The other day, it was my first anniversary as a full time live aboard. The first of many, I hope. I can honestly say that I have not missed ‘normal’ life a single day. I know I say that I have stopped working rather than that I am retired, but that is an age thing rather than an intent to keep any doors open. After a year, I can confirm that this is what I want to do. To sail, write a little, meet people, broaden my mind and see places most people can’t get to. And to learn how to dive, kite surf and catch/kill/gut/cook fish.
So what’s it like to live on a boat? Well, Saoirse is not that small. Not for a solo sailor. Short of three nights that I have spent on somebody’s couch, I have slept a whole year on her. Often with guests onboard. It is compact living of course, but there are very few things that I miss from the house I used to live in. A washing machine is the only thing that comes to mind but I hope to remedy that shortly. There are of course times when you wish that electricity and water were infinite resources (as I understand it though, they are not to anyone), that you could have the same sim-card in the phone all the time and that you could just take the car and pop down to the local supermarket and get what you are missing in a heartbeat. But the rest of the lifestyle makes up for the inconvenience of having to generate your own power and water and having to plan your grocery shopping. I can’t believe that I am saying this, but solar power actually works and I don’t need a car!
A lot of people probably think that solo sailing makes for a lonely existence. Granted, I haven’t done that much of it yet as I have had a lot of guests onboard. But whenever I have been on my own, it has not stayed that way for a long time. The cruising community is a funny bunch. We actually help each other all the time. We seem to take pride in having the spare part that the boat next to you urgently needs and whenever someone appears to be in trouble, helping hands turn up in dinghies. Ultimately, I guess we all share some sort of gene that made us actually do this. To take a real risk and realise a dream. The term ‘all in the same boat’ springs to mind.
So if I look back at the past year, I have to say that it has been almost exactly as I expected it to be. And that is not a bad or a boring thing. To me this was never a dream. I always knew I was going to do this and I told everyone about it. Family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Any poor person that I forced to listen. To me it was a plan. And that is a lot more than a dream.