In today’s travel chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time, full-time travel blogger and circumnavigation sailor Lisa Dorenfest, shares how she has already visited 64 countries, despite not getting started with sailing around the world until she was 50.
It’s been quite a journey for this inspiring mature travel blogger who weaves wonderful stories of the places she’s been and the adventures she’s had. Before you dip into her blog, here’s Lisa’s story:
Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m currently floating with my partner aboard Amandla in The Sea of Cortez.
I am a circumnavigating sailor & visual storyteller. My dream to sail around the world has carried me across 360° of longitude to 64 countries and I completed my first circumnavigation in Panama in November 2019.
Q1. When did you start travelling?
I started sailing around the world with The Captain in February 2013, at the age of 50.
Q2. Where did you go on your first trip, and why?
Our first sail together was from Isla Mujeres, Mexico, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a 513 nautical miles sailing passage with a stopover in Key West. We brought the boat to Florida for a one-month refit before setting off on our grand adventure.
Q3. How would you describe your travel style?
The adventurer side of me likes to travel deeply, letting serendipity be my tour guide with the only limitation on schedules being the winds and weather. However, the overachiever side of me wanted to circumnavigate in two years and get back to work. Thankfully, my partner slowed me down, and I’ve enjoyed over seven years with him on the high-seas.
Q4. What do you love most about travelling? And what drives you crazy?
My favourite aspect of travelling is: immersing myself in new cultures.
My biggest challenge is: lifting anchor and leaving a port that has become like home while visiting there.
Q5. How do you most like to travel? (mode of transport)
A sailboat. Wherever I go, I am home, only my backyard changes.
Q6. Are you a planner or a last-minute traveller?
I am a seasonal planner, identifying our ultimate destinations based on weather patterns and the general points in between. Otherwise, I prefer to linger where I like and let chance encounters carry us where they will.
Q7. Are you a full-time or part-time traveller?
I am a full-time traveller. Even when I stop moving for an extended period to replenish the cruising kitty, I feel that I am still traveling and can find adventure wherever I am. For me, travel is a state of mind.
Q8. Do you travel differently today to how you did in your 20s and 30s? What’s changed, and why?
In my 20s and 30s, I viewed travel as something that I did for a few weeks a year when I had time off from work. Now, I find adventure in my every day, wherever I may be.
Q9. Has Coronavirus made you think differently about your future travels?
After completing our first sailing circumnavigation in Panama at the end of last year, our plan for 2020 was to store the boat in Baja, Mexico, and return to the US to replenish the cruising kitty.
But by the time we’d sailed from Panama City to La Paz, Mexico, the coronavirus had travelled to every country in the world. Rather than proceed with our original plan, we opted to remain aboard our boat until the coronavirus situation stabilized, with me pursuing job opportunities remotely
Q10. Tell us about the most memorable place you’ve visited so far
The list is endless, but the first one that comes to mind is Nosy Be, Madagascar. Culturally rich. Favourable winds. Comfortable anchorages. Amazing wildlife. Visually pleasing. Affordable.
Q11. Is there anywhere you wouldn’t go, or a type of travel/experience you wouldn’t be comfortable with?
I’d pretty much travel anywhere, only steering clear of active war zones. I prefer sea and overland and travel to air travel, and it is highly unlikely that you’ll see me parachuting out of an airplane in this lifetime.
Q12. If you could live in one other country, here would you choose, and why?
The world is my country. Every time I visit somewhere new, I think, “oh, I could totally live here.” One place that comes to mind is Vietnam. Vibrant, diverse culture, energetic expat community, endless beauty, etc.
Q13. What’s the worst travel mistake/regret you’ll admit to?
Knowingly sailing into lousy weather to accommodate guests. We’ve vowed never to do that again after voyaging from the Gambier Islands to The Marquesas in storm-force winds.
Q14. What do you do first when you arrive somewhere new?
Drop the dinghy in the water and head for shore.
Q15. How do you stay healthy when travelling?
With a hope and a prayer. The possibility of illness is always top of mind. We’ve circumnavigated the world with cancer, with us being treated for it or other maladies in a combined ten different countries. Our most recent visit was a surgery La Paz, Mexico, for an obstructed intestine, The Captain’s, hopefully, our last medical emergency.
Q16. What wouldn’t you leave home without in your cabin bag?
My Title Nine flowery sailing-skort (a gift from blogger Lex Klein)
Q17. Which movie(s) or book(s) have inspired your travels?
- Little House on The Prairie
- Peter Pan
- From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler
- The Martian Chronicles
- Life on The Mississippi
- Eat Pray Love
- A Voyage of Madmen
- The Alchemist
Q18. What are the best and the worst things you’ve eaten on your travels?
Best – Homemade Ice Cream at an Illinois Farm long ago. Worst – Tripe.
Q19.When choosing somewhere to visit, what’s most important to you?
Is it on my (very circuitous) way?
Q20. Tell us about three midlife bloggers you follow and why their blogs inspire you.
- The Single Handed Sailor: Dustin Reynolds is my favourite Captain of mid-adventure. His blog chronicles his legendary escapades as he attempts to become the first double-amputee to circumnavigate the globe solo.
- One Foot Out The Door: When I grow up, I want to write like Lex Klein. She doesn’t publish often, but when she does, it is to be savoured. And she was crazy enough to take a leap of faith and fly halfway around the world (with two bags of boat parts) to sail Madagascar with us even though we’d never met in person.
- Wish I Were Here: Julie Riso’s writing is everything I’ve said about Lex‘s, but we haven’t met in person… yet. Travelling with this vast soul through place and time is a stirring, ethereal experience.
Q21. What’s #1 on your travel bucket list, and why?
It’s a tie. Either sail around the world AGAIN #victorylap or take a roundtrip from London to China via rail. Why? Because there is so much out there to explore.
Q22. Where are you planning to visit next?
The United States, via The Sea of Cortez.
A Little More Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time
Lisa’s Top 3 Travel Tips:
Top packing tip
If it doesn’t fit in your bag, you don’t need it.
How to survive long-haul flying
Meditation to relax, media to distract, and medication if all else fails. Better yet, sail or rail there if you have time.
How to stay safe when travelling
Keep your eyes open
Final Quick Words for this Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time
- Self-guided travel or join a tour? Self-guided
- Window seat or aisle? Window
- Favourite thing to wear for travelling? My Title Nine flowery sailing-skort (a gift from fellow blogger Lex Klein)
- Favourite Country? Canada
- Checked bags or carry on only? Carry-on
- Book or Kindle? Kindle
- Best travel resource(s) – Noonsite and The Man in Seat 61
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More Travel Chats
While you’re here, why not take a peek at more travel chats with inspiring travel bloggers? They have so many tales to tell!
If you have any feedback or suggestions for other mature travel bloggers to interview, please let me know in the comments box below! If you have any questions, feel free to ask too. Be sure to subscribe to my mailing list by popping your email in the form below and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter
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