Why We Live Aboard

June 27, 2010

A four year old friend of ours wants to know why we live on a boat. Her mom said it was so we could travel around the world. “Planes are faster. In case you maybe didn’t know that.”, she replied.

“Is it so nice as all that?” asked the mole, shyly…

“Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat Solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

“Simply messing…about in boats — or with boats… In or out of ’em it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.”

-Wind in the Willows

So many of the little boys and girls that have stepped aboard our boat have said the words, “I want to live on a boat someday.” There is a certain magic to it, isn’t there? Ten years ago Tucker and I chartered a sailboat in the Caribbean and sailed by ourselves for 10 days around the US and British Islands. We were anchored off of Cane Garden Bay when Tucker went and talked to a man on another boat in the harbor. Tucker asked him how long he’d been out.  “Thirteen years”, he answered. The 90 degree air and the 90 degree water didn’t hurt, but I’m pretty sure that’s when I decided that I too wanted to be a cruiser.

Wanderlust is part of it. We have read stories of families on bikes, and in RVs, and those who buy round the world tickets and travel for a while. We think that mixing home and travel is part of the pull. We’ll get to travel the world and still stay home. We are certainly minimilists compared to most people and love that aspect, but we don’t have to pear all the way down to a backpack to travel this way.  On Convivia, we get to travel and be with our kids and still have a place to mark their growth on the wall as the years pass.

A quick review of a world map revealed that most of the places we want to explore are right by the sea. A boat is a perfect way to enjoy that. We get to travel places where airplanes never go and to places that few people ever go. We may even be able to stop and anchor in Beveridge Reef a Pacific coral reef atol that doesn’t even have land.

Sure, planes are faster, but from our boat we’ll be able to see sharks, whales, jellyfish, endless seas, night skies not blurred by any lights, amazing islands, and villages far off the beaten path. Travelling at a pace of 150 miles a day leaves a lot of time for looking around.

Even marina life is good. We’re still closely attuned to nature and the weather around us. There is never a day that we don’t notice the sunrise, the tides changing, the birds of the season, and the light of the moon. We make decisions based on the weather. Every time we leave the dock we observe and choose conditions that make us as safe and comfortable as we can be. We’re on our own schedule.

Our children absolutely need both of us around. Our family works brilliantly when all four of us are together. We are eager for the end of the blocking of the door (now companionway) each morning when Tucker needs to leave for his work day. By taking off this fall we’ll have at least a year or so when neither Tucker nor I need to leave to go to work. We’re looking forward to having the freedom of a schedule that is all our own. We all are excited by new adventures, anchorages, and new landfalls.

The community is amazing. The sailors are amazing. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by a bunch of free spirited, self sufficient, adventurous, strong, supportive, encouraging, dreamers.

I can pick up a globe and spin it slowly knowing that every bit of blue is somewhere that I can go someday. That’s why I live on a boat.

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