What Full-Time Sailing as a Couple is REALLY Like! With Ryan and Sophie Sailing

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Boat life as a couple isn’t always smooth sailing. Ryan and Sophie Sailing share what living and working full-time on a sailboat is really like, no holds barred.

Check out these other Sailing-related articles and interviews:

Full-Time Sailing in Your 50s and Beyond, With Sailing Ocean Fox

What is it Like Sailing Around Svalbard in the Arctic?

Getting my Feet Wet on a Sailboat in St Martin

Jump right into my Awesome Interview Series videos on YouTube here – and please give it a thumbs up, leave comments and subscribe!

What is sailing full-time as a couple REALLY like? Let’s as Ryan and Sophie Sailing, the popular YouTube sailing couple who have been on the high seas for 3+ years. #sailingcouple #couplesailing #Ryan&Sophie #RyanandSophieSailing #SailingYouTube #SailingVideo #TheProfessionalHobo

Introducing Ryan and Sophie!

Ryan and Sophie are a couple in their mid-thirties who quit their start-up jobs in 2017 after nearly 10 years of careers that left them dissatisfied. 

They departed from their home port of Stockholm Sweden in 2018 to pursue a life of adventures at sea, sailing around the world in a 40-foot sailboat. 

They have sailed 13,000 nautical miles from Sweden to the Mediterranean sea and twice across the Atlantic. 

They both work full-time, Ryan as the chairman of the board of a lithium battery company, and Sophie as a content creator for their Youtube channelRyan and Sophie Sailing. 

Get the Real Dirt on Sailing as a Couple

In this interview we discuss how a tragic but oddly fortuitous goose attack inspired a life change, and how their idea to go sailing for six months turned into a whole new way of life for them. 

And this sailing couple pulls no punches about the challenges of full-time sailing and working remotely! They talk about struggles and coping mechanisms for sailing as a couple, advice for surviving the sailing lifestyle, internet infrastructure (or lack thereof), tips for overcoming remote work obstacles, the hamster wheel of boat maintenance and unexpected costs that can derail the budget, and much, much more.

Tune in for this refreshingly honest and entertaining chat with this very popular sailing couple! Click here to watch on YouTube, or watch below. 

Transcript of YouTube Interview with Ryan & Sophie

Sophie: Hello! Welcome on board. 

Nora: We had some very bizarre technical challenges. I think this is take three of our attempts, but I think we’re going to make this work. We’re going to get into some of the challenges of boat life in a little while, where I think we can dig a little deeper into some of these things. Before we go anywhere, I would love for you two to share your story of how you got into the full-time sailing lifestyle and where you’ve been since then.

Ryan & Sophie sailing the world on their sailboat

It All Began With a Hostile Goose

Sophie: Yes. So, back in 2015, I met Ryan on Tinder. It was very unexpected. It was after a bad breakup. Ryan, you were supposed to be my rebound. Seven years later–

Ryan: It was a long rebound. 

Sophie: Still going strong. 

Nora: Those are the best kinds of rebounds. I think. 

Sophie: He’s a rebound keeper. At that time, we were both really into endurance sports and into adventures. We were both working in startups, and we had climbed the corporate ladder a little bit, making a good life for ourselves. But we always felt like we wanted to explore this adventurous side a little more.

When we met, you were really into Arctic exploration and mountain climbing. We were both training for the Stockholm marathon. You went on a run–

Ryan: I went on a run, and I– this was when I was in the US, and I got attacked by a goose, and I ended up in the emergency room with a dislocated shoulder and a broken socket bone, and had to essentially get on a plane the next day, fly back to Sweden, where they rebuilt my entire shoulder.

Everything that I was working for that year– I was going to climb an 8,000-meter mountain, we were doing the Stockholm marathon, I had some big climbing trips. It all was stops. 

Sophie: Yeah, we were pretty broken. One day Ryan stumbled upon an article that talked about a couple that was about our age, that sold everything and they bought a sailboat and they started traveling the world.

At that time it felt like something– it was just the right circumstances where, “Yes, this is it. Let’s try.”

Ryan: I had to get my arm back in shape. About eight months later, it was– I could use it enough that we could take some sailing lessons because we had no idea of what we were doing. We spent two weeks on a boat in Gibraltar, in the middle of the winter, just Sophie and I and an instructor. And we liked it. A few months after that, we bought a boat. That all took about a year, I would say. 

