Mental health is not something that we talk about frequently in the tiny house industry or in the tiny house movement, so today's guests are a welcome addition of mental health to the tiny house conversation. Sophie and Ryan set to work saving and learning all they could about boats and sailing. They decided to delay their adventure to address their anxiety and depression through therapy. After they set sail, they realized that life on a boat isn't all smooth sailing – so they both still suffer from anxiety and have been seeing therapists remotely throughout their journey. In this conversation, Sophie and Ryan talk about the mental health impacts of both preparing for and living tiny.
In This Episode:
- The idea, the plan, and the plan revision
- 3 things that you have to prepare for before your adventure
- Hit the pause button more often
- How much time really goes into a YouTube channel?
- Keeping it real with the videos
- How to create privacy in such a small space
- The challenge of finding a therapist that will work with you remotely
- Identifying and dealing with anxiety
Links and Resources:
- The Voyager's Handbook by Beth Leonard
Ryan and Sophie
Ryan and Sophie are a couple in their mid-thirties that quit their start-up jobs in 2017 after nearly 10 years of a career that left them dissatisfied. They departed from their homeport of Stockholm Sweden in 2018 to pursue a life of adventures at sea, sailing around the world in a 40-foot sailboat. They have sailed 13000 nautical miles from Sweden to the Mediterranean sea and twice across the Atlantic. They are now getting ready for a third Atlantic crossing that will take them from the Canary Islands to the South of the Caribbean sea.
This Week's Sponsor:
Tiny House Decisions
Tiny House Decisions is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. And it comes in three different packages to help you on your unique tiny house journey. If you're struggling to figure out the systems for your tiny house, how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, what you're going to build it out, then tiny house decisions will take you through the process systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for podcast listeners. Head over to https://www.thetinyhouse.net/thd and use the coupon code tiny at checkout!
First breakfast onboard the Polar Seal!
The new sail with the Polar Seal Logo
Living on a boat means your house is always moving
No post in the ocean!
It's not always smooth sailing – but Sophie and Ryan have determined that it's all worth it
Boat life means lots of maintenance – including antifouling the bottom of the boat
Life on a 40 foot sailboat means that privacy can be tricky
It can be difficult to stay organized, but they do it well
The galley before they put everything in there
Ryan Darsy 0:00
When we're out on anchor, there's some nights that like, you know, it's been a hard day we just want some rest. And then the boat's just moving around and you're up in your underwear on the deck at 3am trying to figure out you know, if the anchor's dragging or not. And that puts a bit of a strain on things to
Ethan Waldman 0:15
welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast The show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 187. with Sophie and Ryan Darsy.
Mental health is not something that we talk about frequently in the tiny house industry or in the tiny house movement. So today's guests are a welcome addition of mental health to the tiny house conversation. After Sophie and Ryan set to work, saving and learning all they could about boats and sailing, and were ready to set off on their adventure. They were both suffering from anxiety and depression and decided to delay their adventure while they received 12 months of therapy. Later, after they set sail, they realized that life on a boat isn't all smooth sailing. So they both still suffer from anxiety and have been seeing therapist remotely throughout their journey.
And in this conversation, we're going to talk about the mental health impacts of both preparing for and living tiny, with Ryan and Sophie who are great guests and very generous to share all of this kind of sticky mental health stuff that not a lot of us usually talk about. So stick around.
I want to tell you about something that I think will be super helpful as you plan, design and build your tiny house. Tiny House Decisions is a guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. It comes in three different packages to help you on your unique Tiny House journey. And if you're struggling to just figure out the systems for your tiny house, you know, like how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, you know what construction technique are you going to use like SIPs or stick framing or steel framing, Tiny House Decisions will take you through all these processes systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for listeners of the show, you can head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD To learn more, and use the coupon code tiny at checkout for 20% off any package. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/THD and use the coupon code tiny for 20% off.
Alright, I am here with Sophie and Ryan. Sophie and Ryan are a couple in their mid 30s that quit their startup jobs in 2017 after nearly 10 years of a career that left them dissatisfied. They departed from their home port of Stockholm, Sweden in 2018 to pursue a life of adventure at sea belling around the world in a 40 foot sailboat. They've sailed 13,000 nautical miles from Sweden to the Mediterranean Sea and twice across the Atlantic. They are now getting ready for a third Atlantic crossing that will take them from the Canary Islands to the south of the Caribbean Sea. Sophie and Ryan, welcome to the show.
Sophie Darsy 3:28
Thanks. Thanks for having us. And welcome aboard.
Ethan Waldman 3:31
Thank you. Yes, it's good. I like that. Welcome aboard. I feel right at home. So tell tell us about about your boat.
