets really seasick. From time to time we have
the occasionally "feeding the fishes scene" :), but
that is very seldom. Once I had a bad experience. We sailed
from Rhodes to Karphatos , Greece and good caught in a heavy
sea. I was trembling and shaking, almost like in a state of
shock... Unable to move at all, and no help for Frank and the
children. Luckily we had another crew on board who was very
helpful. This kind of reaction never happened since, but I often
thought about it. I think it was a nervous breakdown, because
I was so afraid of the children and I had no experience with
the boat and myself at sea. I have learned that I feel much
more comfortable now, if I am prepared to a passage and since
I know I can trust Amberella, I feel strengthened.
More often at sea it is not the boat or the weather I have to
worry about, but how to keep the children busy. The movenment
of the boat makes them easier sleepy, which is an advantage,
but often we take toys into the cockpit or start drawing pictures
in the salon. After arrival at the destination, the kids are
almost always very relaxed and very excited about to go ashore.
While Frank and me would like to take a nap, after an exhausting
leg of sailing.
Surely I ask myself as well about schooling matters and socializing
the children with other kids. I mean for Selina (1 year) this
is not a matter, but for Nastasja. This winter Nastasja visits
the Spanish kindergarten. We hope the departure from Roquetas
in summer will be not to hard for her. But I think if one prepares
the children to what comes next, there is no problem. I talk
often with Nastasja about the life on board, what we will see
and visit. Most of the time Nastasja is really excited about
She loves animals and she compares the countries with different
zoo's. She would like to sea real camels in Africa, and kangaroos
in Australia. She points on a map and tells us where the penguins
live and that we should visit them too.
There is never a shortage of playmates. Nastasja finds friends
everywhere. She has already a lot of pen friends, children we
met on their holidays on the beach.
But I personally would prefer to team up with a bout with children
of the same age, so that the children can sea each other on
a regular basis and over the time. Most importantly I would
find for myself a female friend and a mother of boat children,
who shares the same problems than me. That is really something
I miss. I mean I find woman I can talk to, but none of them
can give me advise about children on board.
I heard the Caribbean is full of boats with children. That much
I know about the other side of the Atlantic at the moment...:)