1. Cost of living. Our boat is fully paid for. We owe nothing to anyone and everything we have is ours and ours alone. Our bills are minimal. Right now, because we are at a marina, our expenses are significantly higher than if we were at anchor. They are still, however, much less than our former “land based” bills! All of our bills (slip, electricity, water, gas) combined are about $460 per month. When we are on the move – our bills are considerably cheaper (we don’t have slip fees, we make our own water, we replenish our batteries with solar power…etc – we do, however, have to buy diesel from time to time). If there is one way to get yourself stuck in a rut – owe money to the bank. Too many people overburden their lives with bills. They buy way too much – they owe on homes, cars, expensive toys, credit cards and more…how can you break free when you need to stay on the hamster wheel to pay off all that stuff?
2. Living simply. Living on a boat is a simpler life, period. We don’t watch television. We read. We walk to the grocery store. We take pleasure in daily chores and routines. We cook simple meals. We maintain our boat ourselves. We don’t rush from place to place. We don’t overextend ourselves. We have no real timelines or deadlines and stress is something we don’t see too often anymore. We love it.
3. Less clutter. I’m talking about minimalism! Because our home is small by anyone’s standards, we are forced to have less ‘stuff’. If something comes on the boat, something must go off to make room for it. While this was challenging at first (I would not call myself a “minimalist” at all!), it is a fantastic way to live. Filling your life and home with “stuff” is a symptom of our “more, more, more” society and really good marketing. The perfect example of this (because it has become very relevant!) is babies and children. Have you seen how much “stuff” people have for their kids nowadays?! Home’s are overtaken with it all. It is literally mind boggling to me. My friend’s on boats? Their babies don’t even have an eighth of this stuff and are just as happy (if not more). You too might find you live a fuller life, with less.
4. More self-reliant. When you live on a boat YOU are the electrician, the plumber, the carpenter, the mechanic and the handyman (or woman). While these individuals are available in certain ports – if something happens at sea (and it will!) – you’d better be prepared to get right down to it and figure it out or learn to deal without. Nigel Calder has something of a cruiser’s bible that will help you greatly in your plight and get you started, but you’ll learn a lot as you go (whether you like it or not). While I’ve switched out a dampener plate, re-routed hoses and know what a butt-connector is; Scott has taken to this particularly well. He is not only incredibly handy, but a skilled perfectionist too – meaning his work is almost always impeccable. No “honey do” lists here! There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction (and money saving!) in knowing you don’t need to pick up the phone to get something done.
5. Living green. I will probably expand on this more in a later blog post – but this is one of the things I like best about living aboard. While I have always been environmentally-conscious, I definitely didn’t live a “green” life when I was on land. I have found that living on a boat has made me much more conscious. Not only do we use less resources like water, electricity, fuel, paper…etc, but we have discovered the incredible world of natural products as well! Because we no longer have the stores we were used to in the USA to buy certain products like cleaning agents, we have had to improvise and have found the uses of things like vinegar (literally, can do anything), ammonia (laundry), essential oils (citronella, btw, is a natural bug repellent) and more. Our lives are greener, and less toxic because of it. Win/win!
6. Sunrises and sunsets. Life on a boat usually means you have at least one unobstructed horizon right outside your companionway. Sunrises and sunsets just never get old – there is nothing like sipping a warm cup of tea in the cockpit while the sun is rising or enjoying a nice glass of pinot noir while the sun is setting. The stars in the night’s sky are icing on the cake – if Scott and I open our V-berth hatch, we have the most incredible view and can just lay on our backs and look up at the Universe’s nightly beauty.
7. Wildlife. There is SO much wildlife to be seen! Tropical birds, monkeys, iguanas, whales, tropical fish and (of course) dolphins can be daily sights to the cruising sailor.
8. Adventure in every day. Whether it be a hike to a beautiful waterfall high up in the hills, a wild ride on a local bus, a trip to the market or a faulty duck valve in your marine head – there is sure to be at least one adventure a day! Some adventures are good, some are not so good – but they almost always leave you with a good story.
9. Freedom. Knowing we control our own destiny every. single. day is incredibly liberating. Sure, we both work – Scott on a boat, me on my computer. But you know what? It sure as heck beats sitting in traffic and going to an office every day!
10. Being able to travel…in our home. This is unanimously the best aspect of living aboard. The fact that we travel with all our belongings around us is wonderful. No need to pack bags, no need to worry if we forgot something. We simply float around the world in our home and go wherever our little heart’s desire. All we need to do is point our bow in the right direction, trim our sails and away we go!
What do you love best about living aboard? Of if you are not living aboard, what do you think you would love best?