Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Voyaging with Kids. A guide to family life afloat.

So you made the decision to go cruising with your family to expose them to a richer life at the edge of nature and replete with cultural experience. You just buy a boat, pack up your kids, and shove off, right?  Oh no. How will you provide for their education, feed them in exotic places where the foods are all different, wash diapers and ensure their safety.  Until now, there has been no resource available for families afloat. Thanks to these authors, everything is now about to change.  

Voyaging with Kids. A guide to family life afloat. Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson and Michael Robertson.  Published by L&L Pardey Books, Arcata, CA and Kawau Island, NZ.  Oct 2015, Retail $35.95, 336 pages, 8x10,  with many photographs, tables and side bars, ISBN-13 978-1-929214-33-4 (print) and ISBN 978-1-929214-43-3 (ebook),  ISBN-10  1929214332 (Kindle). 

Voyaging with Kids is a beautifully designed and very comprehensive reference on cruising with kids. It covers everything from picking your boat to what to bring along, how to stay safe and healthy, provisioning in far away places, and activities to pass the time or expose the kids to new experiences. There is a full chapter on boat schooling which has some very interesting suggestions, like attending local schools while voyaging and dealing with rules and regulations of the home country. 

Most important are the fantastic insights from other contributors in side bars throughout.  Because of this, you get the benefit of many experienced parents and kids from varied first-hand perspectives that provide a truly balanced view of the experience. A lot of work went into this book and I applaud the authors and editors who pulled it all together so expertly.

The book also covers the transiting nature of voyaging by boat and how it influences relationships both aboard and on shore.  It provides detailed advice on passagemaking.  It even covers how to deal with the challenges unique to babies and teenagers aboard.  Finally, it deals with the challenges faced when ending the voyage and transitioning back to a life ashore and all the things that will stay with them forever and keep them grounded on the land.   

Voyaging with Kids ends with interviews with and letters from former cruising kids. They talk about their life aboard and ashore, what they learned from both, and how they dealt with the transitions.  It’s really inspiring to read about the great takeaways these former kids remember and how those learnings shaped their future lives.  Bottom line, you get the sense that they became better human beings for the experience. 

The book is rich with photographs of kids doing interesting things in exotic places.  It also focuses attention on the ability of children aboard to take responsibility and contribute to the tasks at hand.  They learn independence and self-reliance from an early age, very valuable traits in this passive world. They also learn what’s important in life in general and what’s important to them specifically, not like the kids in routine lives ashore who just follow along with what everyone else is doing.

The Index is very handy for looking up specific topics.  There are six pages of contributors listed, three pages of bibliography, and thirteen pages of additional resources and references used in researching material.   

Voyaging with Kids is a really important addition to the cruising armamentarium for anyone contemplating life afloat with kids. What these authors have done is extraordinarily valuable. They’ve done enormous research to provide access to the kind of information every parent needs before taking off, and they share real life assessment of how everything actually translates into practice.  This is destined to be a bestseller in the sailing books category…the parenting bible for the cruising family.  I believe it’s the first book of its kind, and that is an accomplishment in itself. 

Although the book is not being formally launched until October 1st 2015 when the interactive eBook will go live, the printer put Voyaging with Kids at the head of his line-up. Books will actually reach the distributor’s warehouse (Paradise Cay publications) by the end of August. Because of this the authors are celebrating by offering a 30% discount to anyone who orders directly through the publisher’s website (run by Paradise Cay) for any books ordered by September 15th. Books will ship as soon as they arrive at his facility. To be fair to all retail outlets, Amazon will not have books until October 1st.

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