Life in the modern world is more fast-paced than it’s ever been before. People are working longer hours, have more bills to pay, and find it difficult to switch off from their day-to-day lives thanks to the incessant buzzing of their smartphones.
That’s why escaping from the rat race is appealing for many – whether it’s to a desert island, or, as is the case in this story, the open sea.
Now that we are so well connected, there are few people left who live a truly nomadic and adventurous life. Society has conditioned us into believing that we need the trappings of modernity to be happy and successful individuals.
But that wasn’t the case for 26-year-old Tanner Broadwell and 24-year-old Nikki Walsh. After meeting in Philadelphia a few years ago, they soon began to date, and, after getting into a serious relationship, moved to Colorado together in 2015.
It was while living in Colorado that the young couple decided that they wanted a change – more specifically, they wanted to buy a boat and travel the world together on it. In fact, as far as they were concerned, they were going to spend the rest of their lives at sea.
To make their plan a reality, they bought a boat for $5,000. With such big plans, they spent a further $5,000 making it into their perfect home.
It is customary for boats to be named by their owners, and the couple decided to name their floating home ‘Lagniappe’ (pronounced lanny-yap), which means ‘bonus’ in Creole. “Like the 13th donut in a dozen,” Broadwell said. “It’s something extra for you.”
The couple were finally ready to start their new life last week and set sail on the journey of a lifetime from Tarpon Springs last Tuesday. Aside from all of their belongings, they also had brought their two-year-old pug, Remy, along for the adventure.
The first leg of their journey involved traveling from along the Gulf Coast from Alabama to Panama City.
In the video below, the couple explains why they decided to do something so unconventional with their lives:
Two days into their journey, Broadwell and Walsh stopped for the night at John’s Pass and that’s when things went horribly wrong.
Logic would dictate that it would probably be a good idea to gain some boating experience if you were planning to undertake a life at sea, but the couple (we can only assume) planned to learn how to sail as they went along and this proved to be their undoing.
After giving up their lives in Colorado for an existence at sea, they sunk their boat just two days into their new life.
“I sold everything I had to do this,” Broadwell revealed to the Tampa Bay Times, “and I lost everything in a matter of 20 minutes”.
Disaster struck when the couple used an outdated navigation chart on the channel. Because it was out of date, it did not line up with what they were seeing. Then they ended up hitting the keel of their boat against a large structure in the water.
The force of the impact was so strong that Walsh reportedly nearly fell into the sea.
It was then that they discovered that the boat’s keel (which prevents it from capsizing in tumultuous weather) had bee ripped off. The keel is in the middle of a boat, and, without it, their home soon began to flood with water.
The couple and their dog then had to don their lifejackets and abandon ship. They only had time to grab a small amount of money and social security cards.
As their boat sank, Walsh phoned Sea Tow for help and has since recalled how she explained the dire situation:
“I know I probably sounded like a crazy person to them. They said they would be there in 40 minutes. I thought, ‘That is a long time to spend out here’.
I’m just standing there in awe. I just lost everything I ever owned. I see my things floating away and I can’t get to them”
How do I have everything, and end up in a s***** hotel with nothing?”
Unfortunately, it is now going to cost the couple around $10,000 to recover the houseboat. To make matters worse, they set sail with no insurance either, and have been left with around $90 to their names.
They are not, however, completely destitute as their family and friends have been helping them out since the incident occurred.
After losing so much so quickly, most people might assume that the couple would have quickly given up on their dream, but they remain determined to make it a reality. We can only hope that the next time they set sail, they’re a lot more prepared for what it entails.
“I’m not going to give up now,” Broadwell said. “I’m going to get another boat down the road.”
Walsh added, “We can’t just give up on our dreams”.