Ask Me Anything: The Charted Life-Exploring the Mobile Life- by land and sea #thechartedlife #ottoandgigi #learntosail #thesailinginstructor

Christopher German
Jan 12, 2018

We are setting out on the voyage of a lifetime. We aim to see the world and explore the many things that make our world a great place to live in. By land and by sea we will explore, meeting new people and telling their stories, sharing their love of local foods, finding new ways to live off the beaten path in a truly mobile fashion and doing it all in an ecologically friendly manner. 

We call this the charted life and we aim to share our journey as we live deliberately chosing where we go and how we get there. 

Our vessels are a pair of bikes we call "Otto and Gigi", a 1970 airstream travel trailer named "Tillie" we are working to restore and a 45' catamaran we will call "The SV Waltzing Matilda" we are working to purchase. For work, my wife Jennifer and I have a myriad of talents we are working to live by so as to allow us to give up the sticks and bricks life in favor on one where we might enjoy a  more transient nature to our seasons. 

I teach sailing and help boaters become better at what they do and Jennifer, a wiz at home design and bookkeeping will launch a mobile home design service and mobile bookkeeping service as she becomes certified in American Sign Language translation.  We will  of course, blog and vlog are way around the planet and share all we see and all we do with our friends and the good people we meet along the way. We will be rolling or sailing into a town near you soon- so say hey if you see us.

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WE have an intro video we just released yesterday- Have a look 

Intro to the Charted Life

Jan 17, 12:16PM EST0

Great video! So you've already started your vlog on The Charted Life, how often can we expect new videos from you? Can't wait to check out your next adventure!

Jan 19, 11:12AM EST0

We are here live! Thanks for all the great questions and I look forward to getting to know you all!

Jan 12, 12:05PM EST0

I like your AMA!!

Jan 12, 2:02PM EST0

Thank you!

Jan 12, 3:13PM EST0

How did you learn how to sail?

Jan 9, 9:07AM EST0

I grew up on the Housatonic River in Connecticut where I was invited to join the Sea Scouts, a subisidiary of the Boy Scouts of America. I had a very generous captain named Jim Zsiga who took me under his wing and fostered my love of boats and sailing. From there I went to the US Coast Guard Academy and decided I likes playing on boats more than being an officer. After that I bought a small 17' sailboat I named "Sweet Pea" and taught myself a ton- but in truth I am still learning as sailing is a life long pursuit.

Jan 9, 9:12AM EST0
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What is your educational background and what do you do for a living?

Jan 9, 3:52AM EST0

I have a masters degree in Communications from Boston U, and Undergrad from UCONN and I attended the US Coast Guard Academy. I also hold a 100 ton Masters licenses and a pile of sailing certifications. I have been teaching sailing for the last couple decades. 

Jan 9, 8:58AM EST0
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What is your biggest dream?

Jan 8, 1:26PM EST0

I havent dreamed much as of late- dreams are just realities yet to be realized. I prefer to think of them as goals and to that aim, I got married to a woman I love with my whole being, I get to sail and write for a living, and we are well on our way to realizing great success. So Im not sure what my dream might be but my goal is to see this adventure through.

Jan 9, 8:57AM EST0
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Do you have friends or family who are also doing this or have plans of doing this?

Jan 8, 8:33AM EST0

My wife has an Aunt and Uncle who live in an RV, but otherwise no. 

Jan 8, 8:53AM EST0
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Have you also had bad experiences while traveling?

Jan 8, 5:57AM EST0

Of course, but I would not curse the rain if I had never felt the sunshine

Jan 8, 8:54AM EST0
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This is truly an amazing and wonderful adventure do you now have itineraries on which to explore first?

Jan 7, 10:09PM EST0

We have a list of places we want to see and revisit- first of which is being the southwest of the US and Northern Europe. But of course, we have to make a living so we will be heading to Chicago this Spring for our first stop with a plan to make it to Neah Bay, Washington in the Northwest for next new year. 

Jan 8, 8:56AM EST0
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Owning a travel trailer or a camper, how costly is its maintenance and what about the catamaran?

Jan 7, 9:50PM EST0

The restoration of the travel trailer will likely cost upwards of $25K but monthly maintenance is not that significant compared to the monthly maintenance on a sailboat- boats are perpetually sinking and require lots of upkeep. If you play your cards right, your RV wont sink. 

Jan 8, 8:57AM EST0

Can you tell us how you started The Chartered Life blog and how many blogs/vlogs have you done so far?

Jan 7, 11:39AM EST0

Both Jen and I decided we wanted to give up the sticks and bricks life in favor of the mobile life. It was part of our first conversation on our first date. But its been over a year getting to this point and we have had lots to do to prepare. I have been blogging for the last 5 years now but launched the charted life blog last month. 

Jan 8, 9:00AM EST0

You and your wife do have a wonderful way of actually bonding together and enjoying life, what advice can you share to the other couples out there?

Jan 7, 9:07AM EST0

Thank you! But We got married on Dec 16, So I am not sure I can give any good advice on coupling, other than we talk a lot and listen even more- when you live on top of each other the way we do, you have to compromise at every turn, but you have to remeber, you can be right and single or bend and be in love- I chose the latter. 

