Where the Forest Grows: Voyages of Agape

Rachel Moore is different. Their name is “Voyages of Agape”. Rachel Moore and her husband, Josh, sail the world in their 1984 Tayana Vancouver 42′ sailboat. Here’s a little introduction to them before we get started on this girl:
Rachel and her husband are not just traveling the world in their sailboat to see the world and to feed their love of adventure. Their boat is named AGAPE for a reason…But I’ll let her tell that story.

“an unconditional love that sees beyond the outer surface, accepting regardless of flaws, shortcomings or faults. It’s the type of love that everyone strives to have for their fellow human beings. This love is about sacrifice, as well as giving and expecting nothing in return. The translation of the word agape is ‘love’ in the verb – form: it is the love demonstrated by your behavior. It’s a committed and chosen love.”

–Voyages of Agape

 When I interviewed Rachel over the phone while she was in Los Angeles last week for a quick stop home for family time and work, she was humble, gentle, honest, and spoke to me like a long last friend. She let me ask more, even when maybe I shouldn’t (We’d only known each other for about ten minutes when I got personal. Whoops.) Our hour long conversation shifted from marriage advice, travel stories, the power of community, and the not so romantic sides of living this travel life.

Rachel Moore

Bio: Sailer, diver, love giver, life seeker, courageous, climber, model, world changer.

I love to rock climb and before heading out on this trip, we were going out climbing every weekend. We were climbing, backpacking, camping, just anything to get us out of the city.  We love to spear fish. We love to free dive. I actually used to dive for Channel Islands National Park before my current job and I went to school for Biology.

I really love to write and take pictures as well. Being out here on this boat and meeting these people around the world inspires me! I just started a blog series called Voyager Diaries sharing the stories that we hear from these people that we meet along the way. (Check her blog out: Voyages of Agape)

I don’t normally tell people this, but I am a model as well. I do Old Navy, Reebok, Patagonia and a lot of fitness businesses. At first, it wasn’t my scene, and I would just tell people that I do advertising. Currently, I fly to Los Angeles and will do a job, which allows any money that we raise to 100% go back to our mission here with Agape! There are plenty of beautiful women in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I thought for sure that once I left on our boat, I would not be called any more for gigs, but there always seems to be work for me. It shows me daily that the more we give away, the more we get back and we are trusted with more. It shows me this is exactly the plan for Josh and I.

 What is a favorite adventure story you love to share when swapping stories with friends over a cup of coffee?

Let’s see I think have a lot of very uncomfortable stories. An uncomfortable sailing story was when we had just left California and we about 50 miles off shore of Mexico. I had very little night time sailing experience and the winds really picked up to about 40 MPH. This fall we had La Nina conditions which caused major swells to come from the Northwest. These swells were so large we were surfing our boat down the front of the waves all night.

It was the middle of the night and finally, it was my turn to sleep. (My husband and I take turn taking watch making sure that there is no boats on the horizon, wind changes, switch the sails etc.) Right when I headed to bed, our auto pilot stopped working from too much work surfing down these waves. Just as this goes out, our bilge pump started going off as well. (This is the pump that pushes water out of the bottom of your boat in case any water gets in, which it shouldn’t really ever do.) When my husband looked down below, the pump was reporting that it was pushing a lot of water out. He woke me up and said I needed to come out and hand steer at this point so he could figure out why we were taking on water. Here I am hand steering down huge waves, our boat is filling with water and we were 50 miles off shore. I was very uncomfortable at this point!

He was able to figure out that it was actually the pump itself. It had gotten a lot of junk caught in it and was pushing water on board instead of off of the boat. I still had to hand steer in heavy duty conditions which I was not used to doing, especially at night! When he took back over, I immediatley went down below and started organizing everything that had fallen off the shelves. It was like I just needed to do something that I knew I was good at! It was definitely an interesting night for sure that showed me, wow we are really out here doing this.”

 How did this idea come to you guys to sail around the world?

Josh had always loved sailing growing up. Working on the Channel Islands, we were constantly on the boats and I absolutely loved it. I loved getting away. I loved having no cell service. My family had never sailed, but his family did while he was growing up. I remember being on his sailboat for the first time and them turning off the engine and really using the wind in the sails to get us to move. I found the wind being your source that got you to travel as something so captivating. It had so much power and I was hooked.

