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Come sail away: New dentist sails the Atlantic

Benavent_2As the media has noted ad nauseam, millennials seem to prefer experiences to possessions. Still, can you imagine purchasing a sailboat instead of a house – and living on it – because you love to sail? Or taking a year or two off from your dental practice to sail around the world?

Benavent_1Dr. Herby Benavent, who practices in Clarksville, Maryland, grew up in Puerto Rico and has had a lifelong love of the ocean. He and his wife Maddie set sail on the trip of a lifetime on their boat named Wisdom (the dinghy’s name is Tooth) – across the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, then down to the African coast. The pair will then head west to Brazil and finally up to North America. They don’t know how much time the trip will take, but said they could be gone as long as two years.

So who inspired Dr. Benavent, 31, to take a break from the dental practice he operates with his father and pursue this dream? Much of the credit goes to his patients.

Benavent_4“I see a lot of older patients, and I noticed none of them talk about how much they worked,” Dr Benavent said. “They do talk about the memories they made with their family and friends.”

As you might expect, some were skeptical of Dr. Benavent’s plan. After working so hard to obtain a dental degree, why take off in the prime of your career? The Benavent’s simply decided there is no time like the present, and if they wanted to do this, they should do it before starting a family.

Dr. Benavent said he realizes and respects, because of practice or student loan considerations, many of his peers wouldn’t be able to do something similar. Still, living a simple lifestyle is one big reason the Benavent’s are able to set sail. Dr. Benavent bought the 50-year-old sailboat for $20,000 in 2012 and lived on it alone until Maddie moved in a couple years ago. While at sea, the couple budgets $500 per month for the trip.

“You don’t need to purchase fuel on a sail boat,” Dr. Benavent wryly noted.

So while you may not be able to take a couple years off, dentists like Dr. Benavent or Dr. Bruce Terry think it’s important to remember your passions, especially when dentistry seems all-consuming.

What’s one passion you’d like to pursue? Or one that you already do? Comment below!

Read more about the Benavent’s in this article from The Baltimore Sun, and follow their journey on Instagram and YouTube.

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