We live on a boat!

It’s been exactly a week since we officially moved onto Celtic Spirit. We packed the final boxes at our Providence apartment over Labor Day weekend and took another batch to ‘winter storage’ aka Willem’s childhood room. We tried to get rid of as many things as possible: we sold large furniture items like our bedframe, dining table and couch; we donated clothes, books and kitchen items and sent a few bags to ThredUp. Still, Willem’s old room is now full of our few favorite pieces of furniture, our kitchen items, most of our winter clothes and books.

What to bring onto
the boat for the trip?

Thinking through what we may need with us while traveling on Celtic Spirit for the next 6 months was challenging. We thought we are doing well with downsizing until we saw the number of boxes piled up in the dinghy to take onto the boat. Nonetheless, we are happy to report that most of our everyday clothing items fit into the closets in our bunk, and it seems everything will have a place eventually. It is essential that nothing is left ‘out’ meaning everything has to be packed away into closets and/or storage boxes in case it gets wavy underway. We’ve experienced some slamming waves over the summer and saw how full gallon water jugs fell off the counter as we were riding along.

Items we decided to bring with us from our apartment:

The first breakfast Willem made after moving onto the boat.

  • Summer clothes and a few winter items for our trip south. Since we will be passing through New York City in October we anticipate chilly temperatures that will only feel colder on the water in windy conditions.
  • Our coffee grinder. This is our ‘luxury’ kitchen item we didn’t want to leave without.
  • Magic Bullet for making smoothies, cream soups or pastes.
  • All of our spices and various types of flours for cooking/baking.
  • 6 sets of sheets for 4 bunks
  • Our wireless portable printer
  • Camera gear
  • Bathroom essentials, our favorite beach & regular towels
  • Boxes for organizing anything and everything.

So far so good. There is still plenty of cleaning to do to organize everything but I am looking forward to the Tetris challenge involved. Here’s to another large step in our adventure!

Ps. We 100% recommend visiting Tricycle Ice Cream when in Providence. We motivated ourselves with the reward of getting an ice cream sandwich after finally emptying our sublet. I opted for the taco, which was super delicious and also giant!

We signed up for the ARC Caribbean 1500!

We signed up for the ARC Caribbean 1500 rally from Norfolk, VA to the British Virgin Islands! This makes our start date official and gives us a deadline to start heading south to get to Norfolk by November. We thought it would be ideal to have others around us during our first week-long offshore journey, and event organizers helping with the weather planning, safety checks, etc. Although we must admit, we are most excited to meet fellow cruisers!

Since several fellow sailors mentioned having crew on the boat as a major factor easing the journey, we asked some of our best friends to join us on this lifetime adventure. We couldn’t be more excited to have Kevin (Anett’s coworker – work wife?! – at Crossmedia) and Ben (Willem’s childhood best friend and best man at our wedding) with us on this passage. Kevin is an all-or-nothing kind of guy so we are sure he will be a proper sailor in no less than 2 days and Benny will shine with his amazing fishing and cooking talents (he is a professional chef and fish whisperer). Best crew we could ask for!

Our first week in Providence after moving from NYC

Our move from New York City was less than smooth – thinking we didn’t have that much to move because we lived in a 450 square foot apartment, we decided to do it all ourselves. We soon realized that the few boxes we had were filling up quickly and that we needed extra space aside from our truck and the e28 so we rented a uHaul to tow behind the truck. It took us the entire day on Sunday to finish packing – it was 8:30 pm by the time everything was strapped in and on the cars. We arrived in Providence sometime between 1 and 2 am, delirious from the long day behind us. With only the necessities in hand, we went upstairs to our 3rd floor 2-bedroom apartment we sublet from a Brown PhD student and fell asleep right away.

The next day was a workday for both of us but we had to somehow juggle emptying and returning the uHaul before our deadline around midday. There was no way we would carry all of our boxes up to the 3rd floor walkup apartment (it took us 10 hours to pack it up with the help of a dolly and an elevator in NYC after all) so we had to change plans and rent a storage unit for the sake of time and our sanity.

To motivate ourselves for another long box-filled day ahead, Willem looked up nearby coffee shops in the morning which led us to grabbing coffee and breakfast at The Shop, a sweet little coffee shop only a 5-minute walk away from our new temporary home. We noticed they used beans from Parlor Coffee as soon as we walked in – I almost shed a tear from happiness seeing that they had a piece of home right there for us. Parlor Coffee is roasted in Brooklyn and is one of our favorite source of coffee beans. We would go to their tasting room every now and then on a Sunday morning, the only time they are open to the public, with friends for delicious coffee and great conversations. Sure enough the hot coffee at The Shop (my measure of a coffee shop – the simplest thing to make has to be tasty) was delicious, and the space was perfect to get the work day started sitting outside on a sunny but cool Monday morning.