Sophie Darsy 3:40
Well, we are recording this podcast from our boat police seal. He's a 40 foot Beneteau from 2007, which is considered in our in our world and more modern production boat. Okay, we equipped her heavily to sustain ocean crossings. And we've been living on board for the last three years. Yeah, awesome.
Ethan Waldman 4:07
So, you know, in your bio, that I just read, you know, it sounds like you were working in careers for 10 years and then decided to kind of drop everything and start living the boat life. were you considering anything else? Or was it always like you knew you're gonna do the boat?
Sophie Darsy 4:29
We always knew that we were going to do the boat. And it kind of came very randomly at a moment of our lives where we were both somewhat rebuilding after disappointing moments, I would say. So, back when I was 26 - 27 I had a big burnout at work and I woke up under my desk one morning. I spent six months at home on the on sick leave. And it was a pretty dark period. Took me a lot of time to recover from, from burnout, lots of therapy. And I learned to deal with depression and anxiety. Fast forward a couple of years later, I met Ryan on Tinder. And the mistake that I had made at that time, I think, was to keep the same job. So the same job that sent me on sick leave is the job that I came back to. And I think that it became apparent quite quickly that it was not, it was not great for me, it was not great for my mental health. And I met Ryan, who, at that time, you also had a startup job.
Ryan Darsy 5:37
Yeah, I had a startup job. And but for me, it was just a little bit different. I had some other goals, I was not on a boat at that time, I was mountain climbing and had some ambitions of skiing to the South Pole and doing a bunch of other crazy adventure stuff. And not long after I met Sophie, one day, I was out for a run, and came across a family of geese. And one of the geese attacked me, I fell, dislocated my shoulder and broke the socket bone, and was taken to the emergency room where and then flew back to Sweden where they had to rebuild my shoulder. And essentially, all of my goals and dreams and aspirations that I was working for, towards the last few years were put on hold for the next few years. So yeah, it was a talk about rebuilding a lot of things mentally and physically were rebuilt with me. But I had just met Sophie. And while I was recovering from my operation, I read a story online about a couple who had sold everything, and bought a boat and sail the world. And I thought it was a cool idea and something I had never considered. So I sent the link to Sofia, and asked if she would ever do something like this. And she said, Yes. So as soon as I got better, we took sailing lessons bought a boat, and off we went.
Ethan Waldman 6:55
Wow.And do you have? Do you have an end date in mind? Are you going to just keep doing this until until you don't want to do it anymore?
Sophie Darsy 7:03
Well, our philosophy is that we're going to do this for as long as we enjoy it, and as long as we afford it. But when we originally left Stockholm, three years ago, we were gonna leave for six months only, and then we were gonna go back. And I think it's fair to say that we failed at that. Yeah.
Ryan Darsy 7:24
But I think we're slowly learning to find a balance between what we enjoy about sailing, because there's a lot of things we enjoy a lot of things that maybe we don't enjoy so much. And balancing like what you would call maybe a traditional life with it land life. So we're, we're slowly discovering how to kind of interweave the two, to find a good balance of everything that we like in life at it.
Ethan Waldman 7:48
So when I was introduced to your story, you know, I learned that when your departure date arrived, you know, when you were planning to leave initially, you decided to delay your adventure for about a year. Yep. Can you talk about that? What? You know what happened? And why?
Sophie Darsy 8:09
Yeah, oh, it's a it's very simple. Where after we after we met, we very quickly went into this sailing project very quickly, we bought the boat, I think it was about a year after we met. And then I sold my apartment I moved in with Ryan, you know, I think that it's fair to say that this project accelerated our relationship substantially. Yeah. And I think that at the end of our first season of sailing, which we were going for us to make sure that we'll be ready to build a little bit of experience, I started to experience a relapse of depression and anxiety. And at first, I thought that it wouldn't be like a big deal. But very quickly, we sat down and realized that there was no way that we could safely leave the dock with me in that state. And so we decided that for your I was going to go to therapy. In this time around running, I decided to start couples counseling before many reason, but I think primarily because we will need to work better with understanding my depression and anxiety. And after a year, I felt a lot better, I felt a lot more equipped. And I'm so grateful that we took that time to learn a little more about how to deal with our mental health struggles. Because as we quickly learned, this life can be very challenging when you're dealing with that with mental health struggles. So, so yeah, it was the best decision ever.
Ryan Darsy 9:44
We tell people, or at least one of the advice I give people talking about the sailing life is that there's three things that you have to take care of. You need to prepare for before you leave and most people only understand that there's two and only take care of you. So it's you need to you need to find a good boat A good home for you to go and live on. And that's a big challenge. But if we didn't know anything about boats we started. The second thing is, how are you going to pay in finance for it? So how are you going to structure your life, you're going to use savings, you're going to work like Sophie and I. And so those are kind of like the two things that people kind of, they know that they need to address them, and then they stop there. And the third thing that we realized very, very quickly, was that we needed to work on us as a couple being on a boat. And it's something you don't think about until you get going you living in a very small space. A home that moves constantly makes a lot of weird noises. It puts a lot of stress on it. And then on top of it, we're working and in that very small space together on two different projects. So that was a big eye opener. And I think having that year helped with a couple of couples counselor, but then also we took that forward in our journey.Working together.
