It's THAT time of the year again: sunshine and warmth can only signify one thing, summer holidays!
As you might have already guessed from previous posts on travelling and taking local holidays I am not the classic holiday maker.
And there is only one place that I can travel to where no matter how long the journey was I feel 'at home'. The sea, but more precisely, my father's boat (or as I like to wishfully call it.. my boat..).
Living on board:
Now, this 'home' is not a mansion. It's a reasonably large sailing boat, being 12.6 m in length, with two cabins and all the commodities such as kitchen, a living area and two toilets - and you can, I swear, live very comfortably on it. However there are a few lessons to be learnt, and I will share with you those learnt in the past 19 summers on it (wow, how time flies...). These lessons will apply mostly to spending just a few summer months on the boat, not to full-time life on board, although I guess some could be applied to both situations equally
1) Pack light: lesson number 1 and possibly the most important one to cohabit well (more on cohabiting later..). Storing space on board is limited, and often priority for storage is given to items that are required for boat maintenance and other essentials - and this rule is of particular importance if you are going on someone else's boat. Using little space as possible and being tidy is often seen as a sign of respect, and this is one of the most common arguing causes so... So don't expect to bring your whole summer wardrobe and have space for it (plus, do you really need all of those clothes? Think about donating some to charities and feel lighter overall). Bring only essential items, plan to wash them often as you go, living on board often does not require glamour. If you really want bring just one outfit for those rare occasions where you will moor in a nice town and think you will want to go out for dinner feeling nice. If you don't like wearing the same things too often think about getting some 'double-face' items (two colours or fantasies depending on which side you wear), or a dress that you can wear in multiple ways - they are great choices. To be honest I usually end up wearing the same 2-3 t shirts, the same pair of shorts and a bikini all summer long and usually space in my bag is taken over by studying books and electronics (the kindle is an amazing choice for reading books...).
2) on the same topic use a fold-away bag: a backpack is perfect, or any other kind of bag you have that you can hide away in a storage compartments. Trolleys and other wheeled bags are a waste of space....
3) Choose your company : I recommend that for on-board living the boat isn't filled to full-capacity. Might be good to make it cheaper if you are renting a boat for a week, however space is not only limited for objects but for people too - and when people are space-limited often conflicts arise. For prolonged periods I recommend to go with someone you know and go-along with well. Bear in mind that in this case by 'going along with well' I don't mean you laugh a lot together, but you know and respect each other spaces, you know how the other will react in certain situations, some that might be more stressful than others, and know how to act accordingly. I.e. don't bring your new partner on it if you care about your relationship.. just my suggestion.
4) Learn how to cook and by this I don't mean cooking gourmet meals worth of a Michelin star. I mean learn to cook with basic devices and basic ingredients. Fridges on board are small and in summer time the fridge should not be overloaded, and more often than not is hard to find ingredients. However I am not a fan of ready dried meals (have some in case of emergency) - so I learnt how to make pretty decent meals out of cans (fish, tomatoes, pulses.. which can be a lot healthier than ready meals...). Same storage problems apply to kitchen items, you will only have one pan and pot to play with, often no oven (unless you want to consume a lot of gas and warm up the boat even more) and definitely no electric devices (the boat has some electricity however you don't want to overload the batteries with blenders, food mixers etc...). So all by hands, and sometimes you will have to use your fantasy: little village markets may sell some vegetables you have never seen before, and perhaps the person selling it only speaks in a foreign language (I must say it's really fun to try to understand a recipe from someone trying to explain it to you with a mixture of Greek and gestures..), or if you are lucky enough to find a fishing boat in a little bay you will have to buy the catch of the day, whatever it is. So be corageous! In this Internet era it's probably a little easier, as you can always find some recipes online... so go ahead and start experimenting!
5) Be resourceful! Things will happen, things will break and will need fixing. It's a rule: your time fixing on the boat is proportional to the amount of time you spend on said boat. There is no escaping it, better be prepared.. But no matter how much equipment you carry, you will have to make it up as you go - so just use some DIY knowledge (i recommend having at least some basic one, like sewing and using some handtools) and your creativity
6) Be patient: schedules don't really work, especially if something important like the engine breaks, or if you are relying on the wind. Take it as you go and try to enjoy the process :)
7) lastly but not leastly, and this encompasses many other things within: BE FLEXIBLE! Living on board may throw you down some new routes, take them, figure them out, some may have steep curves where you have to slow down, others will have pits to avoid. Go ahead, be careful and remember to have some fun in the process!
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