Skip to main content

How quarantining is like sailing across the Atlantic?

We aren’t on a boat now in the middle of the Atlantic. But many of us in quarantine because of COVID 19 are experiencing aspects of what it’s like to sail across an ocean. You may not realize it, but you’re training your seamanship skills!

One of the things that draw me most out to the sea is the disconnection from everything but nature. Some of the feelings I’m having now are similar to what I’ve had out sailing across the Atlantic. It reminds me of the rewards of sailing an ocean. So I thought It would be nice to shine a positive light on the crisis we’re experiencing now. There are some good things to take away from it!

How is quarantining similar to sailing across the Atlantic? And what can you take-away from it?

sail as crew

It is what it is and we have to deal with it. While a sailing passage is a choice, covid 19 lockdown and social isolation aren’t. This is not about you, it’s for the common good. We can either resist and loose energy doing that or we can accept that the sails are set, go with it and make the best out of it. We need to be inventive, creative, adaptable, and flexible. And we got this. We are resourceful by nature. We take on roles we may not usually take on from cooking, to teaching, and to fixing things. Personalities are coming together 24/7 in one small space. The tiniest habits and behaviours can become an annoyance. We simply have to adapt.

Take-away: Can’t change it? Accept it! It is what it is. You’ll have more energy to focus on what matters. See the problems as challenges and celebrate the little wins. And you are saving lives in the process of doing all this!

Stuck in a small space with others, A key Take-away

We’re stuck in a small space with limitations on moving, either by rule or by space. On a boat, there are simply only so many meters you can walk. And for us in lockdown, we’re not allowed to go anywhere unless it’s essential. If you’re alone it can be very alone. And if you’re with fellow crew or in lockdown with family, loves, friends, or kids it may be very challenging to keep the peace, and peace of mind.

Take-away: We may not be able to move far or run away but what CAN we do? You can create a little spcace for yourself, set certain hours for yourself, put up the headphones. At sea we do watches. This could work on lockdown too. I wouldn’t want to suggest to do 3 hours on 3 hours off day and night but you can rotate roles and rooms to get some privacy. And in the movement department. What CAN you do? Yoga, dance, lift things, jump, jump, jump. On earth, you have the luxury of a floor that doesn’t move. Look at what you do have.

Who cares what you look like

No one cares what we look like. We go days without seeing or wearing our shoes. I’m practically wearing the same thing everyday.

Take-away: What a timesaver. A little thing to be grateful for. And also a realization that we really don’t need all those clothes. Take this time to do a little cleanup. Give away the clothes you don’t wear and need. Someone else will be happy with it.


Thoughtful provisioning

We provision like our lives depend on it. Because it does! We stock up for weeks because we don’t know when is the next time we can stock up again. We choose what we’re going to eat based on what needs to be eaten, not based on what we want to eat. And we’re managing pretty well, don’t we? Our creativity kicks in! As well as our gratefulness for when we do have fresh fruit in the fruit bowl again and some greens to superpower ourselves.

Take-away: You don’t need to go shopping that often. Be creative with what you have. And be proud of what you’re able to do with what you have.


What day is it?

We lose the sense of time. Our agendas are on hold. We don’t have jobs, appointments and meetings to go do. On offshore passage, we still have routine with watch schedules. For many of us in lockdown, the whole schedule disappeared.

Take-away: Keep some sort of routine to keep you healthy and sane. Start the days by working out, or tidying up. Keep the mornings for working and the afternoons for playing and digitally socializing. Some sort of structure will help to keep us sane. But keep some space for losing the time. We finally start pursuing those hobbies we always wanted to or we now finally get that creative juice flowing because we have the space in our heads. Keep that space for when we are in the new up running world.



Did you know that an average person makes 2,800 choices in a day? Whether it’s true or not I don’t know, but I believe we’re close to that. 

Just stroll through the supermarket, and you’re already 100 decisions further. Isn’t that IN-SANE? Realise how much of our energy that takes. Now our choices have been cut down and we have extra energy for being, enjoying, living and to just simply let the mind wander. We’re back from human doings to human beings. We have the same view day in day out. Have a closer look to what really is happening around you. We’ll start to look at our lives differently.


Take away: Use this time to simply let the mind wander. And to question things. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Perhaps it’s time to adjust the course in some areas of your life

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

— MARCEL PROUST (French Novelist)


We are Inventive

We can’t just hire someone to fix something. We have to be inventive as situations arise. This is how we learn. This is how we grow. There is no shop or google on the middle of the Atlantic. And with many of us in strict lockdown, there is no handyman or shop at hand.

Take-away: You’re way more capable than you think yourself capable of. Learn by doing. Go fix those things that have been broken since forever and now you have no ecuses to not go about it . At least try. And Next time that thing is broken, try to fix it yourself first before calling in for help. You got this!


We’re learning

We’re able to finish a couple of books, podcasts, courses movies and arrive a wiser man or woman. When else do we take the time to observe, read and learn? Socially, mentally and physically, we grow.
Take-away: This is your time to expand your knowledge, skills and hobbies. Read that book. Learn the guitar. Take that course. (Udemy and Skillshare have mega discounted their offer this month). But be highly selective on what you consume. There is so much good stuff out there but also so much fear manifesting noise. Choose wisely. And share the wisdom. I’m continuously expanding the Resources page with my recommendations on books, movies, docu’s.


Both at sea and now in social isolation, we’re disconnected from society. It may have taken us a few days of restlessness to adjust to the new status quo. But the social pressure is off and we’re re-connecting with ourselves.

