Do you dream about quitting your job and traveling around the world? How can you make your dream a reality?
Larry Jacobson did just that, and his motivation was his search for happiness. Like so many under stress, Larry said, “my job was slowly killing me. I subscribe to the philosophy that our purpose in life is to be happy.”
So in 1998, Larry Jacobson, author of The Boy Behind the Gate, sold his business, and three years later sailed west on his 50 foot sailboat, making his dreams come true.
After reading about Larry in the OC Register’s article, “Sailor survived ‘Pirate Alley,’ worried mom,” I knew I had to interview him, and find out more about his Gutsy side: the one that resulted in a six-year-adventure, sailing around the world. I especially wanted to find out how he had changed after such a long adventure.
Here is my five-minute interview with Larry Jacobson, author of The Boy Behind the Gate
at the Newport Beach Public Library, California, March 29th, 2011
This interview explores the background that led up to Larry selling his company in 1998, and purchasing his boat in March 2001, which he worked on, until he and his partner and a few crew members sailed off from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on December 7th, 2001.
How were you able to finance such a trip?
“By selling my travel incentive business.” This enabled Larry to finance his trip for two years. After he ran out of money, he decided to sell his house and continue his six-year adventure.
How many countries did you visit?
“We visited 40 countries.” They decided to sail west to the South Pacific, and their journey was spontaneous. They stayed in Auckland, New Zealand for 9 months and Australia for 8 months, as well as Thailand for 3 months and Turkey for almost a year; so the trip was about “getting to see the world and live it,” Larry said.
Which island was the most beautiful?
“The French have all the good stuff. French Polynesia, is the most beautiful. Tahiti, Bora Bora, Tuamotus Islands, Moorea, the Marquesas islands, these are all French,” Larry said, with a huge smile as he seemed to be reliving their natural beauty.
The best scuba diving?
The Tuamotus islands in French Polynesia, coral islands with no dirt on the island, so there is no run-off and about 120 feet of visibility. There were other places too, which you’ll discover in his book.
How long into the trip before you acquired the skills to overcome, “seamanship, personal strength and perseverance?”
Larry said that he struggled for the first year, and that it’s not the fun and dreamy vacation that we may think. “It’s a lot of hard work. Things break down constantly, and we had to learn along the way,” he said.
What was the first thing you noticed when you returned to San Francisco after six years of traveling?
“That nothing had really changed, except me. I didn’t see things the same way, I didn’t see money the same way, I didn’t see food, cars and people the same way. I had a new appreciation for what I felt was important in life, and it’s not sold in retail stores; it’s love and friendship.” Larry said he’s still struggling to fit in, despite it being four years since he’s been back in the U.S. His conclusion is that he’s changed permanently and he’ll never fit back in. “I think I’m a better person for it, I treat others better for it, I have a sense of community and camaraderie with friends and family that I probably didn’t have before.”
So what are some of the important lessons that you learned from escaping the rat race?
“That the rat race is not the only race going on, and you don’t have to take part in it.”
How do you stop yourself from getting caught up in it again, especially when you have to make money?
“Well, it’s tough. Not long ago I found myself yelling at someone in traffic at another driver, and I’m not supposed to do that, because that’s what I learned not to do. That it’s not important, that it’s OK, you can take your time, you don’ have to go so fast. As far as money, I’m counting on my book and I am a professional speaker. That’s going to be my next career, my next living.”
What do you tell someone who says, I’d like to do something like you did, but I can’t afford it?”
“The most important thing is to re-prioritize, because you can afford to do something. Anyone can afford to do something. It doesn’t have to be to sail around the world, that’s a pretty big thing.You can sail to Catalina island (an island off the California coast.) So re- prioritize. Save enough money to rent a boat and sail to Catalina and back. You’ll have a week-long adventure that will be unbelievable. You’ll be talking about it for years.” Larry said he put money away for years to fulfill his dream. He planned ahead. He called it his sailing fund. “If you really want to sail, don’t go skiing, save your money. Don’t buy a 50″ TV, by a 40″ TV.”
Larry’s enthusiasm was contagious.”You have to really want this, and I was unstoppable,” he said.
“People will always say, you can’t do this. You don’t have the money, the knowledge, or some other excuse, but if you really want this, you’ll make it happen.”
