Living Aboard: A Guest's Point of View #1

If you remember, there were 6 of us on the boat for a week - family visiting to celebrate the New Year together.  We all had a blast.  But it got me to thinking...  My sisters had heard stories and read blog posts and seen pictures of the boat.  But was staying here really what they expected?  Here's #1 of 2 points of view on living aboard for a week (my responses/sarcastic comments will be in purple):

Guest Post #1 - Beth's Point of View on Staying Aboard

Beth at the Beach

**Jen clearly realized that I would have never accomplished this without some leading questions.  Who can just stare at a blank page and talk about something as large as an entire week in a new place?!  I would have just stared and stared…before getting distracted and doing something else. SO!  Interview time!**

What were you expecting the space/stay to be like?  Compare and contrast to actual life on the boat. 
I was expecting tiny.  Super tiny.  When I’d heard that it was 300sqft, I thought, that’s less than half of the 1-bedroom apartment that mom and I lived in when I was in high school!  And that thing was TINY.  We had an itty bitty 2-person patio table as our “dining room” and only one person could really be in the kitchen at a time.  So while 300sqft is no big space, I was surprised at how roomy it felt given how little room there was compared to other places I’ve stayed.  (Okay, I did stay in a hotel in Manhattan that was smaller – all of the walls were reachable from the bed – but I only stayed there less than 24 hours, so that was easy.)  The kitchen area was really narrow, but we could just run across the “couch” area and get around people if we wanted.  (Yay barefoot all of the time!) And the walkway between the bedroom and the bathroom was REALLY narrow, but there were 2 bathrooms, so that wasn’t really much of an issue.  (But 3 of us standing there soaked, waiting to take fast showers was pretty funny and sardine-ish.)  If I hadn’t been with people that I felt comfortable cuddling with, I probably would have been more cramped feeling, but for 6 people in 300sqft, that says a lot for the roominess. (I'm still not sure why we stood huddled up and freezing and no one used the aft shower. I'm guessing it was our frozen brains due to the Polar Plunge...)
sailing luna sea blot
Beth's nemesis - the room divider step-over thingies.
sailboat bilge storage cruising blog
BUG FREE food storage in the floor!  

What was the weirdest thing for you about staying on the boat?
The frigging doorway barriers that were BEGGING me to face-plant.  Seriously, I have to step UP to enter rooms?  Especially bedrooms, where I was going to SLEEP?  That’s just mean.  I have no idea how many times I caught myself with my arms and saved my precious teeth, but it was a LOT.  I have a lot more respect for my reflexes.  Also, food in the floor was crazy.  I mean, it’s super-efficient and brilliant, but at the same time, I kept thinking it was going to attract bugs or something.  Yes, I know that makes no sense, but it was FOOD…in the FLOOR.  Also, it made it seem like we were a little hoardy.  WOOO! STORE IT IN THE FLOOR BOARDS! THEY’LL NEVER FIND IT!  (maybe we are a little hoardy...)
What was your favorite part?
Outside of a sappy answer about family togetherness and whatever?  Walking/hooping around on the boat while it was sailing, and then hanging out at anchor, just doing nothing but whatever we felt like doing.  Like singing.  Badly.  And hilarious board games.  SAIL!   It was so relaxing, and was like I didn’t even have real life responsibilities.  (Except when I was working at night, but even that was okay.)  Also, I love that you manage to have a “garage” on your boat!  That was a great idea.  
What did you initially think was going to be a challenge but wasn’t and vice versa?
I thought using the bathroom would be harder.  And while it wasn’t as hard as I thought in some ways, like the millions of pumps (14 ._.) required to flush, other ways were still a challenge.  Those bathrooms are NOT built for this butt.  They’re just not. (toilets and doorways are a boat's built in diet plan) I also thought I’d have to learn more lingo, but I totally didn’t learn lingo.  I kinda think I learned that Port is Right when you’re standing at the wheel (or whatever the wheel is really called wheel), because Port is wine and wine is red and red starts with R? I’m not going to swear to it, and I’m not going to even google it, but if I’m wrong, that’s just more proof of how little I learned. (You learned no lingo.  Literally none. Port=Left - they both have 4 letters. But yay for trying.) Oh yeah, and I was worried I’d get sea sick for the whole trip and be vomiting over the side all of the time.  There were a couple of moments that I got a little nauseous for a second, like when you watch the trees out of the passenger window of a car, but it went away almost immediately.  It probably helps that I LOVE rocking and hammocking and that kind of motion. (Yay for no nausea!)
Did you learn anything from being in such a small space that influenced you on your return to land life?
It made me want to sell all my junk and travel.  I don’t really want to own or live on a boat, because that was some serious WORK for the actual sailors, and I want someone else to deal with all of that, but I really wanted to just be AWAY and enjoying my surroundings.  I still want to.  So of course I’m working crazy tons and enjoying very little of my surroundings.  Boo. (Yay for getting rid of junk! But you are totally going to live forever. So go ahead and put those dreams on the back burner. This goes for everyone reading this, too.)
What was something you had to deal with temporarily that you cannot imagine having to do long term?
The friggin toilets.  Yeah, fine, I can pump for a week, but there’s no way I’m doing that all the time.  Plus, what happens when you get the runs?!  Do you just sit there and pump the whole time, as a kind of constant “courtesy flush”?  I have a hard enough time convincing my household members to courtesy flush ONCE, so I can’t imagine getting them to just sit there and pump away the stank all the time.  I guess you can go outside to get away from it, but daaaang it seems like it’d be hard to air that place out from a really rotten stink bomb.    Oh, also?  The fridge.  I guess I can imagine it, but I don’t want to.  We have a super massive fridge that can hold like 2 months of food, which is good because I HATE shopping.  Especially grocery shopping. I CANNOT IMAGINE having a fridge the size of a cooler, and trying to manage that balance. (This is hilarious, because it's so TRUE! Except the airing out part. That's easy. And the fridge size is exactly why we hoard food in the floors...)
Do you feel like you could personally live in 300sqft? 
Yeah.  Tim would HATE it, but I’d be cool with it, and I think the boys would manage as long as they could get away from each other.  If I have a laptop with a massive hard drive, and space for some clothes, and then more space for a stack of hula hoops (and seriously, that could even be outside somewhere), I’d be good. I have some other hobbies, but I’d trade them if necessary.  Do you realize how good my hooping skills would get?!   Plus I like the idea of having a hobby of creating stuff, but only to then sell/give it to someone else.  I don’t need to keep all this junk. Junk’s dumb. (My house is full of junk.)
Did anything catch you totally off guard? 
Hm.  This is not exactly what you meant with the question, but the first thing I thought of was how little you murdered me, Jen, when I spilled gold paint on your white sofa.  For a few minutes there I was TOTALLY 12 again and in fear for my life.  So thanks for not murdering me. (I’m pretty sure that’s directly related to the paint coming up.) Hmm.  I didn’t really know what to expect in the first place, so it’s hard to say if anything was especially weirder than just the unknown in general.  Oh, I didn’t expect the shower to also be the sink and also the floor in front of the toilet. BRILLIANT use of space but I was immediately worried that I would ruin something.  I think that was the big constant – I was pretty sure that I was going to cause some kind of major damage, like Fred Flintstone trying to be careful or something.  But I didn’t put my foot through the side of the boat, and I didn’t rip any cabinetry off the walls, so I’m pretty happy about that. (I've mellowed. And my Izit Leather couch is magical. And I would've totally murdered you if it hadn't wiped up so easily. And who paints on a white couch?!?)
When are you coming back?!
When are you going to Louisiana?!  Or the USVI again and you want tag-alongs?!  I still don’t know how well Tim would manage the boat – he only recently was willing to venture into ANY kind of water, but it was the ocean and he loved it – but I would love to island hop in some warm wonderfulness!  And maybe do some touristy scuba diving, and be your test dummy Weekend Rental or whatever you call those people.  I will throw money at you, and you can pretend I’m not terrible at scuba diving while making me delicious food.  That’s a thing, right? (That is absolutely a thing. And I'm always up for people throwing money at me!)

I completely loved this post.  Thanks for doing it, Beth!  I can't wait to read Stacey's view point.  Beth and Stacey are very different and I am curious to see her side as well.  (Stop working so much and just write your post already!)

So for those of you that aren't familiar with boats, did this clear anything up for you?  If you are on a boat, is this similar to your experiences?  I love it when you guys comment - let's make this blog thing interactive!  (Don't forget to check out our FAQ page for common questions about boat life!)


  1. People who paint on couches - those would be forgetful people. You know, the same kinds of people who say, "oh let me run and grab this thing!" only to totally forget what they're doing and FLOOD THE HOUSE.

    To...hehe *paint a picture* for you, I was very carefully holding the paint container, while painting in a coloring book, and then I was being nice and throwing away Joey's banana peel for him, but in the process of leaning over to throw away the banana peel, i managed to dump a LOT of gold paint all over myself AND the couch, so I was afraid to move at all! Your couch is amazing. And if I was the kind of person who actually stopped and thought things like "I am sitting on a white couch while painting" I probably would be moving onto a boat or something, too. But I'm not, so I'm still paying a stupid mortgage.

    1. Doh! I keep forgetting you flooded your house right after the visit!

  2. How interesting! ! ! Isn't it funny how different ya'll are......INTERESTING. :)

    1. It's true - we are all VERY different. But that's part of what makes it fun :)

  3. This is awesome!! Love the interview format, too. I picked up on the bathroom/shower/toilet arrangement prior, but didn't know there was food in the floors. If I had a tiny fridge I'd feel extra-hoardy, too (don't TOUCH MY FOOD). Haven't had the urge to sell my crap and become mobile just yet... My introverting is happy to have a particular nest these days. Can't wait to hear Stacey's POV next!

    1. The boat is Perfect for introverting! You always have an excuse to not invite people over - its just too small... I have food stashed EVERYWHERE.


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