If you had asked 18 year-old Iva Agüero what she envisioned her life to be like, she never would have guessed that she would be living on an 11 meter sailboat with her fiancé, Phil, and a TV show on the way—all by the age of 29.
After graduating ISKL in 2005, Iva followed a fairly conventional lifestyle. She headed off to university, but soon returned to Kuala Lumpur to pursue her career with a large advertising agency. After her work contract expired, she made the life-altering decision to join Phil in the open waters, aboard the sailboat, Dali.
For the first year, they travelled around Southeast Asia, enjoying the sun-kissed, sea-drenched taste of freedom and bliss.
However, living on a boat is not all sandy beaches and blue skies. Oftentimes, if the ship breaks down, the lifestyle can be especially rough.
Even the smallest actions are a mountainous feat. In order to get groceries, they have to take a dinghy to shore, find somewhere safe to leave the little boat, find a bike, go to town, and scour all the markets in the village to find what they need, and haul all of it back onto Dali.
Usually, a whole day is dedicated to doing what they have to do — whether it’s shopping for groceries or fixing the engine.
Regardless of some of the difficulties that they may face on the open waters, living on a boat is incredibly invigorating. Some days are spent catching fish and lounging around, while other days are spent rediscovering secluded enclaves. Both Phil and Iva’s nomadic lifestyle have allowed them to wander into different places, and cross paths with diverse people—experiences that others usually never get the chance to encounter.
“There’s a lot of time to think, there’s not much else to do. It seems almost absurd, because you think of how insignificant you are, especially in a tiny little boat that’s in the middle of the sea, and you have the freedom to go wherever you want… we would have islands to ourselves, and you would just feel so lucky, and it’s like your own little world that you created… You really enter like, a parallel universe that belongs just for me and Phil and the boat, and I think that’s the best feeling.”
Over time, it soon became evident that both Phil and Iva didn’t want to live a passive lifestyle aboard the boat. They already had a blog that recounted their journeys and discoveries, but the duo wanted a project that contained more substance and dimension. The main message that they wanted to deliver was that changing your life isn’t as hard as you’d imagine — you simply needed the will and determination to make your dreams a reality.
Iva says, “There were all these lists of excuses and fears that people had, and every time we came back to the city, it was really frustrating, because we really wanted to tell people that you can do it. You really don’t have to be especially intelligent, or especially well-educated, or especially wealthy. If you’re just determined enough — it’s not going to be easy. That’s for sure. It’s going to be really hard, but if you have a dream, or you’re not happy in your current lifestyle, you have the power to change it.”
With Iva’s advertising and communications background, and Phil’s experience with filmmaking, they slowly began envisioning a TV series that featured people like them who diverged from the norm and pursued their dreams. They were able to put their foot in the door to the industry, through their stint on the second season of The Apartment: Style Edition. In the reality show, they were challenged to design rooms each week that met the standards of the judges. Phil and Iva emerged victorious — winning an apartment in the city, and making connections and experiences that would aid them on their journey to a TV series.
Three years later, their vision is finally becoming a reality, with Dreamcatchers set to air in early 2017. The documentary travel series follows their tumultuous and adventurous travels, and offers a glimpse into how they live. Through the show, Phil and Iva hope to inspire people by showing others who have also dived head-first into the uncertain, but fulfilling waters.
Learn more about Dreamcatchers here: http://www.philandiva.com/dreamcatchers/