Thursday, July 2, 2009

Could One Live on a Sailboat?

I've been daydreaming of a farm/retreat center to call my own, but this past week-end has made me ponder the possibility of a sail boat.

Global warming is one of the reasons my spouse and I talk about buying land elsewhere. If you look at maps of how coastal areas will be affected by sea rise, it's clear that South Florida will be underwater at some point during this century. The main question is when. My friend's oceanographer father gives us 12 years. I've read various climate reports that give us a bit more time: 20-50 years. I suspect that it won't be a creeping thing. I anticipate a catastrophic event: some part of an ice shelf falls into the ocean and that's it for our property.

I've always wanted a piece of land somewhere else; my husband's response to global warming: "We should buy a boat!"

My sister and her husband own a 37 foot sailboat, and during the past few years, we've gone up for sailing excursions. This past week-end was the first time that I ever thought that I might could face living on a boat. My brother-in-law told us about a story they read that said that frugal folks could live aboard their sailboats for $12,000-$16,000 a year. Hmm. Interesting.

My mind immediately started to wonder how one could earn that much money in a year. With the widening opportunities in online teaching, it seems possible. In earlier days, I might have thought that with wise investments, the yearly earnings in interest and dividends might cover that amount. I still think it might be possible.

I love the idea of going up and down the coast, seeing all sorts of environments. I love the idea of not being bound to a desk. I love the idea of living off the grid.

I worry about the smallness of a sailboat, much as I love how easy it might be to keep the space clean and tidy. I worry about bad weather.

This vision of living aboard, sailing to various places, appeals to the same part of me that always thought I would hike the Appalachian Trail one summer or bike from one coast to the other. I want to be that self-sufficient person.

I want NOT to be so fearful about the future, about retirement, that I miss out on glorious opportunities; we talked about these sailing possibilities in the context of sailing with my sister and her family, while my nephew is young--between us all, we'd have the home schooling covered. I don't want to get to the end of my life and discover that I haven't really lived at all. I want to be like Thoreau and all those American folks who have made a stab at living authentic lives. I want to be like the Wordsworths and Coleridge, in those Lake District days, when they are living the most integrated lives they will ever live.


Shefali Shah Choksi said...

how perfectly lovely! maybe you could finish your best-selling novel on the boat!
and all you'd need is a steady ship and a star to steer her by!
very romantic.

Cooper and Jackson said...

you could has dogs on ur boat? i is fun dog and daddy sais boats is fun. mama does the wakeboredings and daddy no can. i is jackson!