Sophie Darsy 10:57
Yep. And talking about how the boat moves all the time. If you hear something behind us, that sounds like a fart. It's our client dockline. It's a little bit windy in the marina at the moment.
Ethan Waldman 11:05
Okay, okay, good.
Sophie Darsy 11:08
It's not Ryan's lunch.
Ethan Waldman 11:11
Yeah, I think backing up just a little bit. I think it's an interesting observation. And I certainly remember this, when I was when I fell in love with with tiny houses, and became kind of obsessed with the idea of building my own. And just everything accelerated, as you said, and so I was, I was trying to save money and do all this research. And then once I did start building, that was, that was all I had time for on top of my other work. And so it really doesn't leave you a lot of time for the other self care. And, and I think that it's, this is something that I think a lot of people struggle with, but probably don't even realize it or don't talk about is just the mental health aspect. Not even living tiny, which I do want to talk about. But just when you get so involved in a project like this, how the rest of your your life and the rest of your commitments, and just your self care can kind of go out the window.
Sophie Darsy 12:16
I think that's, that's valid for all type of lifestyle that involves a part of entrepreneurship. Because now, you are responsible for 100% of what's happening to you. It's not a matter of going to the office at 9am in the morning, and then when you leave, you're done. It's cool, you can leave all that behind you. But now you're responsible for 100%. And it's very hard to stop yourself is there's always something that you don't. And I think that in the first year, we were very guilty of that. And because we were working full time on both our little businesses, and it's hard to let go of that. We were taking care of the boat, we were trying to reach our destinations, we had goals for where we needed to be and when. And all of that was very overwhelming. And in the middle of that it was very hard for us to hit the post button. Yeah, we were really bad at that. Yeah. And I think that any time in any situation that you are responsible for 100% of your life and your income. I think that there is this is the trap, the trap of not hitting the Post button more often.
Ethan Waldman 13:26
Yeah. Was that my that was gonna be my next question. If you could kind of go back and give yourselves advice. During that period, when you were kind of preparing for the for the journey. What What advice would you give yourself?
Ryan Darsy 13:40
I think the one thing I learned quickly, and one of our struggles has been, I mean, we never left on this adventure to do YouTube. This wasn't why we did this was to start a YouTube channel and go sailing. Yeah, because by the way, this is this is what we do. So has a YouTube channel and takes a lot of time with that. But that takes a lot of time out of our sailing life, I would say. And the one thing I didn't, I thought we could just carry on a normal sailing schedule, role in a normal season like most people do. And what reality i The metric I've set for us now is that it takes twice as long to do something. So if we were gonna go do a a year long trip, we're gonna film it all it's gonna take us two years to do it because we need to have time to enjoy ourselves and enjoy where we are but also the give the proper time to do the filming, the editing and all the work that comes with it. I think we're still three years in learning that.
Sophie Darsy 14:36
That's on the work side. I would say that on the lifestyle side. If I were to give ourselves advice three years ago, just keep hit the pause button like don't go so hard at trying to hit the next destination so fast. Because one, we need to enjoy the places where we're at. And a way to do that is to stay there for like for extended period of time, and the second one is we need, we need to take we need to take those breaks. And when I went too hard,
Ryan Darsy 15:08
Ethan Waldman 15:09
Ryan Darsy 15:10
I would agree.
Ethan Waldman 15:11
okay. Yeah. Was there anything else that you wanted to say? No? Okay. That's pretty good. Yeah. Nice. So you, Ryan, I think you kind of brought this up already. But you brought up another very real challenge, another mental health challenge, which can just be living tiny in general, because you know, you're living on this 40 foot boat. The living quarters are probably pretty small. Can you talk about some of the challenges there?
Ryan Darsy 15:43
Well, I mean, I would, I haven't lived in a van, I haven't lived in a tiny house. But I would assume there's many of the same challenges. It's a small space, our kitchen, our living room and our toilet are pretty much in the same room, we have a separate, we have two separate bedrooms. And we have a cockpit where we go sit in the sun, kind of like our Sun Deck,
Sophie Darsy 16:04
just to give you the lay of the land a little bit, where I sleep is right next to our engine. So when it's running, I am literally sleeping inside the tractor. And one meter away from where I sleep is our toilet. Which I didn't really reflect on that at the time that we moved on board. But that is definitely a thing. It will wake you up.
