Sunday Guest Post Series: Lisa Dorenfest – One Ocean At A Time

I mull over the contents of this post as I soak in a traditional Red Zao herbal bath while overlooking the resplendent mountains of Northwest Vietnam. My entire being is filled with gratitude for every moment in my life that got me to this one; both the good and the bad for they are what shaped me and made this moment possible.

One Ocean at a Time
Herbal Bath – Ta Phin Village, SaPa, Vietnam

I begin to recount how I got to this place since shutting my office door for my first ‘Sailbatical’ in April 2011, and my gratitude increases exponentially.

I’ve had the good fortune to live my dream of circumnavigating the globe under sail. I’ve traveled nautical miles to SE Asia across two oceans and into a third, sailing from The Netherlands to Malaysia with a yearlong stopover in New York between oceans to replenish the cruising kitty and treat a bout of breast cancer.

One Ocean at a Time
Amandla In Paradise – Taveuni, Fiji

I joined my partner, Captain Fabio Mucchi aboard his sailboat Amandla at the beginning of my second ‘Sailbatical’ in February 2013. I had planned to return to work after sailing to New Zealand, but here I am, almost five years later, still traveling and loving it.

One Ocean at a Time
The Captain Provides – Pacific Ocean En Route to French Polynesia

With Amandla safely dry-docked in Malaysia, The Captain and I began a bit of land traveling SE Asia by bus, train, boat, and on foot, visiting Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. The Captain returned home to Italy in September to promote his new book on his early travels, and I continued onward to Vietnam.

One Ocean at a Time
With My Guide Man Mây – Lao Cai Province, Vietnam

Here, I added motorbikes to my list of transportation modes, riding as a passenger along the streets of Hanoi and through Northwest Vietnam from Mai Chau to Pù Luông, and over the past 36 hours, from Lao Cai to Lai Châu and back.

The Captain and I will meet back aboard Amandla at the end of October to start preparing for our Indian Ocean transit in 2018.

One Ocean at a Time

Some might call this retirement. I call it living life to the maximum! You can read more about the journey here.

Thank you, Donna, for giving me the opportunity to share my story on your blog. I find your wonderful posts as well as the stories shared by others here in your ‘Sunday Series’ to be an incredible source of inspiration for anyone contemplating a lifestyle change whether it is retirement or a trip along the road less traveled.


From Retirement Reflections

Don’t you want to drop what you are doing and immediately join Lisa and The Captain aboard the Amandla for a sailing adventure? I know that I do! This is an incredibly inspiring example of ‘living life to the max.’
While Lisa has us primed to think ‘outside of the box’, please join me next week when Molly takes charge and (humorously) revises her retirement plan!
Do you also have a ‘retirement’ or ‘lifestyle’ story to share? Just leave a comment and I would be happy to include you as an upcoming Guest Host.

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69 Replies to “Sunday Guest Post Series: Lisa Dorenfest – One Ocean At A Time”

    1. Hi, Kate – You’ve perfectly captured the heart of this post. Joy. Although I may never be on a sailboat, I find Lisa’s words and lifestyle very inspiring! 🙂

    1. I agree that Lisa has discovered an amazing lifestyle…and her photos are beautiful. I am especially struck by her gratitude for both the ‘good and the bad’ that have brought her to where she is today.

    1. Thanks, Kathy – I also find Lisa’s post to be ‘fearless’ and ’embracing adventure’. I was just catching up on my ‘Sunday morning inspirational reading as well”. Great minds think alike!

    2. Rightszing indeed Kathy! I wish I’d had your book when I was 30 so I could have prepared at an earlier age. Many (costly) things that I thought were important turned out not to be. I’ve since found that experiences are preferrable to bling! Delighted that you found the post inspirational.

