Many people imagine having nearly every part of the American dream; the beautiful house, great jobs, nice cars, and more. It’s a life many are working to create. But for one central Arkansas family, they decided to throw it away after having it all. We’re introducing you to a family that decided to toss their American Dream to the waves for a bigger purpose.
After a successful career in the car industry, Chris Wilcher decided it was time for a change. Both he and his wife, Jamie, felt called for something different; something some call “crazy.”
They sold their big, beautiful house and all their cars to move into a renovated a camper. They lived in that camper for nine months to keep saving money and eventually bought a boat. Their Leopard 43 Catamaran is now a permanent home to the family of four and their Great Dane, Maggie.
“The whole American dream where you gotta have all that stuff, it just never really stuck with us,” said Chris. “Having the American Dream and roots and everything, we tried it but just didn’t fit.”
While sitting in church one day, the Wilchers heard a sermon that changed everything. It solidified what both Jamie and Chris has been feeling in their own unique ways. It made them want to take drastic measures to serve people in big ways; to make memories and travel more.
“We have a passion for other cultures and not by taking fancy resort vacations but actually getting our hands dirty and loving people where we go,” said Jamie. “The biggest thing is making memories with our kids and teaching them about other cultures.”
The Wilcher family now sails full time seeking out those in need. They plan their travels based on areas that need help with things like disaster relief.
“We want to spend our life loving on others and being the hands and feet of Jesus,” said Jamie.
While the family has more freedom to make memories and travel, life on the water hasn’t been an easy adjustment. They had to go to boating school to learn the basics and they’re continuing to learn and adapt along the way.
“One of the biggest challenges was starting off by ourselves and all the difficult weather situations,” said Chris. “We’ve had to keep calm planning out weather windows and supply runs.”
The Wilchers have to do a lot of planning for the places they visit. While they plan to spend as much time as they can helping those in need, they also have to make the tough decisions about practical needs.
“When we go to the Abaco Islands, they have no way of filling our water tank and so we have to be completely self-sustainable,” said Jamie. ‘That means once we run out of provisions and fuel we will have to move on to have access to that.”
As they learn and grow, slowly but surely, boat life is feeling more like home.
“I’ve opened my eyes to a simpler life,” said Chris. “It has been a big transition for me but I love that I am around my family more.”
The Wilcher family said their goal is to love others and love each other better than ever.
“We want to be obedient to God by loving others,” said Jamie. “If one person comes to Christ through what we are doing then it’s been a success.”
The Wilchers are currently homeschooling their two girls on the boat and are living off their savings and money from selling their belongings. They are also taking donations as they continue their journey. They started a YouTube channel and Facebook page documenting their journey.