Saturday, June 30, 2018

Floating Families

I recently watched "Following Seas" (Amazon Prime, YouTube), a documentary about a family with children that sailed around the world repeatedly back in the 1960s.  It reminded me of the documentary "Surfwise: The Amazing True Odyssey of the Paskowitz Family" (Amazon, YouTube preview).  In both cases, an educated professional drops out of society, meets a mate who admires his alternative lifestyle, and raises children in a traveling home.

Despite the best intentions of both pairs of parents, it is notable that none of the children propagated the lifestyles when they matured.  Whether or not the adult children revered with nostalgia or outright rejected the way they were raised, all chose to bring up the grandchildren in a more conventional setting.  Financial security, educational opportunities, and community relationships appear to have been key factors in their decisions.

In contrast, the Bajau people have successfully raised so many generations on the water that they have become genetically adapted to the lifestyle.  I suspect that the primary key to their success is the fact that the boats of individual family units travel together in a community flotilla.  Multiple documentary videos about these nomadic sea gypsies can be found on YouTube.

A mini-documentary video about a contemporary sailing family is "This Family of 5 Has Been Sailing Around the World for 9 Years" (Amazon Prime, YouTube).  Watching it reminded me that I bought the book co-authored by the mother, Voyaging with Kids: A Guide to Family Life Afloat.  I have started to read it in the hope that I too might someday sail the oceans with my children and grandchildren.



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