Saturday, September 7, 2013

One Year In - 10 Things We've Learned

So it was exactly one year ago today that we moved aboard Zephyr and set sail from Portland!
Right before we stepped aboard for the 1st time as the new owners!
The lessons we've learned, the experiences we've had are too many to name and we're so incredibly grateful for it all. We thought we'd put our 3 heads together and come up with the biggest lessons learned in this first year of living our dream. Next week we'll each write our own personal lists of personal lessons learned, so stay tuned.  

1. You can live with a lot less - when we moved aboard from the Dupe we were quite cutthroat about purging our worldly possessions. At the time it was very emotional to give up our 'stuff' and we definitely weren't sure we'd be 'OK' without it. The emotions were high as we bid adieu to our bed, couch, books, most of our wardrobes, kitchen stuff, etc. Now a year later we rarely even miss those things. Sure we're doing laundry A LOT more because we both only have enough clothes to get us through a week and when it comes to dressy occasions we definitely have to 'recycle' a lot. Jill, being a girl, struggles with this a tad more than Tim but there's also a great sense of peace coming from the simplicity. 

2. Tim can't cook in a Galley - When Tim attempts to cook in the tiny galley that is our kitchen the word 'shit show' is an understatement. The crashing, banging, expletives and "angry Tim" episodes abound. The galley is a practice is patience, planning and patience. Your counter top is also the access to your fridge. Your fridge is a deep pit with bins barely balanced upon one another like a cruel game of tetris. Tim has taken on the role of grill master and Jill is galley wench. We eat pretty darn good aboard. Our favorite meals:
Jambalaya, black beans & rice, stir-fry and fajitas. 

3. Two People and a Big Guy can Survive Aboard a Boat - Patience. Communication. Sense of humor. Those are the keys to surviving in 500 sq. ft. with 2 people and a Big dog. There's no "I'm just going to sneak behind you" - there's no sneaking, there's slipping through, there's just moving out of each other's ways and waiting, maybe giving them a little sass about taking their sweet time...  

4. We're not retired, nor rich - Sailing off into the sunset for months (years) is our end goal since we're not retired or trust fund babies we're going to have to figure out how to do this while making an income. Plans are in the works in that regard. Doing all that we need/want to do to our boat is a work in progress, a LONG (maybe lifelong) work in progress. We aren't rich so most of the work we do is DIY. We don't have the budget to hire boat yards, or specialists so we do a lot a lot of Internet research, YouTube clips and message boards to learn how to do something. It's not a fast way of getting the all work done but it's what we got. Choosing to do this when we're young rather than retired requires a lot more patience and perseverance to see it through. 

5. Sense of immediacy doesn't work - Refer to above. When you're out sailing it's about the journey not the destination. If we're impatient or antsy the wind doesn't care. A sailor on a deadline is a recipe for disaster, you make poor choices about weather, you push your boat too hard and you could end up dead. 

6. Summer is way better than winter  - This one sorta goes without saying but we've definitely realized why living aboard in New England in the summer is pure bliss. You feel like you're on vacation all the time. You're the envy of all your friends and boat neighbors. But around this time of year is when people start feeling less envy and have a bit more pity.

7.  You learn to love zippers, hatches and portholes - Life on a boat is deeply embedded into the elements - the glorious and the not so lovely. As we've written about before, we are very closely connected to the weather around us. We live, breathe and soak up every ounce of the weather. When the morning sun shines and the breezes pick up we unzip the many zippers of our cockpit enclosure, when the evening dew sets in we zip them back up. When the rains start we run around madly closing hatches and fastening portholes and then as soon as the rain stops we open it all back up. We love being able to let the weather into our living space and when we want to be dry and warm, zipping it back out. 

8. Cockpit Speakers are the Bomb  - enough said. 

9.  It's not all cocktails & hors d'oeuvres, but when it is it's awesome - We've definitely become masters at the sundowners and Happy Hours. The boat is almost never without some nice cheese, crackers, salami and olives and of course copious amounts of rum. The thing about boating people that we've learned is they do know how to kick back and soak up the sunset. It's a daily ritual and we've taken to that habit quite nicely. Sure, there's days when there's work or errands or chores but the boat friends we've made over some cocktails and snacks are great. 

10. Think things through - whether it's how to bring the boat into the slip, how long a passage from one port to the other will take, how to cook a galley meal or how to get to something buried deep in a locker it's all about the forethought before acting. You have to step back before acting and think it through, think about your bail out if the docking goes wrong, think about what you'll need to cook the entire meal, plan out exactly which waypionts you'll hit on your passage. It's a practice in discipline and patience and one we're still working on. 

So there they are - a few of the overarching things we've learned as we've gone through this first year. We aren't going to sugarcoat and say it's all been delightful but we have had  a lot of great times! When we moved aboard a year ago, we promised one another that we'd give it a year and if either one of us wanted off, we'd both bail. We're happy to report today that we're both still in it to win it! We're no where near close to giving up on this dream in fact we just keep pumping it with dream gasoline! Thanks for following along with us! 

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