A year where I Stepped off the grid and onto the water.
I had fantasized about having a home on the water... Growing up, I used to walk the canals where I lived, and try and peek inside the gypsy-style houseboats, with their bright painted watering cans and tiny windows. I always imagined it would be like living in a doll's house, only on the water.
The romantic dream of being rocked to sleep by gentle waves, waking up with new neighbors in the marina, or chatting about my day over drinks on deck while cooking freshly caught fish. It was a dream I had harbored ( excuse the pun! ) for years.
I had had enough of paying an arm and a leg for rent and utilities each month and I needed to do something different with my life, even if only for the short term. I started looking through all the boating websites and came across one I really liked, Boatcrazy.com They had plenty of boats for sale, and more importantly, Houseboats. I quickly realized that before I fully committed to owning, I needed to dip my toes in first, and renting would be the best option.
I knew before deciding to rent a houseboat that it would be an adventure. But it didn't matter how many documentaries or YouTube videos I could watch about living on the water - there's nothing like actually trying it out for yourself!
Many people, like me, imagined what it would be like. They imagine the freedom, adventure, and beauty that comes with this type of lifestyle but when it’s time to get down to business, sometimes being aboard isn't all fun in the sun; there are drawbacks as well, but as long as you do your homework, there is no reason ( apart from maybe hating the water!) why this couldn’t be an alternative lifestyle.
I was ready!
Not only was I witnessing great scenery, but it also had its perks. My vessel was always nearby, and I found out that many marinas offer free access to amenities like showers, and laundry machines (which I was eternally grateful for as I did notice that I had taken on a slight boat smell!), fueling stations, food stores, and Wi-Fi hotspots, etc.
Sure, at first being a ‘liveaboard’ seemed idyllic and novel, with everything neatly in its place, and not much space to really make a mess but it did take some major adjustments for it to work properly, but I knew with careful planning and enough time, I would be able to make my life comfortable living afloat.
But be warned…Living on a boat is not for the faint of heart. When you live in such confined spaces, every inch needs to be used effectively and your possessions have to be downsized quite a bit so they can pack neatly into the space that's available. It’s about choosing what you know you will need over something that you love, so that beautiful armoire needs to go into storage!
Living on a boat is an unusual lifestyle that many people will not understand. You are constantly fighting the elements to keep your home safe, comfortable, and dry! Older boats with less expensive materials may need constant upkeep, but if you know your way around them then any repair can be done quickly by yourself!
On a personal level, living on a boat was very therapeutic. I remember waking up in the morning, and drinking coffee while listening to the bird's sing. The water would gently lap against my boat and I would feel a sense of peace come over me that was almost palpable. Each day on my floating home, I felt like I was one with nature; all sights were peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful. I spent each evening sitting out under the stars alone or reading books. I basically switched off and gave my head time to recover from all the hustle and bustle that life was throwing at me.
I was lucky enough to work remotely, so I could literally work at my own pace as long as I had WiFi but there were some drawbacks, mainly the feeling of isolation and claustrophobia, but there was always someone on the other end of the phone when those feelings hit!
It was an incredible experience, one that I will never forget and it is definitely something I will return to again!
If you are interested in buying a Houseboat, you can find them here Houseboats For Sale
- Know the rules and comply. ( Read...Read...Read!)
- Learn to be self-reliant. ( Do things under your own steam, but don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are plenty of good-natured neighbors around!)
- Expect the weather to be rocky. ( Invest in plenty of anti-nausea pills!)
- Be open to isolation and also socialization. ( Yes there are moments when it is too quiet! )
- Get organized. ( Organization…Keyword!)
- Know how to keep your houseboat safe. ( Knowing there was an alarm fitted aboard, made me feel safer)
- Prepare a boatload of money for maintenance and transport. ( Luckily this was covered in my rent, but good advice for those that own)
- Embrace the closeness if you are onboard with a partner or friends ( You need to really like your boat mates!!)