Sophie: Three years ago we left Stockholm. We left originally for six months, and here we are today, 

Ryan: Three years later, three and a half years. Yeah. 

How 6 Months at Sea Turned Into 3 1/2 Years (so far)

Nora: Wow. So you had initially just– there’s so many things I want to talk to you about– but first, you had just initially intended that it was going to be six months, and then you were going to, what, come back to your jobs and life as you knew it?

Ryan: I think the first idea we had was just to do what is, ironically, what we’re doing right now, but it was to do what they call an Atlantic circuit. So that’s you leave from the US or Europe, and then you go to the other side, you spend a few months there, and then you come back. You do a big loop.

We were thinking, oh, let’s just do a circuit. Which would take six months to a year. Then it grew and grew. We quit our jobs and we’re, “Well, let’s quit our jobs and just live on the boat.” Then it was, “Oh, we can do so much more with this.” It started with six months and let’s see how this feels, to then we just kind of keep going. Eventually, we decided we would continue to do this as long as we were having fun, and as long as we had the money to afford to keep doing it. That’s our two criteria.

Sophie: I think that within six months we realized that we barely scratched the surface of what we could achieve on the boat. It’s a pretty daunting lifestyle change, right? Once you move on board, everything– life as you know it completely changes. Once you’ve passed those six months, you’ve really opened the door to what you can do once you start feeling comfortable on the boat. It felt like such a waste of time at that time to stop. Here we are three years later.

sailing as a couple across an ocean takes communication

Three Challenges a Sailing Couple Faces

Nora: Wow. That’s amazing. I certainly know that this can be just a total life-changing thing. You touched upon the fact that not only does life change, but there’s just a whole different set of challenges that you have to deal with. One of the things that I appreciate about your channel is that you go down and dirty. I mean, you get into the depths and you’re very honest and forthright about what some of those challenges are with your lifestyle. You’re both very raw and vulnerable.

I do the same thing on my website. I think it was, a number of years ago, I was asked by a reader who wrote in to me and said, “Everything I read by travel bloggers and content creators, they sugarcoat the whole travel lifestyle. I’m pretty sure it’s not like that. What’s the deal”? I started writing about that. My life is an open book and I write about the good, bad and ugly, and certainly have carved out my own niche in so doing. And so too, do you as well. 

First of all, I applaud you for that and for that vulnerability, because I think that that’s what a lot of people need to know if they’re looking at this lifestyle. But second of all, perhaps you can tell us about some of these challenges with the lifestyle. I’m assuming the biggest challenges will really confront you when you’re doing an ocean crossing. But, please, talk to me. 

Sophie: I think that the first challenge is, and I think that’s what we were talking about in your earlier question, it really happens when you move on board and you start traveling on the boats, and all of a sudden everything you know changes. The way that you earn money, the way that you spend money, the way that you buy food, the way that you eat food, the way that you sleep. You know, some nights you don’t sleep on the boat. If it’s very windy outside, you’re going to be out and making sure that the boat is okay. 

Just because you have made this lifestyle change doesn’t mean that all of your expectations for what life should look like and how you should organize your day, they change. We had this expectation that we could work our normal hours. We could work out the way that we did. We could spend the exact same amount of time on our daily tasks as we did before we moved on board.

Very quickly, we got frustrated because everything takes so much more time on the boat. We were tired a lot, and that lifestyle change also came with a lot of tiredness for the first three months. That was a huge challenge. I can see how somebody who moves on board after six months or a year tell themselves, “Listen, this is probably not for me. Let’s go back home.” I think that we could say that it’s perfectly okay. This is a difficult lifestyle. If you don’t find that the reward is worth the price that you put, then, yes, do something else. 

Ryan: I think from my side, I break it down into three very simple things. Most people only think about two. It was the same with us. We only thought about two of them. The first was, “How do we afford this life? How are we going to finance it?” A lot of people think about that. They either have savings, or they work like us, or they’re just really lucky. 

The second piece is finding a boat and understanding how to sail. For us, we kinda just bought a boat with– I mean, we knew a little bit, but not as much as we know now, obviously. You buy a boat and you learn how to sail, and that’s great. 

