Book Review: Voyaging with Kids by Behan Gifford, Sara Johnson & Michael Robertson


Wow. I do have to say that the reason I bought this book was solely because I had found Sailing Totem’s blog to be one of the best blogs I have read on the topic of cruising (with or without children). I love her writing style, it is so… comfortable to read. It feels more like sitting on the deck chatting with her in person. She really is a fantastic writer. Add to that the amazing amounts of well organized information on the blog, I am taking notes and impressed by pretty much everything I read on it.

When I had perused their site long enough to realize just how much I loved it, I knew that I wanted to buy the book. Not even necessarily because I thought I ‘needed’ it, but because I wanted to support them in some small way AND I was curious to see how the parenting side of things went for them (and the other contributors of the book). I wasn’t really worried about needing the information on toddlers, babies and whatnot for my own kids, as they’re mostly grown anyway, and we’re all pretty adventurous, so there weren’t any ‘kid-centric’ worries for us. Still, there was so much relevant information, I’m so glad I bought it!

I *finally* ordered the book after almost 2 weeks of living on board our boat and WOW. I was seriously blown away. Everything is right up my alley.

The organization of the book, the chapters, the short highlights and commentary in the side bars is perfect for my A.D.D. nature.


Just flipping through a few chapters, I found myself frustrated that I didn’t have highlighters or a notebook on hand. I kicked myself repeatedly for putting off the purchase of this book, because it would have come in so handy in our months of preparation. From the medical chapter to things like UV clothing to stories of former Cruising kids to share with my kids (I still can, but it would have been reassuring to them, I think, to have had the knowledge before we left on this trip.)

I literally went out the next day and bought highlighters, colorful pens and a notebook to take notes with 😉


A lot of incredibly awesome ideas for activities, fun, equipment and supplies that you might want to bring along.


There is a teen specific chapter, which I enjoyed… I am really looking forward to my kids getting the chance to meet other kids/families who are probably as weird as we are 😉 *We never really seemed to ‘fit’ anywhere on land, even before we set off on this adventure!


The chapter on medical/emergency and accidents was eye opening as well, even with all of the prior research I had done, this was just laid out in such a way that I really absorbed the information moreso than anywhere else I spent time researching.


Having raised five kids (thus far to ages 15, 17, 19, 20 & 24) and finding them to be pretty incredible humans, I am past the point of feeling that I must have parenting advice. I think we’re pretty set in our ways as far as that goes. However, I would highly recommend this book to even those parents with older children, just trust me, its worth the read. I feel like it will continue to come in handy for me as a reference point as time goes on and we have more adventures/mishaps/stresses on this journey we’re on. I think for parents of younger children who are thinking of going cruising, this book is absolutely essential if you want to make things go as smoothly as possible. Sure, people have been doing this without a book, without this book for decades, but in my opinion, parenting in general is hard enough, having this resource to help prepare you for the cruising specific bumps in the road/swells in the ocean can only make things easier. Plus, there are a variety of stories and experiences to learn from. As we all know, people vary a lot, even kids within the same family, so why not learn from some other parent’s experiences?

To wrap it up, I am incredibly thankful to everyone who participated in the making of this book.  It covers so many answers to questions before I even knew I had them. Seriously, I kept thinking, “Wow, this book just answered yet another question I hadn’t thought to ask yet!” If you’re planning to go cruising with kids of any age, order this book today.




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