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.
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!
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!