Monday, October 22, 2012

GIVEAWAY ~ BOAT GIRL by Melanie Neale

When people ask me why I live this life, why am I raising my kids on a boat and planning to go cruising again with them and homeschooling there's a whole long list of answers and reasons and explanations I can give. But the truest, shortest, easiest, most direct answer is this: It's all because of the Neale family.

Tom and Mel Neale told their story of a life afloat in the pages of Cruising World magazine and in the book All In The Same Boat ages ago (ok it was the early 90's, but it feels like a long time ago).
I was in late high school/ early college years when I first read about them. And I was hooked. I remember reading that first story and I had one of "those moments." It was a turning point for me, I read that article and I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.

Now this was before Facebook or even the internet really, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to see this family living on their boat and get a sense of what it was like. So I did the logical thing. I stalked them. Oh no, oh dear, such a strong word. Really I was working for a kids TV show (great irony of my life) and even though I was the lowly production assistant I pitched doing to story on the Neale family and tracked them down through the magazine and, long story short, I got to meet them and spend 2 days aboard their boat. They were fabulous, and little Melanie who was in her early teen years stayed in touch with me through letter writing (remember those things? letters in envelopes?!) 

As a mom who is now raising her kids on a boat, I am always wondering if I am messing my kids up somehow by choosing this lifestyle.  So I was thrilled to reconnect with Melanie and discover that she's happy, successful, and all of those things we parents want for our kids.  She is a mom now herself, not to mention an accomplished sailor and writer who just released her first book Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, & Fiberglass.

As a mom and a sailor I found the book to be a real page turner. But I don't think you need to be a boater at all to get into this refreshingly honest coming of age story told with colorful detail and heart. Melanie's tale is one that we can all relate to about the struggles of growing up, fitting in, and finding love. The fact that it's happening in a non-traditional setting makes it all the more interesting, but no less relatable. As a mom I know I will be revisiting this book again as my boat kids get older, making sure to pay close attention to the teen years (be aware, there are adult themes in this book since it is a story about growing up after all.) Melanie's independent spirit and big heart shine through in this memoir just as much as I remember from when I first met her all those years ago.

Melanie is offering a free copy of Boat Girl in either ebook format or good old fashioned paper (winner's choice!)

Just leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, & Fiberglass and I will close comments and pick a winner at random on Friday by 8pm eastern.  Thank you Melanie and a special thank you from me to the whole Neale family for blazing the trail and all of the inspiration over the years!

 (Husband Will, their beautiful baby daughter, and Melanie.)


COMMENTS ARE CLOSED. Using www.random.org the lucky winner is BOATMAMA! Please contact me via the contact link to the right with your information and whether you want an ebook or paper copy. Thank you everyone! It was really inspiring to hear all of your stories! 

40 comments:

greg vanlaere said...

Man was ment to migrate... I am sure that I can fit into this lifestyle. We are making plans now for month long cruises this summer on Lake Michigan.

rwc said...

Very inspiring. I was probably the only Cruising World subscriber in Tucson in the 70s under the age of 18...

Red Charlotte said...

What a fantastic review. I'll check it out even I don't win!!

Landrew Woolworth said...

I used to cruise with the Neales in the Caribbean :)on Serendy. I grew up living on boats, and now that I am married, I am looking forward to sharing that life again with my new family. What an adventure!

we3ernes said...

That sounds like a fabulous read! My dad wanted to move us onto a boat back in the early 80's but my mom dug in her heels. Dad and I must have gone to every boat show on the eastern seaboard during that era! Now I'm a homeschooling mama and my hubby and I have talked about trying out the RV lifestyle to see how it fits, what perfect timing!

Kim said...

Sounds like such an interesting story; I would love to read Melanie's book! Thanks for the chance to win.
Aloha!

Margaret said...

Thank you for the chance to win such a wonderful book, unless you read about other ways of living, you never know what possibilities are open to you.
Years ago when my kids were little and I lived on an isolated farm I used to read Dr David Lawrence's books about sailing with his wife and little girls.
It was such a joy to "escape" a harsh life for a few hours of reading.

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

Oh, goodie. I wanted to know what you thought before reading it. Was worried about it having a bad outcome and boding poorly for our kids:)

Amanda said...

That looks like a wonderful book! Thanks so much for the chance to win!

Leighton Barrett Strong said...

I need this book! :) my daughters, Sadie and Virginia are 4 and 2. Our goal is to begin circumnavigating the globe in six years. My only hesitation is am I making the right decision for the girls. I think this book would have some great insight when making this decision.
I have just discovered your blog, and love it! If you ever find yourself in New Orleans we would love to have y'all aboard Pywacket!

Elcie said...

Thanks for the opportunity to win the book. I'm sure I will buy it anyway. We are south and westbound with our 2 daughters, ages 9 and 11, in a few weeks. I'll enjoy re-telling Melanie's stories to them. We'll be blogging at elcieexpeditions.com. Cheers, Jess and Elcie Crew

JOLT said...

