A Documentary Changed the Course of Our Lives: Our Life As a World Sailing Nomad Family
Navigating Oceans With My Family
Using my Ipad to navigate our way through a busy anchorage, I noticed an email alert slide down from the top of my screen – Hi Erin, we’d love to feature your client….it took all of my strength not to tap on it, but I was responsible for keeping us away from the precarious rocks that felt alarmingly close to our fibreglass hull (otherwise known as a ‘glassy’ to some boaties).
My husband was on the bow, ready to drop anchor, my three children were nearby in the cockpit, ready to spring to action if needed. Anchoring required concentration, and I didn’t need the distraction, but my mind raced as I tried to remember which publication the journalist wrote for, crossing my fingers it was a large one!
It’s interesting for me to observe my life now but, I never dreamt of living on a boat, in fact, if you had told me 10 years ago that I’d be living on a boat with three young boys while running a PR agency afloat, I would have laughed at such a rediculous statment! But it’s funny how life turns out. It was a documentary by Laura Dekker called Maiden Trip that sparked our interest one fateful night. We had never owned a boat before – never entertained the idea of selling it all and sailing away, but if a young girl could sail around the world, why couldn’t we?
Over a period of two years, we learned how to sail, sold most of our belongings and eventually flew from Australia on one-way tickets to Grenada in the Caribbean, where we saw our newly purchased vessel in the flesh for the very first time. She was a solid seagoing yacht, capable of taking us around the world. At that stage, we had no idea what we were doing, but with the help of newly acquired friends, a professional cruising coach and a hell of a lot of guts and determination, we figured it out.
Living in the Caribbean to Crossing the Atlantic Ocean
After eighteen glorious months of cruising the Caribbean, we sailed 2500nm across the Atlantic Ocean. Arriving at the sight of green pastures and terracotta roofs 17 days later, it was a far cry from the white sandy beaches and palm tree-fringed islands we were used to. I spent my days working from cafes while sipping the creamiest coffee made from the local cows that covered the lush fertile island. I was in the early days of my business, freelancing for a few clients and writing for a sailing magazines on the side. I didn’t even have a business name or website at that stage, let alone a dream of running a PR agency.
As a parent the hustle never stops, if you are a parent you will understand what I am tallking about. We hustle just to get the simple things done for our kids each day. And starting a PR Company on top of the everyday hustle and navigating oceans was just what had to be done to get Roam Generation up and running. It’s was not easy by a long shot but definately worth it, now that it’s sailing along nicely, so to speak.
With a background in government communications, I had skills I had acquired from interviewing over 1000 people throughout my career. Sure, I had extensive experience in compiling reports and making recommendations, but the hard truth is I had no idea what I was really doing when it came to running a PR firm – I was literally starting from scratch.
This Photo: Erin Carey working on shore as a nomad mum.
So, when the second-largest sailing YouTube channel in the world asked me to help them with some ’marketing’ after interviewing them for a magazine article, I almost fell off my chair! Before I knew it, I was Googling the difference between editorial and advertorial, pitching editors and securing collaborations and major features.
Eventually, I grew my new client’s channel by over 180,000 thousand subscribers and realised that PR was actually perfect for my skill set and personality and I no longer wanted to freelance, I wanted to run my own PR agency as we sailed around the world!
I needed a Mentor
I found a mentor and learnt all I could, and slowly but surely my business grew into an agency that would support our nomadic lifestyle.
In February 2020 life changed for everyone, and we found ourselves back home in Australia, enjoying the endless hot water and the luxury of now owning a car.
This Photo: Is of the Erin Carey with Husband and three boys.
Luckily my business was location independent and I continued to grow it from our house. We slipped back into our old routine effortlessly and we found ourselves trying to work out if boat life really was right for us?
Did we still want to be floating nomads?
After 12 months in the familiar confines of land life, we knew the answer was a resounding yes. We sold our house and everything we owned, applied to the Australian government for permission to leave the country, and returned to the vessel that had previously been our floating home for almost two years – ROAM.
Back to ROAM
What a sight! Laying eyes on her again, after what felt like an eternity made me cry. I had heard of people becoming attached to their boats, thinking of them as people almost, but I never thought I’d feel so strongly about her. She was looking shabby after 18 months in storage, but she had been our home during some of the best times of our lives and she had kept us safe as we sailed over 5000 nautical miles – we were so happy to be back.
This Photo: Our boat ROAM in Sail
Juggling Deadlines While Navigating Business & Islands
By this stage, my PR agency, which I’d named Roam Generation, had grown considerably and I was busy juggling clients, managing a team and meeting deadlines. On the weekends we’d navigate our way safely through cerulean waters and wander cobbled streets sipping Sangria at night. We sailed to Cartagena while I conducted client calls, and continued to the island of Ibiza while preparing proposals and prepping pitches. I had the freedom to work flexibly, spend as little or as long as we wanted in each destination and I loved my work – plus I had a supportive husband who homeschooled our kids, life was good.
Running a Remote Team & Challenges
Running a PR agency from a yacht sounds idyllic, but it can also be challenging. Sure, I might visit the beach during my lunch break or sunbake on the deck after a mid-morning dip. But I also have to deal with the lure of a new city outside of my cabin on a sweltering hot summers day, knowing end of month reports are due and the exploration with my family will have to wait. Or dealing with the rumble of the generator over team meetings when power or water on the boat is low.
However, living on a boat is just that – living! I feel alive on the water, constantly challenged and inspired by our changing environment and the people we meet.
This Photo: Our Boat Roam on Ancor
The Global Disruption of COVID 19
While Covid has been there in the background, we have been in our own bubble, barely affected and blissfully unaware. Life is simple on a yacht, leaving me with the mental capacity to run my business without having to wear a thousand hats. And how better to relate to our clients than to literally live the lifestyle we represent. With a solid internet connection thanks to local sim cards and a 4G modem mounted on our mast, I am able to work from almost anywhere in the world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Following our crazy idea allowed me to find my dream career – PR agency owner and part-time pirate!
Hi I am Erin Carey, I hope you enjoy this short read about our life as a nomadic family and wish you all the best adventures in the world! Here is a bit about me…
Erin Carey is the director of Roam Generation, a travel and lifestyle PR agency focused on helping brands and experts raise their profile and increase their organic reach. Roam Generation helps marine and travel-based brands build their empires to the next level. From international press coverage to rapid growth of social followers and impressions, Roam Generation has the expertise and the necessary relationships in the travel and lifestyle sector, to build credibility, brand awareness and audience.