  1. Congratulations, Lisa, for leading the life you’ve chosen! I can relate to your sailing lifestyle and the wonderful time you’ve had in South East Asia. In my teenager years, I was very inspired to sail solo after reading At One with the Sea book by Naomi James. My parents of course were terrified of my plan. I did some group sailing in SEA, and re-visited the area on separate solo backpacking trips. Loved every minute and would go back in a heart beat! Safe travels!

    1. Hi, Natalie – I am continually inspired by your extensive travel and adventurous lifestyle. Thanks for stopping by and reading Lisa’s story — hers is also filled with incredible inspiration and non-stop adventure!

    2. I am impressed by all of the places that you have traveled Natelie and look forward to adding some of them to my list in the future. Surprisingly, I was not familiar with Naomi James’ story until you mentioned it to me and now she has my full attention :-). I hope to see you spend more time sailing and more time traveling SEA. If I didn’t this dream to circumnavigate pushing me forward, I would probably never leave this place.

    1. Thank you Jill. I am a very lucky girl.
      And I appreciate your introduction too, Donna. I just added Jill’s ‘Second Chance Romance’ to my Kindle Library that will entertain me during our Indian Ocean crossing next year!

  2. I’ve “known” Lisa in the blogosphere for two years and I never tire of her incredible images and wonderful stories. What a life you have Lisa, and you express the gratitude for it wholeheartedly and humbly! Been missing you lately, though! Thanks for whetting our “living vicariously through you” appetite today! So happy to see you gracing Donna’s amazing blog!

    1. Hi, Terri – I recently discovered Lisa and her blog. I honestly have no idea how it took me so long (as we have many mutual friends…like you!). After reading just one of her posts, I was completely hooked. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    2. I was thrilled when Donna gave me the opportunity to follow in the wake of so many awesome bloggers (such as yourself) that have shared stories in her Sunday Series. I’ve missed you big time Terri and hope to get back into the swing of blogging soon. Am currently in Bangkok where my mother recently had emergency (partial) hip replacement surgery after a fall while traveling Thailand. Not a great way to end a vacation, but if one is to have medical treatment overseas, Bumrungrad Hospital is probably the best place to do it.
      Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on Postcard From SE Asia by Lisa DorenfestMy Profile

    1. Hi, Peta and Ben – Thank you for stopping by to read Lisa’s post here. I, too, enjoy her photos and adventures. I just stopped over at your site and LOVED it. I now look forward to following your continued adventures as well.

    2. Thank you so much for following me here Peta and for your very kind compliments. I am so very hopeful that I will be able to meet you and Ben person in Sri Lanka. The current plan is to arrive in mid-February and stay for one month. Will be by your virtual space for a visit shortly.

    1. Hi, Louise – Whether it’s mountain climbing or sailing deep waters, I love reading stories of wanderlust adventurers. Thanks for being part of this inspirational team!

  3. Lisa is something like a blogging “Mom” to me. She is inspirational and motivational, and has helped me keep my chin up at various points in my post-college, confusing adult life. In the 2.5 years that I’ve “known” her, I’ve learned so much from her, and I am constantly in awe of her adventuresome spirit. You are amazing, Lisa, and you inspire so many! Keep doing you–I’m looking forward to the day we will meet in person. 🙂

    1. ‘Blogging Mom’ is such a title of honour. I have only been following Lisa’s blog for a couple of months — but I already look forward to being a long-term follower. I am off to check out your site as well, Britta. See you there!

    2. I just let out a big ‘Awwwwww’ when reading that you consider me to be something like your blogging Mom Britta! Honoured!

      Have so enjoyed watching your evolution from student to teacher and everything in between. You are such an inspiration to me as well… and it makes me smile to think of all of the students that will be inspired by you throughout your career.

      PS. I thought of you while on my second trip to Chiang Mai (this time with my Mom and Sis) in late-October. Can not get enough of that place.

    1. Hi, Anabel – I’m with you on wishing to read more on Lisa’s current adventures. Hopefully, she’ll have time to update us soon!

