- Carla had never sailed a day in her life, when she suggested to her new husband Simon, a retired events manager, that they should sail the world.
- Over the last 2.5 years, the couple has sailed over 22,000 nautical miles. Despite their age (Carla 54, Simon 61), they created a YouTube channel called Sailing Ocean Fox, to share their adventures with friends and family. They now have over 11,000 loyal subscribers.
It is the dream of many, to buy a yacht and sail off into the sunset. Newlyweds, Carla and Simon Fowler, decided to do just that. Living a regular life in London, Carla was working 80 hours a week in five different personal assistant roles, when she decided that, for her second marriage, she wanted life to be more intentional.
“Simon always dreamt of spending a summer on a boat, preferably in the Mediterranean, but never had the opportunity to do so, let alone the money or the time. We were both at the beginning of a new wonderful relationship, and I wanted to make it truly special. I started to dream of the sun and the beach, and then I just came up with the idea of sailing the world, never thinking Simon would agree!”
While Simon had no idea how they would make it happen, he immediately said yes. However, the couple’s four adult children were not as impressed with the idea. “On the day we told our children about our decision, it went down with mixed feelings. They were scared for us, they didn’t understand why we would want to do this, one even described us as “irresponsible teenagers,” said Carla.
But the couple were determined not to give up. They worked tirelessly for the following 18 months, buying and selling real estate in an effort to generate the funds they needed. “We were planning on departing in 2019, and were going to spend our time renovating two more houses to raise enough money to pay for the boat,” said Simon. “But by the summer of 2017, the property market in the UK had stalled. That meant we could have risked having even less capital if we waited.” The couple sold or gave away all of their possessions and eventually decided to sell their home in order to fund their boat purchase.
They bought their yacht, a Lagoon 400 catamaran, in Croatia, which they named Ocean Fox. However, due to Carla’s extreme work schedule, she didn’t step foot aboard the boat until the day she flew to Croatia to begin her new life.
After purchasing their yacht, the next challenge they had to overcome was finding a way to sustain their adventure. With the rise in popularity of YouTube channels, Carla and Simon decided to try their luck at filming their unique lifestyle, in an effort to create videos that would inspire others to live a life less ordinary.
“At the time there were channels on YouTube making good money. We figured we needed about one thousand euro a month to keep afloat,” said Simon. “We also wanted to share the experience with our friends and children, so we decided to go for it. We have reconnected with many old friends and extended family through our channel, and running a YouTube channel also gives us purpose. We spend a lot of time at anchor, so it is good to have a hobby and a way to stay connected to the world. We were concerned that people wouldn’t want to watch a couple of retirees on YouTube, but we have both been taken aback by people’s reactions. Most seem to think it’s wonderful that we are living a lifestyle of freedom and adventure, despite our ages and stage of life, we seem to really connect with people and inspire them to dream.”
Living on a small boat 24/7 as newlyweds must have had its challenges, so how have the couple managed to spend every waking moment together during their 22,000 nm at sea and what has life on a boat taught them? “While at sea, we are alone with no one else to turn to, and no one else to give us support, so we have to trust each other and work as a team, to make it through safely. That has brought us much closer. We see life as something special now, our relationship, too, we support each other and love each other so much more,” said Carla.
The adventurous couple has been to forty-five countries and a myriad of islands on their journey, their favourites being Lós Roques, Cayman and Aruba, to name a few. But there is a lot more to their mission than just the land and seascape. Their YouTube channel almost errs on the humanitarian side, as they travel to less fortunate countries offering a hand where they can. In Simons words, “when the opportunity to help comes, we will put our hands and hearts into it.”
When they’re not helping others, they love to find secluded coves and inlets to soak up the sun and remember why they left the rat race in the first place. “We have fond memories of staying in a small cove in Ibiza for a week, it was so warm we were naked for the whole week,” laughed Carla. “We would spend an hour working then just run off the end of the boat for a dip to cool down. The freedom we’ve had has been amazing!” However, the most incredible part of their journey has been the people they’ve met along the way.
In England, the couple were raised to believe that one’s house is one’s castle. They believe that mindset makes people miss out on a whole brave world just waiting to be discovered. “Seeing the view from my galley window change each day is something special. Meeting new people each week breaks down your barriers about different cultures and races. You become less judgmental and more excited about what places and people have to offer. We have met some wonderful people along the way. Strangers that have given up their time to give us a tour of their island, help us with repairs or loan us a car, you can’t place a value on those things. I can’t imagine we will ever go back to normal life; we have proven there is another way to live. And with social media and the internet, it means we can work from anywhere in the world, and it is all so much more exciting,” remarked Simon.
The couple plan to remain in Portugal and the Atlantic Coast of Spain for the remainder of the year, before heading east through the Mediterranean, eventually sailing through Egypt and the Red Sea. So what advice does Simon have for others hoping for a sea-change?
“As long as you are active, it’s never too late to enjoy this lifestyle. The only regret we have is that we did not do it earlier. So, if you are thinking about it, start making plans, not for ten years time, but sooner rather than later. Travelling the world by boat is beyond your wildest dreams, better than you can ever imagine.”
To follow their journey visit their website www.sailingoceanfox.com or their YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3WjVOASAqK3a8RU5zL8Bx