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5 steps to quitting the rat race and going sailing

If you’ve ever thought about quitting the rat race to go sailing, read on! Kim Brown of Sailing Britican shares how she made the break and went sailing around the world.

Five steps to quitting the rat race and going sailing

I once read in a book that no one puts on their gravestone, ‘I wish I worked more.’ After spending 35 years doing what I ‘should’ do I decided that my life was more valuable than working in a job I didn’t like so I could retire at the age of 65 and then do what I wanted to do (but be too old to do it).

In 2014, my husband, 3 ½ year old daughter and I left land to sail around the world. We’re still figuring things out (and always will be) and by gosh it hasn’t been easy. Our experiences, however, have been epic. We’re not just having one experience of a lifetime; we’re having experiences of a lifetime over and over again. We’ve sailed by erupting volcanoes, walked through 2000 year old ancient cities, met thousands of amazing people and are free to head our home in any direction we choose.

If, like me, you’ve ever had the feeling that you’re done with “normal life”, you’re searching for something more, or just have a feeling that there must be a way to live a more fulfilling life, then read on!

If you want to break free from the day-to-day job and trade in the rat race to go sailing, here are five steps to get you started.

Here are five steps to quitting the rat race and going sailing

1. Build Desire

Step one is to create a strong desire to give up the day job and head out to sea. We humans have two modes of operation – we’re either working towards pleasure or striving to avoid pain. Let’s discuss pleasure first.

We eat certain foods and drinks with the expectation of pleasure. We attend various events knowing we’ll have an enjoyable time. We exercise or dance or go for hikes because it makes us feel good. When scanning our minds for our next action it’s all about answering the question, “What will make me feel good?”

In order to start programming your desire for sailing, you need to fill your mind and body full of positive sailing experiences. So, how do you do that? The easiest place to start is by reading sailing magazines, blogs and watching YouTuber’s who are already out living the life you want to live.

For me, watching and experiencing the lives of other sailors, formed a tension between where I was and where I wanted to be. This tension created a real burning desire.

I also built desire by going on weeklong sailing vacations, joining a local sailing club and taking courses in anything and everything related to owning and sailing a boat.

2. Use your pain to find your pleasure

What’s not working in your life and how will a life of sailing help to change that? We’re now going to discuss the opposite of pleasure – let’s look at pain. If we humans are not doing something out of pleasure, we’re taking action to avoid pain. It might be an interesting task to ask yourself what’s your main mode of operation – are you doing things more for pleasure or more to avoid pain?!

Let me give you some pain examples. When I was a kid I went to school not because I liked it. I went because the wrath of my parents was worse then sitting through six hours of mostly mind numbing classes. When I first started working I didn’t like most of my jobs but the pain of not having money had a massive hold over me. Heck – I needed money so I could buy the right clothes and look the right way to avoid being shunned by my peers (again, avoiding pain).

For me, I felt that my younger life was more about avoiding pain. When I was a kid I’d often think, ‘I can’t wait until I grow up so I can do what I want to do!’ Interestingly, if you grow up focusing on avoiding pain it’s easy to carry on through the rest of your life doing the same.

For years I’ve been doing a fantastic exercise to get my mind and body focusing on pleasure rather than pain. Let me share it with you. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Fold the paper in half lengthwise so that there’s a crease in the middle of the page running from the top to the bottom.

On the left side, write at the top ‘I hate my current lifestyle situation because…’ or if that is too strong of a word for you, try ‘I dislike…’ and then go down the page writing on the left side everything you dislike about your life right now.

Fill up the whole left side of the paper! Go crazy. You can burn it after your done so no one will ever see it. Examples of what I used to write include, ‘I hate my life,’ ‘I hate my two hour commute to work every day,’ ‘I hate having to eat fast food all the time,’ ‘I hate feeling so drained of energy,’ ‘I hate the cold weather,’ ‘I hate how boring my life is,’ ‘I hate being inside all day,’ ‘I hate how my husband chews his food so loud…’

These thoughts filled my head day in and day out. And here comes a very important message – you get what you focus on! It wasn’t until I changed my focus that my life started to change and I was able to move from the rat race to a life on the sea.

Once you’re done with your list, make a note of how lousy you feel…and you will feel lousy! But that’s all going to change. Now, for everything you listed, on the right side of the paper write down the opposite or write the statement in a way where it’s based on pleasure and not pain. Using the examples above: ‘I love my life,’ ‘I love the fact that I’m no longer a commuter,’ ‘I love eating fresh, local, natural good tasting foods,’ ‘I feel so energized,’ ‘I love warm weather,’ ‘I love how exciting my life is,’ ‘I love being outside in nature,’ ‘I love how my husband smiles at me…’

You’ll notice that I’ve written the statements as if they’re already true. Make sure you do the same. What you’re essentially doing is your showing your mind and body how you want to feel. And when you’re done listing what you want rather than what you don’t want you’ll notice a totally different feeling.

We’re all magnets – we attract the feelings and energy we send out. So, let’s show your body what it wants to feel so that you can build more desire and move towards the life you want. If you don’t define what you want, you won’t get it.

