A family of four has sold all of their possessions, including their home, to go sailing around the world after their father nearly died from a brain haemorrhage.
Four years ago, Glenn Robertson, 46, was clinging onto life in a hotel room with a severe headache, loss of vision, no ability to walk and a pain down his spine as things were ‘touch and go’.
Although he’s still recovering, his near-fatal ordeal made him realise that life was too short, so he proposed the idea to go travelling with his family.
To fund their spontaneous travels full-time, the New Zealand family made some sacrifices by downsizing their home to a yacht.
A family of four decided to drop everything and sail the world after the father suffered a brain haemorrhage four years ago
‘To buy the yacht and cruise for a few years we have had to sell our house and cars. We did think about selling the kids but we decided they are pretty awesome so thought they might be useful on the boat,’ Nicky Robertson, 45, joked as she told FEMAIL.
‘When we are ready to move onto land again we will have to sell the boat.’
Glenn and Nicky and their daughters Caitlyn, 17, and Amelia, 13, are planning on sailing for 18 to 20 months.
‘We left our hometown in Blenheim on the 22nd March and headed to Auckland where we had an Ed Sheeran concert to go to,’ Nicky explained.
They had to make some sacrifices to make this work financially, but they knew it was worthwhile
Glenn and Nicky (centre) and their daughters Caitlyn, 17, (right) and Amelia, 13,(left) are planning on sailing for 18 to 20 months
‘From there we went to Paris for four days then to Malta on the 30th March which is where we went through the boat procedures with the owner, sea trials and a lot of paper work,’ she added.
‘Then we will set sail towards Italy, Greece and Turkey then back west towards the Atlantic to the Caribbean Panama Canal, down to the Galápagos Islands then across the Pacific and home to New Zealand by Christmas 2019 but nothing is set in concrete.’
Sailing isn’t anything new for the family, who have owned a yacht since 1999 and the daughters have been on boats since they were babies.
Glenn has an extensive range of sailing experience from his time at a yacht club as a teenager, coaching in his 20s and inshore and offshore racing with a couple of national titles to date.
Sailing isn’t anything new for the family, who have owned a yacht since 1999 and the daughters have been on boats since they were babies
So far they have been to Paris and Malta, with places such as Italy, Greece and Turkey on the way
‘Nicky and I had always planned to take off to the South Pacific when we retired. Having your retirement brought forward changes your perspective and we thought let’s do this why the girls are still at home, providing they want too,’ Glenn explained.
Glenn was suggested the idea by a friend who was planning on sailing with his family later this year.
‘So I thought why not, I’m not working, I have no income or government assistance and we now live off my wife’s income.’
This income is what they made before they left for the trip, as now Nicky has also had to leave her job to make this dream a reality.
‘Nicky and I had always planned to take off to the South Pacific when we retired. Having your retirement brought forward changes your perspective,’ Glenn said
Glenn was suggested the idea by a friend who was planning on sailing with his family later this year
Glenn’s brain haemorrhage changed his life as he was continually fatigued, had daily headaches and was still blind in one eye until seven months later.
He went back to his job as a project manager, starting with one hour a day and slowly worked his way back up to working normal hours.
Glenn told FEMAIL that he wasn’t working like he used to and heavily relied on his colleagues, even though he had been doing the job for 20 years.
‘I stayed at work until things just became too much and really started to have a negative effect on me,’ he said.
‘Work were fantastic about everything but in the end I had to go, it wasn’t only not good for me I was putting some of my work mates under additional pressure.’
Glenn’s brain haemorrhage changed his life as he was continually fatigued, had daily headaches and was still blind in one eye until seven months later
Now 12 months after leaving his job Glenn still suffers from a range of issues, such as sleep deprivation, fatigue and daily headaches of varying intensity.
‘I have vision issues, especially depth perception, bad balance, high blood pressure, memory loss, mood swings, which I work really hard on controlling, and I have put on 30 kilos!’ he said.
Despite all of this, he hasn’t lost the ability to sail, which is what has kept Glenn ‘ticking along’.
The decision to take time off from their everyday life to sail the high seas was an easy one for Glenn, but before they made up their minds, the matter had to be discussed as a family.
They also consulted necessary doctors to see if this was something they could do considering Glenn’s health.
‘My exact words were “let’s go tomorrow”,’ Caitlyn said.
Now 12 months after leaving his job Glenn still suffers from a range of issues, such as sleep deprivation, fatigue and daily headaches of varying intensity
The decision to take time off from their everyday life to sail the high seas was an easy one for Glenn
For Amelia it took a little bit more convincing as she had to get used to the idea.
‘My initial thought was no, because I didn’t want to leave family and friends; leave the “normal”,’ she said.
‘On the other hand, I knew it was a once in a life time adventure, and knew I’d regret it if I did say no.
‘I had some friendship issues not long after the idea had been brought up, and that totally changed my attitude, I was then ready to take on a crazy adventure.’
Caitlyn and Amelia are doing correspondence for their schooling as Amelia is in her first year of high school and Caitlyn is in her last.
‘I wasn’t too keen on the correspondence idea at first. Now I am warming up to it. I’ve always wanted to travel yet I never thought about travelling this way!’ Caitlyn explained.
‘Of course we would both miss friends and family but it’s not like we will be gone forever, just a few years.’
‘My initial thought was no, because I didn’t want to leave family and friends; leave the ‘normal’,’ Caitlyn said
They made sure that they consulted necessary doctors to see if this was something they could do considering Glenn’s health
Amelia said she was happy to start correspondence: ‘I can still talk to my friends through social media, and as Caitlyn said, it’s not like we won’t see them again.’
Now the family has learnt to not take anything for granted as they believe that there have been some real positives that have led them to where they are now.
‘The family unit is strong, open and honest and we have a lot of laughs. I am a strong believer in the old ‘live, laugh, love’ saying as well as taking time out to smell the flowers,’ Glenn said.
‘It is so important to live life and not let it pass you by. Love those dearest to you and lap up those moments of laughter whilst they are there because life is challenging.
‘Sit down and soak up what is around you or what tickles your fancy, whether it’s sitting on a mountaintop enjoying the view, on the beach watching the waves roll in or as we are now, parked up in Malta sitting on a boat looking at St Pauls cathedral.’