As you all know by now, we sold our boat. And, after a decade of working towards our goal of living tiny aboard a sailboat, we now find ourselves traveling via the Shoe Leather Express instead of aboard our trusty steed, Vacilando.
I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard. We’re having (I’ll speak for myself here), I’m having a bit of an identity crisis. At least once a day, I think to myself, this has been a really cool break but, I can’t wait to get back to the boat. Then, the reality hits. We don’t have a boat.
We’ve gone from house to sailboat to suitcase and it got me thinking. Is there life after living aboard?
The short answer; not really. Living and traveling aboard a sailboat is unlike any other experience I’ve ever had. When you travel with your entire house, much like in an RV, I’d imagine, you’re never without a place to stay. You have all of your stuff and you never have to worry if you left the iron plugged in back at the house.
Is it difficult? Yes, of course. Nothing worth having is easy. Scary? At times, sure. The weather these days has changed and sometimes storms at sea can be downright terrifying. But, along with the weather, technology has also changed. It’s much easier to keep track of the weather and plan accordingly. It’s been the most incredible and rewarding experience of my life. I’ll go all in and say the same for Melody, too.
Living aboard, as we did for six years, we became professionals at living small. Tiny, even. Our 35-foot sailboat had about 115 square feet of living space.
At times, like after a week straight of rain, it could feel like the inside of one of my nasty running shoes. And then, just like that it could change. A hot shower and glass of wine after a frigid day on the water and it was better than the Ritz Carlton. Hitting both ends of that spectrum might happen within the same hour sometimes. That’s what was so cool about living on a sailboat. That’s what we miss.
For the last seven months, we’ve been landlubbers. After selling V and leaving the Rio Dulce, we rented an apartment in Antigua, Guatemala for 6 months, then Xela (Quetzaltenango) for a month, and now we are in another apartment in the hills above Oaxaca, Mexico.
We’ve experienced a lot of change. What hasn’t changed though, is our ability and desire to live small. Simple. Going from sailboat to suitcase hasn’t been too difficult because we’ve trained ourselves. If we buy something, we usually get rid of something. We try to keep a zero balance with what he have to drag around with us.
While in Antigua, we bought a spatula. Yep… a spatula for .75 cents. Melody bought some beautiful hand-made boots and a poncho. In Xela, we found a gorgeous hand-made wool blanket and, I too got a poncho. I had been wanting one since we got to the interior towns of Guatemala where they’re famous for their wool products. It’s stuff we may never have the chance to get again.
This is how we’re viewing this section of our journey. A lot of what we took off the boat was the stuff we didn’t want to buy again when we got the next boat. Navigation tools, chart books, and not much else. That’s all been shipped back to the states.
Before we left Guatemala for Mexico, we went through all 14 pieces of luggage we made off with when we left Vacilando for the last time. Our room looked like a cyclone hit it. “Why are we keeping this?” Mel would ask. “I have no idea, let’s get rid of it.”
After two days of that, we donated several pairs of shoes, jackets, sweaters, GoPro accessories, cups, coffee mugs, and God knows what else. And, you know what? It felt great! Just like it did when we downsized to move onto our sailboat the first time.
We transited the border with 11 bags, one guitar, a dog, and yes — the spatula. Our traveling band of gypsies is slowly making its way north. To what end, we have no idea.
I know blue water, beach and sunset photos have been conspicuously absent from my recent posts. Some folks have unfriended us on our Facebook page, I guess no longer feeling the need to follow a “bunch of quitters.” But, I assure you all; our feet may no longer be sandy but, our souls are.
We are forever sailors. We will never be able to return to the life once lived. The life pre-boat. I’ll admit, at the moment, life is weird. That’s not a word I use, ever.
Our little apartment in San Felipe is absolutely beautiful. Jet has trouble with the stairs. I carry him up and down several times a day. Just like I used to do to get him up and down the companionway ladder. So, as far from the water as we may be physically, I am ankle deep in salt water in my mind.
I peruse sailboatlistings.com at least once a day. I fantasize about a day sailor, just until we’re ready to go again. Then, I think about our savings. I think about the plan we made and I come to grips, once again, with the reality that we are just having to change — for the moment. The way one has to change when the wind shifts.
