Teresa Carey — The Art Of Living, Simply

By Jeanne Craig

Henry David Thoreau isn't wildly popular in book clubs these days and his work isn't heatedly discussed at cocktail parties, particularly those that draw a 30-something crowd. But Teresa Carey isn't your typical 33-year-old. This lifelong sailor has an affinity for Thoreau's belief in the joy of living simply in natural surroundings, and she'll even go so far as to compare her Nor'sea 27 to his cabin on Walden Pond.

"There's an undeniable bond between simplicity and happiness," says Carey, who, as it turns out, steadfastly practices what Thoreau started preaching back in the 1800s. "For me to be happy, I have to live with less, because I know the basic things will always be there for me."

In 2009, Carey started a blog titled "Sailing Simplicity and the Pursuit of Happiness" (sailingsimplicity.com). The subject that inspired her to take up writing was a dramatic change in lifestyle: Months before, at the age of 30, she gave up a stable job, a car and a comfortable, land-based home to move aboard a 27-foot Nor'sea sailboat, Daphne, with her cat for company. Having pared down her possessions and consolidated her commitments, she went sailing for two years.

Photo of Teresa Carey with Ben EriksenTeresa Carey with Ben Eriksen.

About this time, she met Ben Eriksen, another young, seasoned sailor and liveaboard. Carey and Eriksen cruised extensively together, albeit side by side. She ran her 27-footer while he piloted his Bristol Channel Cutter, Elizabeth. They traveled along the Eastern Seaboard and into the Bahamas. As their friendship evolved into something more serious, the couple made plans for more exciting adventures together.

They set their sights on a circumnavigation of Nova Scotia, where they hoped to glimpse an uncharted iceberg. While underway (this time with both Teresa and Ben on one boat, Elizabeth), they would film their adventure and make it into a documentary, tentatively titled "One Simple Question". They had two goals in mind for the film. First, it would illustrate the connection between simple living and happiness. "We want our film to inspire people, even if the inspiration is simply to find more joy in nature by getting outside more often," said Carey. Second, the film would depict what life is really like on a boat. "It's not about sipping beer and listening to Jimmy Buffet," she said.

Photo of Teresa Carey in her signature wool capA cheery Teresa Carey embraces the outdoor life.

The couple set off on their big adventure in June 2010, departing from Huntington, New York. "There were moments when I wished for a hot shower and a big bed to sleep in, and we really missed fresh fruits and vegetables," Carey said midtrip. Yet even with the challenges, the couple stayed the course and the result was One Simple Question, the movie they made about their quest to find an iceberg while challenging themselves to simplify their lives by living aboard a small sailboat and embarking on an uncertain journey. Turns out they did see an iceberg. "We saw more than just an iceberg," says Carey. "What we saw was a piece of the Petermann Ice Island, which was the largest Greenland iceberg to break off the Greenland ice sheet in the last 60 years. It drew the attention of climatologists worldwide." 


— Published: April/May 2013

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