I want to thank Larry for his wonderful words of wisdom. and for all of us with dreams, no matter how big or how small, let’s remember to become unstoppable.
You can order Larry Jacobson’s inspiring book with many colored photos inside to carry you on a journey around the world, on his website or on Amazon. Please hop over to his Larry Jacobson’s site.
If you have any questions for Larry, please ask in the comment section and he’ll be happy to answer them.
Wow – this is a dream come true! Something to do when the kids have flown the coop perhaps?
Larry Jacobson says
Ladyfi, There were many families cruising with their kids. And why not let the kids share in such an incredible experience? Most of them were far more "together" than kids who had not had such an experience. I think it's a great thing to share with the entire family.
Thanks for your interest!
This sounds like a fabulous trip in a sailboat! In 1991 I quit my job as a flight test engineer and backpacked around part of the world; Europe, Africa, Middle East and parts of Asia. It was the most amazing 10 months of my life and it changed all of my ideas on success and happiness.
I hope this book encourages more people to live their lives to the fullest.
How cool that would be! I'm not a swimmer, so sailing wouldn't be my choice, but traveling in more conventional ways is on my horizon. I will definitely check out the book.
Its like you are right here….kudos my friend!!
Thanks for sharing your comment from my FB page onto the blog. Perhaps you need to write a book about your adventures too. You can share with Annabel Candy, as she';s looking for travel stories on Getinthehotspot.com. She's in Australia, and has traveled all over.
I can see you enjoying a cruise though.
Thanks for your visit. I hopped over to see you and noticed you're a friend of Larry's.
Actually I had thought about writing my stories down but when I returned I started my business and then moved to Germany, etc. I've been busy ever since!
Maybe we can use this book as our bookclub's next book?? I'd love to read it.
Antares Cryptos says
There's a big smile over here. Of simply stepping outside the constraints and do something now.
Too many become complacent and give up and I completely agree about re-prioritizing and perhaps living in more than just one place;)
Larry Jacobson says
Jane, Barbara, Anonymous, Antares, and Linda…
I'm so pleased to hear of your continued interest in the inspiration from the story. Yes, the trip was incredible, and I did take a huge risk in leaving all to make the journey. However, now I'm hoping to inspire others to Dream, Risk, Decide, Face their fears, and live their lives to the fullest. I hope the book inspires lots of people to do just that. You don't have to sail all the way around the world to find happiness–for most of us, it's right here inside–we just have to dig deeper than we expected to find it.
I would be honored to have my book in anybody's bookclub!
All the best,
thank you for highlighting this inspiring story – i love the way larry tells the whole truth about the ups and downs of his journey, and that ultimately it's all worth it.
Taking that plunge must have taken a lot of conviction….It's inspirational…. What you have done is probably something that a lot of office goers across the globe feel every Monday morning at 9 AM…. Hearing courageous stories like yours may actually inspire one of them to take that leap of faith…. 🙂
@Sonia… Thanks for sharing Larry's story…. 🙂
As I was reading this story, I was thinking not everyone can just up and leave. Your circmstances are different than most other people. Not everyone has a business to sell, or has access to the kind of money required to just go. But having the capability to do it, I admire you for making that decision. Even having the money, it's still a life changing decision and takes some moxy to go. If I had the ability to just go, I'd take a different route other than water, but I'd love to be able to just pack and go.
Phivos Nicolaides says
Very interesting indeed, provided there are the means to do it…
Larry said, "my job was slowly killing me, which reminded me the other quote: "I love my job, it's the work I hate…"! :):)
What an adventurous and exciting time you had! I would love to just pack up everything and travel around Australia, Fiji and the polynesian islands. Not right now, but I haven't given up the dream.
Larry Jacobson says
Thank you all for your comments on my "gutsy move." Haha, it really didn't seem so gutsy at the time…it seemed kind of crazy! My friends and family, while supportive, looked at me "funny" and said, "Who does this?" That being said, my dream drove me in spite of my fears about leaving everything behind. One of the chapter titles is, "Passion trumps fear." I was so set on doing this that I would let nothing stand in the way.
For those thinking they want to do something similar, but "can't" or don't have the money, I ask you to ask yourself about priorities. It's often the good things that stand in our way preventing us from doing great things. We have homes, jobs, partners, kids, cats, dogs, etc. What are you willing to risk to make your dream come true?
I wish you all the best in achieving your goals!