Brian’s mom raised both eyebrows when I showed her the handheld dish sprayer we connected to the bathroom sink to use for showering. “Can you really get clean with that?”
People are curious about the details of this way of life, and have a hard time imagining themselves in our shoes. When it comes to day-to-day changes we’ve adopted since the boat became our house, the shower situation is just the beginning. Coming and going requires climbing a steep ladder. We sleep in a tall, cushioned shelf called a berth. The hatches and portlights we unbolt for “air conditioning” must be shut immediately, fire drill style, at the first sign of rain. Snack time? Plunge head first into our giant top-loading boat fridge and help yourself to some cheese. In short, our quality of life has not diminished, but all of the necessary tools look and feel drastically different.
The one aspect of boat life that everyone immediately gets is what goes on above deck. Gently bobbing in our comfy cockpit with a cocktail, the sun on your face, watching boats come and go from the marina, feels like vacation. Coming home to the boat each day leaves the subway aggravation, city, and work pressures a million miles behind you. And so, folks simply assume that we’ve been putting up with rain for some spectacular rainbows.
This could not be further from the truth.
Adapting to a lifestyle that enforces conservation and challenges our creativity is making us feel healthier, more useful, and energized. When washing dishes means hauling out the hose to fill up the tank and internet access is a commodity sold by the gig, you think twice about running the faucet or, ahem, streaming an entire season of Orange is the New Black.
We feel lighter now without furniture, excess clothing, books, and all of the other stuff that once filled our closets, shelves, and drawers. I’m so glad that we made this big change within the context of our jobs, friends, and all of the things we love about living in New York. Once we leave the dock this fall, the work and mental energy necessary just to cover our daily needs will become exponentially more complex, but thanks to our experience the last three months, will not feel overwhelming or intimidating.