But the third piece that we didn’t consider, which was actually the biggest piece, is the relationship. Us. Because all of a sudden we are living in a– you’re literally sitting in our office, our living room, our kitchen, all right now. We’re on top of each other 24/7. We work with each other 24/7, and that’s not normally how relationships work. 

That was a piece we weren’t prepared for, and is probably our biggest challenge going forward. Talking with a lot of other couples that are out doing this like we do. Same with van life and stuff. It’s the same thing. It’s something I wish we would have thought about maybe a little bit more before we started. 

Overcoming the Challenges

Nora: I would actually go so far as to suggest that sailing full-time as a couple is even harder than van life because, at some stage of the game, you can get out of the van and walk away and get some space from one another. Whereas, there’s only so far away you can get from one another when you’re on a boat, especially when you’re doing a crossing. Do you have any coping mechanisms that you’ve learned to develop in order to be able to survive, and work and live together in such a small space? 

Sophie: Actually, you mentioned the crossings, but the crossings are probably easier set up to work together. Because you’re on a mission, and your mission is to take the boat safely from point A to point B.

When we’re on a mission, we never fight. We never, ever fight. 

Ryan: No. It’s after that.

Sophie: Once we arrive at the dock, the boat is secure and everything is fine. We are trashed. We are destroyed. We are exhausted. And that’s when– and we have no responsibility anymore. That’s when the fight happens. 

Ryan: The crossing piece of it– the first crossing that Sophie and I did, it was just her and I, so they call that shorthanded sailing. It was just the two of us, and to be very honest, we didn’t see much of each other for 17 days. Sophie would be on watch and then I’d be sleeping, and then we would switch, and we always try to make time during the day for lunch and dinner together. 

Generally, we saw each other maybe, two hours out of the day. And if somebody needed help. We didn’t see each other that much. I think the biggest challenge is when we’re on anchor for long periods of time. 

Sophie: To go back to advice. I think that’s probably the best advice that we could give to somebody who wants to get started in this lifestyle as a couple, is to first understand that there will be time that circumstances create fights. Sometimes you’re under a lot of stress or a lot of pressure. You haven’t slept in a few days. The engine is on or it’s raining really hard, and it’s really loud in the boats when it’s raining. You’re under constant pressure from your environment, and it makes you irritated whether you want it or not.

You can be the coolest person in the world, but sometimes the boat will push you to being a little more irritated. I think that you have to be understanding of the fact that fights will happen and you have to just give your partner a clean state after that. “Okay, we fought. It’s not the end of the world. We move on. It just happens.” And apart from that–

Ryan: Well, I think it’s forced us to understand each other a lot more than what we probably would in normal life. What our little ticks are, what space actually means, what feelings actually mean. It’s forced that on us because we’re there all the time. That’s a big challenge. 

Nora: I’ve always been a contender that traveling with somebody full-time dramatically accelerates the natural progression of a relationship. If you think about being in a relationship with somebody, even if you live together, you still generally have time apart when each of you were working or– and when you’re dating, if you think about the dating game, you might see someone maybe twice a week. If you meet somebody on the road and you start traveling with them, well, you’ve already moved in together. So you’re already now in it 24/7 and you go through stressful situations.

You’re really showing all of your true colours before you might show a partner your true colours, and before, perhaps, you’ve developed the communication styles and ability to get through those situations. I would wager that sailing then takes everything that I just said to 11, in terms of those challenges, so kudos to you. It seems like communication and really open, radically honest communication is the saving grace.

Ryan: One thing we just did, actually, was after our last crossing, we– Sophie and I took about a six week, well, five, four, six week– you were gone a little longer– break. I went to the US and Sophie went to France, and we were just apart. People were, “Oh, is something going on with you guys?” “No.”

Sophie: “No. Everything is fine.” 

Ryan: Normal couples, you get nine hours at work apart from your couple. We don’t get that. We’ve banked up all that time. We’re going to take it. We just take it all at once. We have to do that. That’s something we’ve learned and we’ve learned that that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with us, but if we don’t do that, there’s going to be something wrong with us.

