A sailing boat at sea

An emotional insight into how an ocean expedition can change your life

Having the ultimate freedom to explore. It’s what we all dream of, right? Well, how about setting sail on an ocean expedition and discovering the world’s most mesmerising places on a journey like no other. Feeling light on your toes from the lack of worries that used to lay upon your shoulders. Time, no longer a foe but, a friend who stands by your side. Grinning from ear to ear over the adventures that are ahead of you, and a pure, uninterrupted, all encompassing bliss.

We wanted to know exactly what it’s like to take part in an ocean expedition, so we teamed up with Maybe Sailing to ask a few people who have experienced a long term sailing trip with them, what were the biggest lessons they learned while being away at sea.

Maybe Sailing operates two Tall Ships and offers once in a lifetime sailing trips that give you an incredible opportunity to discover some of the most beautiful places in the world, make new friends, learn new skills and accomplish things you’d never believed possible. They offer trips in many destinations across the globe. On one trip you could be island hopping in the Caribbean, or on the next you could be sailing beneath the midnight sun in the waters off Norway.

View from tall ship
Photo: Catheryne Langford

When we spoke to Katie Smith, she said: “I would say the thing I learned most is how simple life can be at sea. On land, we have so many options for things to do, people to see and things to buy, but when you’re at sea you have limited things you can do with your time. You have a small group of people that you share the experience with and become very close to, and you don’t have the opportunity to buy anything, so you make do with what you have – and you become very resourceful.”

Crew member of Maybe Sailing
Photo: Katie Smith

“It’s something that makes me incredibly happy, to have that simple life and appreciate every little thing within your day. Something as small as seeing a bird that has joined you from the coast or taking a trip out onto the bowsprit (the pole extending from the front of the ship) can become the highlight of your day.”

Pieterjan Boucneau was very sure that his biggest lesson learned was to “take time to relax, have fun and enjoy life,” he explained. “It’s probably the result of having a very busy, stressful life, and this experience made me not only escape out of my routine for a while, but I really changed my way of living to a lower level with more room for hobbies, friends and just to enjoy life!”

Crew members Maybe Sailing on ocean expedition
Photo: Catheryne Langford

“I spent around 45 days on board, we crossed the Atlantic in 19 days and didn’t see any land during the whole time period. It makes you really think about a lot of things, and you finally realise what life is really about. Sailing is definitely more than just a sport, it’s a way of life,” he continued.

“When you’re sailing around our big planet, friends are made within minutes, as you’re living together with nature, and different weather and water conditions – it’s just a really special experience which I’ve only had while sailing so far.”

Catheryne Langford said that sailing had always been a dream of hers. “Being at sea on such a majestic boat, feeling the wind in my hair, watching the waves and all the beautiful sunsets, sunrises and night skies was, for me, the true meaning of freedom,” she explained.

Sunset tall ship
Photo: Catheryne Langford

“From my time sailing I learned how strong nature is, and how we need to work in harmony with it if we want to have a good time and, at some point, survive. We need to know so many things about the weather, wind, currents, and about our ship. How she works, how she feels the waves, how we set the sails, and respect. Why respect? Because we are so tiny at sea, and nature is so much bigger and more powerful.”

“Being at sea for so long, you learn that your boat is your home and the people on board are your family. You need to learn how to live with many different people who may be from other countries, speak different languages, have different values and cultures. It’s here that respect come into play again, as well as patience and, most importantly, communication.”

Sailing holiday ocean expedition holiday
Photo: Catheryne Langford

Maybe Sailing is a company that operates two Tall Ships offering a variety of opportunities for people to experience sailing during adventure holidays, expeditions and voyages. They also offer a number of training courses recognised with the likes of the RYA and the DofE. 

So, if you fancy setting sail to explore parts of the world you have always dreamed about, discovering new things, making friends for life and memories that will last a lifetime, then head over to the Maybe Sailing website to find out more. 

Featured image: Catheryne Langford