We are Alison, Sean, Eleanor, and Eddie: a family of four living aboard on our Beneteau 423 sailboat. During the school year, we are snug in a slip while we work and attend school; in the summers, we ditch the muggy buggy Chesapeake for cooler places up north. In the past, we’ve really enjoyed Cape Cod and Maine, and this summer we logged our 5000th nautical mile while sailing in the Atlantic Ocean.
We have been landlubbers. When we first married in 2005 and in 2011, we lived in beautiful homes and had all that we could ever want: cable tv, bathtubs, a crock pot, container gardens. In our first home together, when we couldn’t afford the raised rent, Sean (a lifelong sailor) suggested that we buy a boat and live on it. I hadn’t heard of such a thing, but I was immediately curious. After some Google searching, I read blogs and accounts of the liveaboard life: sunsets, breeze, traveling, simplicity. What really captured my interest was one posted line: the writer spoke about how walking down the dock after a day at work was like going on vacation every single day. I thought about that, then immediately told Sean that if he found a boat I’d love to go look at it. This was a Sunday. We climbed aboard our first boat, S/V Somewhere, on Friday.
Since that day (when I only looked down below and didn’t know enough to check out winches, instruments, or whether or not there’s handholds in convenient places) Sean and I have had four boats: three that we’ve lived aboard and one that we used as a weekender when we owned our townhouse. In 2011, we bought a home in an up and coming neighborhood and settled in to the “good life.” We purchased beautiful pieces of furniture from Pier One, we had spare bedrooms set up for family and friends, and we had so many places to store all the things that collected.
Then, one day I realized that it had rained and I hadn’t noticed. I remembered being able to hear the rain pitter-pat on the top deck of the boat and feel the boat move with the cool breeze. I noticed that, some days, I hadn’t gone outside other than to walk the dog, and I missed smelling the fresh air and feeling the sun warm my face. I would set myself up in our living room on Sunday mornings, with my delivered Washington Post and hot coffee from the Keurig, and I’d end up noticing how the sun shining in through our tall east-facing windows called attention to the dirt and dust on our hardwood floors that needed to be swept immediately. Sooner than my first sip, I had started a to-do list that had to be taken care of before any relaxation could begin. We didn’t own a house; the house had started to own us.
In the spring of 2012, we began to look for a boat that we could stay on during our weekends, and on one of those boats in particular, I took a moment to sit down in the cockpit just as a crisp whip of air raced past me. Immediately, I felt a pull to be back aboard full time. By November (the same month that we had purchased our first boat) we had found wonderful renters for our home, we had given away (what felt like) hundreds of boxes of accumulated stuff we never really needed, and we happily and freely sailed S/V Doggie Paddle home on Thanksgiving Day.
Our daughter, Eleanor, was due to arrive in March 2015 and in the summer prior we discussed our choices for where and how we would live with our growing family. Ten years of being on and off boats and meeting cruisers and liveaboard kids had taught us that boat life was a wonderful life for children. A friend of ours also reminded us that for the first years, our child would want to be right next to us and there really wasn’t much sense in having a huge house if we all would end up in the same room. We stayed aboard, welcomed Eleanor on her exact due date, and in November of that year (of course) we found the boat on which we currently live and cruise.
Boats have not only provided us with a wonderful life, but they have also brought into our lives the best people, enriching experiences, and the funniest stories. We have learned (and still continue to learn) how to live a life less ordinary that is simple, fulfilling, and full of adventure. With our blog, we want to share all of this with you. Maybe you can find a bit of inspiration to add something special to your life or maybe you’ll become a friend of ours. We are thrilled with either!
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