“What if I were to die tomorrow, what would you do for the remaining of your life?”
That is what Malaysian Samantha Khoo asked her Singaporean husband Rene Sullivan in 2017, when he got here home late from an extended day of labor.
“It was really sudden and it took me a while before I answered her,” he told CNBC via video from Langkawi, Malaysia. “I said, ‘Well, if that happens, then I just take my guitar … after which travel the world’.”
Khoo replied, “Why are we waiting for me to die so that you can do that?”
Living in a sailboat together has allowed Rene Sullivan and Samantha Khoo to work on their communication skills. “In a house, for those who get pissed off at one another, you’ll be able to just leave … Here you’ll be able to’t. You’ve gotten to make up and say you are sorry,” said Khoo.
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“Here we’re chasing these goals. Pay up your debts, get your home, do your online business … We did all of it. We’re at this point where we’re still like: When is it ever enough?”
The couple, now of their late 40s, were running businesses of their very own back then.
“It was a change of perspective. Money can not be our currency because … it’s never going [to be] enough. Time became our currency — how can we spend our time doing what we wish?”
How they got began
The very first thing the duo did was sell most of their possessions, including their businesses and real estate, said Sullivan.
“We start cutting all the things,” he said. “You realize you do not really want numerous money — because you are not paying your staff, you are not paying your rent, you are not paying for a property, you are not paying in your [credit] cards.”
They’ve since turn into “small-time investors,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan and Khoo, who’ve been married for 22 years, said an important thing that enabled them to travel full time was being debt-free.
“We should not wealthy,” Khoo insisted. “It was very necessary [to be debt-free]. For instance, for properties that we bought, we made sure that [they were] paid off inside five years.”
The couple bought an ex-military van for $3,600 and converted it right into a campervan. For 3 years, they traveled across Malaysia and conquered “the entire of Thailand,” said Khoo.
“The very best a part of van life for each of us is the liberty of not having to pre-book air tickets or trains, buses or hotels. We are able to come and go after we like,” she added.
In 2019, they began planning a six-month road trip to the U.K., which might have taken them through China, Mongolia, Russia and Europe.
They were all able to go when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. In order that they put their plans on hold.
Earlier this 12 months, many countries reopened their borders to travelers, and the couple were preparing to depart.
“After which the [Russian-Ukraine] war happened. Nothing said that it was a superb time to do land travel,” said Khoo.
With their plans thwarted, the couple began dreaming about their next adventure. Khoo spent numerous time watching videos on YouTube, and he or she chanced upon one about living in a tiny boat.
“I used to be like, ‘Oh, I can do that,'” she said. Sullivan, nevertheless, was not so keen.
“I used to be skeptical of all the things — [dealing with] the weather after which being within the ocean all by yourself. I’m form of chicken that way,” he said with fun.
The compromise? Sullivan agreed to check the waters of sail life before committing to purchasing a ship.
They spent 4 months at Pangkor Marina in Malaysia, where they worked for boat owners without pay to realize knowledge about boat life and maintenance.
Sullivan eventually fell in love with the life-style. In April this 12 months, the couple bought a secondhand full-keel boat for $15,000.
While the thought of living on a sailboat is relaxing, Khoo and Sullivan said it’s anything but glamorous.
“There’s really numerous exertions that goes into it. We’re learning latest skills on daily basis,” said Khoo. “This boat is just not just our home, nevertheless it’s also our university, our dormitory, our office.”
There may be a standard saying that “boat” stands for “bring on one other thousand,” said Khoo.
“It implies that when something breaks, you are going to spend $1,000 on it.”
A sailboat is “not only our home, nevertheless it’s also our university,” said Samantha Khoo. The couple added that they’re learning latest skills on a regular basis — like fixing the water pump of a ship.
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Sullivan added, “Learning in regards to the engine and [fixing] it ourselves, you save rather a lot. So for those who know methods to do it, you only buy the parts, and also you fix it yourself.”
Sullivan said he picks up skills from other boaters in addition to online.
“It’s all available on YouTube … It just takes more time so that you can learn,” he said.
That is why the couple have yet to depart Talagar Harbor in Langkawi, where their boat has been anchored for the past three months.
“Individuals are like: ‘Go already, you guys are ready,'” said Sullivan.
But he said they’re content to go slowly — to deal with anchoring the boat, then returning to shore in the intervening time — and review their progress quarterly.
“We do not pressure ourselves because we just wish to be like 1% higher than yesterday,” he said.
Khoo and Sullivan also run a YouTube channel called 24 Hour Travellers, where they document their adventures and interview other travelers.
The couple said being round the clock travelers is matter of perspective.
“It’s about … how you’ll be able to change your perspective and be completely satisfied where you’re,” Khoo said.
“At Talagar Harbor, after we walk to the major gate, we pass a South African captain, a French captain, a German sailor, an Indonesian carpenter … they turn into your neighbors,” she added.
“Knowing the boat owners, it’s already like traveling the world,” she said.
For now, the couple are focused on taking “baby steps” to attain their goal — to turn into capable sailors and set sail to Thailand next 12 months.
“The dream is to anchor our boat in blue water and be surrounded by islands,” Khoo said.