This week’s blog may be a bit different than the last few. It’s been all about what we’ve done, what we’re fixing and how we fixed it, as well as our most recent trips. Well, let’s dig a bit deeper this week.
Living on a boat sounds like a dream to some and absolutely wild to others. Some say, “Oh I would love that, what a dream” and some respond with, “that’s not for me, I don’t know how you do it.” Although these are completely different ends of the spectrum on how to feel about living aboard, they have something in common: it sounds like an out of reach idea.
The truth is, it’s not. For me, all I had to do was date a guy who already lived on his boat and politely convince him that I should join him (I’m joking, sort of). But for Steve, it just made sense. He moved back to Virginia with the idea of buying and moving onto a sailboat, and he did it. When we first met, I thought that was so cool. Living on a boat? Are you kidding me? You’re literally living on the ocean, what more could you want?! Well, it is freaking cool, but it’s not out of reach, even though I was one of the people that absolutely thought it was. So let’s talk about why it might seem out of reach. Why would you not be able to live on a boat (or live whatever your dream is)?
The cost is the biggest thing. Clearly, one may think that this is extremely expensive. Well, like most places of living, you have to either rent or buy. Renting is so expensive because you’re throwing money at a place that you will eventually have to leave. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve rented for years and it’s been perfect for me because I didn’t plan on staying in the same place the whole time, nor did I have the means to buy a home. But with a boat, you buy it and then it’s yours! You may buy it perky and brand new, or you could do what Steve did and get a fixer upper for a cheaper price and work on it as you lived there. You do have to pay monthly, weekly, or daily rent for a slip at a marina, but it’s much cheaper than you’d expect.
Before living on the boat, I was living in a studio apartment and let me just say, the price was a steal for the location. However, it cost more to live there than it did for a slip at the marina. In fact, Steve could essentially pay for two months with the same amount that I’d pay for one! I couldn’t get over how crazy that was. So let’s think about that. Even if you don’t want to pay for a slip, you could anchor out and dingy into a marina or to dingy-friendly public docks to go get groceries, do laundry, etc. That could cut out a payment if you decided docking wasn’t for you.
Now, let’s keep going. Energy? No problem, solar panels are all plugged in and ready to go. Of course there’s the original price of them, but once you have them they’ll last you a while. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some things that we don’t have on the boat, partly because of space and partly because of the amount of energy it would draw when in use. Think of a blender, certain chargers, household appliances. So that electric bill that you have every month? Forget about it, just get some solar panels and a boat and you’ll be all set ;-).
We currently don’t have refrigeration, nor a water maker, so we go to the store frequently and buy the meats or cold things before they’re used, and fill up on water from our marina. We’re working on refrigeration now and hoping to finish the insulation before the end of the month. That way, before we even get our unit put in, at least the ice won’t melt as fast and it will hold the cold temperature longer. We will then be able to have a few cold things without needing to use them ASAP, but instead just using them within a couple of days. The water maker isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you’re trying to live only on the boat, no dock, then you’ll need one. It’ll desalinate the water and create a purified water for you to drink. It’s extremely handy when you cruise to somewhere like the Bahamas where water is 1. hard to find and 2. expensive.
There are things we would like but don’t have, or don’t have just yet, and we’re doing just fine without them. We spend less money because we don’t buy things we don’t need, and focus more on the boat than we do other things. Believe me, sometimes it’s hard. This past weekend I had a friend’s wedding and I didn’t know what to wear. I went to thrift stores in town but could not find anything that justified buying it (even though they were $3). There’s now a criteria I look for with things like that because of my living situation that I didn’t think about before.
Normally it’s questions like:
- Will I wear it more than once?
- Will I wear it on the boat?
- Can it be worn in lots of different ways?
- If I buy this, do I need to get rid of a clothing item in exchange for it so that I’ll have room for it in the cubby or closet?
I’ve found I need a lot less than expected. I mean, the thing is that I get to spend the day on the water with my best friend and our dog. I’m normally in shorts and a sports bra while working on the boat during the day, then I shower and put on a tee and shorts or a little sundress. I wear that for all of a couple of hours and then I’m back in my pajamas. So the clothes I wear post shower are reused consistently because why would they need to be washed after only being worn for a little bit? I rewear a lot, and so does Steve, because it just makes more sense. We also mainly wear bathing suits when en route somewhere, so you can just salt water wash and fresh water rinse if needed, and BOOM! You’re done!
I guess it’s easy to see how this could be something absolutely wild or extravagant, and believe me, it can be if you want to buy the big fancy boats or the high dollar stuff, but we make most things ourselves and it normally works out just fine. We’re very independent in that way, both individually and together, and I think that helps a lot when it comes to maintenance and sustainability on the boat. We trust that we’ll get things done when they need to be completed, celebrate the little wins, and move on to the next thing on our list.
I guess what I really wanted to say with this post is that you can live your dream and make it a reality at any time. There will always be something that will make you think “it’s not the right time” or “not yet”, but the truth is: it will never be the right time. At some point, you’re just going to have to go for it, take the jump, leap with faith, and find out that your dream is only a step to the right. We make these plans for ourselves only for them to not work and to find out that they weren’t at all what we wanted. Life moves around us, and it’s important to make sure that we’re living it to the fullest and not letting it pass us by.
This week I finished the 6th coat of varnish on the teak! Here’s what it looked like (from left to right) before, after stripping all of the old paint off and sanding it, and now varnished! I know you can’t see the shine in the photo, but it looks SO much better!
This week we also had some friends from our home marina visit Urbanna on their boat for a week which was a blast to see some familiar faces. Steve and I went for an evening sail after work and ate dinner while under way. We visited NC for another friend’s wedding, saw so many people I love, danced our hearts out, and had an absolutely lovely time.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s write up, talk soon!