Would you, could you, live on a boat?

I read a short article this morning about a couple that quit their jobs, sold their belongings, and bought a boat upon which to live.  The idea intrigues me.

So I started thinking more about the idea of cutting out some of life’s clutter-no house payment (I don’t own a house so that’s one less worry), no car payments (well, we only have a motorcycle payment), no utilities…the list goes on, of course, but you get the idea. You live on your boat, your only mode of transportation unless you take a taxi, subway, or train while you’re docked and really just…live.

But as I put more thought into the notion, I start feeling a little claustrophobic.  That’s a lot of ocean out there.  What does one do on a boat all day, every day?  I’d bring a good selection of books that I’ve had sitting around that I’ve started but not finished:

  •  The Space Trilogy  C.S. Lewis (I started this on a plane to Connecticut-Excellent!)
  • Very Bad Men and The Last Dead Girl  Harry Dolan (I read his first book, Bad Things Happen, in about a week.  I enjoy his style;  he avoids purple prose which I detest-I skip right over that, and he’s an excellent writer)
  • The last four Sookie Stackhouse novels  Charlaine Harris (I started Dead in the Family right before my dad died so I took a hiatus from the series.  I devoured the first nine books so I’m sure I would do the same with the ones I have left)
  • The Dark Tower series Stephen King (I don’t know how many times I’ve started and stopped The Gunslinger. If I lived on a boat, I could finish these)

That’s just a little glimpse into my world of reading but what would I do after I finished all of my books-aside from buying more?  What do I do with no internet?  No, perish the though, I can’t do it!  Living simply is one thing, but living on a boat out in the middle of a bunch of blue is just not for me.  I could lounge around on deck during the day and perfect my tan having absolutely zero tan lines and have Robert do all the work involved with sailing.  Of course, I could also swim in all of those beautifully clear waters that we don’t have off the west coast. Oh, but there’s that issue of hungry sharks and stinging jellyfish to contend with. I’m a pretty good swimmer but not good enough to out swim a shark that thinks I’m the proper size for a midday snack. No thanks.

And I know myself pretty well.  I’d be bored!

I have a better idea.  Since I’m a landlubber anyway, I think it would be a better fit for me to live in a truck.  You know, of the big rig variety.

I’ve had a little taste of life in a big rig.  I’ve traveled with Robert for two weeks at a time here and there and for the most part, I enjoyed it.  The quarters are more cramped than on a boat, I imagine, but it’s totally doable. Robert does it all the time.

I enjoy spending time with my husband and having the opportunity to have uninterrupted conversations.  We have talk for hours and hours as we roll down the highways from state to state.  Unlike being out on the water in the middle of nowhere, I know that we can stop when needed and get out to stretch. Living on a boat sounds less and less appealing as I dissect the idea and compare it to living in a truck. While there would be no nude tanning, there would also be the absence of sharks and jellyfish!  Bonus!

I can’t recall the first trip I took with Robert but I do remember winter 2014 when I flew out to Hartford, Connecticut to stay with him for a week (which turned into two weeks due to blizzard conditions).  This was the longest I had spent in the air and I was able to read all of Brave New World.  No, I didn’t read it in high school like everybody else.

After landing in Hartford, I had to take my first taxi ride.  The airport had a window at the bottom of the stairs that would set me up with one.  Thank goodness, too, because this was all foreign to me. I arrived at the hotel safe and sound where Robert was able to meet me outside and pay the driver.  Scary thoughts kept creeping in my head.  What happens if he isn’t outside when we arrive-I have NO money to pay this guy.  He’s going to yell at me. That was a really long flight and I can’t take the yelling.  I’ll be stranded in Connecticut forever!

Sometimes my imagination gets away from me.

Anyhow, what I’m trying to tell you is that I made it-the girl who used to be afraid to fly and do things alone, like getting a taxi.

