At Momentum, we’re great believers in adventure travel having the power to provide clarity, change perspectives, and inspire a new, courageous way of living – a sentiment that British author, speaker, entrepreneur and adventurer Caspar Craven wholeheartedly agrees with.
Indeed, Caspar can pinpoint the moment he and his wife decided to uproot their young family and sail around the world – a conversation at his sister’s 40th birthday back in 2009. At the time, life was 18-hour days at the office, a struggling marriage and minimal contact with the children.
To most, this may seem an extreme solution to a common problem in a world where everything runs at a hundred miles per hour, but for Caspar, it was natural. After all, he grew up on the water.
Hailing from the small fishing village of Hallsands in south Devon – famed for collapsing into the sea early in the last century – he seemed destined to spend his life on the ocean. You could say that his story really begins at the age of 14, when he uncovered and repaired an abandoned fishing boat.
“My mum wouldn’t let me go out on my own,” he recalls. “She would row out with me and fish for crabs, and from then on, the coastline became my backyard. You could blindfold me, and I would’ve still known where I was. I knew the tides, I knew the fish, and I understood the weather. That’s where I spent my teenage years – on the coast.”
An entrepreneurial spirit was in his blood – his father was one – and he would spend his early years dreaming of becoming one himself, selling crabs and lobsters he’d caught along the familiar coastline. Perhaps his two-year voyage across the globe was always destined to happen.
“I’m far happier on the water than I am on land,” he says. “There’s a certain type of peacefulness to be found among the waves: a connection between yourself and the world. Water is the most natural thing to me.”
By his own admission, Caspar has a disruptive side – an unyielding desire to do exactly what he’s told not to do, and it draws him to fellow entrepreneurs, adventurers and sailors; the ‘yay-sayers’.
“Saying something isn’t possible is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he tells me. “There are always a million reasons not to do something, but you just need one good reason to go for it.”
When he and his wife made the decision to sail the world, it prompted an experiment in lifestyle design – inspired by Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-hour Work Week – and they set about evolving their business to accommodate an adventure with financial freedom. A date was fixed for departure five years down the line.
“That decision changed everything,” remembers Caspar. “And I mean everything: finances, health, relationships and our lust for life. Once that date was set, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that it had to happen. We wanted a different life, and we wanted to discover it as a family.
“The hardest part is always making the choice to jump. Once you’ve made it, jumping is easy.”
He wasn’t starting from scratch: Caspar signed up for the BT Global Challenge in 2000, sailed around the Greek Islands annually, and completed the sailing race around Britain and Ireland. His wife, on the other hand, had been on a boat twice, and had been seasick both times.
“I’m not entirely sure why she decided to do it,” he laughs. “But her mind was made up and there was no plan B. Once you’re committed to a course, people and opportunity just present themselves to you. I think many people wait for circumstances to be perfect, but herein lies the problem: Nothing will ever be perfect – you’ll be waiting your whole life.
“Many people would say we were irresponsible – especially taking young children on a journey with such challenging conditions. When we were deep in the South Pacific, we were 500 miles from land and suffered a power outage. On a boat, you’ve got what you’ve got. It’s not like you can just nip to the yacht yard and pick up supplies – you have to be resourceful. Resourcefulness is a skill; it’s a muscle that has to be exercised. I believe it’s an amazing skill to have taught my kids – whatever challenges you face in life, there’s always a way to deal with it.
“The world is changing faster than it ever has before, and you can’t underestimate harnessing the power to overcome the obstacles that arise.”
For Caspar, however, the main lesson taken away from the journey was appreciation, something he believed he’d lost in both life and business – learning how to become a leader again. Being appreciative of all the contributions that a team member could make steered him away from what he considered to be an egocentric approach to his world.
“It’s teamwork – both in family and work,” he concludes. “Engaging everybody around you, appreciating their brilliance and building upon that. That’s the key to success in life and business, and it took sailing around the world with my family to fully grasp it.”
If you’re interested in learning more of Caspar’s experience in adventure and business, his book Where the Magic Happens: How a Young Family Changed Their Lives and Sailed Around the World is available for purchase from Amazon.