Ryan and Sophie sailing couple on their boat

Getting Help for the Sailing Couple

Sophie: I think that’s another thing that happened to us is that, in the very early stages of our relationship, because I’m French and you’re from the US, we stumbled upon some cultural differences. Because we didn’t have the family or the support network in Sweden that we would normally have in our home countries with our family, we decided to go see a couple counsellor and that couple counsellor has followed us for our entire relationship, maybe except at certain points. 

We didn’t know it at that time when we started to see her, but she became absolutely instrumental in boat life. One year of boat life, I think is probably between four and seven years in a real couple’s life. Problems happen a lot faster and we need to resolve them faster too because we still have this mission to take care of. We still have to be responsible for the boat and work as a team. 

When we stumble upon a challenge in our relationship, we can always play the couple counsellor card. Which means that this is a big issue. We are– we’re blocked, we’re stuck. But, we can talk about it to our couple counsellor, and this pressure valve just releases, because we know that there is a will to talk about it, to sort the issue and fix it. Then we can talk about it in a little calmer setting, to our couple counsellor. 

We’re very lucky to have found her. We can work with her online, so wherever in the world we are. She’s probably the biggest tool that we have for the wellbeing of our relationship on the boat. 

Nora: I can’t agree with you more. When I started traveling full time with my partner at the time, we did the same thing. We actually saw a couples counsellor before we went, not because there was anything wrong, but we wanted to make sure that everything remained right. Now, of course, we didn’t last, so I don’t know, I guess the writing was on the wall there. 

That said, I think that that’s fabulous because obviously, she has given you those coping mechanisms, and also, it’s not to be underestimated the challenges of being in a cross-cultural relationship. Because both of you had very different upbringings, that really– and also two different languages. I mean, Sophie, your English is excellent, but you’re doing everything in a second language. I imagine that sometimes that can also make things a little bit more challenging.

Sophie: Yeah, absolutely. There are times, especially when conversations are heated, where I will say a word and normally nobody will react to the fact that my word probably comes across as something else that I actually meant. But in a fight, when you weigh each other’s words, Ryan sometimes will pick the one word that I said, which is absolutely not what I meant. It will be, “Oh my God, I can’t believe that you said that.”

Ryan: Your English is too good, so I forget that it’s the case. When we first started sailing, it was kind of funny, because our instructor had a really thick British accent, and I even had trouble sometimes understanding what he was saying. Then, of course, we’re standing on the boat, Sophie’s on the bow and he’s in the back, yelling at her. She’s, “What?” He’s using the British slang.

Sophie: We do okay. With that said, you cannot ask me to sail in French. 

Ryan: No, you’ve learned it all in English. 

Sophie: Because I’ve learned it in English. If I talk about sailing in French I sound very stupid.

Working at Sea

Nora: I want to move over sideways to another form of challenges that I imagine you guys have experienced, in that, I have done interviews with other sailing couples who both work in the same career, and that has its own challenge, but you two work on separate careers. Ryan, you’re the chairman of the board of a lithium battery company, and Sophie, you work on the YouTube channel.

The two of you are not only living together and working on the boat, which also, quite frankly, I imagine is a full-time job, but you each have your own careers as well. How do you balance all three of those things? 

Sophie: Oh, my God, how much time do you have?

Ryan: I think that’s a work in progress.

How do we do that? I think every month, we’re always redefining how we do that and understanding what each other needs. I guess I can only speak for myself. From my point of view. I have a lot of flexibility in my job. My job is kind of on the other side of the planet at the moment. What typically happens for me is– and you’re absolutely right that working on the boat is almost a full-time job in itself. There’s just a lot of things that continually need to be done. 

I will typically find myself in a day getting up, working out, doing some personal stuff, and then I’ll spend however many hours I need to on a project on the boat. Then I will move over to my work life. That might involve a couple of phone calls. It might involve a whole day of emails. It might involve nothing, just depending on what we have going on. It’s pretty flexible, but it dictates our lives in different ways. 

One of the challenges that we have then, is Sophie really needs a lot of focus to do her job, which is the YouTube and being creative and focusing on putting videos together and other media and content.

When I’m working on a project, I’m very good at tearing the– I think they say on a boat to move one thing, you need to move 10 things. It’s super true. I need to rewire one wire in the boat, and I’ll have to tear the whole boat apart to do one wire in the boat. 

