How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world if you didn’t wake from the dream?
In our last post, we talked about getting to know the boat and tracing the systems aboard. Taking the time to do this will help us be aware of changes as well as how to diagnose and repair items before it becomes a big deal and stave off disaster.
We’ve now spent one week living on a boat on New River, Ft Lauderdale and having an adventure. We thought it would be a good time to reflect on what it’s been like. What’s the same? What’s different?
Perhaps a glimpse of this will inform your decision if you’re on the fence about whether a voyaging life is for you. We’ll continue to add to this theme to give you a raw account of our experiences as we take our maiden voyage offshore later this year.
What’s the same?
When we compare our living situation to living in a house, there are some similarities to living on a boat, such as:
- Self-quarantine - Especially in the first 14 days in Ft Lauderdale, we are keeping to ourselves. We’ve chatted with our dock neighbors (Rich & Lyn) safely from boat to boat. Bill has dropped in as well to see how we’re doing.
- Cleaning and purging - Preparing to move, moving out and moving in, etc. has been a big part of our life since April. When we went through the remaining 20% of our belongings, we knew more editing is needed once we tried to stow the items aboard. The end of this process can’t come soon enough!
- Time together - By design, Andrew and I started this whole adventure primarily so that we can spend more time together. Mission accomplished. Unlike many couples, we haven’t grown tired of each other’s company. It hasn’t been the case since the day we first met, and it certainly hasn’t been an issue now that we’re in closer quarters.
- Cooking at home - We both love to cook and while the galley is smaller, the food has been equally delicious.
Here is a list of some of the things we’ve noticed. They are in no particular order and reflect what came to mind first.
- No car - We plan ahead whenever we need to provision to maximize efficiency and minimize heat exhaustion. We now walk or longboard wherever we go. This has the added benefit of helping us to stay fit.
- Humidity - The tropical climate has translated to healthier skin and hair. I’m not always reaching for lip balm or applying lotion to dry skin as I would in the desert climate of southern California.
- Boat bites - As many people will come to know this about me, I am clumsy and prone to colliding into hard objects (e.g., desks, coffee tables, etc.) Since a boat is primarily all hard surfaces and prone to movement, the number of bruises (a.k.a. boat bites) has increased substantially.
- Sunrises and sunsets - Living on a boat means being more in tune with nature. We spend more time in our cockpit than I ever did in our patio, which means being present during sunrises and sunsets. Now I can understand the instagram feeds of Sailing Zephyros, who posts daily sunsets, currently from the Canal Beagle, Chile, where I hope one day to go.
- No BBQ - We used to have three barbeques (Weber gas, Weber charcoal and Konro) and now we have none. When we’re hankering for steaks, we sear them in a cast iron pan on the stove.
- Access to certain ingredients - Based on a few experiences with takeout in Ft Lauderdale and researching grocery stores, Asian food is not a forte in this region and access to certain ingredients are limited. So we’re relying on Amazon locker to supplement what we need aboard.
- No smart home (Alexa, Nest, wifi, streaming) - We knew this would be a significant shift in our lifestyle. We had cut the cord years ago in favor of streaming media online. In the past couple years, even scripted content lost its appeal as we spent more time on Youtube for more relevant content to us. Now streaming Youtube will be limited to whenever we have access to free wifi. Andrew also prepared us for this eventuality when it came to redesigning the website (launched in July), and that investment in time has certainly paid off.
- Affordablility - One of the big unknowns for those deciding to become liveaboard cruisers is figuring out how much to budget. We have a living budget which we are updating periodically to help our crew. Check out how to budget for cruising to get a handle on the numbers.
- Filtered water - Brita filter versus Icon LifeSaver Cube. Both Bill and his wife demonstrated this filtration system designed by the company along with Oxfam to be able to give drinkable water to people in Africa who did not have access to clean water.
- Laundry - I remember living in an apartment when I would have to schlep a bag of laundry downstairs. When I finally moved into a place that comes with a washer and dryer, it was such a luxury. Now it seems, we’ve taken a few steps backwards… or a few centuries back in time… I’m not sure which. While ashore, we could walk a few blocks to do our laundry in a couple hours at a coin-operated place. We have opted instead to use a 12-liter washing machine aboard (about a quarter of the capacity of a standard washing machine). The other option is to handwash and then line dry.
This list is by no means exhaustive. On balance, the quality of our life has improved. Life has slowed down. We focus on each other and how we want to tackle each activity. If you are familiar with the Matrix trilogy, our experience is akin to unplugging from the Matrix.
Regardless of how dreary, reality is better for man than the mindless exercise of comfort and luxury easily provided by the Matrix.
We have come to experience that our reality is far from dreary. A skeptic could argue hauling groceries, laundering by hand, etc. is the stuff of dreariness. I would argue that it is all about your mindset. If you are inclined to think this, then this life is not for you. If you are like us, we “love our duty,” which is to say that we put our energy in doing the best we can in each duty presented to us.
Make each day your masterpiece
Coach John Wooden was given a seven-point creed from his father.
- Be true to yourself.
- Help others.
- Make each day your masterpiece.
- Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
- Make friendship a fine art.
- Build a shelter against a rainy day.
- Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.
Point number 3 is one of the most famous of his sayings, “Make each day your masterpiece.” This means to focus on what you’re doing right now and do it to the best of your abilities. It is about recognizing that nothing can be done about what happened yesterday, and that you can only affect what will happen tomorrow by what you do today. We touched upon this topic earlier this year about staying in the present.
For this reason, we are grateful for the opportunity to live simply and find meaning in each day.
More from this series:
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