This month marks our sixth annual fascinating moms feature, in which we profile five inspiring mothers with vastly different stories who all share a common bond. From business owners to free spirits with one baby or three, they are each on a journey that’s uniquely their own— and yet they’re relatable in so many ways. Our hope is that you find these mamas as smart, refreshing and admirable as we do, and our wish is that you know you are every bit as fascinating as they are.
Most-used emoji: Anchor
Best song for a dance party: “Groove is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite
Task she’d like to hire out: Refinishing the teak on the sailboat
Olivia Frank lives a life that exists for many of us in only our wildest daydreams. She and her husband, Ryan, call a sailboat home and spend their days at sea, with exotic destinations such as Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Tobago Keys on past itineraries.
It’s an aspiration the couple talked about during one of their first conversations after meeting on the internet, and it’s since become a reality they’ve enjoyed for more than five years. They’ve worked hard to achieve a minimalistic lifestyle, which allows them the financial freedom to live the life they do (not to mention the ability to have their tiny home tidied in just 10 minutes).
When they found out in the fall of 2015 that Frank was pregnant, they were happily stunned—although it shouldn’t technically have been a surprise. The couple had been trying for several years to have a baby before deciding to get help. “After a year of testing and probing, we found out we had no chance of a natural conception,” explains Frank. IVF would be their best bet.
And so they decided to pursue treatment—although logistics were a little complicated for the water-dwelling duo. They would anchor as close to the hospital or doctor’s office as possible, then take their inflatable dinghy to their appointments. “Through rain or shine or very windy days, we went to every single appointment,” says Frank. “Even though the goal was to get pregnant, when we found out we had a positive test it was a shocker. I think I was in denial for several months till I started to grow a belly.”
Frank spent her first two trimesters on the boat but thankfully didn’t suffer much from nausea: “I totally believe tolerating sea sickness and being very familiar with the feeling gave me the stamina needed for morning sickness.”
For the last trimester, the couple decided to take their adventure back on land, where they traded sailboat for RV. “Our RV would be our ‘land vessel,’ getting us places we would otherwise not be able to go in a boat,” explains Frank. Their primary destination: Los Alamos, New Mexico, where their son, Rocean, would eventually make his debut. “I wanted to have the baby in the same town my husband was born in,” shares Frank. “A little tradition in an unconventional life, this was our way of having roots to grow from.”
The family spent Rocean’s first few months in Los Alamos before returning to the open road to make their way back to Florida—and their sailboat. Although certain aspects of life, like laundry and pediatrician appointments, are trickier with a nomadic lifestyle, Frank says they’ve mostly got them sorted out. “We trek our dirty clothes to the laundromat when we can. If we are on a long stretch traveling, I hand-wash necessary items and wind dry,” she explains. “[And] most pediatricians are really helpful … as long as you are up-to-date with records, they lead you down the right path.”
They’ve even seemed to work out a loose schedule. Mom and Rocean spend Monday through Thursday hanging out together while dad works remotely for an IT company based in Miami. (“You can spot us wandering various places holding a little box in the air or adjusting a strange long stick on the top of our RV looking for the best Wi-Fi signal,” jokes Frank.) Although she owns a web design company, Frank is currently putting all her efforts into full-time motherhood. “I’m tired all the time, and I don’t get paid—but I absolutely love my job,” she says. On weekends, they explore.
After nearly a year in their RV and with the newest member of their tribe well-adjusted to life outside the womb, the Frank family is eager to get back to the water and see where the wind blows them. “Lately I do hear the sounds of steel drums, so Jamaica might be calling our name in the near future—but your guess is a good as ours where we will sail off to next!”