A couple who sold their Aylesbury home to sail around the world for three years with their toddler daughter have celebrated a year at sea.
Kim and Simon Brown sold their six-bedroomed house in Vale Road to embark on the voyage in their 56ft Oyster yacht.
The couple faced criticism from the national press for travelling with their four-year-old daughter Sienna on the voyage, which could take them across the perilous Atlantic ocean.
At the time businesswoman Kim, and Aylesbury Prison PE teacher Simon defended their decision, but later admitted that the journey has been emotionally and physically harder than expected.
Speaking on her most recent Sailing Britican blog Kim 38, said: “Often people reflect on sailing cruisers as people that sail into the sunset, drink gin and tonics on the deck and enjoy the good things in life.
“Those things do happen, but not nearly as often as most people think.
“Sure, I speculated that I’d make several new friends as we sail around the world, but what I didn’t realise is that the friends we would make would become so close.
“I didn’t understand that these new friendships could provide such depth, warmth and love. And I didn’t comprehend how hard it would be to leave my new friends.”
From October to April the family lived on the boat in Marina di Ragusa in Sicily, and Sienna attended an Italian preschool.
Kim said: “During my stay I learned to cook a variety of amazing meals. I gained a deeper insight on the life of a cruiser (from my veteran friends) and I felt a very strong connection to everyone in my environment.
“I felt safe, and even loved. I knew that if there was some sort of problem I had a network of people at my doorstep that would help me with anything.”
And on leaving the marina she added: “Part of me felt angry about our lifestyle decision. At one point I became irritated that I chose a sailboat cruising life.
“I didn’t know how painful it would be to say goodbye.
“I didn’t realise how much my heart would hurt, at times I thought I didn’t want to make anymore friends if I’ll have to say goodbye.”
And Kim described her fears for daughter Sienna, as she faced another move.
She said: “Watching my daughter’s Italian preschool teachers visit us on the boat to say goodbye was tough.
“One of the teachers had so many tears that you couldn’t find a dry spot on her face. It was emotional!”
She added: “I was worried about how my daughter would adjust from having loads of very close friends around to none. At school she had friends, but she also made friends with a few English speaking children who she became very close to.”
To view the family’s progress throughout the trip visit Kim’s blog at www.sailingbritican.com