Genevieve Stolz tells Yahoo Parenting that living on a boat and raising her two young daughters with her husband has been “a beautiful bonding opportunity.” (Photo: itsanecessity.net).
Who hasn’t dreamed of adventures on the high seas, sailing around the Caribbean with gorgeous turquoise waters everywhere you look? For most people, that’s all it ever remains — a dream. But Genevieve and Eben Stolz aren’t most people.
The Canadian couple are living that life, making their home on a boat and sailing around the world with their two young daughters, Airas, 5, and Ellia, 3. And instead of cramping their style, Genevieve tells Yahoo Parenting, the kids have only enhanced their adventure of the past five years.
“It has been a beautiful bonding opportunity for all of us,” says the former English teacher, who home schools her girls on their 41-foot Morgan Classic, which they bought used and refurbished themselves. “The part we have enjoyed the most is that we’ve both been able to be with them 24/7/365. We are always around to play with them, teach them, and share adventures with them. And the fact that we get to do all of this bonding while exploring new islands is so much fun for everyone.”
The currently Dominican Republic–based mom (who has been raising their girls on the water exclusively, aside from roughly 6-month returns to Canada for each of the kid’s births) says that their seafaring has given the youngsters some incredible experiences. They’ve been enrolled in a circus class, participated in public school in the DR, gone swimming with dolphins, snorkeled, done kite-boarding, and explored different countries including Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands — so far.
“They don’t see these things as strange or scary, and they have no need to,” says Genevieve, the writer of the family, who blogs about their adventures on the family’s site, It’s a Necessity. “As long as they are with proper supervision we let them try many things that other children don’t often encounter.”
But the mom admits that living full-time on a boat with two kids can be trying at times. “The small space sometimes is hard to work with,” she says. “Kids have a lot of energy and need to burn that off, so I am happy that our backyard usually consists of nice beaches to run around on, or warm water to swim in. But when it rains are we are all stuck inside, that is when we have to get a little more creative.” (As has the family been in financing this venture: They cobbled together the money they live off of by selling their home in Canada and draining Eben’s savings from a former job in sales).
Then there’s the fact that they don’t always have a support network of family or friends on which they can rely.
“Sure, we make a lot of good friends out here, but everyone is a nomad and on the move,” explains Genevieve. “Forget dropping the kids off to visit the grandparents, or calling a babysitter, those options just aren’t available.” And dealing with all the typical challenges of parenting, toddler tantrums, sibling rivalry, toy sharing, “you name it, we’ve got it too,” she says. “Being on the ocean doesn’t change that.”
Still, the benefits of their alternative lifestyle outweigh any difficulties the family has encountered to date. “By pursuing our dreams, our children get to see two parents that are very happy in their lives, and in love,” she says. “And we try to be good examples that if you want something, you can work hard and make it happen.”