“What if I have been to die tomorrow, what would you do for the remainder of your life?”
That is what Malaysian Samantha Khoo requested her Singaporean husband Rene Sullivan in 2017, when he got here dwelling late from an extended day of labor.
“It was actually sudden and it took me a while earlier than I answered her,” he advised CNBC through video from Langkawi, Malaysia. “I mentioned, ‘Effectively, if that occurs, then I simply take my guitar … after which journey the world’.”
Khoo replied, “Why are we ready for me to die so that you can do that?”
Dwelling in a sailboat collectively has allowed Rene Sullivan and Samantha Khoo to work on their communication expertise. “In a home, in the event you get pissed off at one another, you’ll be able to simply depart … Right here you’ll be able to’t. It’s important to make up and say you are sorry,” mentioned Khoo.
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“Right here we’re chasing these targets. Pay up your money owed, get your home, do what you are promoting … We did all of it. We’re at this level the place we’re nonetheless like: When is it ever sufficient?”
The couple, now of their late 40s, have been operating companies of their very own again then.
“It was a change of perspective. Cash can not be our forex as a result of … it is by no means going [to be] sufficient. Time grew to become our forex — how will we spend our time doing what we would like?”
The very first thing the duo did was promote most of their possessions, together with their companies and actual property, mentioned Sullivan.
“We begin reducing every part,” he mentioned. “You understand you do not really want some huge cash — since you’re not paying your employees, you are not paying your hire, you are not paying for a property, you are not paying in your [credit] playing cards.”
They’ve since turn into “small-time traders,” mentioned Sullivan.
Sullivan and Khoo, who’ve been married for 22 years, mentioned crucial factor that enabled them to journey full time was being debt-free.
“We aren’t wealthy,” Khoo insisted. “It was crucial [to be debt-free]. For instance, for properties that we purchased, we made certain that [they were] paid off inside 5 years.”
The couple purchased an ex-military van for $3,600 and transformed it right into a campervan. For 3 years, they traveled throughout Malaysia and conquered “the entire of Thailand,” mentioned Khoo.
“The most effective a part of van life for each of us is the liberty of not having to pre-book air tickets or trains, buses or accommodations. We are able to come and go once we like,” she added.
In 2019, they began planning a six-month highway journey to the U.Ok., which might have taken them by way of China, Mongolia, Russia and Europe.
They have been all able to go when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. So that they put their plans on maintain.
Earlier this yr, many international locations reopened their borders to vacationers, and the couple have been getting ready to go away.
“After which the [Russian-Ukraine] war occurred. Nothing mentioned that it was time to do land journey,” mentioned Khoo.
With their plans thwarted, the couple began dreaming about their subsequent journey. Khoo spent plenty of time watching movies on YouTube, and she or he chanced upon one about residing in a tiny boat.
“I used to be like, ‘Oh, I can do that,'” she mentioned. Sullivan, nevertheless, was not so eager.
“I used to be skeptical of every part — [dealing with] the climate after which being within the ocean all by your self. I am sort of hen that manner,” he mentioned with amusing.
The compromise? Sullivan agreed to check the waters of sail life earlier than committing to purchasing a ship.
They spent 4 months at Pangkor Marina in Malaysia, the place they labored for boat homeowners with out pay to achieve data about boat life and upkeep.
Sullivan finally fell in love with the approach to life. In April this yr, the couple purchased a secondhand full-keel boat for $15,000.
Whereas the concept of residing on a sailboat is stress-free, Khoo and Sullivan mentioned it is something however glamorous.
“There’s actually plenty of onerous work that goes into it. We’re studying new expertise day-after-day,” mentioned Khoo. “This boat is not only our dwelling, however it’s additionally our college, our dormitory, our workplace.”
There’s a widespread saying that “boat” stands for “deliver on one other thousand,” mentioned Khoo.
“It implies that when one thing breaks, you are going to spend $1,000 on it.”
A sailboat is “not simply our dwelling, however it’s additionally our college,” mentioned Samantha Khoo. The couple added that they’re studying new expertise on a regular basis — like fixing the water pump of a ship.
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Sullivan added, “Studying in regards to the engine and [fixing] it ourselves, you save rather a lot. So if you understand how to do it, you simply purchase the components, and also you repair it your self.”
Sullivan mentioned he picks up expertise from different boaters in addition to on-line.
“It is all accessible on YouTube … It simply takes extra time so that you can study,” he mentioned.
That is why the couple have but to go away Talagar Harbor in Langkawi, the place their boat has been anchored for the previous three months.
“Persons are like: ‘Go already, you guys are prepared,'” mentioned Sullivan.
However he mentioned they’re content material to go slowly — to deal with anchoring the boat, then returning to shore in the intervening time — and evaluate their progress quarterly.
“We do not stress ourselves as a result of we simply need to be like 1% higher than yesterday,” he mentioned.
Khoo and Sullivan additionally run a YouTube channel referred to as 24 Hour Travellers, the place they doc their adventures and interview different vacationers.
The couple mentioned being round the clock vacationers is matter of perspective.
“It is about … how one can change your perspective and be joyful the place you’re,” Khoo mentioned.
“At Talagar Harbor, once we stroll to the principle gate, we move a South African captain, a French captain, a German sailor, an Indonesian carpenter … they turn into your neighbors,” she added.
“Understanding the boat homeowners, it is already like touring the world,” she mentioned.
For now, the couple are targeted on taking “child steps” to attain their objective — to turn into succesful sailors and set sail to Thailand subsequent yr.
“The dream is to anchor our boat in blue water and be surrounded by islands,” Khoo mentioned.