Tell us about your family.
We are a family of four living on our catamaran and traveling slowly through the oceans around the world. We have two children. One boy, Manua, who just turned 5. He was born in The Canary Islands and has quite a personality. He knows very much what he likes and does not like and will let you know in a very matter of fact way. Fortunately, he likes his sister, Katerina, who is 9 and they play well together and look after each other. Katerina is sweet and smart, very caring and a born leader.
Tell us about your journey?
We have lived on and sailed our catamaran for the past 13 years. We have seen so many amazing places, interesting lands and unique cultures. We started in the Black Sea, ventured on through the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. Then we crossed the Atlantic Ocean and explored the Carribean and Central America. We left Panama and sailed to the South Pacific, French Polynesia, the Cook islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and New Zealand to name a few. We may continue our journey north. It is unlikely that we will continue westbound. We do not have a goal to “sail around the world” just to do it, but rather to enjoy and experience wherever we are and whatever we are doing.
Where is your home country?
Our home country is wherever we are. We like to integrate into the culture where we are living. Currently, we are on the sailing boat miss Goodnight traveling around the South Pacific, usually Fiji and New Zealand.
Is your trip open ended or finite?
We currently have no plan to end our life of travel. We are always working as a family to make sure our priorities are being met.
We may settle down and travel less if we need to for health reasons as sailing is a very physical lifestyle or if Katerina (or ultimately Manua) were to decide to regularly attend a
n organized school. School fees become a substantial burden when visiting developed countries like New Zealand as well as other international schools, so if she were to chose to attend long term, we would discuss settling back to land.
Have you ever feared for your safety? In what capacity? Where?
No. We have felt very safe throughout the Western Pacific. Of course we take the usual precautions to be careful, but we have never had any issues. People everywhere have been very welcoming and sincere.
Have you had a favorite destination?
The South pass of Fakarava in French Polynesia has been our favorite place. The coral is so extensive and alive! The sea life is abundant and diverse, the white sandy beaches are wonderful and unspoiled!!
Do you have a home base?
Not really, for what? The four of us feel very much home on Miss Goodnight. It’s the only home the children have known. We have never felt the need to have a land base during our travels.
What is the education level of the parents? Previous type of work of the parents?
Sveta and Franz have both studied business administration. Sveta worked hard as a forwarder for a shipping company before meeting Franz. At that time, Franz was (and still is) a self-employed development aid consultant. He asked her to sail the world with him and the rest is history.
Do you follow an outlined curriculum? Do you incorporate traditional learning, completely unschool or something in between?
We follow the Australian curriculum. This helps us make sure we are meeting our educational goals and standards.
Have you attended schools in a foreign country? Tell us about that experience.
Yes. Katerina went to an international school, and a local school in Fiji, but her heart beats most when she went to Whangarei Primary school in New Zealand.
What has been your best “teaching moment”?
It hasn’t come yet, but most probably will be the day when Katerina says, “Daddy, I don’t need you anymore. Just buy me books, I’ll learn alone.”
Would you do anything differently next time?
No. I think with Manua I’ll try the same mix of presence (World) schooling and home schooling as with Katerina.
Did you sell everything before you left?
No. We both had flats and decided to maintain them as a savings and rental income.
How do you finance your trip?
I (Franz) still have to work occassionally to maintain our great level of life. We would also be able to sustain our lives with our mix of small pension, rental income and savings, but we like to participate in activities, like swimming lessons for the kids, joining local schools, occassionally staying in marinas, and other upgrades. So we have chosen that I will occassionally travel to do consulting work to subsidize this higher standard of living.
What advice do you have to those people who are on the fence or who want to go?
Traveling with other like-minded families has been one of our favorite experiences. While the children make relationships everywhere they are, many of the relationships with the local people are temporary. Maybe because we often have very different backgrounds. Having recurring friends with similar experiences for the children to play with, talk with and relate to in long term relationships is very rewarding and comforting. We should have looked for buddy boats earlier in our journey, but did not realize how significant of an impact it would be.