 With Josh, I actually never wanted to get married. It wasn’t really ever in my plans. I wanted to just travel my whole life, but then I met him in a dark alley as he was walking by with an old friend of mine. After we parted ways, Josh told my friend he needed my number and we began climbing and traveling together, just as friends of course. (I was good. I think I only kissed him once or twice) After 6 weeks in Honduras, I was head over heels for this guy. I loved his positivity, his passion. I loved that I could travel with him. We travelled a lot while we were dating and engaged as well.

As soon as we were married, we knew what we wanted to do…We wanted to sail the world. The plan was originally to buy a small boat that could go short distances. When we realized if we started living like we didn’t make any money, we could save a lot and buy a boat that could actually cruise to long distances and maybe even have a family on it one day, so our plans changed.  Now we sail together daily and it really grows your marriage. I mean that farthest away I can be from him, I can still hear him breathing on the other side of the door.

 What is your favorite thing that being outside hiking, camping, exploring, traveling, or whatever you love, brings out in you?

Peace. It brings me stillness. I am not good at that. I love to be busy and I love to work. Getting out into the mountains or out into the ocean far away from cell service, just brings me that stillness I need to reground myself.

 What is your number one go-to “You must Visit this place” recommendation?

Havasupai, Arizona is just phenomenal. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. This should definitely be on the top of everyone’s list this year!

Abroad, one of the most diverse and beautiful countries I have been to is Peru: Big mountains, 20,000 foot peaks, Amazon River, culture, ancient ruins, great food, beaches. It’s everything you could ever ask for. We spent a month back packing there

 What’s your role while sailing?

Well I actually learned how to sail while we were engaged. Josh bought me a 16″ sailboat and I learned on that and took basic sailing courses. When we bought our boat three years ago, we would practice every weekend sailing off to the Channel Islands and other places. I definitely think that I should have had a lot more experience before we began our trip, but Josh has been sailing his whole life though. He taught me that we aren’t going to sail around the world in a night. You take it day by day and with time on our side, we never have to rush or pick unfavorable weather windows. We wait out storms and choose great conditions.

 Tell us about what you guys do in the different places you sail to.

We travel the world in our sailboat, and we are currently located in Chiapas, Mexico. It is becoming the off season and hurricane season will begin soon, so we chose this area to keep our boat for now and we will remain in this area for a little backpacking and exploring.

When we are sailing, we want to do more then just see the world. We want to be serve those communities we meet as the hands and feet of our viewers and supporters. Any donations made will be given away! 100% of your donations will go to help families, orphans and communities in need that we meet along the way. Anything from purchasing clothing, food, water, or supplies to build new housing, what ever we receive we will in turn give away!

I feel like we have done so much travel. We have backpacked, sky dive, free dive, month long trips that and experiences and for some reason, I was always left feeling as though it was a little hollow. I was always looking for the next things, and this life, I think I have found it.

I love these kids. I look at these kids and know that they don’t have families. They don’t have people to touch their faces and hold their hands and tell them that they love them and how good they are. There is something about serving others that brings me a joy that can’t be found at a beautiful beach or an awesome hike or anywhere else I can try to find it. It comes from interacting with people and truly loving people in a way that costs something. It is our way of finding meaning. We don’t believe that we would be where we are at without the AGAPE love we have seen.

 We saw other sailors making money off of their videos, but we wanted something more. I can’t collect people’s money to pay for our travels. That’s never felt right to us. I remember praying for years about what this would be. I would say, “I know you’re pointing us to leave, but what does that look like?” One night, I was falling asleep praying and I knew in my mind was that we were going to create videos and 100% of the money we made is going to go away. My prayers showed me, “I want you to serve anyone you come in contact with”.

I was so nervous to tell Josh in the morning. Before hand, he had always said that we could really save from raising money from the videos and really get to sail, so I was not sure how he was going to react. I woke him up and told him that I thought we were going to give 100% of the money away back to the people we visit along the way. He just got tears in his eyes and said, “That’s it”. That’s when our mission for Voyages of Agape was born.

How do you find community and connection?

This has been the hardest part for me. I am actually heading right now while I am in Los Angeles to visit my community group and I am so excited I can barely handle it. I love the cruising community, but the conversation tends to center around boat talk and it is so hard to find deep relationships while being out here.