Ryan Darsy 16:30
Sophie Darsy 16:31
But also, you know, if you think of the board in terms of the functions that it's supposed to fill, you know, we we work on board. So our house that is very small, is also our office. And because Ryan and I have two very different sets of needs when he comes to work, it can be a real challenge to accommodate both of our work schedules. And that can quickly become something that's a little bit irritating, I would say.
Ryan Darsy 17:01
Yeah. So on top of all that, though, I think the big challenge is is our home constantly moves. So even in the marina that we're at right now, the boats making weird sounds and is bouncing around a little bit. There's some swell coming into this marina, when we're out on Anchor, there's some nights that like, you know, it's been a hard day, we just want some rest. And then the boat's just moving around and you're up in your underwear on the deck at 3am trying to figure out you know if the anchors' dragging or not. And that puts a bit of a strain on things, too. It's just a small space in a in this like thing, this plastic bathtub that t'srying to kill you sometimes. But it's also your home. Oh, so it's like that's a good home. But I mean, there's some nights you're not very happy with her. So we call it we call the boat our baby. It just never grows up. That's the only problem.
Ethan Waldman 17:52
So what do you say you have the YouTube channel? I'm curious, you know, how are you making money while you while you travel? Live on the boat?
Ryan Darsy 18:01
Yeah, we do two things. When we started the boat project, we decided to quit our normal jobs as you had mentioned. And we were both were entrepreneurs, any anyways. So I carried on with some consultancy work that I had kind of been doing anyways. And with a another company that had been involved in so I do some investor work for them. It's work that I can do on the boat. I can do it remotely. And it's pretty nice for this lifestyle. Yeah. And you have started your content creation.
Sophie Darsy 18:31
Yeah. So before we left, when I quit my job, I decided that I wanted to go back to what I love, which is doing digital media. But I was working for clients as far as we create content for my clients, and established digital strategies. And when we left, for our six month or initial six months, I really wanted to use that period to explore some creative projects. And that's how the YouTube channel was born. And after your people started to, to watch it and enjoy it. So I decided that I was going to try to make it my full time job. And overtime grew to what it is today. And that that's how we finance this, this lifestyle. With that said, when we started this is not how our work situations. Like we both started with something in mind and it turned into something else.
Ryan Darsy 19:27
We really had to explore different ways, like the ways that worked and the ways that didn't as we move along. And I think that took a little bit of time but slowly it kind of evolved and we realized, okay, this doing it this way works for us right now. And yeah, that's been a journey in itself - how do we make money? Yeah. So we're making just enough to survive right now which is is good. And yeah, pretty happy.
Ethan Waldman 19:57
I think a lot of tiny house dwellers are looking for other ways to make money. Because, you know, the the dream obviously is, you know, living in a, in a smaller house that's less expensive, you don't need to work as much you don't need to make as much. And I think that people can look to YouTube. And it looks glamorous, you know, you're posting these great videos, it looks like it's a lot of fun. You're sharing your lifestyle.
How much time? Sophie Do you think you spend on your YouTube channel? I just want to give people kind of a reality check of like, how much time do you spend working?
Sophie Darsy 20:39
Alright, so we're gonna, we're gonna do it backwards, I need to sleep I need to eat. And when the boat is operating, I need to focus on the boat. But the rest of that time, that's my editing time. I did between 15 and 25 hours a week. And that's just the editing that that's not. And that's only half of what I do, right, there is another half of what I do, which is building the website, building the community doing some social media, writing articles, or doing fun podcasts, like you.
Ryan Darsy 21:13
That's a lot of it's like, because I'm not as involved with it as Sophie is. I don't do any editing. And I don't do a lot of filming. So it's really Sophie's project. And I'm amazed with how much time you put into it. Some he used to drive me nuts, because I felt like we weren't getting to experience the places we were. But you really, but you've done a good job with it. And but it does, it's a tremendous, tremendous amount of time. And I think there's a lot of people out there that don't have a you know, they just whip out, I'll whip out a video in a few hours. And you know, I'll be rich and it's not that way.
Sophie Darsy 21:50
With that said, I really want to give a shout out to anyone who wants to start a YouTube channel as part of their journey to tiny houses or alternative lifestyle. If that is something that you feel passionate about. And you have this strong interest for photography or filmmaking, you know, this is probably a very meaningful project to you. And if on top of that, you really want to do that YouTube channel, you should absolutely absolutely do it. Because it's lots of fun. And maybe at the end of the day, it pays off. Maybe it doesn't. But making money shouldn't be the primary reason why you start a YouTube channel.
