Leaving the Safe Harbor
The Risks and Rewards of Raising a Family on a Boat
by Tanya Hackney
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 30 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 05 Oct 2021
Sometimes life is unpredictable and there’s no time like now to live adventurously.
A couple of average high-school sweethearts from middle-class America go off to college, get married, follow all the rules, play it safe, and pursue the American Dream. When they find themselves boxed in by their predictable life and looking for adventure, they decide to revisit their dreams of youth, abandon the conventional path, and leave the safety of suburbia to live aboard a sailboat with their five children. Yes, five.
But to turn their shared dream into reality, they must surmount discomfort and difficulty, face their fears and insecurities, and work together to make big decisions. Leaving the Safe Harbor charts the journey of the author and her family from suburban Atlanta to coastal Florida to distant islands as seen from the deck of a catamaran. It shares the highs and lows of living in close quarters, and of raising five children while homeschooling bravely on a boat.
You’ll travel through space and time and explore the metaphysical landscape of hardship, love, grace, and spiritual growth. Imagine yourself in the author's shoes and contemplate how you’d handle these difficult and humorous situations. It will awaken your own desires to follow your dreams and dig deeply into the meaning and purpose of your life. You may be willing to overcome excuses you’ve made when you see how others succeeded despite obstacles.
Leaving the Safe Harbor shows us more than seafaring stories or what it’s like to go sailing with kids. Each chapter explores a different sailing idiom and the character traits developed by challenges and adventures. It shows that conflict can be handled through grace, how failures can lead to future successes, how hardship can teach us gratitude and help us find inner strength. It reveals the trade-offs when a family prioritizes relationships and experiences over material things and a so-called normal life. Living close to nature enriches the author’s spiritual life. And the ocean teaches life lessons, including how to be flexible, disciplined, patient, and open to new experiences. Most importantly, Leaving the Safe Harbor shows us how love, perseverance, and hard work can turn an idea into a reality.
The couple returns to the United States after a decade of travel, their children now on the cusp of adulthood, and discovers that they are no longer the same people who left the house with the white picket fence.
Anything is possible.
Even a neurotic suburban housewife and her workaholic husband can leave their home and minivan behind and homeschool five children on a boat.
Average rating from 5 members
I really enjoyed reading Leaving the Safe Harbor, I found the premise to be super interesting and compelling. It's a great read!
I want to preface this review by saying I am not an expert on sailing nor have I ever been sailing. I also have never really been on a boat. So you're probably wondering, why would you read this book? For one, the idea that a family could even live on a boat is extremely interesting. This is a real family and we take a look into their real life trials and tribulations as this couple and their five kids navigate the waters and their lives. I was worried at first I wouldn't understand nautical terms or wouldn't relate to the author and her story because I am not married or a mother, but I was quickly proved wrong. I related the author's personality, her temper, her childish emotions and impulsiveness (she said it, not me!) The self awareness of the author throughout the entire book was very refreshing and not something I usually get from non-fiction books. There are so many lessons to be learned in this book even for the person who has no interest in dropping their life on land as a "landlubber" and switching it for a life at sea. The way the author started each chapter as if it were a journal entry really gave context and more insight into their lives on a boat. The author highlighted the highs and the lows of their journey, but I was missing the perspective of the other crew members. I longed to know more about how the children felt living on a boat and how they handled the highs and the lows, which I'm sure were plenty. I also kind of found the term "landlubbers" a bit offensive. Ultimately, I think the author did a great job at showing exactly what her title claims the story will be, "the risks and rewards of raising a family on a boat."
You know all these books about moving away to a cozy cottage or a farm in some sunny place like Tuscany, Provance or Andalucia? They tend to be a bit cocky aiming to make readers jealous by talking throughout 400 pages about sipping wine and enjoying organic food while looking at the sea or the mountains. They make me want to puke. Now, THIS book is the opposite. The couple shared a dream and they were committed to achieve their goal. But buying a boat and living in it instead of in a brick walled house is not easy. You need to have money and good and steady income to make sure, you can continue to sail or just live on a boat once you have it. Boats do require an enormous amount of repairs and upgrading over the years and it´s not cheap. Then you have to be able to insure your boat and insurance companies have very strict and very long list of requirements to meet. So it´s not as easy as, say, buying a car or a kayak. This is in my opinion the strongest point in this book. First - this is real family talking, not fictional characters. Second - they are not afraid to talk about money. This is important, because they don´t portray their lifestyle as idyllic and carefree as one might have thought. There are a lot of money and responsibility involved. You also need to learn a lot before you even will be allowed to leave harbour. What is also important, if not the most, is a matter of keeping relationship within a family and discipline in order. The author talks about it openly and honestly. The boat might seem to be big, but if you decide to live in it you have to realize that there is no privacy. It´s a small space shared by a number of people sometimes for months. And this family over the years had 6 children living on the boat and two adults. Problem solving, anger management, conflict solving - these skills are probably the most important to have and master. As the author says - if you are angry, you can´t slam the door, go for a long walk or knock on your friend´s door to let the steam off. You are alone and have to deal with it. This lifestyle also leads to parenting challenges. The author talks about it with reserved honesty, respecting her children´s privacy. But I would like to see how all of their 6 children who were all home schooled are doing now, after this lifestyle has finished. Were they accepted to good colleges and universities? Are they working in high profile jobs? Are they happy? A little bit of a follow up would be a good idea. Instead, there´s an abrupt finish to this book and story without explaining anything at all. So how exactly this ended? Was it worth it? Another thing is... I would cut the book in a half. Anyway, I´m giving it wobbly four stars. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4260853407