So that I can still have some community, I work to make sure I call my mom, my friends, and people that I love and can honest with. The cruising community though is our community right now and we love getting to be there with them. Sometimes, these cruisers thought that this would fulfill all of their desires being out here on the open ocean, but they find that they still feel empty. We invite them to orphanages and other areas and work to connect them and just to love the people we come in contact with.

 What is the not so glamorous parts of this lifestyle?

One thing we have found is that now that we are away from our family, friends, our work, there are a lot of gaps where it can feel like a high pressure that Josh and I need to fill that for each other. I fell in love with him because he is always so happy and positive, but I am a little bit more emotional. I miss my family and friends and I will grieve this a lot of times. We are learning that we don’t have to be that for each other. He loved his old job, so he has actually taken up sewing and will make things to make our boat even better. Last week, he made shades for our decks. I guess we are just working to find ways to encourage and love each other. Living this way puts a magnify glass on your marriage and the weak areas climb to the surface fast. You don’t have room to just go hang with your girlfriends, we just have to talk. “Here is where I am lacking. Here is where I need you to grow.” Then we move on…

One of the hardest things that I have experienced was the night I got a phone call that Josh’s grandmother was not doing too well. I didn’t want to tell him while sailing, so I waited until we were in port. This was about two weeks in our trip and we had barely any cell phone service. We were both so devastated to not have the ability to be there for our family. Being in the US we are used to having access to whatever we want when we want it. To feel stuck and as though we couldn’t be with our family was incredibly difficult, especially because she ended up passing away. We spent some time grieving alone, Josh in the water with his surf board, and I stayed on the boat for a little. We have to find ways to give each other that space as well.

Another thing that is not so glamorous is our toilet. Matter of fact, it is not glamorous at all… We don’t really have a shower with and most of the time, our shower is  jumping in the ocean and rinsing off. Let’s just say, a hot shower is something that I miss. I miss green salads so much too. There are a lot of little things, but they are so trivial, especially after seeing how some of the people we have met live.

What’s the best way for people to support your mission?

Next week we are going to an orphanage in the mountains. I want to be able to create videos that people can see and will work with Patreon to donate. It is hard though because when I am there with those kids, I want to be with them and not bringing out my camera to work on a video. To help raise money in the meantime, we are actually setting up a PayPal account for donations. This goes to anything from purchasing clothing, food, water, or supplies to build new housing, what ever we receive we will in turn give away!(Follow their instagram @voyagesofagape to stay up to date on that account if you want to donate.)

We are seeing what this next orphanage we will be visiting next week needs. The last orphanage we visited need rice, beans, tampons, underwear and other basic survival needs. We were able to go into town and pay $250 for their entire list, which costs us almost nothing, but to them, this is so much. We just hope we are able to do this even more through donations.

The one thing we couldn’t get was chairs. The orphanage doesn’t have enough chairs, so the kids can’t eat together and we couldn’t afford to buy them all of their chairs, as $600 was not in our budget. We will be working to launch the PayPal on our Instagram with the exact needs that the people need as we come in contact with them.

Many people also ask how we find these places. I honestly just get referrals on Instagram and also ask local people in the area if they know of any orphanages that have needs. You have to be careful because there are orphanages that are not government-sanctioned and will pocket donation money. We really research the area to see the needs. Sometimes, it is not orphanages, but we have worked to help families that are living in the dump in parts of Mexico. Orphanages do have a special part in our heart as we want to adopt one day.  Ultimately, we really just also want to inspire others to reach out and serve whoever they are in contact with. We may only be fulfilling temporary needs, but we hope it makes a bigger impact to our followers and to those we meet.

(Long story short, donations through our PayPal account are so helpful to buy the supplies needed for these people that we meet. 100% goes back to serving them!)

 Rachel and I wrapped up our conversation as she made her way down the PCH heading to visit her community group and her friends that she dearly treasures. Rachel is all about people.

She reminds me that it’s not all about me. 

She overflows with a joy that she gets from serving those around her.

She makes me look at my world, whether home or on adventures, and try to have eyes that find what people need.

She knows this life isn’t about money, the most romantic travels, or even beauty.

She changes and is changing this world just with her genuine love…

Agape Love. 

 All Photos Credited to: Voyages of Agape

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