When we announced our plan to Cruise (years ago), nobody I know really thought we would do it. Why not? Why wouldn't we leave our spacious home filled with amenities carefully collected with the singular purpose of making our lives more comfortable? Because, all who know me would say in unison… "You're a Princess!!!". And maybe that was true.
Fast forward through those several years, and you find me no longer the Princes of times gone by. I have relaxed most of my standards to a level that, even I would have said is NOT possible. To that, I can say without a doubt… those "standards" (read psychosis) were all really just a way to gain control over an uncontrollable life. Once I realized that we could escape, I no longer needed all of those things to be happy. Now, my world is much more focused on the things that we need to live.
Granted, we still have a high ratio of wants to needs, but they are far different from before. So many Cruisers are out there living with far less than we have. But given my past Princes status… I would say that the things that make our life easier now are the stuff of a different world…
Things that make our life easier:
Before: Cars. We had three vehicles; A BMW wagon for all of our "family" needs, a van for our windsurfing and stuff moving needs, and a Miata for our zipping around needs.
Now: We have a dinghy. It's a RIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat). It serves as our car, making it possible for us to get from our boat at anchor to the shore, without which, this lifestyle would be impossible.
Before: The Garage. I lived for years without an attached garage. Once I had one, I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I never knew what the weather was doing until I had to get out of the car at my destination. I loved my garage.
Now: Davits. Dos Libras is the first boat we've had with davits. They are wonderful. We can easily lift the dinghy out of the water to keep it safe and critter free. We never have to worry about dragging the dink behind us when under way, or about it's safety at anchor. It's quick in and quick out. Love them.
Before: My comfy bed. I used to love luxuriating in my bed in the mornings while I had my coffee. The soft morning light came lightly through the windows clearing the sleep from my head.
Now: My comfy bed. I love my centerline queen bed. Our previous boats had only the V-berth for sleeping. I hated climbing in and out and it never failed that someone got a toenail in the nose… There are a lot of people who say that centerline queen beds are not practical on a sailboat. I say that there are trade-offs in everything. I want my bed.
Before: Refrigerator/Freezer. I had a wonderful fridge at home. It had the freezer section on the bottom. I could pack it with more food than I could ever eat…
Now: Top/Front opening refrigerator and separate top loading freezer. Our previous boats had only the top opening refrigerator with a small freezer section that never really froze anything. I can't imagine living aboard without a freezer. I would not LIKE living aboard without a front door on my fridge. Both are luxuries but I don't care. They make me happy.
Before: We loved our two story town home. It was roomy and well laid out. We had several nice lounging areas to choose from for sitting.
Now: Our full cockpit enclosure. This is the first boat we've owned that had a full enclosure and had we known how wonderful it would be, we would have paid whatever it cost to have it on our previous boats. The enclosure makes it possible for us to enjoy a rain shower in dry comfort. It makes it possible for ME to enjoy sailing in the winter (that is anything under 80°F.). It also makes sailing in windy conditions SO much more pleasant than it is without the enclosure. Finally, it increases our living space. The cockpit practically counts as another room.. .with a view.
Before: Cable/Internet/Cell We had unlimited wi-fi in just about every location we wished to be. We had the cell phone, the cable and the iPad to entertain our minds and to keep us connected. We were always plugged in…
Now: Even though our intent in sailing away was partially to disconnect from the world, we still have our connectivity needs. One of the first purchases for our new boat was a Rogue Wave Wi-fi Booster. Connected to an on-board router, it keeps our computers, cell phone and iPad wirelessly connected whenever we're anywhere NEAR an open wi-fi source. We still have the iPhone and iPad for 3G connectivity when we are further out. So what about when we're REALLY far out? We have a SSB radio and AIS aboard so we're never really disconnected.
Before: My book collection. Our town home has bookshelves on both floors. Through the years, I collected quite a number of old books. I read each one but, because of their uniqueness and age, I couldn't part with them, so they filled the shelves to overflowing.
Now: Our Kindles. Bruce and I each have our own Kindle. Our reading interests are vastly different. I have been loading up on reading material for years in preparation for Cruising. I have SO many hours of reading ahead…
Before: Tons of closets. Our townhouse was built in the late 60s. Most homes built in recent times have very little storage space. Our place has closets everywhere1 We moved in with closet space to spare, then gradually filled them all!
Now: Storage space. Lack of space to store "stuff" on our previous boats caused me to consider ample storage space very highly on our want-list when boat shopping. Dos Libras has ample storage space. Just enough to allow for lots of "extra" things, but not so much that we go crazy adding totally non-essential stuff. It's a delicate balance.
Ask most people to list the things that make their lives easier, and you will probably get a totally different response. The very fact that I no longer have to go to work, and can decide what I WANT to do each day is a huge thing in the "life easier" category… Sure I was "free" to make my own decisions before… but there were things that kept us from being really free. Now, while there are still things that keep us from being completely "free"… it is vastly different.
You might read my list and say, "She's STILL a Princess". And by many Cruiser's standards, you could be right. I AM still a Princess… only different!