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Living on a boat | This is Shem de Labric

'Living? In that little boat? And what about the winters? It's cold on the water!' Besides my mother, I only told a few people about it. I didn't even say anything to colleagues. Not necessarily because of the reactions, I'm used to them by now. They are often predictable, sometimes creative and by now I know that the best helmsmen are really ashore. By not sharing everything with everyone, I get more in touch with my own feelings and with what I want. It's a shame to let those people on the shore distract that. And besides… I'm at the helm, right?

Also read: World travel inspiration | Motivate yourself, change your mindset!

Living differently would never be okay

Living differently has always appealed to me. Traveling too. A combination of the two seemed fantastic to me, but not realistic. It would never work out with my work, relationship and love of beer – and everything else that is unhealthy. And I'm thirty-three after all. I mean… shouldn't I actually have an expensive house to buy, stable marriage, kids, Volvo station and a Labrador?

Living on a boat | Sunset
Living on a boat | Sunset

A year ago I could not have imagined that I now work part-time and live with my friend and dog on a boat of just 12 square meters. Yet it is so. In summer we stay in beautiful places in nature and marinas, in winter at a suitable permanent place. There was a solution everywhere. Once the first step was taken, the rest came naturally. From important things like a mailing address and how to get to work, to getting a knack for boating and finding out which supermarket sells the best own brand peanut butter.

Experience has shown that a fixed bed is more convenient

'Look, and here I made a fixed bed. Last year I noticed that it became very annoying to have to make that bed all the time. Now it is fixed and I have made a seat there. Also fixed. I moved the kitchen to the wheelhouse and sewed a new rear window into the tent canvas.'

Living on a boat | To do odd jobs
Living on a boat | To do odd jobs

"Hmm, beautiful!" she says. 'What a job. Did you all do it yourself?' She seems more enthusiastic than before and more open. Nodding, I scroll through the dozens of photos I took of every little project within the big boat job project and show her all the details.

Jobs on the boat
Living on a boat | To do odd jobs

'Look, and above that seat are the cupboards. Also self made. Clothes and towels on the left, groceries and kitchen utensils on the right.' I tell them that a few things still need to be done at the wheelhouse, but that the chores have been removed for a while. "Let's enjoy it first, get some work done in the winter." It falls silent after the last photo. I look at her. 

"Well, do it," she says. 

Living on a boat | Sail and enjoy
Living on a boat | Sail and enjoy

Blogs by Sem

In my blogs I take you in narrative form into what I experience in my life on the water. Preferably with humor, sometimes nice and simple and preferably realistic. Because yes, the sunsets are beautiful and the peace and quiet is wonderful. But it remains a full life on a tight twelve, very noisy square meters ...

Sunset and tranquility
Sunset and tranquility

Are you as excited as I am? Just wait, it will come.

Also read: 5 original ways to discover the Netherlands

Sem de Labri

My name is Sam and I am 33 years old. Three months ago I made the choice to give up my house and live on my boat. Together with friend and dog, on about 12 square meters. We live in a region in the Netherlands and sail from place to place, we continue on holidays and we spend the winter at a permanent place in a marina.

I love to write and I like to do that on board. Especially now that I have more space in my head because I have fewer financial worries, have gotten a more relaxed life on the water (of course with ups and downs because many things are new) and also have to work less. My ultimate dream is to make a living from writing and no longer be location-bound, so that I can go wherever I want with my boat, possibly combined with a camper.

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