Take A Peek Inside

Welcome to our new home! As you can see it has many of our favorite parts of our previous house, just in a smaller scale.

I think the first floor of our house could fit our whole RV
Love that we could still have a fort for mini-man. Plus, its a great place to keep all his toys!
Smaller bedroom but it has everything thing we need

And even though it’s smaller, we really don’t miss the space. In fact, it was frustrating having all this stuff stored away that we never used. Now everything had a purpose and is used every day.

Beep Beep, Beep Beep


Once we got our camper, we needed a way to transport it. This was much harder than I anticipated. I assumed that the trailer would be harder, since there were so many options, layouts, sizes, and colors – but I was wrong. First, Damon and I needed to agree on what type of car:

  • Easy to drive: I didn’t want a car so big that I couldn’t drive it. I am used to full-sized vans and didn’t want to go bigger than that.
  • Comfort: We love our current mini-van. It has leather seats, lots of room and LOTS of cup holders (Damon loves his beverages. Our current mini-van has six cup holders in the front and five of them are usually taken up by Damon’s beverages).
  • Towing Capacity: I wanted something powerful. I didn’t want a car that would barely pull the trailer and could possibly leave us stranded somewhere because it broke down
  • Space: In addition to our human family, we are bringing with us our two cats and we need a space to put them while we are on the road.

Seems simple, right? Unfortunately, not. The towing capacity became our biggest issue. This instantly eliminated the standard car, mini-van, and SUV – which are the cars I am used to driving. This pretty much left us with full-sized trucks and some suburbans:

  • Trucks
    • Pro
      • Availability: Being in Florida, trucks of all shapes, sizes, and power are easy to find.
      • Towing Capacity: Trucks are made to haul stuff, so most trucks can handle pulling campers.
    • Con
      • Size: We are a family of four, with two young kids. Many cabins support this, but don’t have much leg room or capacity to store extra toys or snacks.
      • Storage: They have large truck beds but your stuff can’t be accessed while your driving. Plus, we would need to get a cover if we wanted to protect our stuff from the elements.
      • Unfamiliar: I haven’t been in a truck since I was eight (despite living in Florida for twenty years). This just isn’t a vehicle we are familiar with.
      • Budget: Trucks don’t lose a lot of value overtime, so to get one powerful enough in our budget required something with high mileage. This made me nervous since most trucks start to have major issues as they get more mileage on them
  • Suburbans
    • Pro
      • Familiar: Suburbans are very similar to vans and mini-van’s, which we are used to driving.
      • Size: Tons of internal room. Plenty of space for the kids, toys, snacks, and whatever else we need. Plus we can fit the cats inside of the car.
      • Storage: The storage is large and flexible – we can move seats around to accommodate whatever we need.
    • Con
      • Availability: There are only a few suburbans on the market that meet our criteria. In our short time researching, we have only found two that we like. People like these cars so much, that they rarely come on the used car market.
      • Towing Capacity: While there are just a few suburbans on the market, there are even fewer that have the towing capacity we need (and we soon learned that most car dealers don’t know that there is a difference).

So as you can see, the suburban makes more sense for our needs but trucks are much easier to find. I assumed that we would end up with a truck, since it would work and we could find one. Luckily, Damon kept his eyes open for a suburban and we hit the jackpot!

Damon was searching Craigslist and found a suburban that was 45 minutes away. This car had everything we wanted – good mileage, well cared for (the interiors looks brand new), powerful towing capacity (that was specially made for the original owner), easy to drive, a great size, and a great price. Needless to say, we jumped at this car.

Of course, being such a great catch, there were other people interested. Fortunately for us, we had two things going in our favor – location and cash! The first person who wanted the car lived in Georgia and was trying to figure out how to get the car. The second person lived nearby, but needed to go to the bank to arrange financing. Sometimes, the stars align and everything just goes in your favor.

So meet our new car:


Next step is introducing our car to our trailer. Fingers crossed that the meeting goes well :p



How do you fit a 1600 sq ft house into a 300 sq ft trailer??? The simple to say, but hard to do, answer is – DOWNSIZE. I’ve tried to put myself in a practical mindset – the more we sell, the more money we have to travel and less stuff to lug around. It also helps to remember that if we get rid of something, and want it later, we can always re-buy it.


