A South African packs up everything to sail around the world – and meets the love of his life while at it!

2018-02-09 15:54 - Robyn Lucas
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PHOTO: supplied

This larger than life South African decided to pack up his whole life, buy a sailing boat and travel the world.

Stefan Heiberg, who was born and raised in Pretoria but now lives in Cape Town, decided to sell all his possessions and use the money to buy himself a yacht named “Magic Woman”.

The 34-year-old then embarked on a world cruise in a bid to show South Africans they can achieve whatever they set their minds to, regardless of their circumstances.

“I got a divorce and I wanted to do something great with my life,” Stefan told YOU.

“So, I just gathered my strength and gave myself a boost to go and do it. I just sold everything I had in Cape Town and I got a boat and started sailing.”

While in Puerto Rico, Stefan received a phone call from Aubrey Wilson, an American woman who’d also packed up her life to sail around the globe with her eight-year-old daughter, Bianca. She asked if they could sail with him.

“I said what doyou think about me coming out and helping you, working on some diesel mechanics and us sailing together,” Aubrey (33) says.

A week later mother and daughter flew to Puerto Rico to meet up with Stefan and they immediately clicked. 

“I fell in love with him then and there and we’ve been together ever since,” Aubrey says.

They’ve since sailed through the Caribbean, Venezuela and America and are now exploring the African coast.

“We flew to South Africa, where we gained loads of followers who asked us to please come to the country.

“So, we’ve sailed through Cape Town, Tanzania and all around Zanzibar,” Stefan says.

Although the couple love living on a boat, they agree it can get tough at times.

“You have to plan everything you have on board. So your space is very limited,” Stefan explains.

“If you don’t have something you have to go without it because you’re thousands of kilometres away from the closest store.

“It’s a very confined space. So the people you’re with either have to smell nice or be very nice.”

Aubrey, who was previously in an abusive relationship, says she’s used sailing to demonstrate to her daughter you can overcome any bad situation.

“The struggles in life have made me better. Like weathering a storm or fixing something that was broken or making it to a destination,” she says.

“I wanted to grow and show my daughter that just because you face adversity doesn’t mean you have to submit to it and be defeated.”

The trio, who’ll soon be sailing to Barcelona, have started documenting their journey on YouTube to encourage people to break out of their comfort zones and pursue their dreams.

“I think the message is that you need to take stock of your life,” Stefan says.

“You need to decide what it is you want to be and then be that and chase that dream.

“Nobody else can tell you where happiness lies. That’s something you need to find in yourself.”