When we finally unpacked at our storage unit later that day we realized once again how much stuff we have that we never needed. The frustration of the entire moving experience got us even more excited about downsizing to the point where we can move onto our boat. We agreed that we wouldn’t keep our storage unit for longer than a month and to achieve emptying it by then, we would come by to grab a car-full of boxes every week to sort through: things to keep, things to take to our winter storage also known as Willem’s dad’s house, and things to sell.

The excitement of exploring a new place

dims the feeling of missing

the one you just left

The rest of the week we walked somewhere new every day. The excitement of exploring a new place dims the feeling of missing the one you just left and the method worked well for us. As New Yorkers, we were spoiled by countless delicious food options around us at all times, so our first mission in Providence became eating at every place in a walkable distance from our apartment. Some were perfect for a morning work session, others served good but forgettable food, and some became our new favorite places. Tallulah’s Taqueria was one of them – we ate there 3 times that week if I remember correctly and have been going back often ever since. Aleppo Sweets had just opened and we found the most amazing baklavas there. PV Donuts convinced us that the dessert can be worth waiting in line for, they make them so fluffy and beautiful here. The Shop remained a staple – we got lucky by living so close to what we think is Providence’s best coffee shop.

I’m glad we took the time to explore the neighborhood that week. The rest of June became an intense month filled with work on the boat while it was still out of the water, where most days we got home late and exhausted. Overall, our decision to move to Providence already payed off – living so close to the boat (and paying less rent) allows us to focus on boat work in the evenings after we are done with our work days.

Moving out of New York City & Our Love/Hate Relationship with This Magical Place

As soon as our plans of sailing to blue water became clearer, I (Anett) started having anxiety about moving out of New York City. What’s going to happen if we move out of our apartment? Will we ever be back in the city? Can we stay just a little longer?

A friend helped me put what I was feeling into perspective: leaving on a high note is always the hardest, but also the best time to do so. We were making plans for the unknown when everything seemed to be going so well: our jobs were humming along, we lived in a great, by NYC standards affordable apartment we loved, we had a fantastic group of friends we’d see regularly, we knew the city like the back of our palms when it came to restaurants yet we were always pleasantly surprised by something new. So why would we make a change? The reason was obvious: we were comfortable with our lives, a little bit too much so. Complacency is scary, especially when things seem to be going “well.” We needed to move on, which I knew all along, but it didn’t make leaving New York City easier.

Leaving on a high note
is always the hardest

To balance all things we loved dearly about this place (Friends! The energy! Coffee shops! Cocktails! Rooftops! The high standards & affordability of Asian food! Food any time, any where, really… Speakeasies! Biking to work, museums, parks and so much more) and all things we disliked (packed subway cars, summer heat and winter slush, traffic, $$$ rent, cock roaches although thank goodness our 96th street apartment never had any – a miracle) we had developed a good routine for ourselves and our sanity. While many New Yorkers don’t have a car in the city, due to the traveling nature of Willem’s job we always did, and we used it almost every weekend to leave the noise behind. Our schedules were dictated by the seasons, heading to Jiminy Peak to snowboard during winter months and sailing in Rhode Island over the summer. Unless we were able to con some of our friends into joining our weekend activities, we would only see them on weekdays or spring/fall weekends because we left for our A&W Adventures every single weekend otherwise. After the third year of this routine we knew we needed to get out and experience more – sailing seemed to be the activity that moved us the farthest from our comfort zone. (Perhaps we will be planning something epic related to snowboarding next.)

Here we were, packing up in our almost empty apartment (we procrastinated packing for as long as we could.. spending our last evening in the city having dinner – and dessert! Photo attached to prove it – with friends rather than addressing the million items we still didn’t box up. How did we ever fit so much stuff into 450 square feet?!) and wiping our tears as we took the final photos before leaving. Our first lease we signed together! Where we spent the first 5 years of our relationship! We planned our wedding here, and decorated the walls with photos from our adventures. But now it was time to go.

The best decision
we've ever made

As we took our final elevator ride down, I asked Willem if this is really a good idea – just needed to hear some reassurance at this point – and I remember his words exactly: “This is the best decision we’ve ever made.” We have yet to learn the end of the story, but I believe him with all my heart.