As Michel de Montaigne stated, ‘No wind favors him who has no destined port.’

3. Change your beliefs about what is possible

If you’re just starting to toy with the idea of quitting the rat race to go sailing you might not believe it’s possible. Heck – you might believe that boats are too expensive or you have to work until you’re 65 and then you can enjoy the life of being a boater. Perhaps you believe it’s possible to get a boat and sail around the world but it’s going to take you ten years to save up the money to do so.

Whatever you believe, you’re right.

Read that sentence again. And then let me write it again – whatever you believe, you’re right.

The crazy thing about beliefs is that your beliefs can help or hinder you. The even crazier thing is that you’re the one who decides what you believe!

Let me give you an example. Have you ever had a friend that is a great person and would be a fantastic girlfriend/boyfriend/partner but believes they’re unattractive/unlovable/etc.? With that belief, what happens? Your friend is single. Until your friend believes he or she is worthy of a partner, the situation will not change.

You are just like that friend. You are full of beliefs that you don’t necessarily need to have.

Throughout our entire life our parents, teachers, employers and friends have been bestowing all their beliefs on us. We were never taught that we could one, filter our beliefs and two, decide whether we wanted to keep them or discard them.

So, in order for you to quite the rat race and go sailing what beliefs do you have that might prevent you from achieving your plan? I had the beliefs, ‘I’m too young to sell up and sail away,’  ‘It’s not possible to live the life of my dreams and be able to generate and income too,’ ‘I can’t have my cake and eat it too,’ ‘I’m too much of a chicken to follow my dreams,’ and many more.

How did I eventually end up quitting the rat race and sailing away (for over three years now)? I changed my beliefs about what’s possible. I found others that have done what I want to do and I’ve followed in their footsteps. If someone else is out there doing what I want to do then there’s a possibly that I can do it too.  And that leads my to step four.

4. Create a plan

After you build up your desire, know the feeling energy you’re aiming for and start changing some limiting beliefs it’s time to start planning. Research how other people have quit the rat and started sailing.

Some sailors save up money, others sell everything they own and many people train up to have remote working jobs allowing them to work from anywhere in the world.

At first the planning stage might feel overwhelming but if you keep asking the question, ‘how can I quit the rat race and start sailing by X date,’ you’ll start to gather more and more information that will help a solid plan come to fruition.

The first part of your plan might include a sailing vacation to ensure you really do enjoy sailing! The next step might be to understand the cost of boats and what kind of boat you’ll need to do the sailing you want to do. And if you have a belief that boats cost way too much get rid of that belief. I’ve met a handful of sailors that were given boats for free or at very low cost. It does happen.

After figuring out how to acquire a boat, you might want to think about how you’re going to make money while your sailing. Some people save up and go sailing for a set duration, like a year. Others get a boat, head off into the sunset and find ways to keep going.

And don’t worry if your plan was to leave in one year but after research it looks like it might take two years. Just get a reasonable plan down on paper and every day take one action, even if it’s to build desire by watching a Sailing YouTuber or read the latest article from your favorite sailing blogger.

When my husband and I decided to sell up and sail away, we sold our house, car, 1st boat and all our possessions within two months. It then took us a few more months to take necessary sailing classes, buy our around-the-world boat and prepare for the journey. Never did we think our plan would happen so fast but when you have a burning desire, the feeling energy of what you want, a belief that what you want to do is possible and a plan, the universe conspires to make miracles happen.

5. Execute the plan

For step five all the hard work is done. To execute the plan, you just need to take actions between now and hitting the sea. It’s important to periodically review the plan and to ensure things make sense. Often you’ll need to change the plan due to new information. And yes, setbacks will happen but if you expect them you’ll realize that it’s just something to work through.

Living the life of a full time sailing cruiser is not easy. It takes quite a burning desire to quit the ‘normal’ life and head out for an adventure around the world. Many people will dream about it and most will never advance forward. What often gets me motivated is to ask myself, ‘when I’m 80 years old will I look back and regret I never went for my dream?’ or I’ll ask, ‘when I’m 80 years old will I look back and regret (not doing whatever I’m trying to decide).’

Looking back when I was working in the rat race I was so afraid to ‘lose everything’. I was afraid to lose my house, my money, my friends, my life. Now I thank the Universe that I pushed through my fear. Aside from my friends, most of the things that I found valuable in the past are nothing in comparison to what I have now. I’ve learned that I don’t need a big house, a fancy car or dresser full of designer clothes. What is of value to me now is spending time with my family and sailing community friends, enjoying creative expression through my business, keeping my boat clean, serviced and maintained, real local food, and one magical moment after another. Like I mentioned, our lives are not easy but they surely are fulfilling.

So, there you have it – five steps to quitting the rat race and going sailing. If you’re just starting out and you want to find out what it’s like for us to sail around the world, check out our SailingBritican YouTube channel ( If you’re interested in learning how you can make money while sailing around the world, please grab a copy of my free guide, ‘How to sail around the world while making money.’ ( And if you’d like to read what life has been like for us since we decided to sell up and leave land, please purchase a copy of my book, ‘Changing Lifestyles: Trading the Rat Race in for a Sail Around The World.’ (

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