We had some down time before we needed to hit the road and drive so we were able to take a tour of Mark Twain’s house.  Gorgeous! I was so impressed but also a bit disappointed that we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside.  Honestly, I probably remember it a little better since I wasn’t distracted with a camera or phone.  I was able to take my time and sort of sink my teeth into all of the little details.  Mark Twain was one interesting character, I must say.Mark Twain house

Robert Mark Twain

After getting a coffee from the Dunkin’ Donuts down the street, it was time to head back to the hotel. Just an observation-California has a Starbucks on almost every street corner but on the East Coast, you’ll find Dunkin’ Donuts instead.  Honestly, I much prefer their coffee over Starbucks, anyway.  Not that my opinion matters…

The next day, we were able to watch the Nuclear Cowboyz-amazing stunt performers!  Robert was driving their equipment to and fro which made it possible for us to be dazzled by their performance.

nuclear cowboyz

After enjoying such a great show, I was thirsty, of course, so we found a restaurant that had delicious libations. A Jayne Mansfield, for example.

courtney bar

I may have had two of those…that night is a little fuzzy.

After a good night’s sleep, it was time for us to head out and do some driving.  I say ‘us’ like I’m actually participating in said activity.  No, in fact, I do not know how to drive one of those behemoth trucks, nor do I care to learn.  While not nearly as scary as the sharks and jellyfish I would most certainly encounter while living on a boat, I have a healthy fear of giant vehicles.  They could squish me like a bug without even trying.

Did I mention the cramped quarters there are inside a truck?

little truck spot

Here I am, sitting on the floor.  There’s no seat!  Thankfully, this was a loaner truck just to do some business in town.  I look thrilled, right? Actually, I found it quite humorous.

Greenwich was just lovely, all frozen and sleepy like.

Greenwich, ct

1538937_10151919159117634_1540333536_nRobert took care of business so we were able to get back into his regular sized truck where I actually had a seat and there were beds in the back. Much more comfortable.  If you drive for any distance in a truck, you’ll notice that after, say, two cups of coffee, a familiar urge will come over you when you’re in the middle of New Jersey, and after your husband says “No, there aren’t any truck stops around,” you have to get creative. Let me tell you what to do:

  • Save your Big Gulp cups!
  • Grab extra napkins at all the places you eat
  • Practice your balance before you go on a road trip

I’ll explain.  The Big Gulp cups (or any large-sized soft drink cup, for that matter) are your porta potties.  You will need the napkins for obvious reasons.  Hopefully you have good balance already because you will inevitably need your porta potty while the truck is in motion. Yes, if you are a woman, you will be relieving yourself standing up, into a soft drink cup, while the truck is swaying side to side down the road.  You’ll also want to close the curtain to retain a little bit of modesty. Have those napkins handy, girls, because you don’t want to have to reach and then drop your cup on the floor.  I imagine your husband would not be thrilled with you.

Now, if you’re like me, you say “Here you go” as you hand your giant cup full of pee to your husband to put in the cup holder while you get everything zipped up. If you’re especially fond of him, you’ll remind him in about an hour not to drink out of that cup. Did I mention that living in a truck (or boat) and sharing tight quarters will help you get to know your spouse?  

Really well.

What could be better than sharing all sorts of wonder with your love?graffiti

Ha! No, really, there are plenty of pretty spots in New Jersey, I just notice the not so pretty sometimes.

Can you sail your boat through here?

overpass

We encountered some extreme weather which you would definitely find while traveling by boat. But while things may have gotten a bit hairy a time or two, I never had to worry about drowning or all of my books getting wet.

Unlike living on a boat, fishing is not mandatory living in a truck.  Most of our meals were truck stop fare.  If you were underweight before starting your new life aboard a moving house, you wouldn’t be for long.  I would start getting cranky because I couldn’t just eat when I wanted to, so at meal time, I’d go a little overboard.