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Jan 8, 9:03AM EST0

Which town or countries have you visited and so far which one was a personal favorite and why?

Jan 7, 8:23AM EST0

We have seen from Lubec, ME to Key West Florida and everywhere in between so far together- Our aim is to head west in the New Year. And by far my favorite place is where I call home, Beaufort, NC. It is a town that fits us and our way of life. 

Jan 8, 9:05AM EST0
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Can you give us a sneak peak of your daily life?

Jan 7, 6:50AM EST0

Right now all points lead to hitting the road- I usually wake up and go for a long walk/run and check on the boats. Then I come back and write a blog on the days when I dont have lessons or charters. By noon I am back in the house, if I left,  and working on promoting our buisness and managing the web presence. BY 5 Jen is back home and we have dinner together and enjoy our evening together and plan the rest of lives- but this will all change as we get our trailer road worthy and obtain our boat.

Jan 7, 8:07AM EST0

Are you both willing to give up your careers and set sail and live in a cat somewhere off the coast or anywhere in the world?

Jan 7, 3:39AM EST0

As I teach sailing for a living and am a licensed captain, my career is enhanced by setting sail. Jen is working on a career augmentation that will allow her to take her career with her. But the goal is to see the world so the short answer is ABSOLUTELY.  We have also launched two crowdfunding platforms at Kickstarter and at Gofundme to set us out on the road for success and help garner our community support

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Jan 7, 8:03AM EST0

Which is the worst place you've been to and why?

Jan 7, 2:54AM EST0

Every place we visit has its own merits. Many of which are not necessarily completely to our taste. There is a completely disgusting motel in every paradise to be sure. To date we have not loved West Palm Beach the most, but Solomon's Island lacks pet friendly accomodations and Lubec, ME is COLD enough to ruin even the happiest of days. But each place has its good points too- the warmth of Florida's Gold Coast, the hidden beauty of Solomon's Island and the LOBSTER in Maine- there is a positive to be found in the even the darkest of places. Jen says, "the only darkest  place I know is in my own head". Shes probably right. 

Jan 7, 7:59AM EST0

Where can we follow you or check out your vlogs and blogs?

Jan 7, 12:59AM EST0

we have secured the domain where we will publish our blogs or you can check them out on the social media sites #thesailinginstructor or #ottoandgigi.  We are also working on a streaming video channel with Roku.. But as of publishing time you can read our blog at 

We have also launch two crowdfunding plaforms- One at Kickstarter:

And another at:Gofundme

Last edited @ Jan 7, 12:59PM EST.
Jan 7, 7:51AM EST0

Where would you be in the next 3-5 years and what would you be possibly doing?

Jan 7, 12:19AM EST0

The plan is one day at a time right now, and who knows where the path will lead us. But our aim is have a fully operational mobile business and lifestyle, a internationally recognized brand and image and with luck a little more financial stability- oh and health insurance.

Jan 7, 7:49AM EST0

Can you tell us in more detail what this whole journey meant to you personally?

Jan 6, 5:35PM EST0

The journey has just begun, but both Jen and I are working on a second life. We were unhappy in our previous existence and have decided to off load many of the non-necessities in our lives and live deliberately. This will allow us to focus on life together and on the places and people we encounter with hope to get a deeper and more spiritual understanding of our new life together.

Jan 7, 7:47AM EST0

Can you tell us more about this mobile home design and mobile home bookkeeping services your wife is working on? Is there a huge market for these too?

Jan 6, 3:41PM EST0

From Christopher: Jennifer is a long time business manager with a great knack for bringing form and function together. That is an integral part of boat, RV and tiny home decor, design and planning. As we are working to find ways to stay alive while we live aboard, Jennifer can manage books for clients remotely and use her gift for making the mobile home homey wherever we may land. 

From Jennifer: Although I have much experience in home design and bookkeeping, doing these as a "freelancer" is new to me. My passion has always been design, but my money maker has been bookkeeping. In the past, I was hesitant to fully explore a career in design simply out of fear- Fear of failure and fear of the unknown. Now, after some life- changing challenges and soul- expanding experiences, I have learned that I don't want to exist in fear any longer. Pursuing a deliberate, mobile lifestyle is part of that. Chris and I share a love of adventure, travel and living non- traditionally. Since we don't have limitless coffers at our disposal (but sure wish we did), we need income while being mobile. There is a high demand for out-sourced, freelance bookkeeping. I have researched the field extensively, and have just recently begun to apply for jobs. I prefer the prospect of the short term case, with no long- term commitment or demands. I hope it will prove to be lucrative which will allow me to continue expanding my design business.

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Jan 12, 8:12AM EST0
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What is the most amazing thing being a traveler?
Jan 6, 3:11PM EST0

Traveling comes with it a number of positives and negatives, but the best thing about traveling by far and away is the new experiences- new people, new food, new places- last week we were driving through Brunswick GA on our way down to Key West.  Upon seeing the sign Jen asked, "I wonder where they invented brunswick stew?". A quick google search lead us to find the most amazing BBQ and a whole new part of America we had never even known we wanted to see- that's why i love traveling. 

Jan 6, 4:09PM EST0
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