1) DON’T BUY ANYTHING UNTIL YOU’RE ABOARD!
This is one of the hardest parts about moving aboard. Maybe you have already chosen your perfect boat, or you are just preparing for this life change? Either way you are going to be excited about it, and want to start researching all the neat things that can go on your boat. Resist the urge to purchase them until you are aboard. Chances are, you will find that most of these things will not fit or are completely unnecessary. We made this mistake and it cost us. You cannot truly understand the small space you are moving onto until you are there. After we purchased our boat, we were in limbo before moving aboard. We instantly looked to the internet to start picking out things for the boat. A new kayak, decorative rugs to make it homey, toolboxes, organizers, things, things, things. The truth, the kayak didn’t fit well, neither did the rugs. The baskets didn’t fit the odd shapes, and toolboxes couldn’t find a home. We had spent thousands of dollars on things for the boat that now sit in storage. Your boat has everything you need already built in, you will not have the space for the photo albums or cherished antiques. In fact, you didn’t decide to buy a boat to have a place to store your things, you bought a boat to have an adventure, save money, or to free yourself of consumerism and live a simpler life. Save your time and money, don’t buy things for your boat. Instead; focus on gaining experiences, crew on someone else’s boat, take classes at your local sailing club or on diesel mechanics at a local trade school, you will be happy you did!
2) YOUR BOAT IS NOT A HOUSE!
If it is a house you are looking for, then you shouldn’t be looking at moving aboard. Boats are not for everyone, so be sure it is what you want beforehand. Living aboard forces you to be one with nature, especially the weather. The weather will rule your life, you cannot simply hide away in your box anymore. Each change in the wind will affect how your boat moves, raindrops send a symphony of sound throughout, and lightning makes you question sitting next to your 60′ lightning rod, I mean mast. A grocery store run requires; rain jackets and umbrellas, sun hats, or bug spray. Some days, all the above. Don’t get me wrong. For some, like us, all these things can also be what makes the experience great and authentic. The challenges that a boat brings to life, are what make your adventure unique. It takes you out of your comfort zone and places you into a life that is far more rewarding and always interesting.
3) LESS IS MORE!
There is a huge group of people joining the minimalist movement these days. Everything from tiny homes, to hip micro apartments. Sailors, at least live-aboard sailors, have always been the original minimalist. The boat has all that you need. It’s a place to; sleep, cook, entertain, and is one of the oldest modes of transportation. Most boats have a bathroom, or head, that isn’t too far off from the one you have in a home. With having all you need already built in, you don’t have much room left for anything else. The little that you do own, you use, not to mention with all the savings from a minimalist lifestyle you can afford to buy the best, no need to cut corners and buy cheap. In fact, once you start moving too many things aboard, the space begins to clutter, stack up, and cause you stress. In-order-for that new purchase to move aboard, something else must go to make room. The biggest problem with adding too much to your boat is the cost. Save your money for the most important part, your cruising kitty. The less you buy, the longer you can cruise before needing to work, and refresh the kitty. You start trading dollars for time instead of things, and who doesn’t wish they had more time?!
4) GET IN SHAPE BEFORE YOU GO!
Living on a boat is a ton of work!! Let’s take grocery shopping for instance. Aside from some possible stairs or doorways to transit, it is relatively easy to pull into your driveway or garage and unload your groceries into your house. Living aboard (in a marina) is not quite as easy, this simple task now has a few more steps. First you must retrieve a dock cart, unload your groceries onto said cart, walk the length of the dock which varies from a few yards to a few hundred yards, carry them from the cart to the boat, then return the dock cart to where you found it. And don’t even get me started on the fact that many liveaboards do so on anchor or mooring; now you substitute the cart for a dinghy and things get interesting fast. The point is, you have all the same “chores” as life ashore, but you will work your buns off to accomplish them. Start at the gym now so the work load does not completely SHOCK YOUR BODY!
5) IT’S NOT ALL BEACH DAYS AND TAN LINES!
Imagine this……….The bright white sails of your boat are raised, your boat glides along silently, the tropical breeze blows through your hair as you pass island paradise to your right. People on the beach look on in envy of you as you sail your home along crystal blue waters. Sounds amazing, right?! Then reality sinks in, you are headed to the marinas pump out station where you will spend the next ten excruciating minutes pumping your poo out of your boat. The following day you will be elbow deep into a diesel oil change in the bowels of your boat. For every ten beautiful days sailing the ocean blue, you will have one full of nasty. That is the harsh reality of living on a boat, sometimes you have to just suck up your pride and do what needs to be done.
6) IT REALLY IS THAT GOOD!
Don’t let this list scare you! All the things you have dreamed about while preparing for this lifestyle are completely attainable, and worth every minute of the headache it will take to get there. Life aboard is fulfilling and exciting, it is everything that you imagined and more.
Don’t spend your life dreaming, instead get your boat and start living!!!
Thanks for following along! For more posts like this, and to keep up with our Gypsy Family, Don’t forget to Share, Comment, Like, and Subscribe everywhere