A young family from western Colorado has decided to trade their lives in the mountains for a life at sea.

Kristy and Tyler Hawkins are from the Grand Junction area. Within the last several months, they sold most of their belongings and are in the process of selling their house.

<p>Courtesy: Kristy and Tyler Hawkins</p>

They bought a boat in North Carolina and are now planning their next adventure: raising two young children at sea.

The decision for a life change came after the couple had three immediate family members die within a two year period.  Tyler says they made the most of their situation. The young couple has the wisdom it takes many people to achieve over a lifetime.

“One of the largest things that we learned is that life is short," he said. "You don’t know when you’re going to go. So you have a limited amount of time to make those quality memories with your family.”

Tyler and Kristy settled on North Carolina, because that’s where they bought their boat.  They packed up and moved cross country about six weeks ago. They say they’re learning as they go, and getting tips from other sailors in the marina where they’re docked.

Courtesy: Kristy and Tyler Hawkins

The young family is planning to set sail for a long term adventure this fall after hurricane season has passed.

Their first stop is the U.S. Virgin Islands – their hope is to give their kids different experiences with different cultures.  

“Again, it comes back down to our kids, that’s the biggest driving factor behind all of this… and being together," Tyler said. "We are going to give them experiences that are amazing. The people they meet, the things that they learn.”

Tyler and Kristy say they plan to work along the way – and may eventually sail around the world.

Kristy and Tyler have already started homeschooling their kids, C.J. is one, and Sofie is three. 

They also say they have a literal safety net around their boat, along with something called a jack line. The jack line is a piece of webbing – the kids will also be in harnesses when they walk around the boat, and will be clipped to that line as an extra precaution.

The family is also bringing their dog, Riot, along for the journey. They've started a blog documenting their journey and call themselves the Windswept Gypsies.