To take off on a trip like this, we would need a couple of prep steps: a boat, training in sailing, and a route would probably be good too.
As for timing, if we were to go in about 15 years, it might work perfect -- the kids would probably be between 10 and 17 years of age. Our other option would be to wait until they've all left home, which would push it out another 10 years or so.
One of thing I worry about with a boat is the limited space. For the mechanics of living, I don't think it would be an issue, but I wonder how well several kids would deal with each other (and me with them) in such tight quarters, with really nowhere to go. But the bigger the boat, the more expensive it becomes too.
Swimming lessons for the kids growing up (and possibility for me too) take on a whole new importance. Fishing too.
For a route, we could do something as simple as island hopping through the Caribbean or in Hawai'i, but the round-the-world trips are much more fun to muse about. So here's a proposed round-the-world sailing trip:
- Fly to Vancouver, Canada, and pick up the sailboat
- Sail down the Pacific coast of the US, and visit California
- from somewhere between San Francisco and Cabo San Lucus, Mexico, sail west to Hawai'i. I remember hearing this is about a 3 week trip in a boat. This would probably be our longest open-water stretch.
- visit the Hawai'ian islands
- sail south to the South Pacific, and visit islands such as Tahiti.
- keep sailing southwest to the land of 'The Long White Cloud', aka New Zealand
- sail over to Australia. The biggest cities (and so the places to see?) are around the southeast 'corner' of the country. From here, we want to sail to the northwest 'corner', so we could probably go either way around, but if we follow the east and north coasts, we'll get to see the Great Barrier Reef
- sail through Indonesia, towards India
- in deciding where to go next from India, it takes some peering into the future. I'd like to go to the Mediterranean next, via the Suez Canal. Today, the Horn of Africa is too much of a piracy haven for my tastes. But one can hope that in 15 years it will be sorted out. If it's still a mess, then maybe we sail 'the long way round', via the Cape of Good Hope.
- once in the Mediterranean, I would visit the ancient roots of western civilization — Egypt, Israel, Greece, and Rome, and possibly Carthage
- being this close to Europe, the idea of visiting the rest of (western) Europe is tempting. The best plan might be to dock at someplace like Marseilles and then take the train to England, France, and Germany (Marseilles is 6 hours from Paris by train).
- from the Pillars of Hercules, sail southwest to the Canaries.
- how far south we go from here depends on how quick we want to be home. Assuming we're still at a leisurely pace, I would head on to Brazil.
- depending on where we might sell the boat, we might stop early from here on out and just fly home, but barring that...
- From Brazil, wander through the Caribbean islands
- pay Florida a visit
- sail up the east coast of the US. Stops as strike our fancy, but likely a minimum of Washington DC and New York City
- and finish up in Halifax, sell the boat, and fly home
The trip seems to be about 49,300km long. Per this, a good average for a sailboat is 100 nautical miles, or 185km, per day. That would work out to 267 days on the water, giving no time for shore leave. If timed right (in regards to seasons and shore leave), could we pull this off inside a year?
As I put together a map of the trip, I found another family proposing something like this. They plan to go around the southern capes of both Africa and South American, and will end up crossing the Atlantic three times, but they do give some sense to the time such a trip will take — 75 countries in 75 months (6 years!)