Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Modest Life of a Cruiser

What? . . . A full-time cruiser working???  Living on a boat isn't plush and luxurious?? . . . While, for some people, the idea of life on a boat being hard work isn't a foreign one, most people's first thoughts of boat life don't involve work but, fruity drinks, white sand beaches or pulling into exotic ports.  While, admittedly, these images are part and parcel of the cruising life, hard work also plays a major role in the lives of those of us that call a boat home.

Our Water Maker Pump - It Often Has a Mind of It's Own
   The project lists never seem to get smaller; As soon as you cross off a few items, a few more "to-do"s demand to take their place.  Reseal the aft hatch, rebuild the dinghy motor, replace the anchor light . . . Did the bilge pump just die again? . . . The daily upkeep also never seems to stop.  I know this is true no matter where you live (house, boat, RV, whatever) but, when you live in such a compact space, it doesn't take much for the boat to look unkempt.  In a house, you leave a few things lying around and it probably isn't that big of a deal.  On a 38 foot mono-hull, a few tools scattered about, a couple of dishes in the sink or a dust bunny on the floor can instantly make you think, "What a mess!  Didn't I just clean this place up?".
The Vent Thru-hull To The Aft Holding Tank -
It Corroded Off One Day (Nice Surprise!) - Old Boat, Old Parts 

The Inner Workings Always Need Attention

    A while back, when we were still in the Keys, our cab driver, making small talk, asked if we were there on vacation.  Once we had explained that we live and travel on our boat, the driver said, "Wow!  Are you independently wealthy?". . . His reaction is actually pretty common.  You see, many people, due to their lack of knowledge about cruising, assume that if a person lives on a boat and travels around all the time, they have ample funds to uphold a cushy life on the water indefinitely.  They envision an enormous yacht stocked with the latest in gadgets and toys and maybe a small wait staff along for the ride.

   This may be true for the rich and famous or even those that just have more money than they know what to do with but, for many of us that have adopted this life, we are people of much more modest means.  We don't have house or car payments, gas bills, or many other payments that landlubbers have but, there are certainly boat-related expenses that draw money away from our cruising funds.  So, we do as much of the work/repairs as we can on our own, we cut expenses where we can, and when necessary, we go out and earn a few bucks.    

   Why am I telling you all of this?  It certainly isn't to complain.  I just wanted to dispel a few myths.  Bill and I are pretty much stuck here in Florida.  Progress on the engine is moving at a snail's pace and our funds are in comatose state.  We have both been working in an attempt to pay off the mechanics and take our finances off of life support.  We are not alone in our problems (though it may feel that way at times); many cruisers have found themselves in tight spots like ours.  However, we have not lost touch with what's important.

  We may work hard and sacrifice a few things to live an unconventional life but, the pros far outweigh the cons.  A shopping spree feels excessive and unnecessary when you meet others that are happy with their few possessions.  An amazing sunset makes the labors of a difficult sail fade away.  Getting away from it all takes on a whole new meaning when you find yourself surrounded by the the simple things that matter and not caring a bit for the things that don't.  A closet full of clothes, a new car or a big promotion don't hold a candle to spending invaluable time with loved ones, meeting people you may not have otherwise had a chance to, and savoring once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

   The cruising life isn't glamorous but, it is rich, modest, and fulfilling.  We may work hard and do without but, if you ask me, we have beaten the system.  We have found what others have failed to discover; that less is more and that a life less ordinary can be quite extraordinary.  

      Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)


  1. Alas, time for me to get a job soon too. But first a few last months of fruity drinks and white sand beaches!

    1. We hope to be back to drinks and beaches in foreign places soon . . . Unfortunately the engine comes first . . .


Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments.