Fast forward a few months and a whole lot of window shopping, and the Ortons were officially embarking on a one-year adventure to the Caribbean in their very own sailboat with the kids in tow. And while purchasing a sailboat is definitely costly, the rest of the trip actually wasn't that expensive.
"You can live pretty cheaply. Less than on land. That's what we figured," Erik said. "Once you've got your boat, you're not paying rent. We sublet our house. But you don't have a lot of expenses other than groceries really once you're out there. You're going to buy some fuel to put in your boat every now and then. And, of course, there's maintenance. It's kind of like camping on the water."
As for the kids? Emily was already homeschooling their children, so the transition was easier in that regard.
"You take on all that responsibility as parents but also get a lot of autonomy, and you start to control your calendar in a different way," she said. "I really think it was that we had started homeschooling first that opened our mind to the idea of these possibilities."
The journey was particularly beneficial for their youngest daughter, who has Down syndrome.
"We could have all these opportunities for experiential learning, opportunities with other cultures in other places, and I thought this will really cement it," Emily said. "I would say particularly for all my kids, but especially for our youngest, who has Down syndrome, abstract [concepts aren't] happening. And so something super concrete like this, it just fired up her curiosity to meet new people, and she always wanted to try the new things."