Charlotte Kaufman grew up in Alaska and started traveling internationally at the age of 16. Since then she has visited 15 countries, and lived in Mexico, England, and France. A sailor since 2005, she and her husband bought a sailboat together and decided to raise their children while circumnavigating the globe. In 2014 they set sail from Mexico to the South Pacific aboard their boat, Rebel Heart. A cascading series of events led to their calling for help and the ensuing rescue at sea caused an international media firestorm about sailing & parenting. She is represented by agents Aemilia Phillips and David Patterson of Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency.
Charlotte is the founder of Women Who Sail, a group of over 16,000 female sailors with regional sub-groups that include thousands more. After losing their sailboat, she and her husband moved to Mammoth Lakes, California, swapping adventures at sea for the mountains. In 2017 she founded Mammoth Women Writers, a writing group dedicated to building a community of women and gender non-conforming writers in the Eastern Sierra.
Her writing has appeared multiple times in San Diego Magazine and more recently in Sammiches & Psych Meds. She wrote for 10 years about sailing and life aboard on her sailing blog therebelheart.com. she is a regular contributor at visitmammoth.com, and writes on her blog charlottekaufman.com.
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Excerpts of My Writing
“On our second date, Eric told me he wanted to sail around the world. He was tall, dark, and handsome with striking green eyes and an all-American smile that promised a world of adventure ahead of me should I dare to join him. Ten months after that date we bought our boat together, the Rebel Heart. Two years later we got married, and in another two years, our first daughter was born. We moved aboard the boat as a family of three, and announced to our friends and family how we’d been saving and preparing to sail around the world. They smiled indulgently and disbelievingly. At each stage of this journey, most people did not believe we were going to go.”
~ from San Diego Magazine: How to Sail Around the World Pregnant
“It was early morning and the Coromuel winds were still blowing white-capped waves that sloshed the starboard side where I sat holding my four-month-old. Eric laughed and started pushing off of the sand with a spare oar. He had misjudged the usual passage we motored over each morning in our shallow-drafted dinghy. In a few moments he would shove us off. Heck, we could have probably stepped out onto the sand in the middle of the bay and walked our boat a few feet over, but none of this registered. Instead, my toes began to curl and my hands started clenching and unclenching involuntarily. I clamped my teeth together so tightly, I had an aching jaw the rest of the day. Sweat fevered my body, even though the wind was raising goosebumps on my toddler’s arms. I couldn’t breathe. The sky overhead was a giant vise pushing down against my body. I kept my lips in a tight line, instead of opening them into the O shape I wanted to create with an ear-curdling scream.”
~ from San Diego Magazine: Even Adventurers Get the Blues
“And these people, who you thought you knew, their words will roll of their tongues so easily, like they’re changing a roll of toilet paper or wiping down a kitchen counter, like the devastation you’ve experienced is just casual chatter. The kind of stuff you talk about while refilling a ketchup bottle.”
~ from Losing Rebel Heart | What I’ve Learned
“I felt such immense gratitude when I saw my things returned safely to me that I wondered how I could ever repay them. My mind connected back 16 years prior, to the woman in the pink cashmere sweater in Zurich. Her gesture might have been borne out of custom and her items had all been brand new, but they were clearly of value to her. My items were not new, but they were imbued with the lasting power of sentiment, sweat, and tears.”
~ from Putting a Price on Gratitude
“Stay in the car, girls,” she admonished to both C and B and then she hopped out. I scrambled after her, but grabbed my can of bear spray. I exited the passenger side and popped off the safety cap. Then I followed her, keeping the can behind me. The guy was probably 6’2” and a very big dude. If this were a ruse, he was gonna get a face full of capsaicin for trying to fuck with us.”
~ from I Don’t Know How to Fix a Flat Tire | On Not Shaming Those You Offer to Help
“The sun was just peeking up over roof tops as I slowly drove down the streets of Golden Hill (my neighborhood in San Diego) toward the 94 east. My arms tingled with emotion. I love this city. San Diego is where I came of age as a woman. It's where I met and fell in love with Eric. Where Cora was born. San Diego is the place we came back to re-start our lives after losing Rebel Heart. It was time to leave there, and so I did.”
~ Day 1 of Living in Mammoth Lakes
“Scene: a dark, frigid night on the outskirts of Mammoth Lakes, a town in the Eastern Sierra. A young mother, scratch that, a late-30-something mother is home alone with her two daughters while her husband is out of town.”
~ Bear Attacks Side of House in Mammoth Lakes, California