I’m starting to see why Robert says I’m expensive to take on the road.

food

Did I mention extreme weather?  Now, this may be the norm for you where you live, but Southern California winters are very mild.  We rarely get rain and this past December there were days when I was wearing tank tops and flip-flops.  You can see where this might be out of the ordinary for me.

1484717_10151920722387634_670570688_n

There was a wee bit of snow in Pennsylvania…

The first time I had snow in my hair in probably 25 years.

1551678_10151920825122634_1096809547_n

robert ice

Pennsylvania was just about frozen solid that trip.

pennsylvania

If you were on a boat, you wouldn’t be sailing along that frozen mess!

I’d say Robert drives an average of ten or so hours per day.  He has an app on his phone that he uses to find nearby truck stops and other places that we might be able to stop for the night.  Like boats, you can’t just stop anywhere you please-trucks aren’t allowed in all places as there are weight and height restrictions.  If you’re lucky, the truck stop will have wifi that you can purchase for $20 per day.  Otherwise, you won’t be watching that new episode of Orange is the New Black.

I truly enjoyed my two weeks on the road with Robert-it gave me a glimpse of what it’s like for him on a day-to-day basis, although it’s much lonelier out there for him as I’m not there to entertain him.  Like, when I pout because I didn’t get coffee first thing in the morning or because it has been four days since my last shower and I’m reminding him of that every ten minutes.

He misses out.

So, when I think to myself about selling everything and living a life of travel, I think about living in a truck rather than on a boat.  I think I would become a crazier version of myself if all I had was water to look at for hours on end, day after day.  I enjoy being able to walk on a surface that won’t make me seasick and not having to worry about being eaten by a great white.  It’s the simple things in life, right?

Like a porta potty…Oh look, here’s one now!

coffee potty

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7 thoughts on “Would you, could you, live on a boat?

  1. Hi Courtney,
    A great article, although speaking for myself, I could easily live on a boat and spend time out on the ocean, by myself or with a companion. I’m a bit of a recluse and loner even living in the big city of Atlanta. One might argue that living in a big city is lonelier than living in a small town, to which I might agree. Your post made me think of a movie I saw awhile back called “Maidentrip” about Laura Dekker, a 14 year old girl who sailed around the world by herself. You ought to check it out. It’s on Netflix I believe.

    Tim

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was a youngster, I used to think it would be pure heaven to live on a deserted island-just me, my dog, and a stack of books. I’m glad I was never shipwrecked because I’d be one unhappy and lonely person. I doubt there’s internet out there! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! I have lived on a boat! And, unless you’re out cruising, most people who live on boats have all the amenities — at least dockside. I lived aboard a 31′ Catalina first. It was a little small, but I was moored at a marina and never wanted for anything. Well, except maybe closet space. That was in the days before internet, but today people who live aboard have all that, too.

    Cruising is a different deal, but when you’re cruising there’s no time to get bored. You’re either navigating, cooking, sleeping, changing sails, or — reading! I’ve never been borerd on a boat in my life.

    I do have one tip from multiple hurricane evacuations. Get yourself a nice, smallish tupperware or other plastic container with a lid. You don’t want it too big — just a nice size that will be comfortable to (ahem) use. Fill it with clumping kitty litter, like Arm and Hammer. Use as necessary, plunk the lid back on, and you’re good to go! When you get somewhere with nice trash cans, clean out those clumps and leave them behind. 🙂

    Like

      • For about a year. I had quit my job to sail from Hawaii to Alaska and cruise Glacier Bay (didn’t have enough vacation/personal time, so the only choice was to quit). When I got back, I had to figure out “what next,” and decided that I’d start a boat varnishing business. A friend who always was traveling let me live on his boat while I decided if varnishing really was going to work for me. It did.

        It was enjoyable, but I soon discovered that working in mrinas and living in a marina was like setting up a cot in the office. So, I got an apartment, which gained me closet space and a shower that was a whole lot more convenient. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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