[Interview] Running a successful PR agency while sailing the world

7 mins read

Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Erin Carey and I am the director of Roam Generation, a PR agency specialising in the travel, leisure and luxury space. I run my business from a yacht as my family and I sail around the world. We moved to our yacht in early 2018. We stayed aboard for almost two years, cruising the islands of the Caribbean before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the archipelago of the Azores. We stored the boat on land, returned home to Australia (Adelaide, South Australia) for 18 months (Covid), and then moved back on board in March of 2021. We have since sailed to mainland Portugal, Spain and Tunisia in Africa. I live on the boat with my husband Dave and our three boys Hamish, 12, Jack 10 and Christian 7.

How does daily life on a boat differ from living in a more conventional property?

It varies quite a lot. Living on a yacht and sailing the world allows us to be in complete control of our own time. Essentially we are free. Our kids are homeschooled, which means we don’t have school drop off or pick up and there are no after school activities to run to. I run my company from the boat, so I can work flexible hours and all of my contact with clients and employees is remote.
We only have a small space to clean, so we don’t need to spend our weekends doing housework, and we don’t own a car, so there is never any time spent commuting. We also don’t have the need to buy furniture or many possessions because we just don’t have the space, which has helped us to focus less on things and more on experiences and relationships. We are also together a lot more than when we lived in a house – we are forced to get along and figure things out, there is nowhere to hide on a 47-foot boat. We move around often, visiting new and exciting destinations, however, this means always finding new friends, supermarkets, playgrounds and things that you take for granted inland life like a hairdresser and doctor. It makes life both exciting and exhausting.
Running Roam Generation from a boat is very similar to running a business from home, with the exception being the quality of the internet in some locations. There are very few things I have been unable to do running Roam Generation from a yacht as opposed to a brick and mortar office. My clients have always been located in various locations all over the world, so we have always communicated via email and Zoom, signed contracts via DocuSign and sent funds via Wise, Stripe and Paypal. My contractors have also always been remote. I have a virtual assistant in Australia, copywriters in America and Thailand and PR consultants in several states throughout the US. There are, I believe, benefits for travel, leisure and luxury brands working with a remote PR agency. We intimately understand the sector because we are living the very lifestyle we are promoting.
We’re always meeting new people and our reach is truly global because we have remote workers located all over the world. Not to mention that our overheads are low, meaning we can pass on those savings to our clients. We are also breaking down cultural barriers, and we are able to work effectively with clients of all different backgrounds because of our multi-cultural backgrounds and travel experiences.

How has life improved for you since living on a boat?

Life is far more fulfilling when living on a boat. It has challenged me to become a better version of myself. I have started my own company, sailed across an ocean, visited new countries and met the most amazing people along the way. I’ve written for magazines, featured in Forbes, Insider and Conde Nast Traveler and spoken on podcasts. I’ve also got to spend more time with my family, and that is something that I know I won’t regret. Life on a boat is not perfect, it’s often challenging, uncomfortable and isolating, but it’s also exhilarating, wondrous and life-changing and I’m excited to see where it takes us in the future – because we literally don’t know where we’ll be next month, little like next year and that makes me feel alive.

What are living costs and bills like in comparison to living in a house?

The cost of living on a boat and travelling the world full-time is less than what we spent at home living in a house. Our mortgage alone used to cost half of our current budget – granted we are not in an appreciating asset, but we also don’t have vehicle expenses, a range of insurances, utility bills, mortgage interest or any of the other costs associated with land life. Plus, we get to live in beautiful locations around the world and if we don’t like our neighbours, we can pull anchor and move! We estimate that our budget to live on the boat is about $60k -70k a year. This allows us to eat out a couple of times a week, hire a car when we need one and partake in tours and excursions every so often. We definitely feel like we have created an amazing lifestyle and often pinch ourselves that this is our life. The biggest expense we have is food. With three growing boys, grocery bills are never small.

However, this is no different to living on land. After that, the boat maintenance costs around $10k a year. Another expense is marina fees, however we try to anchor out where we can, which is free. Then there is diesel for both the yacht and the dinghy (our car on the water) and shore expenses like eating out and public transport. Overall, living on a yacht is cheaper for us because we don’t have the expense of mortgage or rent because we own our boat outright.

Any tips for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

I want others to experience what we’re experiencing because this lifestyle is life changing. I’ve worked in an office and I can tell you that, for me, it was soul crushing. Out here I feel free. I am far more productive, far more inspired and far happier. Now we need to continue to spread the message that we can run legitimate businesses from home, even if home is a boat or a van or a different cafe everyday.

I think the best advice I can offer is to believe that we are all so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. If you push yourself beyond your limits, the universe will reward you with even more than you dreamt possible. Never in a million years did I think I would live on a yacht and run a PR agency as we sailed around the world. However, now that we’ve done this, I really do believe that there are even bigger things in store for us. When you do big scary things, there’s no going back to the person you once were. We bought a yacht despite having no idea how to sail, sold our house despite everyone doubting our decision, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean despite not knowing how to sail only 18 months earlier and started a PR agency despite never having owned a business. As far as I’m concerned, life is meant for living and this is just the beginning!

More about the founder, Erin Carey

Erin Carey is the founder of Roam Generation, a travel, leisure & luxury PR agency focused on helping brands and experts inspire curiosity and exploration through traditional PR done in an untraditional way. Erin is the founder of the only PR agency in the world being run from a yacht. Additionally, Erin’s company is 100% remote, staffed by digital nomads in different points of the globe. By raising brand awareness, elevating credibility, and generating leads for travel and lifestyle brands globally, Roam Generation aims to share the gift of travel with as many people as possible, because for Erin and her team, travel has been life changing.

Erin spent 20 years working for the Australian government in a communications role and has interviewed in excess of 1000 people throughout her career. She has an inquisitive nature and loves to ask the big questions, to get to the real heart of the story.

Roam Generation came about while Erin and her family were living on a yacht and sailing the world’s oceans. However, they weren’t sailors when they came up with the crazy idea of leaving the rat race and sailing away. Without letting that minor detail get in the way, Erin and her husband bought a yacht on the opposite side of the world and went on to cross the Atlantic Ocean a mere 18 months later. The family of five are now cruising the Mediterranean with hopes of eventually sailing all the way back to Australia.

While sailing the world, Erin has met the most inspiring people and had the good fortune of visiting the most incredible destinations. Roam Generation was created to help elevate these people, their businesses and the destinations, in the hopes of sharing the gift of travel with as many people as possible.

Roam Generation helps travel and lifestyle companies build their empires to the next level. From international press coverage to rapid growth of social followers and impressions, Roam Generation has the expertise and the necessary relationships in the travel and lifestyle sector, to build credibility, raise brand awareness and generate leads.

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