Phillipe Estiot and Iva Agüero have been living on their sailboat since 2012. Now, they’re coming out with a series called Dreamcatchers, where they talk about their life as well as interview people who’ve decided to take a similar leap of faith to see the world.
What was a typical day like for you before you quit your jobs?
Iva: Before quitting my job, my typical day was a series of routines. I would wake up early to have breakfast before work, arrive at the advertising agency, and work long hours until after rush hour traffic, or until after midnight if we were preparing an event. I remember thinking of my day as having three parts: before lunch, after lunch, and after work. After lunch was definitely the dullest!
I worked in a dynamic industry that encouraged creativity and innovation yet I still spent most of my days seated in front of a computer screen. Since we worked late, I would rarely have time to do anything after work but go home, eat a quick dinner, go to sleep, and get ready to do it all again the next day.
What steps did you take to transition into living on a sailboat?
Phil: I knew since I was 14 that someday I would want to buy a sailboat and live a nomadic lifestyle. Many years later, when my dream started taking shape and becoming a reality, I found it hard to take that first leap. I had to make sure I had enough savings so that I could live and travel comfortably for at least a year or two. I even continued working one year after having bought the sailboat so that I could save up some extra funds.
The next step was to give away all the belongings I had accumulated during my life on land to friends or family. I could only bring very little with me to the boat, and kept very few precious things on land at my family’s home. This was a liberating process, and I was finally ready to move aboard Dali.
Once on the boat, the biggest transition was the steep learning curve I faced in repairing different parts of the boat. I began by sailing from Langkawi, Malaysia to Phuket, Thailand and doing a big renovation on the boat. By hiring skilled laborers and working alongside them, I was able to learn some of the techniques I needed to apply on my own. On a boat, you are not only a sailor, you must also be a carpenter, painter, electrician, plumber, and mechanic. This was the most difficult part of the transition as I had no previous experience fixing anything and am still learning to this day.
How long have you been traveling for?
We have been traveling together since February 2012 and have sailed up and down the West Coast of Malaysia and Thailand. We sailed to the Andaman Islands in India in 2013. Since then, we have sailed around Sumatra, Java, and now we’re on our way to Borneo. In January of 2018, we will sail to the Philippines for the first time ever, and we are so excited!
How much money did you have with you when you set sail?
When we set sail together in 2012, we had 45,000 euros saved between the two of us. (That’s around P2.5M.)
How do you fund your travels now?
In October 2012, we took part in The Apartment: Style Edition, a televised interior design competition. We’d been sailing for a few months and returned to Kuala Lumpur to visit friends and family. A friend of ours told us about the casting for this TV show, and we decided to go for it. We were selected, took part in the competition, and came out victorious.
The grand prize of this series was an apartment unit in Kuala Lumpur that we decided to sell. We used the funds from the sale of that apartment unit to fund our travels and mostly to invest in our new dream: starting our own production company and filming our documentary travel series, Dreamcatchers. We hope to soon be able to exclusively finance our travels with the sale of our series around the world.
How do you deal with homesickness?
Homesickness is a very real part of our daily life. We chose to travel and we have grown up abroad so we don’t really miss a specific place, just different people. We often spend long months away from our loved ones, at times with little or no access to the Internet. There is no real way to “deal with it”; you will always miss those that are far away from you and Skype or Facetime can only do so much. We try to really make the most of the time we do get to spend with our families and friends. As the saying goes, distance makes the heart grow fonder!
What sets you apart from other travelers?
In our opinion, what sets us apart from other travelers is that we have managed to make a nomadic lifestyle into a sustainable way of living.
We also feel that we are different because we have the urge to not only experience this change for ourselves but to encourage others to pursue their own dreams. We sail around the world in search of first-hand encounters with other people who like us, have broken free from their past lifestyles.
We produce a documentary series called Dreamcatchers, which is about our everyday life onboard Dali; it displays portraits of people who have taken the leap. We interview people of different backgrounds in order to show that anyone can change their life.
Our series and travels are fueled by the sincere and fervent hope that they will serve to encourage people to free themselves from dissatisfaction and start living the life they dream.
UPDATE as of February 1, 2018:
Season 3 of Dreamcatchers will be filmed in the Philippines!
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