Remember when you were a kid and few things were more fun than playing in a pool? And your parents, especially your mother, would just lounge on a chair and might not even get a drizzle of water anywhere on her skin? I remember perfectly. Pools ranked high on my fun-o-meter as a child, and when I saw the mothers in their suits laying out of the splash zone, I didn’t understand. Why weren’t they in the pool, the world’s funnest place? I promised myself I would always love swimming and being in the pool, that I would never turn into a boring grownup who didn’t know how to have fun.
Here I am at 30, and I don’t remember the last time I did a hand-stand, cannonball, or played Marco Polo.
Adulthood happened and that’s okay. It’s not that I’m no longer having fun, I just have fun doing different things. I grew up into a woman despite promising myself I wouldn’t. Tell a child that one day they’ll no longer want to live at home, will find joy in a silent place, and like having deep conversations and he or she will look at you like you’re a pencil.
When I moved aboard a 30 foot boat three years ago I was looking for another adventure. I wanted to do something fun, something few people did. Living on a boat, I felt, suited my Tomboy personality. It served dual purposes, that of a home and a vessel of fun. It was also something I could do without asking anyone else what they thought about it. As a single person I had the flexibility and freedom to make choices alone. What the heck, I said, let’s give it a go!
Something happened, and it wasn’t just the ramming of the S/V Libby. While living in that little boat a transformation occurred. The lifelong accumulation of dirt from Tonka trucks, glue from model airplanes, and oil from the Yanmar had done a thorough job of covering up a girl. Living on a boat pushed the Tomboy too far, and the buried girl raised her groomed head and requested throw pillows and subway tile.
While I tried buying another boat after Libby was officially totaled, I’m not sad I didn’t get another. It wasn’t working out: I couldn’t find a suitable boat. Instead I put the word out I was looking for a place to live while I transitioned to the next stage of life, whatever that was. I got a six month house-sitting gig before moving to a condo, then moving to an apartment, and now I’m in a small house. Lots of moving, but always from land dwelling to land dwelling.
Do I miss living aboard a boat? Sometimes, when the sun shines bright on a warm day, with light winds on the Sound. I’d love to sail another boat solo again, take her up to the San Juan islands with my dogs. But for now, I’m quite content with landlocked life. I have a shower, heaters, and plenty of room. When the wind howls I’m comfortably seated in my favorite chair. A full kitchen with oven and microwave provides me with whatever I need, without having to dig into an ice chest in the middle of winter.
It’s hard to live a life on the water when half of it is still on land. If I had to do it again, I’d move someplace tropical and sail from island to island. But having family, friends, and activities ashore makes it difficult to cut ties. I lived half in and half out, and it felt limiting not freeing. There were too many inconveniences and isolated moments.
What I miss most about living aboard were the connections I made and the experiences I had. It was a new adventure and way of life. Documenting it in this blog was so rewarding. I need to close out, officially, the living aboard chapter of this blog so it can move on to other things. There are more adventures to be had out there.