Now some of our stuff is a no brainer to get rid of, such as the furniture (since it’s included in the trailer), TV’s (we won’t need four in the trailer), my car (my Honda Fit can’t pull an 8,000 lb trailer), and kitchen stuff (I won’t need my fancy dishes any more).

Then it gets a little more difficult for me. We have cultivated quite the toy collection and play area in our house. I know, realistically, that our kids don’t NEED all these toys, but I do have a joy seeing them play with these toys. I didn’t have a lot growing up, so being able to provide these “things” for my children gives my great satisfaction.


But then I’m reminded that what we remember most isn’t the actual toy we played with as children. We remember spending time with our loved ones and experiencing the world with them. And that’s what I want for my children – to experience value and love from those around them; not the things around them.

So while I know that downsizing my kids toys will be emotional for me, I also know that we are giving them an awesome experience.


Now on the flip size, I am used to cooking in a 300 sq ft kitchen (which is the same size as our trailer). How am I supposed to cook in such a small space? Where am I supposed to store everything? I am used to having a lot of cabinet space, not to mention fridge space, to store food. I currently have three different solutions for my dilemma:

  1. Shop every few days, instead of once a week
  2. Stop buying in bulk and only buy what you need for a the meal (portion control)
  3. Grow fresh herbs and lettuce in a window

I have no idea if any of these will works, but I guess this is only part of what I’ll have to get used to going forward. On the plus side, it’s much easier to keep 300 sq ft clean than 1600 – especially with two kids!



As many of you know, we moved back to Orlando last October after a year in Glendale. And let me tell you, A LOT has happened over the past six months. We’re not quite ready to share everything that’s happened, but I will tell you that big decision. We have a lot do to and we can’t wait to share everything with you!

My Heart is With Orlando

I have lived in Orlando for over 2o years. During that time I experienced several hurricanes – including Charlie, a category 3 storm, which did a lot of damage to Central Florida.

Hurricanes are very dangerous and can cause a lot of damage. We are unable to get back to our house before the storm hits, so we hope that everything is ok. Foruntatly, our contractor is doing some work and is keeping an eye I’m things for us.

This is a scary time for Florida. I hope everyone back home old days safe and that there is minimal damage.  We will see you soon

Lessons Learned: The Sail Boat


One of the main reasons behind our first sailing trip was to test the sail boat itself. We want to make sure that we buy something that will work for us as a family as we travel. For our first adventure we sailed on a 30′ O’day. Here is what we learned:

  • Everything within Reach: Many of the ropes and instruments were out of reach of the person at the helm, which meant that this boat needed to people to sail it. Unfortunately, I was with Colby most of the time and couldn’t always help Damon with the sailing.


  • Navigation: On this particular boat, most of the instruments we either out of date, not working, or not within reach of the wheel. For our boat we want to have all of our tools within reach of the captain to make sailing easier.


  • Head room: Damon is 6’1 and pretty sure mini-man is going to be taller than him someday. They will both need a lot more head room than this boat provided.
  • Organization: This boat did not have a lot of storage, which made it difficult to put things away or to find them.
  • Layout: There was a table in the middle of the living space, which made it difficult to maneuver around. Then there were two beds – one at the front and one at the back, Both were cramped and not conducive to sleeping or privacy.
  • Air Conditioning!: Traveling in the south, it can get very hot. We got trapped motoring down a river with no wind which made it very uncomfortable for us and mini-man. For days when we are motoring, air conditioning will be amazing!
  • Shade: It can get pretty hot/cold/wet at the helm. A nice covering will make it easier to steer for long periods of time

I think we learned a lot from this first trip together. The biggest thing we learned? We don’t need a single boat for our whole adventure. We think it will be best to get one boat for cruising North America and a different boat when we head to Europ.  We are planning a long get away in October when mini-man is a little older. We shall see what lessons this trip brings.

Preparations: Learning to Swim

A big part of sailing takes place on the water (I know – DUH! – right!?!). So part of preparing for our big adventure is seeing if mini-man likes the water. If he didn’t, it could derail our plans to sail around the world.

I grew up  in San Diego and have always loved being in the water. Hoping that mini-man inherited my love of the water, we took him to the pool.

Colby First Swim

I wasn’t too optimistic, he is only three months after all. At most, I had hoped to get his feet in the water. I was nervous with him being so young that he might not  do well or that he may need lessons in order to be in the water.  What happened blew me away.

