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Dave and Jan

Our love of travel is a legacy from Jan's grandmother, who gave us $500 cash at our wedding while we were still students. We turned that, with some additional savings, into our first trip abroad, across Europe, North Africa and the USSR. That was enough to give us a thirst for adventure and an appreciation of other cultures.

Dave is the practical dreamer, and the instigator in our travels. We both are list makers and planners and savers. Between the two of us, we turn impractical dreams into plans, and then realize them. We started vaguely planning this trip when we got home from the last voyage 14 years ago, and have been actively working toward it for 4 years.

Dave's Dad raised him to be handy and hardworking. There's not a whole lot, mechanical or electrical, that he can't figure out how to install, maintain and repair. We both took classes in diesel engine maintenance, celestrial navigation, offshore medicine, and I took classes in sail repair. Once we went cruising, this training certainly helped, and we had plenty of chances to learn more. And one of the delights of cruising is meeting people who share their knowledge.

Dave got his ham license in Mexico, and passed his Extra Class in Virginia. This was invaluable, with phone patches home to assure family we were fine, and weather reports, and connecting with other cruisers for reunions. One of the biggest changes we expect with this voyage is the advent of email - we think that will be fantastic, and is one more way the ham radio will help us connect with family and friends, as well as give us a measure of safety.

Our boating experience was initially on small family powerboats. Dave's friend George and Jan's Uncle Carson introduced us to sailboating. Suddenly a bulb turned on, and we figured out how we could combine our love of water and of travel with extended cruising.

We were both heavily influenced by Lyn and Larry Pardey's books. Although we can't pretend we "go simple", we have used many of their extremely practical suggestions.

Another key influence helps us shuck our possessions in exchange for freedom to wander. We like to collect stuff. Dave collects brass marine lamps, Jan likes 1920s slip shade light fixtures, and both of us like to restore American oak furniture. Years ago we met a couple who sold us their rolltop desk. When we asked how they could bear to part with it, they replied that they enjoyed acquiring things, enjoyed having them, and enjoyed getting rid of them when they were ready to backpack around the next continent. This attitude has really helped us let go of even treasured possessions,

The boat name, Baraka, means "essence" or "spirit" or "breath". It is the title of a beautiful documentary film that made us realize how little of the world we have seen, and how much we wanted to see it.

Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved.