Truly, if you told me nine years ago that I would be living on a sailboat, I would have thought you were out of your tree. Not intending to slight my gender, but the notion of living on a sailboat does seem to originate with men more than women. This sexist statement is based on my own research when I am introduced to somebody new. Eighty percent of the time, it is a man who says, “I have always wanted to do that!”. This is quickly followed by a question directed to my husband, “How did you get your wife to agree to live on a boat?”
Perhaps, it is a result of reading Robin Lee Graham’s classic, Dove during impressionable teenage years? Maybe there is a plethora of reincarnated sailors’ souls from previous centuries clamouring for expression in men? I don’t know the answer, but the romantic dream to sail the oceans does seem to be male-oriented. I say this in spite of knowing many competent female sailors.
I must confess that I was a reluctant sailor initially. I didn’t hear the siren’s song calling me to the sea. I was called to the white-picket-fenced house with baking in the oven and a dog in the yard. My only frame of reference to my husband’s dream was a shared passion for nature and adventure – however, we were to discover later that my definition of adventure was considerably different than my husband’s.
It would have been a mistake to make my husband’s dream, my dream. I had to find my own passion for living on a boat. The first winter was tough, but a sense of humour, investing in warmer clothes and a caring, marina community helped me through. Initially, my fears played themselves out in my dreams at night adding to my discomfort. Learning everything that I could about the boat reduced the number of things that I was afraid of. Having a patient partner who was willing to help me learn, made it easier.
Fast forward to today when we have to be realistic about aging and continuing to live on a sailboat and I can’t imagine leaving our floating home. This lifestyle is simple, challenging and rewarding in ways that are difficult to articulate.