    2. Ahoy Anablel! Great to hear from you as always! Actually, I owe you a big thank you. Your post here earlier this year was my introduction to Donna’s blog! I do hope to be able to start sharing SE Asia travel stories soon. Am currently in Bangkok where my mother recently had emergency (partial) hip replacement surgery after a fall while traveling Thailand. She is a great patient and is responding really well to physical therapy with hopes of heading home next week!

    1. Hi, Jo – I am delighted to be the source of a ‘Lisa Update’. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting – I greatly appreciate it!

    2. Hello you! So wonderful to hear from you here Jo. Sorry for my delay in responding to your well wishes. Am currently (unexpectedly) back in Bangkok where my mother had emergency partial hip replacement surgery. If one is going to have a fall, this is the place to do it. The healthcare here is excellent, so she is in good hands and is recovering nicely. Off to your blog to catch up on your adventures now….
      Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on A Brief Introduction by equinoxio21My Profile

  4. Lisa’s blog is one of my favorites and I’m thrilled to see her over here on your blog, Donna. What Lisa didn’t share on this post (and I wish she would share more of on her site – HINT, HINT) is her incredible street photography. She has an amazing eye and innate ability to shoot at just the right time. I encourage anyone who is following Lisa’s blog to follow her on Instagram too.

    I’m looking forward to reading updates about your travel plans, Lisa. Your 2018 adventure on the Indian Ocean sounds amazing – thanks for taking us along!
    Janis recently posted…Thursday Doors: Spirited OpeningsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Janis – Thank you for letting me know about Lisa’s ‘street photography’. I will now be on the lookout for it on her blog. 🙂

    2. OMG Feeling the love Janis! Just what I need right now.

      You know, I totally thought of you and your GratiTuesdays when I wrote this post as I was bubbling over with gratitude the day I penned it. And when this post was published, it was a wonderful reminder to be grateful…because I was throwing a major pity party for myself on that day. My Mom had a fall while traveling with my sister in Krabi and had to be airlifted to Bangkok for surgery. I was on my way home and was nearly back to our boat in Malaysia before turning right around to meet them in Bangkok for the surgery. Reading my own words on 5 November 2017 reminded me to be grateful that my mother fell in a place with amazing medical care, that she has decent travel insurance, and that we were able to extend our visit together for a few more weeks.
      Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on A Brief Introduction by equinoxio21My Profile

  5. Well, Lisa, you did it! You did it in style and in a timely manner – the guest blog and following your dreams. 🙂 This piece is very well-written and incredibly inspirational. If I didn’t already know you, and the Captain, and the good ship Amandla, I would drop everything, indeed, and join the crew in SE Asia, or even across the Indian Ocean. Problem is, for now, I am quite happy to forego seeing the (rest of) the world by sailboat, and use our Zesty for that. One day, though, I do wish to catch up again in person and enjoy a wonderful Italian meal with a glass of Oyster Bay Chardonnay on Amandla. So happy and inspiring to have you as a friend. Happy and safe journeys!! 🙂
    Liesbet recently posted…Monthly Expenses – October 2017My Profile

    1. Ohh, that Oyster Bay Chardonnay and wonderful Italian meal aboard the Amandia sound very tempting indeed. Expect a party-crasher!

      1. Feeling the love Liesbet and missing you and Mark very much. I so wish we could tempt you to cross with us but you now have a totally different totally awesome adventure underway. Maybe we will get lucky and you will find a house sit in South Africa next October or Brazil the following February ;-). Sorry for my delay in responding here. Mom had a fall while traveling with my sister in Krabi and had to have emergency partial hip replacement surgery in Bangkok. I nearly made it home to Amandla but headed back to Bangkok to be with Mom.. She’s recovering well and will hopefully head stateside on Tuesday. Fabio is working busily on the boat getting her into ship-shape for my return. Big hug from here and looking forward yobwhen we can travel together again.

        …and note to Donna – you and Richard are welcome to ‘party crash’ anytime 🍷

  6. Hi Lisa, it is so nice to hear from you here. I have been wondering where in the world you are now! As always, I am inspired by your adventures. I can’t get enough of those blue waters ocean shots as well as all of the photos of your adventures.

    1. Hi, Michele – Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Hopefully all of our ‘encouragement’ will help Lisa to get another post out to us sometime soon. 🙂

  7. Lisa you continue to be an inspiration. The essence of leaving the door open to possibility. Wishing you much happiness wherever the wind carries you. Xo
    Sue

    1. You never fail to make me smile Sue! Thank you for visit, kind words and good wishes. Apologize for my delay in responding. Mom had a fall while traveling in Krabi and had to have emergency hip replacement surgery in Bangkok. She is recovering well and should be returning home next week. Looking forward to seeing you on your upcoming visit to Thailand (hopefully with far less drama) and living vicariously through you as you cycle to SEA in early 2018.
      Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on A Brief Introduction by equinoxio21My Profile

    1. Hi, Jude – I’ve visited Vietnam and LOVED it. But I never had a traditional herbal bath there or rode a motorcycle in its mountains…I will definitely need to go back! I highly recommend Vietnam for your Bucket List!

    1. It was indeed. I was able to explore the landscape and the culture far more deeply. And on the back of a bike, every ounce of my being was screaming ‘I Feel So Alive’. Well actually, some cells were only saying ‘Weeeeee’ because they were having too much fun to get a whole sentence out. And a few other cells were screaming ‘Why the hell are we on the back of this motorbike, you are going to get us killed…but I just took a deep breath to calm those cells and then rode onward.

    1. Hi, Badfish – Thank you for dropping by to read Lisa’s post here. She has a huge fan club (of which I am proud to be a member). I’m with you in cheering on her continued adventures!

    1. Hi, Marjorie – Thank you for visiting and commenting. I greatly appreciate it. I agree that Lisa’s posts are so inspiring. I look forward to following her continued adventures.

    2. Means a great deal coming from one of the most amazing and inspirational people I know Marjorie! Many thanks from Bangkok. My sister and I are here with my mother who had a fall and required emergency (partial) hip replacement surgery. She is doing well and expected to head stateside in the next few days. We had the chance to meet up with Ron Moss a couple of times and meet his wife and son. Not sure if you remember Ron from LB (class of ’77 – worked with Mary at the Gallery) but its been nice to have a bit of home while visiting here.
      Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on A Brief Introduction by equinoxio21My Profile

    1. Ahoy from Bangkok Max. I have been thinking about you and your madcap adventures during your past visits here. Sadly, my experience pales in comparison as I have spent the predominance of my time at Bumrungrad Hospital where my Mom is recovering from (unplanned) hip replacement surgery. I guess I will just have to wait until your next visit to reexperience Bangkok ‘Max Style’, even if only vicariously.
      Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on A Brief Introduction by equinoxio21My Profile

  8. What a wonderful guest post by Lisa. Thanks Donna for sharing. It does sound like Lisa is living life to the max. Not only inspiring but something we can all look up to – go do what we love. I’ve been following Lisa’s blog for a while now and even had the honour of meeting her in Australia. Such a humble person just like her blog 🙂

    1. Hi, Mabel – You are so fortunate to have met Lisa in person. I love her writing and her photography. Like you, I find her posts to be very inspiring — and a great reminder to get out there and do what we love. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

    2. Ahoy from Bangkok Mabel! Feeling the love and missing you and team Wobbles very much. I have very much enjoyed our friendship and look forward to our paths cross again in the future. I’m delayed in Bangkok at the moment because my mother had (unplanned) hip surgery at Bumrungrad Hospital. The surgeon was a master and she is recovering well. She heads to Chicago on the 16th and then I’ll head back to Amandla and The Captain. ✌️❤️🐒
      Lisa Dorenfest recently posted…Comment on A Brief Introduction by equinoxio21My Profile

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