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  • Writer's pictureTiago Bertalot

Quitting the Pilot Job and moving to a Sailboat

Yes, that's it, I quitted my job as pilot flying a big jet on a big company, a dream job for many as it was for me. Flying was my passion and my way of life for quite some time. I started on small aircraft, than got my first job as airline pilot in Brazil on a Boeing 737 and finally an international career flying the World on a Boeing 777 and that's where everything got a bit... confused!

As a pilot, we always look for our upgrade and 11 years had passed since I got my position as first officer, I knew becoming a captain should coming soon, I had thousands of hours on big jets and was above the qualifications for the new role. But the pandemic popped in the late 2019, crises on the air, thousands of pilots being fired every day, the remaining ones fighting tooth and nail to keep their jobs. I was not fired but was working much more than ever before and stuck in hotels around the World I had time to think.

Flying internationally brought me an interesting perspective of what was really valuable on my life. The long hours on the cockpit or at a hotel rooms somewhere far from family plays a big role on how do you see your life. The feeling of going with the flow was becoming my reality. I was on a "nice" job, on a safe place, with a very predictable and stable path ahead of me where I would work hard, build money, have the kids on the best schools and than get retired and happy. The only problem: I wasn't happy.

Of course at home everybody was feeling my things were not going well. I became a moaner and being around me was not easy but every holidays we had an escape, our sailboat Trouble Maker. Every time we

were in Croatia sailing around those stunning islands we were all radiants, having full experiences as a family. We could feel part of the nature surrounding us and more connected with our lives. That's the point where the idea of living on a sailboat came to our minds.

From the moment I felt frustrated with my life to the accomplishment of our plan there was a journey with lots ups and downs. Because we had experience as a sailor family we could get the shadow off and see with more praticity. We also spoke to many people that were living on their boats and had similarities or differences with us. This was a very important step, we were still on our normal jobs but exploring the possibilities. Questions about the size of our boat, homeschooling, fear of the sea, work, etc, were popping out every day and night and we had moments of frustration and satisfaction.

With most of our questions solved we gave us a full vacation to go to the boat, stay for longer than habitual and see if we could really handle everything with the kids and ourselves. I think that was one of the best things we did. After 3 weeks on the boat I questioned everybody and none wont other life. All did, it was time to stop working as a pilot.

I as quite impressed on how supportive most of my colleagues, captains and friends were. Even not understanding well what this crazy idea of go sailing with the family was about, most of them showed a lot of appreciation and this made my last few months a smooth passage. I had hours of conversation with my friends about my plans, I could get many perspectives and some of them even started their sailing courses!

The D day was interesting: I woke up in the morning and had that feeling I should wait a bit more, that I was leaping into the void but when I told it at home I was almost killed. On the road to the company office I knew this would be a game change in our life. I showed up with my resignation letter and surprisingly I felt light, I was again handling my own life. I called home with a big smile, I did it.

From the time I resigned to the day we left took us 3 months, those were the months I enjoyed flying again, I was out pressure and saying goodbye to that lifestyle I knew for years. At home we were selling our stuff and packing our personal things. We had lots of documents to sort out, another lots of farewell dinners and many friends to say bye. We all cried when we entered the airport doors but as soon as the airplane touched down Croatia we knew another page of our lives had just started.

If you'd like to genuinely discuss life onboard and experiences like the one above, don't hesitate to get in touch!


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