'We are living our dream': Saanich couple sells possessions, sails around the world
They quit their jobs. They sold their home, car and nearly every possession. And they bought a 41-foot catamaran.
Ben Brehmer and Ashley Stobbart consider those events "small moments of boldness" that have propelled them to give up the securities of a home and jobs for a life filled with adventure.
They were inspired to set sail around the world after losing a family member. They said that was a major wakeup call that not everyone has the privilege to grow old.
”My dad died 10 years ago at a young age and it really triggered us to get going, like, life is short," Stobbart said.
Since their voyage started four years ago, they've traveled halfway around the world, visiting 27 countries and sailing over 20,000 nautical miles.
"We are living our dream, it is amazing that we are still out here doing this," she said.
While the couple is back on Vancouver Island visiting their family and friends for the holidays, they're based at Palau, an island country east of the Philippines, after sailing across the Caribbean and South Pacific.
They anticipate exploring Southeast Asia and Africa before going back to the Caribbean, but that's still to be determined.
"They always say in sailing that your plans are written in sand at low tide, so things change," she said.
There were many unknowns during their last four years, for example, they said they anticipated their savings would be stretched out over five years but they didn't know how costly having a vessel can be.
After only two years, their money went dry.
"We fully anticipated putting the boat on the hard and flying home and getting some desk jobs for a year or two," Brehmer said.
But a moment of boldness prompted them to persevere and they turned to Youtube.
Their channel, Sailing Nahoa, documents their everyday escapades and also teaches viewers how to sail and fish.
It's earned them a loyal following and those viewers can choose to support them by pledging a certain amount of money on crowdfunding site Patreon. This has allowed them to have a sustainable form of income, they said.
"It turns out that people were willing to come along for the ride and support us – that's what really changed," he said.
They hope they are not only teaching people how to outfit their boats and deal with harsh weather at sea, but also inspire them to realize their dreams.
"It's fantastic that we have this opportunity to do this, and really, everyone does. Go live your dream! Everyone has a different dream; it just takes a lot of hard work sometimes and a bit of bravery."
With files from CTV Vancouver Island