Pick a date.
On a lark, I found myself subscribed to a podcast called Sailing Stories. Between February and June 2017, Lee Cumberland hosted a freaking awesome adventure story. Between Between July and August 2019, I listed to it on my way to and from work.
Brave or Stupid is the story of two Swedish friends who decided to sail around the world—without owning a boat or even knowing how to sail. Written by Tracey Christiansen, it’s an English retelling the story of Yanne (“YAH-neh”) Larsson, Calle (“CALL-eh”) Andersson, and everyone they met on their three-year trip around the world on Albatross, a 42-foot Hallberg-Rassy ketch.
The Ultimate Road Trip
Road trips are special. We can debate what is and is not a road trip—obviously, the lack of roads on the open ocean make my use of “road trip” here a bit of a stretch—but at their core, road trips are adventures. Doesn’t matter if it’s a long weekend across state lines or the Pan-American Highway—the journey IS the destination, as they say.
Think about your best friend. The ride-or-die character at the top of the very short list that is the people in the world whose opinions matter, whose criticisms make you a better person, and whose company means the most to you.
Imagine planning the ultimate road trip together. I’m talking the kind of road trip neither of you are at-all prepared for today. At this point, we’re probably talking #vanlife or being #overlandaf.
Would you both drive the same vehicle? What gear would you need? What would you be leaving behind? How much time would you need? What skills and training would you need before you headed out?
Fun to think about, isn’t it?
Yanne and Calle did it. Here’s how Yanne describes the story:
“When you read about someone sailing around the world, it’s usually a dotcom millionaire or a professional adventurer. Brave or Stupid? tells a very different story. It’s an everyman tale about a middle-aged, seasick electrician with no money who suddenly and for no reason decides to sail around the world. It’s the story of Yanne Larsson, a man with a dream born not out of a passion for sailing or a search for identity or the need for a challenge. This is the story of a simple handshake. One of the old-fashioned, iron-clad ones.
A casual suggestion over wine with best friend Carl Andersson, turns into one of those ideas that just won’t go away. Twenty-four hours later, a handshake decides it. The little details — buying a boat, learning to sail and saving up money — take five years, but in 2002, the two men leave Helsingborg, Sweden, on a three-year voyage that will change them forever. Storms, tropical diseases, drama, love and comedy — their story is an adventure like no other. Brave or Stupid? is a book for anyone who has ever gone beyond what is sensible and realistic to discover a whole new world outside and a whole new person inside. This is a book for anyone who still believes in the power of dreams. And handshakes…”
The difference between them and us.
I found this story on a lark. I’d been switching between Facebook and Reddit and Instagram and, bored out of my skull, I turned to Google to show me something interesting—something deeper, remarkable, meaningful. I wasn’t looking for an article or blog post, but a real, actual story. I googled “sailing stories” and here we are.
Brave or Stupid begins as an often comical story about two guys without a boat telling various people at the marina that they don’t have a boat or know how to sail—but they’re going to sail around the world—and quickly turns into a story of two dudes getting out there and figuring things out, before culminating in an absolute triumph.
It’s a celebration of DIY if ever there was one. The only difference between people like them and people like the rest of us is they committed to seeing their dream come true. They asked for help. They traded their own skills and labor for the skills and labor they needed. They went all-in.
It all comes down to how badly you want it.
And setting a date.
Yanne and Calle gave themselves five years to get ready to sail around the world. Learning how to sail, navigate, predict the weather, perform first aid, fish, cook, sew, barter, trade, and more. They saved their money, sold things they didn’t need, and negotiated three-year sabbaticals from their jobs.
When that date arrived, they set sail. Literally.
They completed their voyage, by the way.
You kinda had to figure that out, considering they wrote a book about it, after all, but like any road trip worth a damn, the journey IS the destination. If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel or traveling—or just have a thirst for adventure and exploring—I think you’ll really enjoy this one.
Now go. Do. Be.
PS: Hi, Tim & Kelsey. 4/25/27.