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December 2, 2016

Embarking on a New Life’s Journey


While most of us were getting ready to stuff ourselves with turkey and mashed potatoes and figuring out which topics should be banned from the Thanksgiving dinner table, Mike and Nicole Potter were embarking on the journey of a lifetime. The couple left last Wednesday, November 23 from San Diego bound for Mexico and points way beyond on a one-year cruise aboard their Nordhavn 47 Sloboda.

On the night Mike and Nicole met, he had mentioned to her that a dream of his was to see the world by boat. Her response to him: “Where do I sign up?” That was 10 years ago, and since then, the 30-somethings* have been preparing for this day.

Passionate travelers, Mike and Nicole have been to 15 different countries together, and now on board their N47, they plan to add a heck of a lot more stamps to their passports. Now in Ensenada, the two have a rough itinerary of where they want to go: around the rest of Mexico, through the Panama Canal, throughout the Caribbean and finally Florida which will culminate Part One of their fantastic journey. Part Two includes crossing the Atlantic and heading to Europe…but first things first.

Lots of Nordhavn owners have taken the route the Potters are on. So many are in the midst of multi-year circumnavigations. But what is it that makes their story stand apart from the rest?

Like Eric and Christi Grab before them who circumnavigated on their Nordhavn 43 while still in their 30s, the Potters are – statistically speaking – ridiculously young to be pulling this off. And while the Grabs carved out two years for their world tour before returning to their home port, settling down and having a baby, you get the sense that global cruising is going to be more of a way of life for the Potters.

Nicole recognizes that most Nordhavn owners they have met are decades older and at the end of the work-marriage-kids path; the majority of her similar-aged friends are at the start of it. “While most of our friends are on different journeys (than us) that may include white picket fences, babies, and moving up the career ladder, we have chosen a non-traditional path for thirty-somethings,” she said. “Our white picket fence floats, and our yard is the world.”

That said, they won’t be completely cut off from the working world. Mike, CEO of his own machine/equipment service and repair company based out of Los Angeles, will continue to stay connected to his business remotely while on board the boat. “We don’t want to wait until retirement to live our dream,” she adds. “We both feel very strongly that anything can happen. There are no guarantees!”

Part of the arrangement for achieving the trip was for Nicole to leave her job at a non-profit to focus on getting things ready while Mike continued to work full-time. Preparing for a journey such as this is no easy task – only made more complicated by the fact that their crewmember is their beloved Labradoodle “Dexter”, so researching pet clearances and requirements for different countries was added to the list of umpteen things Nicole was in charge of. She even took a weather-routing course to aid them in predicting weather windows, although they will also use a professional weather router.

Another time-demanding task she handles is upkeeping the blog she’s kept the past five years, called The Expedition of Sloboda, which appropriately enough is this month’s featured blog on nordhavn.com. It’s a fabulously written, candid recount of the couple’s days at sea and at port, filled with gorgeous photos (she’s got a passion – and an obvious talent – for photography), and a very active forum section. Take a break out of your life and give oursloboda.com a read. (Yes, we always say Nordhavn owner blogs are informative, fascinating, entertaining, etc., but honestly, this has to be one of the best. If Nicole wants a second career as a writer, she should pursue it.) Reading it just might prompt you to seize the day - no matter what stage you’re at in life – and dive into your dream. As Nicole said: “If we don’t live our dream now, then we may ever get the chance to.”

*Although Mike was a spry 30-something at the start of this journey, he has since crossed over to the decade of middle-aged folk.

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