Ryan Darsy 22:26
I think the YouTube channel to kind of I mean, if we're just talking about how we finance things, I mean, you started just as it as an activity to show people back home what we're doing. And you eventually got into this content creation. And you know, sometimes you get approached by people to help them. I'm not talking about personal people, but like, small businesses to help with their content creation, because they know of this work. And the same, I would say is kind of true. On my side, we've done some tech videos. And you know, before we moved on the boat, I was the least handy person ever, I think I like could put a screw in the wall. And that was about it. And in this project in this world, you have to learn how to fix everything yourself, and you become a plumber or an electrician, a sailmaker like everything and and now we've kind of we've got a small little business out of that even like telling, you know, consulting with people on on electronics and helping people get things figured out on their boats. So yeah, we find different ways.
Sophie Darsy 23:24
But I think that it works out because we've done it out of passion.
Ryan Darsy 23:27
Sophie Darsy 23:28
And not out of a willingness to make money.
Ethan Waldman 23:31
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Sophie Darsy 23:33
Another part of the reality check is that I worked on the YouTube channel for two years before I could pay myself.
Ryan Darsy 23:38
Yeah, that's true. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 23:41
That's a lot of time that you have to put in not making money from your YouTube channel. If you ever do.
Sophie Darsy 23:50
Ethan Waldman 23:51
That you have to. You have to be able to support yourself with something else.
Sophie Darsy 23:55
Yeah, yeah. You can't choose YouTube as a carrier. YouTube chooses you.
Ethan Waldman 24:00
Okay, okay. That's good to know. I like that YouTube chooses you. When was the when was the tipping point where you've kind of felt like, okay, maybe this is something that that we could do to make money?
Sophie Darsy 24:13
I think that the answer is the Ryan, because for the first two years, Ryan was making enough that we could finance our project while making videos. And then I think that about a year ago, things started to become a little more sustainable with patrons turning our page. And advertising revenue increasing as our viewers and subscribers are increasing. But that's it and it's very slow. It's very, very, very, very slow. There wasn't a point where I was like,""\ "Okay, that's it." It was more, "Oh, here is three months of revenue and we've three months of revenue, I can give myself one month's salary for three months of work." And then eventually last year, I hit a point where I was like, "I can pay myself every month!
Ryan Darsy 25:01
A little bit.
Sophie Darsy 25:02
A little bit.
Ethan Waldman 25:02
Sophie Darsy 25:04
So there wasn't like a real clear point was very slow but steady progression. Yeah, yeah.
Ethan Waldman 25:12
I'd like to tell you a little bit more about Tiny House Decisions, my signature guide and the resource that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. It starts with the big decisions, which is, you know, should you build a tiny house yourself or with help? Is a prebuil shell a good idea is a house on wheels better than on the ground and what works better for you? Deciding on the overall size, deciding on whether you should use custom plans or pre made plans, different types of trailers and more. Then in the in Part 2 we get into the systems - so heat, water, showers, hot water, toilets, electrical, refrigeration, ventilation, and we're only two thirds of the way through the book at this point. From systems we go into construction decisions, talking about nails vs screws, SIPs vs stick-framed vs advanced framing vs metal framing. We talk about how to construct a subfloor, sheathing, roofing materials, insulation, windows, flooring, kitchen... I know I'm just reading off the table of contents. But I just want to give you a sense of how comprehensive Tiny House Decisions is. It's a total of 170 pages. It contains tons of full color drawings, diagrams and resources. And it really is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions, using the coupon code tiny, when you head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD, that's THD for Tiny House Decisions. Again, that's coupon code tiny when you check out at thetinyhouse.net/THD.
And I'm sure that can really add to whatever anxiety you're experiencing. When there's uncertainty about about you know, can we make enough money to even stay in continue doing this?
Sophie Darsy 27:07
Well, thankfully, and again, that that's a shout out to you, Ryan, because our entire project does not depend on YouTube because Ryan has a solid source of income with his job, like, I never really felt that pressure. Now, if you want to talk about YouTube, and mental health, there is a whole other chapter, a whole other podcast dealing dealing with the trolls dealing with the naysayers, dealing with you know, performance anxiety that you always want to do better. But sometimes some videos are not received as well as you wanted them to. And you've put 40 hours in one video and nobody watches it. So,
Ryan Darsy 27:45
But I think that folds into the whole conversation though, because what we didn't purposely set out to do it this way. But it became this way. And what I'm saying is that we started showing our life, as you mentioned, like it's not all drinking margaritas on the beach, salmon in the hammock with your boat, you know, off in the distance. It's not that like that's like 2% of the time. So what Sophie started focusing on with her videos is what reality is on the boat. And we ended up showing a lot of you ended up showing a lot of what I would say pretty personal things like sometimes disagreements from us, showing my own my personal anxieties over things, showing your anxieties over things, showing a lot of our failures. And that was that was really hard for us. It was hard to hear the trolls talk to us about showing that stuff. But at the same time, it felt good. It was like a release because we would also get people that would contact us and say, "Hey, like thank you for showing that." That was what I expected this would be like but nobody talks about that or nobody shows that and now I realize okay, this is what I think it's gonna be you proven my point. And now I can prepare for that as we as we get going. So I think those two fold into each other you know.
