LIVEABOARD: Dawn Louise Bates

Salt and Siren would like to introduce you to a new sort of liveaboard. One who is hopping on vessel across the globe to circumnavigate with various crews. We thought it would be nice to show you a different side of liveaboard life when you decide to make it part of your career. Say Hello to Dawn Louis Bates. World traveller. Captain. Author.

  • When did you first have the thought… “I want to live on a boat?” And how did that turn into, I could work on a boat?
    1. I have wanted to live at sea since I was 8 years old, having spent most of my early childhood on the beach with my dad fishing. It was never I want to live on a boat, always I want to live at sea; I can’t walk on water, so a boat it had to be.
    2. Working on a boat as a crew member was simply an obvious choice so I could learn as much about sailing and life at sea as possible, as well as helping me define the type of boat I want to own and run my business from. I have always wanted to travel in the most environmentally friendly way possible, and be on the ocean, so again working on a boat developing and running my business was simply an extension of life at sea.
  • What struggles has this life given me and how am I overcoming them?
    1. One of the biggest struggles, or challenges, has been connecting to the internet to engage with my audience of potential clients and my existing ones. Being in contact with my children whilst they are at home in the UK with their dad has been the biggest, most painful struggle I have had, and without the wonderful invention of social media platforms such as What’s App it would be much harder. I have already considered forgetting about my dream to go home to my boys, but that wouldn’t serve any of us, especially me. If I am going to encourage my boys to follow their dreams and travel the world, then I have to. Going home would also lack the leadership for them, and my audience. Leadership is something you do by example, not just something you talk about, so walk the walk, rather than just spouting ‘bumper car stickers’. I am also looking at satellite phones and international telecoms providers to ensure I have access to my boys and my parents at all times, for both their reassurance I am ok, and to enable them to contact me in emergencies.
  • What have I compromised to live aboard? (If anything?)
    1. I have sacrificed being with my boys, seeing my parents and being there for them in their older years. I miss my dogs a HUGE amount, and cannot wait to get my own boat so I can have them travel with me. I have also sacrificed my relationship, time with friends and have had to cut back on spending in certain areas of my life whilst the transition from land to sea has taken place. However, having said all that, I haven’t sacrificed myself, my integrity or my dream. My boys are old enough to make their own choices and travel alone on airlines (one on supervised flights) and they are old enough to set the agenda of my circumnavigation. Plus I am teaching them both that sometimes sacrificing something will always pay off in the long term, teaching them to think long term rather than just short term.
  • What do your friends think about your lifestyle and what do they most often ask about?
    1. Some of them think I am crazy, as they are the ones who would prefer to look out at the ocean from the safety of the beach or wine bar, mostly people think it is inspiring what I am doing. The female friends tell me they are jealous and wish they could just go and live their dream – thinking I am lucky and it is easy, which in some ways it is but we make our own luck, and the more I invest in myself, the luckier I get. The question they always ask me is “Don’t you miss the boys/how are the boys?” And of course I miss my boys! For me that is a bit of a stupid question. I don’t miss the day to day parenting though, or their bickering, but yes, of course I miss them.   I miss seeing them sleeping, I miss kissing them each and every night before I go to sleep, I miss their cheekiness, their ideas, our random conversations, singing with them, I miss their energy, but it’s making us all appreciate each other a lot more and the boys have got bragging rights about their mummy sailing around the world writing books – they are proud of me, and tell me I am still their Queen.
  • What does my family say about the lifestyle?
    1. The boys think it is great, and my parents are incredibly proud of me. My mum especially. She told me that this trip isn’t just for me, it is for her, and other women of her generation that ‘weren’t allowed or able to’ do this kind of thing. She thinks it is a great thing because I get to inspire other women who have given up on themselves to serve the families, and she loves the fact that I am honouring myself, and inspiring other women, ‘changing the world!’ as she says
  • How did I end up in Australia and on your way to Bali? How do you figure out where you’re going next?
    1. I started my trip in New Zealand and really had no idea what I was doing to be honest. I was just going with the flow. I knew where I wanted to go, and Bali was one of those places, Australia was simply the link country; plus I have friends and clients here so I wanted to meet them, some of them for the first time in person. When I was in New Zealand I joined the Oyster Rally and learnt that if I was going to sail around the world I would need to follow the trade winds and the weather systems due to monsoon and cyclone seasons. So that is really what dictates when I go and which direction, Visas, environmental and political situations also play a part, but a very small one. My boys are as I said above setting the agenda with the countries and activities they want to do, so I have a LONG list of places from them!
  • Tell me about the kind of vessels you’ve worked on and their impact on your vision for your future in yachting.
    1. I have sailed tall ships in Europe, luxury cruising yachts of up to 60’, gaff rigged ketches, race boats such as a Dafour and Young 88, I have sailed on catamarans and I know I am definitely a monohull girl. I love my old boats, and want a wooden one, although everyone else tells me this is a bad idea due to the amount of maintenance, but there is something very special about a wooden yacht. The history, the way they sound, the way they sail and the way they are laid out inside. I’ve always known I want to take my clients on board for coaching retreats, and teach others to sail, use the boat as an AirBnB between locations, raising awareness of the environment so it has been really useful to see how others operate their charter businesses and how they organise their life on board. Learning what I want, and of course what I do not want – for me or my clients and crew.
  • While you are working… tell me more about how you are spending your free time? Or shall I say, down time? You’re a writer.. so how does that play into all of this?
    1. My whole life is my free time, I have designed it that way. I don’t feel that I am working in anything I do, I am just being me, doing what I love. I have to write every single day, whether it is a business article for LinkedIn (this is something new) or whether it is writing my next manuscript, my next blog article or a short story for my international online book club. I love reading, so whilst sails are not being trimmed or I’m not helming, I am sat reading and looking out at the horizon, just being present, reflecting and allowing the ideas to flow. When we anchor up and the water is suitable i.e. no crocodiles or strong currents, then I swim or snorkel, on land I hike and explore through national parks to up to the summit of an island. I’m just being me, doing me and being free in every moment. Some think I am on holiday, but I don’t need a holiday from who I am and the life I have. Travelling and writing is my life, my life is one long holiday I suppose to some. Living the dream, which is what I coach others to do – discover or rediscover their dream and then go after it, however that looks for them.
  • What is the rough plan going forward? Where does this journey of yachting ‘end?’ (if ever?)
    1. I’m just going to just keep sailing, the world is a very big place and there are so many countries and islands to visit, people to see and adventures to be had. I don’t see it ending, I don’t see me living on land ever again, or becoming a grotty yachty in the process. I want to be free, to be me. That might change as I get older, but for now, my life is on the ocean, writing my books, coaching my clients and travelling the world.
  • Give me all the ways in which people can learn about your journey and follow your work?
    1. People can purchase my books on Amazon, as Kindle version or paperback, subscribe to my blog, follow my page on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn platforms (there are others but I don’t know which ones my Social media lady has created) and now they can subscribe to my You Tube channel where I will be posting short videos about life at sea. They can access pretty much all of that via my website dawnbates.com or by using the tag @DawneeBe or my name Dawn Bates. If they wish to work with me as a client, have me speak at an event, write for them or interview me, they can reach me through those channels as well.

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