July had just spread her summer wings and we are leaving The Netherlands by sailing vessel.
The weather is perfect: sun, blue skies and a gentle breeze.
Oh yeah, this is for real, we are sailing! This is the real deal! My heart is pounding like a maniac, but this doesn’t seem to bother our Empress, she is speeding up, her sails like four white wings embracing the start of our new adventure.
Who would have thought… it is only eight months from now since we bought her.
Before we started living on the Empress ll (we decided not to change her name, as this might bring bad luck according to some old traditions), we lived on a Dutch classical sailing barge for over 15 years.
Our opinion was “once you have a ship, you should sail her, not let her stuck in a harbour…”
So off we went, we sailed many Dutch rivers, canals and lakes without having one exact permanent spot.
In those years we had many places we called “home” as home was, where our barge was.
We kept on living this lifestyle even after our first two daughters were born.
But then the idea came to move to land, and as we didn’t like the idea of a permanent spot, we came up with a moving house.
An other two years later, right after our third daughter was born, we bought a moving truck. According to our own wishes and ideas we built a tiny house-on-wheels.
For two years we travelled through different European countries, Scotland and Sweden being our favorites.
With the five of us (and two dogs) we spend a winter in Sweden. We were surrounded by big walls of snow and temperatures far below zero.
But this was exactly what we were looking for, to spend a real winter somewhere up north and to experience if we could actually live close to nature in extreme weather conditions like minus 26.
It turned out we all could and that beyond our expectations, we all enjoyed it.
In the summer of 2018 we spend three months in Scotland. We found some amazing spots along the Westcoast.
The summer was extremely warm and according to the locals the summer hadn’t been this nice since 1974.
We enjoyed our time along the Scottish coast, making work, living in beautiful landscapes and meeting interesting people.
It was there that the idea came to life to live on a sailing vessel once more.
Wouldn’t it be perfect to sail along these kind of coasts and visit all these incredible islands?
Wouldn’t it be great to be carried by the wind, from once place to the other?
And imagine the girls, they don’t have to sit still and fastened by their seatbelts in a carseat all these miles…
Our youngest daughter had just turned two and our plan was to wait another two years. By the age of four she would be able to swim, that would be the right time.
But the small seed was planted in our minds and it started to grow, and grew bigger bigger and reached the summits of our dreams.
Four weeks after coming back from our trip to Scotland, the seed was a big strong tree and before we knew, we were once again the owner of a sailing vessel.
When we first laid eyes on her, it wasn’t love at first sight, and that’s quite an understatement. She was a sleepy and grumpy old empress and her real beauty was concealed by a green dress of algae.
Once she was ours, we brushed her teeth, combed her hair, gave her some new white wings and a blush on her cheeks.
The whole refit payed off, it turned her into the beautiful, confident and fresh Empress that she is now a days.
To be continued…