Sophie Darsy 29:01
Yeah, with that said I would still call being a YouTuber, a character building profession.
Ethan Waldman 29:08
Yeah, I mean, no looking at your, your channel, it definitely looks like you're not just presenting the shiny sides of things. I'm seeing things like dealing with sleep deprivation, dealing with you know, difficult maintenance problems, you know, rough days of sailing where you don't feel well, you know, all these kinds of things that you might not expect to see.
Sophie Darsy 29:33
Yep. It's become a specialty to pick up the camera when when things are not the best. So yeah, lately on the channel, we've had a little theme of seasickness.
Ryan Darsy 29:42
That puts a bit of stress on our relationship though because sometimes I will be not having a good day and Sophie she's got a camera in my face. And I'm like, the only thing I can think of is get that camera out of my face. Now to your benefit you carry on with it. And in the end, it produces some good stuff, but in the moment it's not usually a good Good. It's not usually a good
Sophie Darsy 30:03
Give me a bit of credit. I ask you.
Ryan Darsy 30:07
I don't really have a choice, though.
Ethan Waldman 30:10
You know, one. One thing that that I also read about you is that you you continue to see therapists while you're on this journey. Has that. So what's funny -well, not what's funny, but I'm imagining that you would want privacy while you're talking to your own therapist. But you're on a boat, to how do you What's that process like for you?
Sophie Darsy 30:37
So that's an activity that we call creating privacy. It means that sometimes we we can kick the other person out of the boat, and it's okay, I can tell Ryan, "Ryan, I need the boat to myself." And vice versa, Ryan can tell me, "Listen, right now I need a little bit of space to myself." One thing that we've recently discovered, and I don't understand why it took us so long to do that are co working spaces. So sometimes in the places that we visit, there will be a little co working space, where I can go during the day, do my work, leave Ryan on the boat and read the book to himself. And I come back at night, and we had our private space. Now, when we do therapy on the boat, it's usually it would be like a regular meeting. Ryan has a lot of goals for his work. And we share our calendars. So I know when Ryan needs the boat to himself. But I would say that the most therapy that we do on the boat is the two of us. Yeah, the real challenge with doing therapy from the boat is not so much the privacy aspect. But more finding a therapist that can work with you remotely.
Ethan Waldman 31:52
Ryan Darsy 31:52
Sophie Darsy 31:54
Exactly. We met our therapists, when we were on land, they are based in Sweden, where we come from, and they continue to work with us while we are in different places of the world. Now, when we want to find a new therapist, I know that you've been looking at a therapist lately, we hit that problem where we don't really know where to look, a lot of therapists in the US will only take you if you are based in United States,
Ryan Darsy 32:23
or based in a particular state. Yeah,
Ethan Waldman 32:26
Sophie Darsy 32:26
And so if it's therapy is a wonderful tool, and I really recommend it to anyone, especially if you live a bit of an alternate lifestyle, before leaving the dock or started starting to travel, find the the therapists that will work with you even when you're remote, is that's much more of the challenge than getting privacy while you're on the boat, right or in the van.
Ethan Waldman 32:54
Okay,it's harder to find the therapist than it is to find the time and the space to do the therapy, once you're on the on the boat.
Ryan Darsy 33:01
That's, I think part of that dynamic is because we do we have to do everything online, essentially. So we, you know, online is getting better and better the, you know, the video conferencing systems are getting really good. But you still lose some of that interpersonal contact where you know, having a face to face. And so that's why our therapist is Stockholm was good, because when we're back, we we go and physically see her and rekindles that connection a little bit. But, and she's great. But you know, at every stage, she, you know, sometimes a little fresh air fresh blood is good in a process. So it's you know, if you try to find someone else, it can be really challenging.
Ethan Waldman 33:42
Yeah. So do you think that that living in a tiny space? Or I guess, but I'll rephrase the question in, you know, what ways do you think living in a tiny space helps with depression and anxiety? And what ways do you think it actually adds to it?
Sophie Darsy 34:02
Wow, how much time do you have? Sorry, if I, if I talk from, you know, our own experience of living in a small boat, there is this wonderful thing, which is that we can take our house to all new kinds of places all the time. So today, we arrived in Madeira, we took all of our stuff to Madeira, we have our house now our house is in this island for as long as we want. And then we will take our house and take it to the Canary Islands. And so we have this opportunity every week to open our window to a new landscape. And that is just an amazing opportunity. Do you want to add anything to how it helps your mental health?