It’s very distracting for her. We’ve had to learn how to balance those projects with what she needs. I think one of the tools that we’ve found lately is co-working spaces. If we’re in a harbour or if we’re in an anchorage and there’s a town nearby, finding a place for you to go away and work. 

Sophie: Yeah. I think that you’ve touched on something really important.

Both our jobs have such different sets of needs. Ryan’s job is very relational, so he has to be on the phone a lot. There’s a lot of calls. There’s a lot of meetings. There’s a lot of Zooms. We recently started to share our calendar, so I am aware of when Ryan needs to be on the phone, because my job requires a lot of focus, a lot of quiet, and in long periods of time.

I cannot edit one hour here, one hour there. And I cannot edit videos from anywhere. I need quiet. Sometimes another thing that really impacts our life is that your job requires you to travel. Obviously, that was pre-COVID. But you did a lot of traveling. This balancing act of having you on the phone a lot and needing to travel, and me having to be in a very quiet space for long periods of time. It’s taken us a lot of time to learn.

Ryan: We’re still trying to figure it out. To be very honest. 

Sophie: I think that everybody’s a work in progress. You mentioned co-working spaces, and I think that if you are a digital nomad, or you want to get there at some point, I think that coworking spaces is something that took us a long time to come to, but it is such a wonderful way to create space in your life. When you live in a small space.

Ryan: The other big challenge I would say externally– I mean, for you, it makes sense. Right? You live on a boat. You blog about your boat. You do everything on the boat, but for me, I had a little bit of a challenge when we left, which was, I had to explain to people I was working with or investors I was working with.

They’re, “Where are you calling in from?” I’m, “Uh, my boat. On an island.” And that wasn’t a normal thing. I had to be very careful about how I presented that. Now, with COVID, it seems like a switch has flipped with a lot of people. It’s more accepted. It’s still very odd that I’m calling from a boat sometimes, and I’m in some random part of the world, but it seems more accepted.

People are, “Okay. Yeah. You’re not in your office. That’s fine. But you’re working and you seem to be effective.” That’s been a challenge I personally have had with a lot of the work I’ve been doing is, “Can you be serious while living on a boat? Shouldn’t you be drinking a margarita in a hammock?”, but that’s not what we do.

Enjoying the sailing lifestyle

Internet Connections While Sailing

Nora: That’s so true. It is, shall we say, a silver lining of the pandemic is that it has normalized remote work and perhaps made, I don’t know, maybe you can tell me, maybe internet is starting to get better. Internet infrastructure around the world. I remember living on a boat for about three months, 10 years ago, and it was horrendous, in terms of the internet situation. 

Unless you were willing to buy and pay extraordinary amounts of money for a satellite connection that would give you at least decent internet, at least in most ports, you were at the mercy of whatever internet connection you had. Which again, I think co-working is a brilliant coping mechanism for that, because at least while you are anchored you can get some good connectivity. Has internet improved over the last couple of years?

Sophie: It really depends on where in the world you are. In our first year, we were sailing in Europe from Stockholm down to Gibraltar. Never had any problem. Throughout the Mediterranean, we had excellent internet because you’re in Europe and usually internet infrastructures are subsidized. So there is internet everywhere.

Once we started crossing down to Cape Verde, which is a small archipelago west of Africa, it started getting a lot harder. And in the Caribbean–

Ryan: You wouldn’t want to see our phone bills. They’re pretty big. It would make most people’s eyes water, what we pay in communications. I think, probably, on some months we get to 6- or $700. Between you and me. 

Sophie: And that’s in the Caribbean when we managed to find internet because that was very difficult. I remember in St. Martin having to spend 50 hours to upload one video. That’s over two days. It was painful. 

Becoming a YouTube Success 

Nora: That actually brings me to the next thing that I wanted to talk to you about, which is, what it’s like to be a YouTube content creator. You have, in the last three years of having your channel, built it up to over 55,000 subscribers. Which is outstanding. How is it that you have built your channel in this way and with such great success? 

Sophie: It started a little bit accidentally, to be very honest. I’ve always been extremely interested in film, in one way or another, ever since I was a little kid. Film and photography. I never really had the time to explore that because I was busy with my career and studies.

I always thought that this project, moving on a boat, would be an opportunity for me to explore this interest that I had. I also really like to crack jokes. I think that it’s great when you can build a platform in which you’re free to also explore your sense of humour.