Over the next hour, mini-man went from having his feet in the water to full on swimming. At one point, we put him in his life preserver to see if it would help him, but it only held him back. As you can see in the video, he had the time of his life and the only thing holding him back was us (I’m not quite ready to let him put his head under the water). He played for hours in the water and by the time we got home he was worn out.

We have since moved his bath into the tub with one of us so he can kick and swim to his hearts delight (and bonus – it tires him out very fast!).

I am beyond thrilled that mini-man loves to be in the water. This puts us one step closer to our sailing dreams.

Our First Sailing Adventure as a New Family

20150508_155638Before we start sailing around the world, Damon and I thought it would be a good idea to start with a small trip to get our feet wet. We rented a 30′ O’day to sail along the Indian River, near Merritt Island, Fl. for a three day, two nights trip .

The morning we left started out hectic – Damon had a deadline at work and had to go to the office (I cannot wait for these office trips to be over). Meanwhile, I was trying to get mini-man ready so we could leave once Damon got home. So much for plans – mini-man usually has his own ideas and they almost never align with mine.

After a crazy morning with mini-man, Damon came home and we started packing up the car. Long gone are the days were we can just pack up and leave in a few minutes. Now, I am usually with mini-man to make sure he is fed and happy, while Damon runs around the house to finish packing. I feel bad for him as I am the organized one in the family and hate seeing him stress out so much to get us ready. However, he did an amazing job and we were able to leave within a few hours.


Once we arrived, we called the rental place and they informed us that we had no fridge on this boat. He suggested getting a cooler if we wanted to keep thing cool (which of course is necessary when you are sailing in Florida in May). This put us behind schedule. Once we got on the boat and settled, we missed our opportunity to leave – in order to get to the river, we had to pass under two bridges and a lock, which could only be open at certain times. It took us two hours to get passed everything and didn’t make it to our destination until 7:00p. At this point, I am starving and needed real food. We anchored in historic Cocoa (not the beach, but the town) and headed in for dinner.

20150509_11435020150510_090334We had a pretty good night and woke up nice-n-refreshed. We were missing a few things for breakfast so Damon headed into town to get some supplies while I got mini-man ready for the day. After breakfast, we explored the town which happened to be hosting a craft fair in the middle of the town that spread out quite a bit. This gave us a chance to see a lot of the town and talk to the people, which made for a very relaxing afternoon.

At this point, the wind picked up so we hoisted the sail and headed further down the river. We ended up in Dragon Pointe and anchored for dinner. Since this was our last night, Damon wanted to start back as soon as possible. We sailed as long as we could, but we didn’t get far before we had to anchor for the night.


Our last day was rough. We were far away from the marina with hardly any wind, so we had to motor back (at a neck breaking speed of 5 mph). It wasn’t too bad at first since some of the wind kept us cool. The trouble started when we got to the river. It was high noon, hot, and there was no wind on the river. mini-man got hot very quickly and started crying. With no air conditioner on board, I kept him cool with cold wash cloths and feeding him. It got better when we got back to open water and wind, but that quickly went away when we had to go through the bridges again. By the time we got back to the marina we were all hot and hungry. As soon as we docked, I bee-lined it for air conditioning with mini-man to help cool him down. As soon as we got inside, he felt a lot better. It certainly was an adventure and we learned a lot:

  • Balanced days: Don’t try to do to much in one day. It just makes things way to stressful.
  • Be flexible: Plans change. Don’t do something just because that was how you planned it.

We learned a lot more. Check out our upcoming blog posts to see what we learned about ‘Sailing and Parenting’ and ‘What we are looking for in a  sail boat.

First Foray


This weekend we are taking our first official step towards our sailing dreams – an overnight sailing trip. Up ’til now I have not spent the night on a sailboat and Damon has done some overnight trips during his training. To make things a little more complicated, we are taking our three month-old son with us fit his first sailing adventure. We think this will be a good test of our sailing dreams. Wish us luck! You can follow our adventure live on twitter @heartswelladven #heartswelladventures

Hello World!


We are the Heartswells, a young family who loves to travel and try new things. After years of traveling the country on various vacations and trips, we’ve decided to shake things up. Starting now, we are preparing to travel around the world by sailboat. It might seem a little crazy, but we think this is the ultimate adventure.

As we lead up to our launch, we will share with you some of our previous adventures, our preparations for sailing, and some fun.

Join us as we prepare for the adventure of a life time.