Like I discussed in Episode 058, nothing will disrupt your family dynamic like a crisis, or a challenge. Rather than face a major crisis, the Orton family chose to create disruption in their family culture by creating a challenge in the form of an adventure!
In 2014, Erik and Emily set sail on a 38’ catamaran (that’s a sailboat) with their five children for one year. They sailed the Caribbean Sea, and had tons a crazy adventures. They wrote a book about it that you can pre-order at fezywig.com or sevenatsea.com.
What really inspires me about Erik and Emily is that they saw the risk of staying in a less-than-ideal situation, weighed it against. the risk of trying something new, and decided the risk of doing something new was worth it. Erik describes this as an opportunity cost. While many things in life are good, if we allow those good things to keep us from things that may be better, or best, then we are losing an opportunity.
Several themes immersed from our discussion. I feel inspired by their story because we are in that situation where we know that we are missing out on some of life’s “better” and “best” opportunities, but those “good” things are keeping us from making those choices.
At the end of Erik and Emily’s book, “Seven at Sea” they recap what’s been happening since their days on Fezywig. They describe how they had a new opportunity arise after Erik returned to his desk job, and revisited the question of opportunity cost. When they presented the question to their children, the daughter Alison put it like this, “‘So it’s a choice between a risky job with unlimited potential or a stable job that you know you don’t like?'” It sounds like an easy decision, but it isn’t so cut and dry. Yet, wouldn’t we all like to have the courage to reach for that “unlimited potential”??
The ability to overcome the fear comes down to these three things we discuss in the episode: knowledge, faith, and support. You’ll see why when you listen in on our discussion!
[3:55] Erik’s inspiration for taking his family onto a sailboat
[6:25] Emily’s perspective on setting sail with their 5 children
[9:17] “What could go right?”
[12:27] Why break up a routine
[14:53] Why taking a risk is hard
[17:28] What opportunity cost has to do with family culture
[18:46] Three factors that make risk easier
[20:21] How a 14-year-old pushed their family over the edge
[24:05] Biggest fear and struggle of taking risk
[25:48] Vulnerability and risk
[27:03] Growth and family values
[30:38] “What other favorites are hiding inside my fears?”
[32:30] How to bond with your family through struggle
[34:12] How Erik’s relationship with his dad was strengthened
[37:36] The importance of embracing failure
[39:46] Where to find Erik and Emily
About Erik + Emily
ERIK ORTON is an Emmy Award-winning writer and former Broadway tour manager. He was raised in Germany and the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He has produced various musicals Off-Broadway. His original musical, Berlin, won an Emmy Award as well as a CINE Golden Eagle Award and Bronze Telly Award. In 2018 he climbed El Capitan—the tallest granite cliff in the world—got scuba certified, and learned to surf.
EMILY ORTON is a former English teacher turned homeschool mom. She speaks and writes about living with purpose. Her writing is featured in Dare, Dream, Do by Whitney Johnson. Curiosity has led Emily to become a rock climber, a sailor, a scuba diver, a world traveler, and most recently a surfer.
ERIK AND EMILY continue to learn, grow, and travel with their five children. They love to gig as a family band when their two oldest children are home from college, and they occasionally post music videos to YouTube. They are currently traveling Europe by sailboat and VW van with their younger children. They blog together at fezywig.com and make their home in New York City.