Living the Simple Life

By justine

Living aboard a cruising sailboat is simple, but it’s not easy. Its "simple" because our solar panels provide the power for our electronics and lights, the power of the wind moves the boat (at least most of the time), we eat simple meals, we don’t buy much, and we don’t surf the internet. We read books, fish, swim, paddle, play games, go for walks, do yoga, watch an occasional movie, and work on the boat. We don’t have a car, and we haven’t slept anywhere else but aboard Rhythm in the last 8 months. Simple.

But let me explain why this is not the “easy” life. We don’t have a shower nor enough water to make that a viable option. We have a solar shower and 10 gallons of water dedicated to cleaning ourselves and our clothing for a period of about 2 weeks when on the hook. Lucky for me John doesn’t shower very often;) Water conservation is also an issue when washing dishes. We have a small sink and heat the water in a kettle on our stove.

Our solar set-up

When it comes to washing our clothes our options are A} by hand or B} a laundromat (when available). Sometimes marinas have coin-op laundry (like in the US) but sometimes they don’t (like in Mexico).  So, we load our laundry into a backpack, put on a good pair of shoes, and start walking. Or if we are feeling like spoiling ourselves, we take the bus or a cab. Same goes for groceries. This errand may involve a ride to shore in the dinghy and then a walk, bus, or cab to the store. And remember, we need to carry everything we buy, so you can’t get too much.

We are lucky enough to have a refrigerator that is powered by our solar panels. It isn't big and involves tetris-like skills to get anything in or out of it, but we feel lucky to have one since many cruisers we meet don't.

John and I sleep in a full size bed. We aren't small people, not big, but certainly not small. Luckily we get 9-10 hours of sleep a night, so we make up for quality with sheer quantity. Of course, that statement isn’t true if we are out in an open anchorage. On a rough night at anchor the clanking and swaying can jar you awake every hour or so. And if we’re on passage, we sleep in shifts of roughly 3-4 hours.

And then there’s our bathroom. Don’t worry, we have one. It has a sink and a toilet but its the size of an airplane bathroom.

Simple cooking

I don’t say any of this to sound like I am complaining because I am not. We choose this life and understood how it would look before we began the journey. But…when you see the images of breaching whales and dolphins or tan bodies don’t assume that "the living is easy".