I really wanted to make my friends laugh. My friends didn’t trust that I could survive living on the boat. And on some levels, they were right. I thought it was really funny. Then, very quickly, a lot of other people started to find that our videos were funny and joined on the train. 

There is another aspect to this, which is that when we started to think about moving on the boat ourselves, there were a lot of other creators in the same space as us, but I always found that it was difficult to find a more honest and accurate depiction of their lifestyle.

I really wanted to show how it actually is. For me, at least. Sometimes, we’re seasick. Sometimes, the weather is really bad. Sometimes, we cannot visit the places that we are at because it’s raining. Like today. I just wanted to create a space in which we could all have fun and be real about our experiences, even though we seemingly live the dream.

Which I truly believe, I do believe we live the dream, but I also want to show that it’s not always sunny, nice and fun. 

Preparing for an ocean crossing while sailing full-time as a couple

Living The Dream

Nora: You’re absolutely right. The whole concept of living and sailing full time is The Dream for many people. I think there’s a lot of people who get into it and realize, like you said earlier, after about six months they go, “Oh-oh, maybe this isn’t the dream.”

I think one of the reasons why people do that is they underestimate the cost of owning and sailing a boat. Ryan, you touched upon this earlier knowing full well that one of the challenges was going to be, how are you going to be able to sustain your cost of living on the boat? Has there been a learning curve there and do you have any advice for someone who’s considering this lifestyle? 

Ryan: The way I describe it to some people is there’s some months where you feel like you’re just getting on top of your finances, and then something big breaks on the boat. It’s just always this way. There’s a thousand dollar part that just broke. Which, that hasn’t happened to us, yet, knock on wood, this month. But, we have some things we need to fix. There’s constantly things breaking. There’s constantly things that are needing attention. I understand now why when you go on boats sometimes, they look the way they do. It’s just because if you try to keep everything at a hundred per cent shape, it’s just takes so much time. It takes so much money. 

The other aspect of it is that I like to do projects on the boat. Not only am I fixing things, I’m constantly thinking of how we can make our boat better, or our home more enjoyable to live on, and that’s been way more expensive than I think I probably planned. So this year we added a bunch of stuff. It’s things that we didn’t need, and it stinks. It’s added stress to my life when I’m installing them.

Most of the time it’s made our life a little bit better at the end of the day. I don’t know if I have a full handle on it. I would say when I look back at the budget, “the budget” I made before we left, and I was looking at what I put on that. It’s way different than what reality was. It was, “Oh, we just need some flashlights and a fishing pole and some other stuff.”

No, we– I needed to buy a thousand dollars’ worth in tools, normal tools that I never– why did I need that? I didn’t think about that.

Sophie: I think that a good rule of thumb is to look at the estimated price of what it is that you want to buy, be it your boat itself, or something that you want to add to your boat. And you add 30-40% of that price to the costs that will come around that project. I think that applies for the purchase of the boat itself, but also, if you want to make an upgrade. 

Let’s say you want to add a water-maker to your boat. That’s fantastic. It’s such a wonderful upgrade. There is going to be the cost of the water-maker itself, but then there’s going to be costs around that as well. Buying extra pipes, buying extra fittings, maybe hauling out the boat because you need to make a hole in your hull. That’s also going to have a cost. 

For somebody who’s looking at purchasing a boat or making repairs to a little bit older boat, look at the cost of the different products that you want to purchase. Add 30-40% to that. To be conservative. That will probably end up being what you ended up spending.

Ryan: With all that said, it’s a community out here. Just like it is in a lot of other nomadic lifestyles. It’s a really tight community because everybody needs everybody else to make this work. And everybody out here has different skills.

Yesterday, Sophie was cutting my hair on the dock because there’s no hairdresser in this little town that we’re in, and I really needed a haircut. We saved money that way. There was a couple of boats that were having some electrical problems on their boats in the harbor we’re at, and I, over the last few years, have learned to become pretty good with that. So I was over there just lending my time to help them fix the stuff they need. 

While it is an expensive life, and it can be, there are people that do it on absolute minimum budget, and it works. What we’d like to say is the budget range is huge. You can do it on almost nothing and you can do it for millions of dollars, but at the end of the day, we all sit in our cockpits and we all look at the same sunset. Everybody does it differently, but we all see the same sunset. 