Ryan Darsy 34:46
I'm actually not sure. It's been quite a big challenge but I I'm trying to reflect on the question as it pertains to tiny houses because the space is an issue. One thing Sophie and I recently did was we went away from each other for six weeks. In a normal land-based relationship, people would say, "Okay, you guys are having problems or something." And, and I said to them, "No, like, we for the last year, we literally have been living on top of each other 24/7." We don't go to work, we do everything together. Pretty much everything. I mean, the toilet is a meter from your head and the bed. So it's like pretty much everything. Yeah. And so we do everything. And so we banked up all this time, you know, most people go to work, and they don't see their partner for a huge chunk of the day. So for us to take, you know, six weeks away, it was actually, it took a lot of courage, I think, for us to do that. And we did it. And I think it was really beneficial for the relationship. Wouldn't you agree?
Sophie Darsy 35:49
Ryan Darsy 35:50
Yeah, she was long pause there. So I was a little nervous. But
Sophie Darsy 35:53
No, I was just wondering, how, how was that? Something that helped? Okay, yeah, it helps our mental health because we get it Yeah, it's
Ryan Darsy 36:01
space. This I'm saying in a tiny space, you got it, you got to like find those buckets, you got to find those, you know, the the getaway time in different ways. So it's a unique challenge. I mean, one of the challenges personally I've had with boats in particular, is, what's the word I'm looking for? Is the stigma around men, really, so I come from an aviation background and a climbing background, what I would call, you know, they're performance areas, so a lot of men do them, and you're expected to perform. And I never really, after we started sailing, and I started noticing really high levels of anxiety, especially Sophie started noticing it and how that affected my personality and my behavior. I started doing a lot of reflecting on that. And what I discovered was that, even back in my days, when I was flying airplanes, when I was 20 years old, that I had a lot of anxiety about just performing at a high level and the the fear of failure, and looking bad in front of your peers. And but with flying, it was a little different. Because I you know, after a two hour flight, I could go home and just relax and rest and like, cool off and let the anxiety go away. But we live on this boat, and there's always something happening. So I can't get away from it in our life here. So you know, we'll go sailing, and we come into the marina and the boat's moving around, and we're trying to find the next passage and blah, blah, blah, and there's just always this pressure. Now I would say it took the first year before I realized really realized that like this is what's happening. And oh, by the way that's been happening my whole life in these fields where it's very male, masculine, dominated, dominated worlds. And that when I started asking the question to other men, other friends that I knew or other sailors, it turned out that many of those people were having the same anxieties and same feelings. But nobody was talking about it, just like I wasn't talking about it. And that's been a big journey, especially for the last year with me is just like understanding what's going on with that and trying to figure out ways that I can cope and deal with that.
Ethan Waldman 38:15
And what are some ways that you've found help with that?
Ryan Darsy 38:20
Well, that's a good question.
Sophie Darsy 38:23
I think, I think that the very first thing that you did is to recognize that this was not normal. This was not who you want it to be.
Ryan Darsy 38:32
Sophie Darsy 38:32
And you understood that those behavior came from anxiety, rather than they're just who you are. And when you can put a name. Like when you put when you can put a name on it, you've done 50% of the work.
Ethan Waldman 38:46
Ryan Darsy 38:46
I really understand why they call a captain's grumpy, you know, like the old grumpy captain, like I really get it. It's like, there's a lot of responsibility. And there's a lot of stress. And there's not a way for a guy to go out and vent that looks acceptable in this day and age. And so that's been really hard. And I think we decided to, like see if we could tear that wall down a little bit. Sophie and I, we made a conscious effort of trying to see if we could do that. The other thing I did was I I knew I needed to find a therapist for this, but I was having a hard time with it. And one day, I got this idea. So he's gonna make some jokes in a minute. But I got this idea. And I was like, you know, I need to see a performance coach, not a therapist. And the reason I reached out and I took a little bit different path was because I saw this as just like a high performance sport like an Olympic athlete or something like that you're expected to perform, you need to perform and maybe it's not your traditional type of counseling. So I found a performance coach that works with athletes in Stockholm. And I worked with her for a few months. The last time we were home and trying to find techniques and what for me a lot of it came down to was like just acceptance, as Sophie said, sitting with it, letting it just do its thing. And then eventually my anxiety gets bored. And it just goes away. And I can calm down. I've also learned to I think, talk about it with you a little bit more, and just be very open that I'm having these feelings right now. And that, that really helps.
Sophie Darsy 40:18
By the way, it was a little therapist. She's funny.
Ethan Waldman 40:23
Performance Coach was just a therapist?
Ryan Darsy 40:27
Whatever. If a guy needs to call a performance coach, it's fine.
Ethan Waldman 40:30
Yeah, yeah. Nice. Well, thank thank you for sharing all that. I think. I think there's a lot there in just a, realizing that something's going on and be starting to talk about it, sharing it with other people finding out that, that it's something that, that they also struggle with, and then taking the step to, like, actually reach out to a professional and get help with it.
