I live on a boat. I have lived on a boat for four whole days. It's an unconventional adventure and I'm still figuring it out. I have no doubt that my decision to live on a boat is one of the best choices I have made so far in my life (ok, maybe that's not saying much, but baby steps, right?). Anyway, here are my top 10 reasons for living on a boat:
10. You can move anywhere in the world and never leave home
Okay, so maybe this isn't true if you want to move to the Midwest and there's no lakes to dock your boat there. But you can move anywhere worthwhile and not have to leave home (I'm kidding. Sort of).
9. You learn everything about boats
What better way to learn about boats than to live on one? When you're constantly having to take care of the boat (because if you don't take care of it, you might drown in your sleep) you're constantly learning skills that will come in handy if you ever go cruising, for example, or become a sea captain, or sail around the world, all of which I plan to do if I live long enough.
8. You get really good at fixing things
...especially if you're on a limited budget. On an older boat like mine, you have to learn a bit of marine wiring to make sure that your outlets keep working. You have to learn how to work an old-fashioned propane stove. You have to fix the finicky creature that is the boat toilet.
To use a geek metaphor, your apartment is Mac OS, where everything works as soon as you open it up and you don't really have to fiddle with anything, while living on a boat is Linux, where you're constantly tinkering and upgrading.
7. You get rocked to sleep
I love the feeling of being rocked to sleep. One thing I'm still getting used to is the fact that that rocking sensation stays with me for several hours after I get up. It's 10:30am, I've been off the boat for the past 4 hours, and I still feel like the world is rocking gently back and forth. Maybe it is rocking. Maybe the land is rocking, and the water is still. Hmmm....
6. You wake up on a boat
This seems obvious, but it's amazing! There is no better way to start your day than crawling out of the v-berth, heating up some water for tea, and doing a bit of yoga on the dock as the sun rises.
5. You can play "I'm on a Boat" constantly because it's always true.
In fact, I have my alarm programmed to play "I'm on a Boat" every time I wake up.
4. You have awesome neighbors
People that choose to live on boats are fascinating, colorful people who have plenty of stories. There is also a solidarity between boat-dwellers that doesn't exist in, say, your average apartment complex.
3. You become more mindful of what you waste
One of the main reasons I chose to live on a boat was to keep my life simple. I don't like having too many things. Having an uncluttered life helps me to have an uncluttered mind. Living on a boat certainly makes you re-evaluate what things are important to you. Also, you don't have room for a normal, American-sized trash can, so you don't buy cheap things that are going to break, and you only buy and throw away what you have to. When I bought the boat I made a resolution to make my boat a "trash-free" boat. Everything I buy must be either in recyclable or compostable packaging. I don't buy much, but even so, this is proving to be a challenge.
You also pay attention to the water that you waste. You can't use harsh cleaning products, because everything you put on your boat gets washed directly through holes in the floor into the lake that you live on. Instead, to clean my boat I use water from the lake and a lot of "elbow grease."
2. You don't have to clean the bathroom
I'm lucky - I live in a small, family-owned marina and there is a small bathroom that only a handful of people use. It is always spotless. It's nice to have one less thing to think about.
1. It's the best place to be in the Zombie Apocalypse
...hands down. You know Dawn of the Dead? How did they escape? On a boat. You know Day of the Dead? How did they die? They got off the boat. When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, I will try to save everybody like the hero that I am, but unfortunately that will not be possible. Instead, I will only be able to 8 of my friends on my boat. I really hope you make the cut.