This is our wind shift. I hope some of you hang around to see what happens at the weather mark.
Be good. We miss you guys!
Eric ludin says
So great to hear you are doing well adjusting to your new life. We miss you in St. Pete.
Hi Eric! I’m doing my best to adjust but we do miss the boat. And, we miss you guys. Hope all is well in St. Pete!
Chris, I have many of the same thoughts. What is after? I cannot imagine going back to the life we left. I am not sure we are forever boaters but the feeling, the values, not sure the right word is what we definitely want to hold on to. Stay in touch and we will figure out where this will take us…we are feeling blessed to have the choices.. be safe A**2
Absolutely Anthony. We would never lose touch with you guys. I know the thought of being “Forever” boaters is a bit daunting but, yes, the values and the lessons learned will stay with us too. Downsizing and living a more minimal life has been so refreshing
and allowed us so much freedom we wouldn’t otherwise have. There is so much to learn in this process and all of it is good stuff.
Blessed to have the choices indeed. And, to have the freedom to make them. Travel safe. Enjoy my friend.
Great to hear about your adventures. Living life everyday is the way to go!
Thank you Paul. We enjoy watching your travels as well.
Kathy Kimbro says
Love reading about your adventures!
Thanks for stopping by Kathy and for commenting. All the best to you!
Jen Collis says
Well you know I’ve never lived on a boat, but I can definitely relate to living tiny and how it changes your perspective on the things we think we need in life. Well said! (So can I borrow your spatula when I’m in Oaxaca?)
Jen~ Our spatula is your spatula!
You took the words right out of my mouth. I too will be back on the water again sooner than later i hope! Enjoy your adventures everyday! Miss you both! And yes Jet too!!
Vickie Hann says
Love love you guys! Our sailboat, Ana Stasia was completely destroyed by Irma. So we miss her terribly but had not made the move to sell the house as of yet. I am still working and Harry is doing his gigs but we are playing with the idea of an RV in our future. Anyway it’s wonderful to hear what you two are up to. We’re so happy for our time in Cocoa getting to meet such terrific people like you two (three, sorry Jet) !!!
Hi Vickie! I’m am so sorry to hear of the loss of Ana Stasia. What a lovely little ship she was. Melody and I have also toyed with the RV idea. I love the ability to move no matter how or where we’re living. We so enjoyed our time in Cocoa with you and Harry. Being able to talk music to someone as talented as that man, made me very happy. You two are special people to us and we can’t wait to hear what comes next. Please stay in touch!!!
Excellent essay, Chris! I think you must know that something wondrous and beautiful is on the way. Enjoy the ride. I hope we get to see you guys before too long.
Thank you Joe! We are open to all possibilities. Hoping to see you guys too!! Beers on me!
Susan & Paul Antoinette says
We always love catching up on your latest adventures and choices of travels. Love the new boat’s Mel and and can’t wait to see your poncho someday Chris! XOXOXO to Jet – best line in the whole write up – “Jett is not suffering.”
Paul is still drinking High Life…
Miss you all!
Susan and Paul
ps- Those who followed you before when you were living aboard and now have unfriended you since the winds have changed, were following you for the wrong reasons. I need to do a good cleaning of the Facebook Friend wheelhouse myself…. Don’t worry – I couldn’t live without your wife so you will stay. xoxo
Hi Susan! Thanks for reading along. I made a pact back in January that if the Eagles won the Super Bowl, I would drink nothing but BUDLight for one year. Having no way to get BUDLight here in Mexico, I’m off the suds. Next Super Bowl, I will raise a High Life in celebration.
And no… Jet is definitely not suffering.
Love to you both.
Very interesting – I can imagine it will be nearly impossible to settle down to a ‘normal” lifestyle after spending years on the water.
Hello Carlo~ Thanks for taking the time. If there is one thing Melody and I need never worry about, it’s being “normal.” LOL. We are adjusting to a life less aquatic but we are good. We are incredibly fortunate to have this madness as our life. Be well.