Monday 16 September 2019

Fluenta in the News and the Comments ...

Five years ago CBC asked to interview us when we were visiting back in Nova Scotia after we travelled from Mexico to New Zealand.  They followed up with a radio interview this year before our departure from Majuro and another on passage.  CBC complemented these with web articles that were republished on MSN and elsewhere (friends in California even saw the article in their news feed).  An Albertan CBC station also interviewed us while we were on passage.

The first article can be found here and the follow-on article here

In 2014 at the CBC studios in Halifax after crossing from Mexico to New Zealand.  Benjamin, aged barely one at the point, was thankfully sleeping.

We were a bit apprehensive or curious to see how the interview was received but we were a bit shocked when we found out there were 310 comments in a few days !  We heard about all the comments from family when we were at sea and we were worried it would be a big pile of negativity like confronted our friends in Rebel Heart when they needed to be rescued in 2014. 

Fortunately most of the comments were like these:
  • "I love this story! What an incredible adventure and gift for this family! I wish them all the best with their new life in BC." 
  • "These kids will have been taught a kind of education that they never could have received from traditional schooling. How very fortunate for them. Wonderful story."
  • "How about the memories made on such an endeavour? What a great experience. Props to the Shaws for doing things differently. Cheers. 
  • "That an amazing experience for the family! They’ve created memories and helped build lifelong skills in their kids. Thanks for showing a happy life in a different way of living!"  " 
  • "All the sights, sounds and smells, and food and cultures these children have known and shared in. What a wonderous thing. Good on the family ." 
  • "Way to go team. What a terrific testimony to your vision for your family and pursued adventure of long time cruising. Without doubt your planning skills (we know where you two got that confidence), taking advantage of your personal enthusiasm for life and shaping an experience for your children that will frankly advantage them in this busy world is outstanding. All the best on your next "change in life"."
  • "Life is a gift. This family is certainly enjoying theirs. Welcome home"
Others were just funny like this one:
  •  "How awful to make your kids vulnerable to all kinds of dangers health wise and natural dangers like possible terrible encounters with whales and sharks."  Whales ! Yes, much better to be dodging traffic and crime in some city (I have traveled a bit beyond this sailing trip but my only significant impact from crime has been two break ins in Ottawa and one in Dartmouth.  None from the boat !).  Anyway, dangerous photos of whales and sharks below

Swimming with whales in Tonga

and sharks ...
In a lot of the cases other commenters mocked or tried to correct the negative comments like in this one:
  • "What a selfish experience these parents inflicted on their children" mocked by the next commenter below
  • "Ya, those whole "world travel" and "self-reliance" things surely must put the kids at a disadvantage."
 or in this case:
  • "Last I checked kids need social interaction outside of the family unit, to develop coping mechanisms. Can’t imagine there’s much of that going on in the middle of the ocean"
  • Followed up  by multiple comments pointing out that the negative commenter obviously had not read the article or noted about the wide range people the kids have interacted with from widely varying cultures and backgrounds.  A few photos showing the lack of social interaction:
Kids camping ashore in Navadra Fiji.  No parents allowed and kids from Belgium, Spain, USA, Sweden, Australia and of course Canada with ages from one to 13.

With our host family at Fulanga in the remote Lau Group of Fiji.

and more recently Enejelar village in the even more remote Ailuk Atoll where we have spent almost four months over over two visits.

And the obvious question of money came up:
  • "Nice to be rich" said one commenter to which someone replied,
  • "What makes you think they are rich? The cost of a boat is a lot less than the cost of a house. Without a mortgage, car loans, etc. their monthly expenses would be pretty low. And they would both have military pensions." Although we do realise we are very fortunate to be in the situation where we can do an adventure like this.
 And oddly some food comments too:
  • "Must be vegans.Three servings of kelp everyday." Which was a bit strange considering the front photo was of Johnathan filleting a tuna ... or
  • "I think I'd crave a pizza every now and then!" and "They can get one on any of the islands they visit. :)" Hmmm  ... not a lot of pizza on many of the islands we visited other than areas where there was a tourism industry.

A feast with the other "kid boats" and our hosts in Fulaga.  Nobody was disappointed there was no pizza.

The kids and I "helped" the local ladies catch the mud crabs.  A caught one for a whole morning's work and the ladies caught a whole bag.

We went ashore in Nasasobu to go to church with Liz's parents and were invited to stay for lunch and kava too.

There were several along this vein too:
  • "I would love to hear/ see their story in a longer format, is a book or TV special in the works".
  • "How many of us really have the guts to follow our dreams? Not many! They have made future sailors out of all the children as well as collected a full life time of memories which I'm sure will be passed on in their families! I hope one of them writes a book and also children's books!! Good for them!"
  • "fabulous story! please write the book! welcome home" 
Well never say never but there is no intention at the moment for a book. We have been invited to present at two boat shows though. More to follow on that.

And finally my favourite comment was the theme song from the TV Show "The Littlest Hobo" that we have watched as a family when we have had good internet and could be our unofficial theme song too as it plays in my head as we leave a country:

There's a voice, That keeps on calling me
Down the road, That's where I'll always be
Every stop I make, I make a new friend
Can't stay for long, Just turn around
and I'm gone again.................