Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Price of Admission

This place sucks.

I recently read a post on another blog that, I think, think, was written mostly in jest.  It was a bunch of complaints about living aboard and, to be honest, they can be real challenges.  It was an honest thing to do, to put that out there.  It was titled,

"Liveaboard Hate: The top 10 things we hate about living aboard a sailboat in Seattle"

The 10 things they listed were:

  • Laundry -- how they have to haul their laundry to what is sometimes a busy laundromat.  They used to have a washer and dryer in their home.
  • Lack of Galley Counter Space -- I did note in the picture that they have a galley larger than ours, with more counter space but, one whole counter is taken up by stored food, a toaster, and a full sized coffee maker.  There is a lot of stuff in that galley.
  • No Tub -- they used to have a tub in their home.  
  • Birds -- since their boat is outside the birds like to gather on the rigging of their sailboat and poop on the deck.  Oh, and the Blue Herons are scary at night when they walk down the dock and don't see them until the big pterodactyls (as my friend refers to them) squawk and fly off.  Yeah, they can spook you but, walk quietly and look around.  You might be amazed by what you usually miss.
  • Being asked, "Are You Going to Sail There" by people that don't know their boat moves at walking speed and takes a whole day to cover what a car can cover in an hour.  You know, while they are *sailing*.
  • Custom Work -- they don't like the fact that many things on a boat are more expensive and that, sometimes, you have to to have things made custom.  Apparently you can't just go buy boat cushions at Fred Meyer.  Who knew?  
  • No Room to Stretch -- boats, they say, are smaller inside than houses.
  • Power Limits -- it is a great inconvenience that one cannot run their blow dryer, TV, computers, toaster and heater all at the same time.  You know, like you can in a house.
  • Boat Forums -- these are the places where you can't get an answer to your problem, like why you can't run the toaster, curling iron, and blow dryer all at the same time.
  • Condensation -- boats can get damp inside if you don't have proper airflow. You see, if you have a closed container that is warmer inside than it is on the outside, and people are breathing and cooking on the boat, you get condensation.  I wish I had paid better attention in science class in grade school.
Yes, I know I'm poking fun at the complaints.  Yes, I know it may sound superior but, that isn't where it's coming from.

Here's the key to this, Mr. Liveaboard. They key to not hating it.  Not hating anything.  Remember, you chose this.  It's simple.  

Everything you do in life comes with a price of admission.  Do you like driving that high performance car but don't like the price of gas?  Price of admission.  Do you love your wife but her farts are stinky?  Price of admission.  Love watching TV for four hours a day but don't like being overweight from lack of activity.? Price of admission.  Love to work out to keep your weight down but don't like sore muscles or puking at the top of that hill?  Price of admission.

So, if you want to live aboard a boat -- you know, on the water, near the wildlife, close to your neighbors, and within ten minutes of sailing on the sound, with the ability to take your home with you every time you sail, never having to pack, you have to pay the price of admission.

If you don't understand that you gave up things like a lot of space, a tub, being able to consume power like it was free, can't just go shopping at the local hardware store for parts, and so forth, as the price of admission for living on a boat then maybe...move back to land?  

Now, the post may have been tongue in cheek or just a joking rant about some of the challenges (the price of admission) for living on a boat.  I get that.  However, if you do focus on those things as dislikes, instead of the things you have to pay for in order to do what you want to do, you are just going to make yourself miserable.

If you focus on how damp the boat is and how everything get's all mildewed in the winter, maybe you won't find the solution; get some air moving by opening the hatches a little and venting your breath.

If you focus on how you can't run your house sized toaster, your full-sized coffee maker and your curling iron, maybe you won't consider that you can toast bread on your stove, make coffee in a french press and get a hairstyle that doesn't require a curling iron.

Really, it comes down to a million little adjustments in lifestyle to truly live on a sailboat and make it work.  If you try to bring all the modern conveniences to your boat you will find yourself out of space, out of power, and out of patience.

I look at it this way. 

It takes fifteen minutes to clean the inside of my boat, not two hours like my old house.  I never have to fix a washer or dryer again, that is the laundromat's problem now.  I never have to mow a lawn or rake leaves, ever again.  Everything I own is five steps away.  I live a neater and less cluttered life because I have to -- because I must.  I live on/in the water, in the middle of the city.  My view is the envy of thousands of people. If I don't like my neighbors I can move.  If I don't like this country, I can visit another.  

And the wildlife that shares this space with me?  I like the crows (it's easy to get them to stop sitting on most of your rigging by the way). The otters who play in my marina (who can destroy your boat if you leave it open or food out) entertain me to no end.  The blue herons (beautiful quiet ghosts of the night) are the epitome of grace and stealth.

For us, on Brigadoon, it's all about paring down, seeing all the things we have gained instead of all the things the Jones's have that we can't have anymore.  My McMansion home had a 30 year mortgage.  My boat will be paid off in about three years. 

And that is why I don't hate, or even dislike, the things that this person lists in their blog.  

You see, I understand.

They are all the price of admission and one I'm more than willing to pay.