Gumbies Ambassador Series: Sailing around the world with Iain & Brioni

Step into the inspiring journey of Iain and Brioni, the newest additions to our esteemed family of Gumbies ambassadors. In 2020 they courageously sold all their possessions to acquire a boat, intent on circumnavigating the globe. We are pleased to say, Gumbies flip flops have accompanied them throughout their global odyssey, proving to be reliable travel partners. Remarkably, their original pair only retired this year.

We take great joy in sharing that Gumbies play a role in Iain and Brioni's incredible journey, supporting them every step of the way. As they returned to the UK at the close of last year, we took the opportunity to provide them with a fresh pair of flip-flops. You can see them being put into action (in Sailing Red Seas, Episode 107) as the pair arrive in Tahiti.

For a deeper dive into their captivating journey and latest exploits, be sure to explore their website, follow their social channels, or tune into their YouTube channel. Join us in celebrating the resilience, determination, and wanderlust of Iain and Brioni, embodying the true spirit of Gumbies.

Recently, we had the privilege of catching up with them, delving into the stories behind their adventures. 

You guys have been on an epic journey, when did it start and what prompted it? Where have you been, and where are you now?

After living a fast-paced life in the middle of one of the largest cities in the UK, we realised that we didn’t want to spend our days chasing dollar signs and getting caught up in the rat race. So at the start of the pandemic in 2020, we sold everything we owned and bought a sailboat that is now our home. We live onboard fulltime, travelling from country to country in search of adventure and picking up local languages and cultural experiences as we go. We have now lived in twenty countries in the last three years and we’ve sailed over 12,000 nautical miles from the Caribbean to the South Pacific. We are currently living off grid, anchored in a remote atoll in French Polynesia where we fish for our dinner and watch the stars at night, hundreds and thousands of miles from anywhere.

What do you have planned next?

After sailing across the Pacific Ocean from Panama to French Polynesia a few months ago, we hope to spend some time exploring this remote part of the world before continuing to travel west, sailing with the trade winds around the globe.

Any special projects, events or initiatives you're excited about?

We love sharing our journey with those who aren’t able to travel themselves so we film and edit our adventures and share a weekly video on our YouTube channel “Sailing Red Seas”. We just won the award for Best Emerging YouTube Channel 2023 which we are super stoked about so we’re excited to keep documenting our adventures in this incredible part of the world and see where the journey takes us.

How does your lifestyle align with Gumbies core values?

Setting sail on our boat to discover new places, we had to downsize dramatically from our old life on land. We sold everything we owned - the apartment, the car, the wedding china - and only took with us what we really needed. We now have a rule on our boat that we can only keep an item if it has two purposes onboard…otherwise it isn’t useful enough!

We live within nature, as our path is governed by the wind, we make all our own electricity from solar panels and we even have a machine that turns saltwater into fresh drinking water. We don’t have much, but we have so much more than we need.

Our brand embodies simplicity, necessity, and most importantly, the essence of freedom. Can you describe a situation where these qualities were particularly beneficial to you?

Our travels are often dictated by visa restrictions and so we are used to moving to a new county every couple of months. We aren’t limited by roads or tour guides - we go where the wind takes us and we say yes to opportunities that pop up in front of us. We have lived with remote tribes in Panama who travel by dugout canoe and we’ve dropped anchor in the centre of a city, surrounded by skyscrapers. We don’t have a destination but we can’t stop travelling; there are just too many places to explore.

During our 40-day passage across the Pacific, our steering cable snapped and we found ourselves on our own in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles from land, unable to control which direction our boat moved. It was dark (of course - these things always happen at night!) and we had to get creative and come up with a solution that would bring us to safety. We repurposed a rope from one of our sails and tied our steering system together in a very temporary repair which allowed us to continue sailing for another 8 days until we reached land. It was a terrifying situation to find ourselves in, but there were no other options - we had to solve the problem because there was no one else to rely on. One of the reasons we love this lifestyle so much is because it gives us reasons to get creative and think outside the box. And after all of that, we can say we sailed across an ocean! What an achievement!

Can you share an instance where Gumbies contributed to a memorable experience or adventure in your life?

Iain - Duckbill Flip-Flops
Part of the reason we love to travel is because we love exploring the different places that we visit. Sometimes we live next to small desert islands for months on end and other times we are anchored next to towering mountains and jungles but regardless where we are, we love to walk around and get a feel for the place.

Onboard, we live barefoot as we are always close to the equator and it’s always warm and sunny. When we go to shore, our Gumbies are ready and waiting for us in our dinghy. We don’t have a car so when we’re on land we walk everywhere and Gumbies are the only shoes we own.

When we hike mountains, and wade through rivers, we love that our Gumbies are rugged enough to cope with the mud and the water that we climb through. Our feet get a little rinse in a stream and we’re good to carry on!