Introduce yourself! Who are Leslie and Steven, and the SV Falkor?
Hi Sunski Community! We’re Leslie and Steven, a couple of adventure seekers who met and fell in love in our hometown of South Lake Tahoe, CA. We spent our first three years together traveling to new places and mastering the art of tiny living in a pop-up camper.
A little over a year ago, we sold everything we own to trade in land life for our dream of sailing around the world full-time!
Currently, we’re traveling south along the East Coast of the US aboard our 1981 C&C Landfall, a 38-foot sailboat we purchased in September of 2021! We love exploring new places, meeting new people, telling punny jokes, turning ordinary moments into silly songs and our first stop at a new port is always the local brewery.
Our floating home, SV Falkor, was named in celebration of our Never Ending Story of adventure (and boat work) at sea, which is exactly what life is for us now.
What inspired you to sail around the world?
L: “This has been Steven’s dream since he first learned to sail. In fact, it’s a dream he shared on one of our first dates that made me laugh because I assumed sailing around the world was one of those dreams people have, but never actually follow through on. I had no clue that one day this dream would come true, and that I’d be a part of it!”
S: “In early 2021, we had the incredible opportunity to sail aboard a friend's boat from Florida to The Bahamas. We spent 2 and a half months island hopping, which allowed Leslie to realize how attainable this dream could be for us. We bought Falkor less than 8 months after returning from that trip!”
Did either of you have any experience with sailing and sailboats before you started out?
L: “Yes! Steven had been sailing on race boats in Lake Tahoe long before he even had a driver's license. It’s been a major part of his life for decades now. He’s also spent a lot of time on the mechanical and electrical side of the marine world, fixing generators on container ships, rebuilding diesel motors and much more that’s made this dream even more attainable.”
S: “When we started dating in 2019, Leslie got a chance to learn to sail in the fast-paced environment of racing as well. When we went cruising with our friends in The Bahamas, she got to see a more relaxed side to sailing and realized this was a life that we could actually pursue!”
What's daily life like aboard the SV Falkor?
This is a tough question to answer because there are so many variables at play that no two days are really ever the same. Depending on the weather, our current location, the general state of the boat and the time of year, we may be spending the day traveling to our next destination or drinking beer while playing beach bocce, or it could be a day of greasy hands and cramming our bodies into uncomfortably tights spaces for some boat work (and boat yoga).
Sunski's polarized sunglasses keep your eyes protected while you enjoy beautiful sunsets
We could be having a stormy day outside where we spend the whole day watching movies and reading books in a cuddle puddle down in the cabin or it could be a beautiful sunny day on anchor so we opt to float around the boat in floaties, snorkel along the reef or clean the bottom of the boat.
Our days aboard SV Falkor are like the weather, sometimes unpredictable and always a little different.
Perks and challenges of living aboard a sailboat?
L: “Perks for me include living so in sync with nature and being able to travel to so many new places, with everything we own! I love the new energy and adventure that brings into our lives. When we’re in warm places, being able to swim and snorkel right off the boat is such a treat!
This life also comes with a lot of challenges, from being at the mercy of mother nature’s storms to navigating through new places and constantly fixing things - it takes a lot of mental fortitude and tenacity to keep going.
We also face daily challenges without all the creature comforts of land life such as where to receive mail, filling up on fresh water and keeping our groceries stocked up.”
S: “One of the perks of this life is if you don’t like the neighborhood, you just move the boat! While there are always expensive surprises on a boat, our overall cost of living is much lower than it was on land because we’re set up to live off grid.
However, with that comes the challenges of power management, making sure our solar panels are keeping up with our power consumption on cloudy days. Sometimes we have to give up luxuries such as charging computers or making ice in the ice machine.
There are no simple tasks on board a boat, which makes repairs a major challenge. When something breaks, it’s usually in a place that’s inconvenient to get to and then we have to fix it with the tools we have on board, which sometimes aren’t the right tools for the job. Spare parts and new tools can be difficult to get, depending on where we are, so we just have to make it work.”
We're kicking around the idea of launching a series on the blog called "Quit Your Job And..." -- Did you guys actually quit your jobs for this adventure, or are you working remotely or seasonally along the way?
S: “Yep. I quit my job in construction after saving up a bunch of money and selling everything I own to buy our boat and start this adventure. We lived off that savings for a while. I’ve been fortunate enough to find some odd jobs along the way, working in a boat yard in Key West last winter as well as some canvas work in North Carolina this summer. It’s taken some creativity and being open to new opportunities, but so far everything has worked out well for us!”
L: “I spent the last decade planning and producing special events and music festivals. When we purchased our boat last year, I’d been basically unemployed for the last two years. Events actually picked back up when we were 6 months into our journey and I was able to begin working again remotely. Planning music festivals remotely has been an interesting shift from my previous experience, but the seasonal nature of it all has really worked out well to support our travels!”
What's something you wish you knew before you started out?
L: “I wish I knew how much easier life could be when I slow down to be present for it. Before starting this journey, I spent a lot of time stuck in the hustle mindset of modern society. I wore a #nevernotworking badge of honor even though all it really brought me was exhaustion, overwhelm and burn out.
This last year aboard SV Falkor has really helped me to slow down, and in doing so I’ve been able to receive so much more out of life!”
Even on a chilly, cloudy day, Sunskis are essential on the water!
S: “I wouldn’t want to know any of the lessons from this past year. Discovering what I didn’t know is all part of the adventure.”
What's one of the craziest adventures you've had on the SV Falkor, and what did you learn from the experience?
S: “About a month into our journey, we set off for our first offshore sail out of Beaufort, NC. Shortly after making our way out the inlet, we were met with 5-10 foot seas and up to 30 knots of wind. While battling the stronger than expected conditions, we attempted to raise the mainsail. Leslie was struggling to keep the boat facing into the wind as it got tossed around in the massive waves and we ended up tearing the sail in two directions.
Once the sail ripped, it was flailing backwards like a kite and I fought to get it back down. We were both soaking wet and exhausted, just an hour or two into what would have been an all day sail so I made the choice to turn back and return to the anchorage.
It was a very difficult situation, our first major challenge and it showed us very early on in this journey that we can work together really well under pressure."
Any advice or resources for other people in the Sunski community who are looking to follow a similar path?
The best advice we can give to anyone looking to follow a similar path is to just go for it! You will never be as “ready” as you think you need to be and the longer you wait, the harder it will feel to take the leap into chasing your dreams! Your best resource is always your intuition, so go for it!
Thanks for taking time to share your story! How can we follow along with your journey?
Thank you! We’re so honored to contribute to this community and continue rocking our favorite sunnies! You can join in on the adventure by following us on Instagram @Falkorsailing and sign up for our monthly newsletters here.