Sophie Darsy 40:58
Absolutely. And I think that, you know, when you're contemplating a big life change, you know, whether it is building a tiny house, downsizing, having a baby, you know, all those things can be overwhelming, and come with challenges to your mental health. And I think that you're everybody's way better off, when we understand that this is probably going to happen, and maybe prepare for that a little bit.
Ethan Waldman 41:21
That's great advice. And and so we did you have any, any kind of answers to that? Other answers to that question that you wanted to share about? You know, how tiny living either helps or is a detriment to depression and anxiety.
Sophie Darsy 41:41
I think that living in a very small space with your partner, a lot of times, things can be a bit messy.
Ethan Waldman 41:47
Sophie Darsy 41:48
So if you're somebody who wants to live in a very clean and organized space, keeping the space organized and clean will be a challenge. And for Ryan, it definitely is a challenge. Right now, we're just back from a four days passage that we double handed, it was very tiring, and all of our focus went to operating the boat safely. Right now, if I were to turn the screen, Ethan, you would see Hiroshima.
And that can be very overwhelming. You know, when you're really tired, you've done all that work. And then you come home and you just want to relax, but the space is a little bit, a little bit messy. So that's one, the other one can also be that sometimes, you just want to be alone. And it can be very difficult to be alone. And yes, you can kick out your partner. But there are times when you're like, "I don't know if I do that right now. It isn't very convenient, it's raining outside, we're on anchor, can't it take the thing out." And so you have to sit and live with it. And finding ways to create privacy for yourself in those moments can be challenging can add to your irritation, it can definitely add to your anxiety and your stress. So yeah, it's it's not a stress free life. We've that said, you know, and I think that it goes with every lifestyle. If you find that the price that you pay is worth the reward that you get out of your lifestyle, then it's worth it. And we feel that the price that we pay is well worth all the rewards that we get by leaving and traveling on our boat full time.
Ethan Waldman 43:24
Well, that's, that's good. That's important. Because then if it's not worth it, then that's when you have to start saying yeah, you know, what, what are we doing here? What are the alternatives? So, how often are you heading back home to Stockholm? Is that part of your routine? Or is it just every once in a while?
Sophie Darsy 43:52
We we play it by ear rarely. Okay, I think that's it, sir. It's also fair to say that COVID threw a massive monkey wrench in in the machine, which is why we decided to take a little break back in August to go back into our families. Now, Stockholm is only one of our homes. That is where Ryan and I met and where we live for 10 years. I'm actually French, so all my families and friends and Ryan is from the US. So his family is in Iowa. And so we rotate. Sometimes we take a break in Sweden and we go see our friends in our Swedish family. Sometimes I go back to friends to see my family and sometimes we go to the US. So we try to make it a regular occurrence. Sometimes what we also do is in the places that we visit, we'll take an Airbnb for a few nights just so that we can get off the boats and have the luxury of a dishwasher or a flushing toilet.
Ethan Waldman 44:51
Nice. Well, one thing that I like to ask all my guests is, are there any resources like books or even could be YouTube channels or other people that that you that have inspired you or that you recommend around, you know, mental health and any living?
Sophie Darsy 45:11
lots, lots and lots of them. I think that the one book that I want to recommend for anyone who's looking at embarking on a sailing journey would be The Voyagers Handbook, we call it the Bible. It is the Bible. It's a huge book. And it talks about everything from boats, mechanics, how to choose about how to budget to relationships, on board dynamics, with crew dynamics with family dynamics couples, where to go, where to find friends how to socialize, it's, it is the absolute Bible.
Ryan Darsy 45:45
It's one of the few, I would say sailing resources out there that even touches on crew dynamic, maybe not crew dynamic, but relationships and preparing yourself where you go. I think that there's when it comes to that very specific niche. There's lots of books on how to get going in this life and how to get out and do it. But this specific niche that we're talking about right now, in terms of like your health and your relationship. There's not a lot out there, I would say no, quite yet. Obviously,
Sophie Darsy 46:16
There is one book written in Swedish on the topic.
Ryan Darsy 46:21
Okay, so we can't give you more of a better answer with that. But maybe maybe one day, we'll put out our own book.
Ethan Waldman 46:31
Your own book. Well, Ryan, and Sophie, thank you so much for being guests on the show. It was it was really great to get to meet you and to be on board the Polar Seal.
Sophie Darsy 46:43
Hey, thanks so much. And it was awesome.
Ethan Waldman 46:47
Thank you so much to Sophie and Ryan for being guests on the show today. You can find a complete transcript and links to the YouTube channel and everything that Sophie and Ryan are up to at thetinyhouse.net/187. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/187. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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