Every month I interview someone who has made the transition from working and living on a yacht to a land-based life. This month I spoke with Gillian Kennedy, who is now a wellness and lifestyle coach.
How long did you work in yachting? Can you tell me about your yachting career – highlights, low points?
Originally from the middle of Canada, I found my way to yachting while I was backpacking around Europe. My 1 or 2 seasons to save money to keep travelling turned into about 11 years in yachting. I did 8.5 years then left for 3 years to study Naturopathy in Australia then went back for about 3 years.
The highlights were definitely all the friends that I made from all over the world, and of course the travel and the social life. I would say it was by far the best way I could’ve spent my 20s and all while saving money!
There are so many more highlights: the family feeling when you have an amazing crew; numerous heli rides in some incredible places; calm Atlantic crossings and jumping in just over half way to the Caribbean; meeting celebrities; and mostly, all the fun I’ve had with crew and the mischief we used to get up to back in the day with all the pranks between the boats.
The low points I would have to say were those long endless party nights on board – aching legs, so tired, no idea when the guests are going to leave or go to bed, and a pantry full of glasses & dishes. Then having to get up a few hours later and do it all over again!
How did you know it was time for you to make the move to land?
I knew that I wanted to follow a different career path after studying Naturopathy. I did a one year online Health Coaching course after I went back to boats, and then made a plan to start up my own business after I left yachts. Being a chief stewardess wasn’t fulfilling me anymore and I knew it was time to follow the health and wellness career path that I was passionate about. I wanted to live in a more balanced and healthy environment, to be able to buy and make the healthy food I wanted, to be able to go to yoga & fitness classes all year round.
What was the most difficult thing about the transition?
I would say it’s not getting that salary anymore and earning tax-free money! I am still struggling with that! Also I miss the travel and excitement of always being somewhere new and having the financial freedom to travel wherever you want in the world whenever you get time off.
What was the best thing about it?
The best thing was being more in control of my life, my schedule and how I want to live. It’s so nice to have my own space with most of my stuff in one place, and have people come to visit me. Although I do miss that crew mess banter and camaraderie sometimes! Not having to deal with all the politics is also a plus.
What do you do now?
I am a Wellness and Lifestyle Coach. I help busy, driven women who lack energy, suffer from hormonal imbalances, have trouble sleeping, who are stressed but who are also feeling stuck and who are trying to figure out their true purpose in life but who are either scared or just not sure of where to start (www.wellnessgypsy.com)
I am also a Yoga Instructor and have just started teaching classes at One Ocean Port Vell for anyone in Barcelona!
I launched Savvy Survival (www.savvysurvival.net) with Kate Munro Boot specifically for women in yachting and we created an online 21 Day Wellness Overhaul Program which is available to download and do wherever and whenever, as we wanted to help girls in yachting lead a more balanced life and stay healthier, active, and happier all year round and not just in the down times.
I also do consultant work with How2Yachts and am certified to open Offshore Standard Bank accounts for yachties as well as FX Currency Exchange accounts.
Do you have any advice for fellow yachties about going land-based?
I do! First I would definitely recommend having a plan. Have an idea of what you want to do, how you will do it, and how much it will cost. Real life is expensive and paying tax and bills suck! It takes some time to re-adjust to normal spending habits and scaling down a yachtie-lifestyle. Cash flows out pretty quickly and doesn’t flow back in so easily in the real world! Letting go of your attachment to money is important because there is always going to be an adjustment period. Adopting a successful person’s mindset of always believing there will be more and letting go of the fear of losing money will help a lot. I would also recommend buying at least one property before you leave yachting as it’s such an easy way to save that kind of money and invest it. I wish I’d bought a second property!
2nd ‘Solstici Seu’ Double Rosette in Palma Cathedral
Twice a year, on February 2nd and November 11th, between 8 and 9 in the morning, the sun is in just the right position to shine through the rosette window of the cathedral under the opposite window, to create a beautiful figure of eight effect.
5th Almond Blossom Fair, Son Servera
A celebration of all things made from almonds, at this wonderful time when the many almonds trees on the island blossom. The event is held in the 13th century country estate Cases de Ca s’ Hereu,
25th & 26th Sa Rueta and Sa Rua Street Carnivals, Palma
Fancy dress parades through the centre of the city, with the children’s parade on the Saturday and the main procession on the Sunday.