Rachel Moore On Sailing Around The WorldWhy biologist-turned-model Rachel Moore is trading in her stillettos for a life of solar-powered simplicity
Rachel Moore answers her phone while standing on a 42-foot sailboat she lives on with her husband, Josh. She’s in the middle of renovating the deck in preparation for their upcoming five-year circumnavigation of the globe. This is Moore’s dream, and one that grows closer by the day. “We like the idea of being able to go for that long. We may not even come back,” she says.
The biologist-turned-model is a certified divemaster, rock climber and adventurer who’s trading in a glamorous life modelling for brands like Bebe, Guess and Levi’s for one of solar-powered simplicity. We get to the bottom of Moore’s plans for living the simple life on a boat.
THE RED BULLETIN: You bought the boat a few years ago. How much preparation do you have to do for a trip like this?
RACHEL MOORE: We’ve been tweaking it. We’re hoping to leave for five years, so while we’re here on the docks in the States where materials are cheaper and more readily available, we’re trying to do things in advance. The deck probably doesn’t need to be done for another three years, but while we’re here, we’re re-doing it. We added a new solar panel last week. That took about two days. We have four solar panels now because we want to be completely self-sufficient when we’re out sailing. We don’t have to start the engine for about a week. We re-insulated the fridge to make sure it runs more efficiently. We re-did the plumbing system so we don’t have to worry about it breaking in the middle of the ocean. That wasn’t a fun job.
Five years is a long time. Why go for so long?
We’ve gone in the past for two months and that never seemed like enough. We like the idea of being able to go for that long. We may not even come back. We might say, ‘hey, let’s go to New Zealand for a year,’ work there, and then go somewhere else. There’s so much world to see, and we have such a huge desire to see as much of it as we can. We hate travelling fast. A sailing boat is the perfect way to do it. You can stay, take your house, and post up for as long as you’d like to. It’s a really appealing way to live. It’s more of a lifestyle than just a trip.
Have you met a community of people who have similar attitudes and travel from place to place on the water?
There’s not a huge community of younger people like us. My in-laws lived on a sailing boat for three years in Mexico, and there’s a huge community of retired people doing it. There is a movement of younger people who want to simplify their lives. We’ve been following a couple of them online. But as far as the marina we’re living in, we’ve been here about a year, and no one here is planning on cruising.
There’s a pretty stark contrast between your rather sparse life on the boat and the world of modelling. How do you manage the two?
I grew up not very wealthy at all. One pair of shoes for the school year. I grew crazy fast, so I was always outgrowing my clothes. In college, I studied biology, so I was working on a boat and diving for the National Park Service. I was used to being out on a boat for a week at a time. There were some budget cuts and my job disappeared, and then modelling just kind of happened. It was really weird, to go from working three jobs in one week to pay the bills to making that much money in a day [when I was modelling]. It was pretty mind blowing. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn the value of money.
Over the last few years, I’ve gotten to do a lot of travelling. I’ll stay in a five-star hotel and I cannot sleep. I will roll up my blankets and sleep on the floor. But if I’m camping, I can sleep fine on the side of a mountain. It’s really taught me that it’s not about the modelling or the clothes; modelling has just been a means to an end.
Assuming the plan works and you’re gone for five years, have you thought about what you’ll do when you return?
I would love to go back to working in biology. My old boss is now in the Galapagos where he runs a program. The goal is to get to the Galapagos where I can spend two or three months volunteer diving. After modelling for six years and sailing for five, trying to get a job in the biology world will be difficult. It’ll be building connections in different places. We’re going to partner with a couple different conservancies along the way and collect data for them as well.
When are you taking off?
October. We were going to leave last year, but El Niño is really messing up the weather. The storms are bigger. If we’re going to be gone for five years, then waiting another year won’t hurt, especially since my modelling career keeps getting better. It doesn’t make sense to walk away from the money quite yet, especially with the storms coming. So we’ll leave in October and hopefully cross the border in early November.