A great option for travelling around the world is as part of a crew on a boat. This can range from motorboats to sail boats from small 6-meter boats to full-fledged yachts, but it’s always a great experience and you’ll learn a lot, especially on those long nights when you’re on the watch.
I haven’t actually tried this way of travel yet, but I’ve come across people and captains who have hopped from one country to another in less than a week, been down to the Antarctic, crossed the Pacific, lived on a boat for more than 20 years and raised two kids on board… There’s a long list of possibilities, from sharing a boat with inexperienced captains to travelling with true sea wolves who have been sailing the seas for a lifetime.
So how do you actually organise such a trip? Well that’s easy. There are some websites out there that help organise crews, such as Find a Crew, in English, or Sail the World, for French speakers, but the best way is really to hang around the marinas, which is the best way to actually get to speak to the captains and other people aboard and see if you get along, because being stuck at sea for weeks on end with someone you don’t get along with can be quite an unpleasant and even dangerous experience. Normally to travel this way you shouldn’t be pressed for time or you should be flexible about your destinations, since it can take a while to find a boat going to a specific spot, especially if its not part of the usual trade wind routes. It is usually best to have some useful skills to use on board, such as cooking, knowledge of engines and mechanics, or previous sailing experience, but this is not essential if your cheerful enough, because sometimes having pleasant company is more important to the people on the boat.
Anyway, I urge anyone yearning to travel to explore this option and/or share any previous experiences.
Happy sailing! 🙂