Take-away: Disconnect more often. Set social boundaries. Ditch the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and welcome the JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) . Live with intention. Focus on the purpose-driven experiences and adventures that help you grow as a person. Not the experiences to simply pass the time. What you focus on expands. Do connect with your people every day. Share the love. At sea, we don’t always have that luxury but when we do, it’s priceless.

sailing-the-atlantic-oceanWe don’t spend money

We’re not going to the shop. We look around and realize what we actually already have. Take-away: Be happy with what you have. It’s more than enough.



We don’t know when we arrive. Days, weeks, maybe months lay ahead of us. Who knows. We don’t know what the weather will do and we have to adjust the sails along the way. We’ve planned and prepared, and it doesn’t go as planned. We’re in an adventurous state of mind. It’s a new situation that we are in and there are situations to tackle we haven’t tackled before. We’re becoming more self-reliant and expand on our skills and abilities. 

Take-away: Now is the time. The adventure is all around. The adventure is here. The adventure is now. Focus on the day you’re in. Enjoy it. We don’t know what’s next.


Fresh air

There’s no traffic, no production, no pollution, no airplane stripes. We breathe fresh air. What a luxury! On the ocean, we get away from the busyness of life. Now in lockdown, the life is coming to us. Dolphins show up in marinas, pumas walk the streets, the birds are singing, pollution is decreasing, nature is recovering.

Take-away: Breath! Go outside if and when you can. And breath deep. Conscious breathing is possibly the most important action we can take for our health. If you like to learn more about that, have a look at the freedive section of my blog where I write more about that.


Lack of Movement

Where usually the great outdoors is our playground we’re now stuck on a small space. This is may find the most challenging thing of offshore sailing. And now in strict lockdown, it’s getting challenging too. I’m only allowed to go for food or walk the doggy 150 meters of my ‘house.’ So no epic hikes or surfing for now but still, a lot of space to do something. Whatever it is.

Take-away: Don’t just use the autopilot. Stretch, dance, breath, lift things, move, move, move. Use what you got!



No social events. No sports. No gatherings. Now what? At sea and now in lockdown our average day now looks something like this: 5% cleaning, 5 % navigating through the day, 5% fixing something, 10% autopilot, 30% sleeping, 10% fun in the kitchen, 5% action, 3% eating, and 30% chillaxing. Exciting moments are those when you see another human, aren’t they? It’s easy to let boredom kick in. But boredom is a mindset!  

Take-away: Be proactive in your thinking and actions and selections on what to do, how to be, and with who to connect. Don’t wait passively for something to show up. Because these days not much is showing up, is there? You can either wait and react or be curious, learn, observe, and select on what to act.



 What used to be normal is not so normal anymore. We are experiencing the preciousness of our resources, such as water, fresh air, power, and fresh vegetables. Social contact with friends and family. All the things we take for granted become priceless when we experience life without them.

“At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much. — ROBIN GRAHAM (Sailor & Writer)

Take-away: Remind yourself of the little things to be grateful for. In reality those are the big things!

Hang in there! You got this. Stay healthy and kind and we all come out stronger from this than ever. I’d love to hear from you how the quarantining is reminding you of your adventure travels! Let me know in the comments.

Next step: quarantining at sea

Here you are preparing for an ocean adventure! Now take the media and wifi away and put the great outdoors in return. An ocean passage allows disconnecting from everything but nature. The only way to experience that magic is to go for it. Is crossing an ocean on your bucketlist?
Ocean Nomad will get you started!


Hi! My name is Suzanne. I'm here to help you go on ocean adventures and make positive impact for a healthier ocean. Explore this website to learn what I do and how you can make some splashes too!


  • Matthew Scicluna says:


    I am looking for a boat that is crossing the atlantic from Europe sometime in January, need to be in Caribbean for the Caribbean 600. I have not done this crossing or race yet and would love to get it crossed off my bucket list.

    I am an experienced racing sailor, holding a RYA yachtmaster offshore. I have completed 14 Rolex Middle Sea Races and 4 English channel crossings, as well as other sailing races in Mediterranean. I am an Energetic all round sailor, who loves to have fun at sea. By profession I am a freelance Naval Architect and Yacht Designer.

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


    • Suzanne says:

      Hey Matt!
      Great plans :) And looks like you have great qualifications and skills to bring into the mix.
      Here’s what I have created for you to help you cross sailing the Atlantic off that bucketlist:
      📝Check out the Atlantic Sailing blogs on this website that help you get started.
      📘Read book Ocean Nomad – The Complete Atlantic Crewing Guide. You’ll save weeks of research and jumpstart the adventure. Learn the bearings from what’s it all about, to finding a boat where when and how, to figuring out the safety situation, prepping, to contributing to a healthier ocean and much more. Download it or buy a print on or your local bookshop.
      🗺📍Join the Ocean Nomads club. Meet others who have sailed oceans, are looking to do so, or are going to do so. Ocean Nomads is a community of impact and adventure-driven oceanminded lifestyle designers looking to or living a nomadic lifestyle around the sea. We’ve created a dedicated resource to Sailing across the Atlantic, Offshore crew packing lists, Provisioning with minimum waste, Zero waste nomad life. But the real value is the network you can tap into, find answers, support, adventure opportunities to make the ocean adventure dreams real. Last month we had a couple of members looking for crew across the Atlantic.
      ⛵️⛵Join Ocean Nomads on a trip! Keep an eye on the ocean nomads developments for what we have planned for 2021! We may go across.
      Be determined. Don’t give up. Explore. Connect & Make impact. 🌊 Let me know how you go! Hope to see you on, in, and near the sea 💙
      Cheer, Suzanne

Leave a Reply