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A South Seas Birthday Wish

Around the time I turned 30, Michael and I made a promise to ourselves that we would sail to the South Pacific before we turned 40. It seemed a reasonable deadline, if even having such a deadline is reasonable to start with. But it seems to have worked: a few days ago on Fakarava atoll in the middle of the South Pacific ocean I turned 37.

Over the past five years we scribbled countless timelines and schedules on scraps of paper. We added up numbers, formed numerous plans. In the end, we went with the one that got us to our goal the soonest and here we are. Not only does it feel marvelous, but now we have even more years to plan for the next one.

There were so many moments along the way where it seemed absolutely impossible; at the beginning we had a newborn and a toddler and with the two girls in tow we had to sell a house, buy a(nother) boat, give everything away, get the new boat ready…. I can’t even count the number of times we just wanted to give up, concede that it wasn’t going to happen. Usually though when either Michael or I were ready to throw in the towel one of us would remind the other we are almost there. And we really were.

My birthday wish is for you to start, or keep, making plans for whatever big or small thing you must do before your next big birthday, whether it’s 30 or 40 or 80. And keep at it, you’re almost there. If you wish, we’d love to hear what you are planning in the comments below.

Michael took the girls birthday shopping for me in Nuku Hiva and they picked out, on their own, this writing tiki for me. Instead of war clubs, he holds two pencils in little holes tucked under his arms.


  1. Diane says:

    Happy Birthday, Sara! I turned 30 just after traveling through the Panama Canal and 40 the year before we set sail again for Australia. I think for 50 I’d like to be at least one or two seas closer to a circumnavigation–though we’re not really in a hurry. I do know I’ll have at least one more birthday in Australia before we set off to discover SE Asia:)

  2. Thank you for the inspiring post! There’s nothing better than motivation from someone who’s “been there”. We hope to celebrate our 40th bdays in the South Pacific as well, which gives us 4 short years. And like you, we’ve got young daughters (3!) to share the vision with.

  3. Randy says:

    This is probably the single best post I’ve read of any blog! Maybe because we’re almost ready to re-launch our little home after a five year refit. Maybe because we know we’re be back out there…soon! Happy birthday to you *Smiles*

  4. Preston says:

    I’m 57 and just started sailing. I’ve been following your wonderful journey through your blog and I can’t wait to be able to sail like that. Maybe not to south Pacific but some coastal sailing. Your writing and beautiful pictures encourage me each time.

  5. Carlos says:

    My wife and I made a promise ten years ago that we would be cruising with our family by my 40th, we will be doing it differently to how we had thought but hopefully 1 year earlier. It is great and inspiring to read yours and others adventures. Thanks for the efforts output into your website it makes it rewarding to come and see what is going on.

  6. Justin says:

    Yay! Awesome post. After a 10 year haitus from sailing and living aboard we are one month away from an Atlantic crossing on our new boat. We plan to follow in your wake “eventually”, but we want to explore Europe first. Maybe we’ll make it outta here before Chris turns 40 (3 years).

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  8. Dani says:

    Happy Birthday!! What great motivation. We have been working at it for 3 years and plan to leave on our Circumnavigation in 2.5 years… Tate will be 33 and I will be 31..Before we are 35 I hope we have traveled long and far..and are STILL cruising.

    Love to see that you made your dreams come true. I have been following you for quite some time now, it’s a dream come to life. Congrats!!
    Dani and Tate
    SV Sundowner

  9. Karisa says:

    Happy Birthday, Sara! We totally miss you, but are loving what you’re doing. We’re living vicariously through you and dreaming of our second trip – probably following in your footsteps the second time around. Keep writing (you’re doing a great job) and we either look forward to your eventual visit to the Pacific NW or we’ll figure out a way to get to you. Kiera misses Leah. 🙂 (And we miss you guys!). xoxo Karisa

  10. Teacher Kaylene says:

    Happy birthday, Sara! Your face shines with happiness. Since friday was our last day of school, I was just thinking that you’ve been gone for almost exactly a year. To state the obvious, what an amazing year you have had! Thank you for the gift of your words and photos. I have loved being able to follow your journey. Here’s to another beautiful year!

    Much love to the Wondertime crew.