An Eco-friendly around the world mission by boat.

Formerly career focused Scott and Mie, both in their 30s, decided to sail around the world with no set end date to try to find ways to combine a fun adventure with a reduced environmental impact. They hope to show people that choosing an alternative lifestyle is not only good for you, it can also be good for the environment.

They don’t see themselves as true environmentalists or idealists, but they hope to use their travels around the world to raise awareness about the impact that our consumption and infrastructure around fossil fuels are having on the environment and particularly those less fortunate than us and to see how these impacts can be reduced.

 

Ella got very inspired by their journey and managed to reach them and get to know more about their initiative.

Hi! How come you are doing this?

We are of course aware of how privileged we are to have won the passport lottery, being lucky in our careers and even having the chance of doing something like this. But the higher we climbed up the socioeconomic ladders, the never-ending spiral of make more, consume more, pollute more…  Seemed self-destructive to us, which led us to this decision. Both of us are curious and a bit nerdy. With this we hope to educate ourselves on the various impacts and figure out how we can make smarter choices that cause less damage to the environment, without significantly impacting our quality of life. Our dream is to come up with smart choices that we and others can apply to our lives on land.

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How´s life on the boat?

By living on the boat, we can fully keep track on everything we bring on and off the ship. It’s almost like we have our own ecosystem and are forced to take very good care of it since it affects us instantly.  Since we’re just normal people trying to do less harm to the environment, we live a pretty comfortable life aboard. The boat has more conveniences and appliances than our apartments back in Sweden, but the key difference compared to life on land is that we made a very conscious effort to minimize our impact. For example, we run the dishwasher, washing machine, microwave and the induction cooker using mostly solar power. We are extremely careful with our water usage and what we put down the drain, because we can literally see what we do to the ocean environment

Has there been any dangerous situations so far?

We had only been sailing for two months, when we dragged anchor at midnight in a crazy unexpected storm, which caused some damage to our boat. We had four friends on board that night and even though we were never in danger, we still reflected a lot about not only our responsibility for ourselves and the boat, but also for the people we brought on board.

Weather isn’t the only challenge we face. The ocean environment is one of the most hostile on earth to electronics and machinery. You take a salty environment and shake constantly and the result is predictable.  A boat consists of thousands of parts and something is always breaking so you’re constantly in a race to maintain and replace parts before the sea destroys it. Given that neither of us are engineers, we had to learn a lot in a very short period of time.

Finally, we aim to include our friends and family, and maybe some strangers, on this adventure. We’ve had up to 6 people aboard at once and expect more in the future. They don’t always know each other beforehand. Compared to just inviting them all to dinner in town, we put them into a confined space, sometimes without a means of escape for weeks at a time! Luckily, we’ve done reasonably well with this ‘social experiment’ part of our adventure, but we would be lying if we said that all the crew combinations worked perfectly.


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3 fun facts:

1. The idea idea about sailing around the world was half-jokingly mentioned on Mie and Scott’s very first date. Only 6 months after that, the purchase documents for Tengah were signed and the dream got one step closer to reality.

2. The boat, Tengah, is named after Pulau Babi Tengah, the island in Malaysia where Scott and his family stayed for 16 months as refugees from post-war Vietnam. The island represents a significant milestone on his family’s journey to a better life in the US. Tengah Island is also the location of the first “Expedition Robinson” TV series in Sweden.

3. Tengah is an Amel 54 bluewater sailing yacht with a length overall of 17.2 meters (56 feet). She was built with the single purpose of crossing oceans in comfort. She’s a sailing ketch (2 masts) and has enough berths to comfortably sleep 7 people and 9 in a pinch. She has a diesel generator, only being used when absolutely necessary. Most of the energy on the boat is generated by a 1 kilowatt solar array.