Monday, November 16, 2015

Voyaging with Kids: A Review

When you take your kids out of mainstream society to go and live on a boat, you will get a lot of flack from the collective 'they'. "It's unsafe!" "It's weird!" "It's irresponsible!" "It's selfish!" Society, in general, will say a lot of things about your adoption of an unconventional life, and because the human knee-jerk reaction to things we don't understand is to reject them, it is to be expected. Sure, there will be the few people who will support your choices, see the benefits that travel and cultural immersion will grant your family, and defend you when others scoff; but there will be many who think it is truly insane to hop aboard a (relatively) small boat and sail off into the sunset with children in tow...

Voyaging With Kidsis for those people. But more than that, it is for you, the dreamer disillusioned with suburban life, harboring big dreams to live a life less ordinary in the hopes of doing something tremendous with your family. This book will walk you through the steps and show you that once there, living and traveling aboard with your family can truly be a wonderful - even magical - life.

The amazing (and totally convincing) forward, by none other than Capt'n Fatty Goodlander (he, himself, a former boat parent), is enough to make the most loyal of landlubbers take pause:
"There is only one thing I have ever done that's as fun as growing up aboard, and that's parenting aboard. A small boat on a large ocean is the perfect place to raise a child, especially in today's frantic, monetized, cyber-hyped world. You are physically, mentally, and spiritually close. There are few distractions, little peer pressure, and almost no shore vices to entice...The entire world can be your classroom...There is little need to teach religious tolerance when all your playmates pray to different gods. Racial prejudice is not an issue, either, when you live amid an international rainbow society. Best of all, while living aboard, you can easily and consciously disconnect your family from anything and everything ashore. You, the parent, can control the physical, mental, spiritual, and cultural environment of your child 24/7, which is almost impossible in most shoreside environments. Your child will morph into more than a son or daughter; he or she will grow to become crew as well.  A family is a team, and there's no better place than a sailing vessel to learn teamwork."
This book will not only help to answer the questions that keep you awake at night before embarking on such a journey ("What's the ideal age to take kids voyaging?" "What sort of boat should we get?" "How can I keep them safe?") but will also answer the questions you didn't want or were too afraid to ask ("What if my kids don't like it?" "Will their education suffer?" "Will my children turn into social pariahs?") Written by three very experienced and very respected cruising families, Voyaging with Kids is organized in a semi-chronological way (Chapter 1: Getting Ready, Chapter 2: Choosing a Family Cruising Boat...and so on) so that it is easy to navigate. The writers provide a 'factual and balanced' description of life afloat with kids of all ages and there's a great highlight chapter written completely by former cruising kids (spoiler alert: they went on to become intelligent, happy, accomplished adults!) From infancy to teens, Voyaging With Kidscovers it all and leaves no stone unturned.

The two versions of Voyaging With Kids,Kindle and hard copy, both have their advantages and, while I do prefer to read books these days on my e-reader (just so much easier and compact!), I also find that having a hard copy of reference books much more user-friendly to have on the boat. The kindle version has active links to videos and resources, where the hard copy has better images and more legible graphs and tables.

For anyone who is even remotely interested in voyaging with their children either in part or indefinite, this book is a must read. For me, it has most certainly earned it's place on the shelf right between to Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook and Nigel Calder's Mechanical and Electrical Manual and will, no doubt, be the benchmarking reference guide when it comes to cruising with children.

Oh, and don't forget to pass it on to nervous and ill-informed friends and family, it might just help put their mind's at ease.

* I made some minimal contributions this book and received a promotional e-copy in turn for an honest review. All opinions are my own. It's a great book ;)

2 comments:

Behan - SV Totem said...

Thank you Brittany,for the awesome review and being such a fantastic ambassador of families afloat!

Dog friend crates said...

Nice post. Keep doing more like that !

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