Back To Sailing Onward

Nicole Family 04-16-17

Hello friends and family!  After a couple year sabbatical from blogging, the time feels right to take up my pen and share the joys and struggles of our past couple years.  The great news is that we are all alive and well and very busy planning our big sail to the South Pacific and beyond in Spring 2018.  The plan is to sail through all the islands of French Polynesia then on to Fiji and New Zealand (or maybe Australia, still time to decide).  After that we will see which way the wind blows, maybe more South Pacific Islands or maybe Southeast Asia (Malasia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines etc) or maybe we will buy a Land Cruiser in Africa and spend a year wandering that amazing continent.  I think half the fun of travel is not knowing what is next.  We have 3000 miles of sailing from Mexico to French Polynesia, that will give us about 3 weeks to decide where we will go after that.

The struggle part of our lives is that a year and a half ago Jack was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer with metastasis to 4 lymph nodes in his neck.  We were planning to sail to French Polynesia last year but this diagnosis changed everything.  He tried various natural treatments with some degree of success, reduction in lymph node swelling and decrease in primary tumor size.  However after 8 months he decided it was time to hit it with the big guns.  Last summer he went through chemo and radiation in Tijuana Mexico.  We found excellent doctors and state of the art facilities.  We lived on our boat at the beautiful Hotel Coral Marina in Ensenada and drove the 3 hour round trip to Tijuana daily for 8 weeks of radiation with chemo every 3 weeks.  So much more I could write about all this, and I might someday, but the short version is that the cancer is gone!  Jack just had his 9 month scan and it was perfect.  Praise God!  He/we have been through a lot in the past year.  Chemo and radiation are beasts, but they killed the bigger beast and he got through it like a champ.  I so love this strong man I married almost 9 years ago!  He feels he has a new lease on life and we are taking our family motto “seize the day!” to a new level.

We had such a good experience with cancer treatment in Mexico, I actually toyed with the idea of starting a medical tourism business.  I loved the close contact we had with the doctors, I could WhatsApp them at any time to ask questions or report problems and they would text right back or call.  The radiation oncologist became a close friend and has been to our boat twice with his family.  We were able to pay cash for all scans and treatment, very affordable.  I quickly nixed the “medical tourism” business idea because it would have taken us in a totally different direction and we were already living our dream.

So … the current plan is:  my dad flys in this Friday June 2 for ten days to help us with final boat preparations.  I drop my dad off at the San Diego airport June 12 and pick up Buzzy and Paddy, good friends and hot air balloon pilots on our ballooning team who will crew with us 700 miles from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas.

After that it’s sailing and diving over the summer in the Sea of Cortez and continuing to prepare the boat for our 2018 circumnavigation.  We are thankful for friends who have already signed up for various legs of our upcoming journey.  In keeping with early 17th century British Royal Navy tradition, and their 1 gallon a day ration of beer for the sailors, I do have a brewery on the boat and make some pretty tasty IPAs, but I can’t promise the sailors ration of 1 gallon of beer per day to our crew.  Wowzers!


About Oh, the Places We've Been!

In 2008 I married Jack, the love of my life and the only man that could ever keep up with me. Instead of the nice little French Colonial with a white picket fence, we opted to make our home on the 46-foot catamaran "Let it Be". Since living on a sailboat we've had two kids and sailed thousands of miles along the coast of Central America, the United States, the Bahamas and currently Baja California. Our family of four is always ready for the next adventure and we’re never quite sure where it will take us next. Oh, the places we still have yet to go!
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17 Responses to Back To Sailing Onward

  1. Klipp, Sondra says:


    What a story with such an open and positive outlook. I am so glad Jack has this great opportunity. And what a positive impression of your medical treatment in Mexico!

    All my best,


  2. Thomas Oates says:

    Thanks for the update. Gloria and I have always enjoyed reading about your adventures. Take good care of your dad when he visits.

    Tom & Gloria

    • Oh, the Places We've Been! says:

      Thanks Tom & Gloria. I will take good care of my dad, he is one awesome man. So happy he can come spend time with us.

  3. Charlotte Kyllonen says:

    Has it really been over 9 years since we worked together? Have loved reading your adventures with your family. Praise God your husband has been cured from cancer. I look forward to reading your blogs on your trip. Be safe but enjoy!

    • Mindy Dudenbostel says:

      I was thinking the same thing Charlotte. I can’t wait to read about your adventures Nicole.

  4. Carol McGrath says:

    You are all so amazing! Sending love and prayers. 😘

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. karen says:

    I have missed your posts ! Glad to hear Jack is doing well ! Stay safe and keep on blogging.

  6. Jane Willis says:

    I have missed hearing your adventures and can’t wait to hear the new o we. What a BLESSING to hear the cancer is gone , ,,,nada,,,,, done with forever..
    Love and hugs from SC

  7. Tifani baker says:

    So jealous. Glad you are living the dream and glad jack is clear. So happy for you. Kids are beautifuk

  8. kimberly beeman says:

    Dear friend, so thrilled to hear Jack is well. I think you inspire all those who know you to seize the day. After working an oncology ICU now for the past year, I know how much cancer can rob you of, and I hear all the “if only..” plans never made or kept. God speed in your next excursion, I Always love hearing about your adventures. Tu amiga, Kim

  9. martha newall says:

    So glad to hear all is well and you are back on track with your dream. I envy Buzzy and Paddy sailing with you to Cabo. The kids will enjoy having Paddy around. Safe journey and good breezes to move you along. Hope to see you before you leave in 2018. Kisses to all. Love yu guys!!

  10. Alyson says:

    What wonderful news of Jack! Praise God! You all look terrific. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. I sure have missed them!

  11. Your family and lifestyle is such an inspiration. We admire you immensely.

  12. Sandy kibler says:

    Love reading your updates! So glad Jack is cured. Sorry we couldn’t get together while you were home. I wanted to see the kiddos.

  13. Nancy Sheridan says:

    Jack & Nicole,
    Your blog is a fantastic read. So glad to hear everyone is well and off to a great adventure. Looking forward to reading and seeing photos of your trip.

    Smooth sailing and fresh warm breezes,
    Nancy & Richard
    (vivió previamente en Guanaja)

  14. nsheridan says:

    Jack & Nicole,
    Love reading your blog and I’m so happy to hear that everyone is well and you are off to a great adventure. I’m looking forward to following your crossing.
    Smooth sailing, fresh warm breezes!
    Nancy Sheridan
    (previously lived on Guanaja)

  15. Laurie and Marc Provencal says:

    Hola from Trovita. Leaving Abel’s dock. Heading out to Bahia Los Angeles. See you out there. SV TROVITA

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