Moving Aboard

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Home Up

A Woman's Perspective

It has been said that cruising is "reverting to the way your grandmother lived with the added risk of drowning". I wouldn't go quite that far - but close. Actually, we are very fortunate to be equipped with many modern-day amenities. The only really important things missing are a dishwasher and a washer and dryer.

Escapades' general "comfort" equipment includes:

bulletA generator.
bulletReverse-cycle air conditioning.
bulletInverter that allows us to use most of the 110VAC electrical equipment aboard without having to run the generator.

Even with many creature comforts, living aboard a boat takes some serious adjusting and commitment. There are dozens of books written advising women on this subject. That should be the first clue; because there are no such books advising men. The ones I've read have raved about the true pleasure and fulfillment. They seem to consider things such as "how to keep eggs fresh longer" about the most important thing you will have to concern yourself with. After only six months of living aboard and two months cruising, I'm convinced that every one of these books was written by a man.

The Initial Adjustment Period.

bulletThe first step was to downsize our living accommodations drastically. We lived in what I call "The Homeless Suites of America" for two months before moving on board Escapades. This was a good step in adjusting to living in a very small space. 
bulletHot October - Rainy November
bulletWe officially moved on board on October 1, 2000. That had to be the hottest October in history for the Houston area. Much of our outside work had been planned for that month. With the goal of leaving the marina by Thanksgiving, we labored long hours through the heat.
bulletNovember cooled to a very chilly month with rain, rain, rain. We had sold our dehumidifier in preparation for our departure and everything, even our bed, seemed wet. Mildew was a major problem and some of our limited wardrobe was ruined. The wetter it got the more defeated we felt.
bulletFatigue and Disappointment
bulletWe worked 10 - 12 hours a day, seven days a week. It was all physical labor, sometimes very hard, that our bodies were unaccustomed to. As our departure date drew closer, we became discouraged. There were still so many projects we needed/wanted to complete before leaving. A few days before Thanksgiving we admitted defeat and set our goal on January 1, 2001.
bulletNever have there been more defined male/female "roles" than the initial live aboard situation. No matter how many hours I spent on projects, the daily living items, (groceries, cooking, laundry) still fell to me. To limit our spending, we had decided to have most of our meals on the boat. During that first two months, I prepared more meals than I had in the previous five years. I was thrilled with my Macaroni Grill and Chili's gift certificates I received for Christmas.
bulletDepression became a constant battle for me. We have a small seat beside our bed that we've labeled my "wailing bench". I spent quite some time during the late fall/early winter, sitting there, with my head on the bed, crying.  The books never warn you about this side of it. If Bob ever had doubts, he never acknowledged them. 
bulletThe only thing that kept me going during that time was the thought "I only have xxx months to fulfill my one year commitment", and meeting Jane Cowin. Jane had moved aboard Pegasus in October, with her fiancée, Mark Barbian. They too were planning a November departure. Jane and I were both surprised to learn that we were feeling pretty much the same range of emotions. I don't think the old adage "Misery Loves Company" is true. It's just that by sharing common miseries, you verify that you are not quite insane yet. 
bulletBudget Matters
bulletThis was far harder to come to terms with than any other aspect of our adventure. We had been very blessed and quite spoiled to doing pretty much what we wanted without having to worry too much about money. The reality of a budget hit hard when I mentioned going out  for Mexican food. Bob's comment was "OK but we can only have one margarita."  After awhile on the "wailing bench", I decided one was better than none.

I had never felt so poor. When I cashed my last paycheck, I cried. The books don't warn you about this feeling either. I decided to look for a job or file for  unemployment or do anything to overcome this horrible feeling. After about a week of rationalizing and discussing the options, it became clear that was not what we were trying to accomplish.

After six months, the realities of a budget are still unpleasant but not the overwhelming feeling you first experience. Of course the one thing that has been most helpful is meeting other cruisers who are also on budgets. Are we back to the "Misery ...." thing again?

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