I've been reading for quite awhile but this is my first comment. I've got twin 2.5 year olds and we are trying to figure out the next steps in the cruising/ adventuring life for us. I'd love to read this book. Thank you!
Jessica
s/v Yare

cwyckham said...

You often read books by parents of boat kids, but it's exciting to hear the perspective of a boat kid themselves. I look forward to reading it.

Mama-in-training said...

My first two posts did not pass the "robot rejection test"... maybe third time is the charm.

I found your blog by accident almost two years ago and have been hooked ever since. I am enthralled by your boat living and would love, Love, LOVE to make it my life choice as well. Alas, hubby is deathly afraid of water, so I'll have to continue living vicariously through your blog. :)

Thanks for the giveaway.... my fingers are crossed

Chris Wilkinson said...

I wish I had moved aboard much earlier in life. Different choices were made at that time. My wife and I hope to be living aboard within the next year. We have grand children and we hope to be able to do some extended cruising with them during the summers. I have read articles by Tom and some in the old "Living Aboard" magazine by Melanie. I'm a fan and am looking forward to reading her book.

lafondsi said...

Our sailing with our little family is currently limited to sailing around Boston Harbor, but I would love to read this. She must have such a fabulous story to share.

Kristen said...

sounds like a good winter read to fuel my wanderlust (as if I need any help in that department!). It's on my list. Thanks for the review.

Jana & Petr said...

Thanks for the review. We would have missed the book! Neals have inspired us to look at Hallberg-Rassys and we are happy we did!

SVFriscoRose said...

I always wanted to live on a boat. My parents talked me out of it when I was in my late teens. Got distracted by life for awhile. But lo and behold for the last eight years I've been living on the water. Your Book is on my reading list now. Best of luck with it..

cassandra z said...

sounds interesting :)

Patricia said...

Sounds like a great book! I will have to add it to my book wish list. Thanks for letting us know about it

NatGeoWannaBe said...

Looking forward to reading it!

Rhys said...

It's of interest to me as much as "All in the Same Boat" was, I would think.

We are prepping for a circ in a little while (I've learned it's foolish to announce a schedule for these sort of projects), and we are taking a sub-teen son out for some five years (i.e. all of high school).

Our blog is at www.alchemy2009.blogspot.com

Comments are welcome. If Melanie is half the writer Tom is, it'll be a worthwhile and helpful read.

All the best,

Marc
S/V Alchemy
Toronto

MITBeta said...

Sounds like a great book.

Anonymous said...

After cruising Mexico for a year and now back on land with a new baby, we can't wait to read a book like this and keep our plans to take off again with our young children.

Dan

Anna said...

Don't know if this competition is open to International readers but we live on the Isle of Wight in the UK and regulary read your blog with a huge smile! We are planning, dreaming and hoping to take our two kids cruising in the not too distant future and it is so inspiring reading about others doing the same. So far removed from the many people here who think we are nuts! So thank you for regularly reminding me it is a good idea. Would love to read Melanie's book too. Anna x

Chani said...

Sounds like a great book- I'd love to have that. :)

t. t. said...

I would love to read this book!

Joy said...

Ooh, I'd love to read that. Very interesting! :)

se7en said...

Popped this onto my wishlist - know it will be a fabulous read!!!

s.e. said...

I really enjoy reading your blog and dreaming about what a nomadic life might be like. 3 of my 5 kids are grown now and out on their own and we are very stuck on the ground in a house homeschoolers even if we live just in a city with the second biggest natural harbour in the world:) I would love to read this book.

Rachel L K said...

What a beautiful lifestyle! That's why I read YOUR blog, to know that other families live this way is really cool! If I win I'll read it then give it to my sister to read, she is leaning towards sailing for life, I'm sure it will seal the deal.

Christie said...

I'd love to win and I'd love to let my teens read it as well. Inspiration comes in many fashions. When I grow up I'd like to give boat living a go. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, fabulous! Thank you and Melanie for the opportunity to win this!

Sel

Anna said...

I would love to read this book! I read Voyage of the Northern Magic as a teen, and it really inspired me to want to travel (and to find someone who knows how to sail so I can sail around the world with them). Would love to read more about experiences with this unique way of life. :)

Kirsten said...

I'd love to have this one on my shelves! We're expecting a baby in December and have been full time liveaboards on our sailboat in Delaware for the past 2.5 years. Thanks!

Meredith said...

My parents were sailers that quit when all the kids came along and I grew up surrounded by tales of those that lived on the water. Would love to indulge in another one!

Ashley said...

what a cool book.
can;t wait to read it.

boatmama said...

Another international reader here, living aboard our 31ft catamaran with 2 little ones in Brighton, UK.

This book sounds great - would love especially to see what a former boat child has to say about their feelings on growing up on a boat!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway!

Tabatha D

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