Nora: That’s beautiful. I often say something similar about, even not on a boat, the full-time travel lifestyle can cost as much as you want to spend on that lifestyle, but it also doesn’t have to cost that much. There are a lot of very creative ways to be able to achieve what you want with the travel lifestyle and not spend a ton of money. Because there is certainly a misconception that it is prohibitively expensive. So I’m glad to know. 

Also, the nautical community is so tight. I experienced that as well when I was sailing. It was– everybody knows everybody. Everyone’s willing to lend a helping hand wherever necessary. It’s really nice to know that that does exist and there was this important network available, on a variety of levels, to help you in this lifestyle. 

Last Pieces of Advice

Nora: Well, this has been incredibly informative. I would love for you to help us wrap this up by sharing any advice that you have for somebody who’s considering a remote work lifestyle, concurrent to full-time sailing, and certainly please let us know where we can find you. 

Sophie: I would say that the one advice that I would give somebody who wants to have a remote work lifestyle would be to seek help. Go and find the communities that you want to join and ask for help. We live in an age where we can find help online very easily.

There are tons of Facebook groups out there, tons of online communities that are always very willing to help, because we all start somewhere. We’ve all had somebody who helped us. It’s something that we were bad at doing and I regret that, because now we help a lot of new people who want to get into that lifestyle. Go seek some help. 

Ryan: I think my advice– I have two. The first, based on the help piece that you said, is that you’re not alone when you start it. We’ve all been there. We all make mistakes. We made some classic mistakes when we started, and we felt very alone with it. But the reality of, even the most skilled sailors out there have done the same stuff we have. You’re not alone. So don’t feel that way when you start. 

The second bit is the hardest thing, at least in the sailing life, if you’re going to go cruising, the hardest thing to do is to leave. We were told this before we left, and I think it was true with us when we left. The best advice we got was, “The day that you say you’re going to leave, leave.” If that means throwing the lines and going a mile out to sea and dropping the anchor. You’ve left, and that’s the hardest part. Because it’s so easy to say– 

We delayed our departure a year, and as the date came up, it was, “Oh, we need to stay a few more days because of this.” and “Oh, we need to stay another week because…”, and then all of a sudden, it’s months, then it’s a year. You just got to leave. Once you leave, the journey has started and it’s a lot easier. So those are my two pieces of advice. 

Nora: It is so impossible to tie everything up with a bow perfectly and have everything perfectly arranged before you go. There’s always going to be a learning curve, even if you do everything right to begin with, and taking that first step is the hardest, but also the most cathartic of steps to take. 

Sophie: Alright, and let’s give some advice. You need to subscribe to our YouTube channel, Ryan and Sophie Sailing. If you want real, raw and honest insights into boat life.

Nora: Thank you very much. I certainly can attest to the quality and the variety of videos that are on your channel, from what it’s like to sail, from some of the experiences and adventures you’ve had to what some of the repairs have been like, and much more. Definitely subscribe to Ryan and Sophie Sailing.

Thank you, everybody, for joining us today. My name is Nora Dunn and I will catch you next time.

Where to Find Ryan and Sophie Sailing

Even though it isn’t always smooth sailing, Ryan and Sophie really are living The Dream. We see now how it is possible for a couple to create a wonderful life sailing the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, working full time in different careers and helping others live the dream of sailing off into the sunset. For more of Ryan & Sophie’s story, visit their website and their Instagram. To see what it’s really like sailing for over three years, check out their crazy-popular YouTube Channel. Support them on Patreon.

You can learn a little more about some of my adventures with the nautical community and my 2 months of sailing around the Caribbean. For those of you interested in some hard figures about the cost of living on a sailboat, and how another couple earns their living while doing so, read my Financial Case Study: Vivian Vuong and Nathan Zahrt, Sailors. Sailing is a financially sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle. Until you are ready to give it a go yourself, you can follow Ryan and Sophie Sailing.

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2 thoughts on “What Full-Time Sailing as a Couple is REALLY Like! With Ryan and Sophie Sailing”

    • Thanks Ryan! I really appreciated their candour and honesty in this interview. It’s an amazing lifestyle, but it ain’t all roses and lollipops. 🙂


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