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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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  #1  
Old 10-07-2007
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Liveaboard, class, and privilege

As a result of a few recent threads, I 've begun to think about the liveaboard culture, and the myth of simplicity that accompanies it. I bought the myth (literally) and now I'm having second thoughts. While I have seen folks that live on shabby, reef-growing scows that have become protected ecological areas, I suspect that most on this forum do not fit that category.

I could be wrong, but folks who really are doing it simple, on the cheap, might not have access to a computer, or internet. Does that mean those likely to be found here might represent a more privileged class, for all the talk of simplicity?
Those who can afford a well-found yacht, 5% of its value in maintenance per annum, cruising kitties, upgrades, monthly living expenses, cash on hand for disasters, etc, are not likely to be starving artists as much as successful ones.
While I can see how one's footprint would be far smaller than living on land, It is all relative, and I'm starting to think that contrary to myth, often it is far from a really minimalist lifestyle.

Not about judging people so much as examining my own assumptions about my own standard of living. Maybe in my imagination Walden Pond embodies simplicity, and if that is an acceptable beginning how does modern liveaboarding compare? I know it's a continuum, but perhaps most of our so-called simple lifestyles are nothing more than a reduced suburbia - with many of it's flaws - on the water.

I guess I see simplicity as a minimal amount of resources tied up in possessions, a minimal of complexity in one's life and one's surroundings resulting in the freedom to spend one's time in more valuable pursuits than the simple earning of money for subsistence, or consumer goods.
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Old 10-07-2007
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Out on a limb here, I would say most live-aboards are folks that love the water and being close to it. If they were wealthy, however, I would imagine they would have a sweet waterfront home and a bit smaller boat docked there.
I will live aboard in the near future, hopefully...but should I win the power ball, I'll opt for the water front home instead. Of course, tied to my pier will be a boat to suit my many moods...!
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Old 10-07-2007
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My initial reaction to this is ...

A lot of people confuse the words "simple" and "easy". Just because something is simple doesn't mean it's easy, they are entirely too different concepts, with almost universally opposite aims. One seeks to be sedentary and sit around indulging in pleasure without having to do the least amount of work for it, the other aims to reduce complexity, increase freedom by reducing dependence on others, and to have things in life under one's own control.

I have a neighbor who leads the simple life, and he and his 3 boys work their asses off every waking hour of the day doing it. The cows need hay, somebody has to put the chickens in when the sun goes down, collect the eggs, plow the field, mend the fences, fix the tractor, I mean there is no end to the amount of simplicity they get to enjoy every single day. Feeding hay to cows is not very complicated, I've done it, it is about as simple a thing as you can do and all you need is a pitchfork lol.

Some examples of the differences are ...
  • You can have easy access to fresh water, that involves a complicated watermaker, reverse osmosis, and all of that. *OR* You can have simple access to fresh water, and that involves using the same plastic containers that people the world over now use for carrying water from the village well back home.
  • You can have easy food, that involves having a refrigerator, pre-packaged foods, bags of chips, an electrical system to support all the refrigerator and freezer, etc. *OR* You can have simple food, which involves rice, beans, a camp stove, grinding wheat into flour, root cellaring your produce in the bilge, and lots more work.
  • You can have easy entertainment, that involves a television, dvd player, computer, wi-fi, stereo and cd's, mp3 player, cell phone, and electrical system to support it all, etc. *OR* You can have simple entertainment that requires a little more work, which involves a book. Or a deck of cards. Or a condom.
  • You can have easy boating, which involves roller furling, dinghy davits, radar screens, navtex, etc. *OR* You can have simple sailing, which involves going forward in the worst weather to put up a storm jib.
  • You can have an easy lifestyle, which involves sitting there tied up at the dock, chatting away on the cell phone to family, hydroplaning the dinghy over to the restaurant every night, paying people to fix things for you, etc. *OR* You can have a simple lifestyle, which involves anchoring, cooking on the boat, fixing stuff yourself, and catching fish and crab.

The easy life involves lots of money.

The simple life is very inexpensive.

I think people have romantic notions about living a simple life until they actually realize that water containers are really heavy, then they quickly decide that what they really want is an easy life that let's them sit around and watch other people living the simple life lol.
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yes...living aboard is not all that simple, other than no grass to mow...but then niether does a condo, does it...?!
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My initial response to that response is it's too easy a simplification I believe when done right that the simple life can be easier. Depending. The farm example is one that is far from simple or easy, and interestingly is the one that Thoreau used as an example of a life of quiet desperation. I have lived simple and easy times. Typically what one gives up rather than ease is confusion.

When you have little, there is little to do, and you are left with a lot of time on your hands that you can't afford to fill with entertainment and distractions.
You are left with a lot of thought, observation, and ultimately yourself, which might be the scariest of all.
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When you have little, there is little to do, and you are left with a lot of time on your hands that you can't afford to fill with entertainment and distractions.
You are left with a lot of thought, observation, and ultimately yourself, which might be the scariest of all.

This will lead to no good, I assure you...
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Old 10-07-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USCGRET1990 View Post
When you have little, there is little to do, and you are left with a lot of time on your hands that you can't afford to fill with entertainment and distractions.
You are left with a lot of thought, observation, and ultimately yourself, which might be the scariest of all.

This will lead to no good, I assure you...
Who was it that said " no man is an island".
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Who was it that said " no man is an island".

That would be me....
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Old 10-07-2007
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Though I have gone over budget so far, as I try to develop a routine and habits that let me stay within my budget, I feel that that first year can only be looked on as a learning curve. As a liveaboard (of the cruising variety, as opposed to tied to a dock and a job) I learn new ways most every day to minimize expenses and be more self-dependent. Even though I started paring down my lifestyle 3 years before buying the boat, the habits of many years, don't just vanish.

So far, my budget busters have been mostly boat costs, as I chose to replace, rather than repair marginal items that would need replacement anyway. Once those intial expenses are behind you though, then I find it fairly simple, to keep things simple. For instance, I have a computer because it serves multiple functions. Chart software, movies, communication and research. That eliminates a chartplotter and a TV w/DVD. I also have certain other amenities which I would not have bought, but came with the boat, like a reefer, A/C, hot water heater (not working and not a priority to fix). I don't eat out but maybe once every couple of months, nor do I go to entertainment that requires a ticket. I search out used book stores and look for marinas (when I use one) that have courtesy cars, bus service, or other means of transportation for stocking up, which I usually do at a Wal-Mart Super Center so as to do all my shopping in one place.

While my life is spartan, or barren, neither is it overly complex. And after 6 months out, I find it is in some ways more than I expected, and in other ways, less. I wouldn't though, give it up without a very good reason.

Anything is as simple or complex as you choose to make it. The choice is yours.
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Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
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Old 10-07-2007
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Ontario 32 - Aria

Free, is the heart, that lives not, in fear.
Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
JCP


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