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Living on a boat | Would you do that?!

'What about the winters? It's cold on the water!' I smile.

'Yes stone cold. Soon we'll freeze to death, or worse…' I move closer to her as if I'm about to tell a big secret and continue in a whisper: '… gangrene!'

"Ah well, don't be silly!" I laugh and explain to my conversation partner how we are going to get warm and what we do if it is really unbearable for some reason.

Also read: Living on a boat | This is Shem de Labric

Living on a boat | morning dew
Living on a boat | morning dew

We get villas warm, don't we get a boat?

It's always funny that some people seem to think you can't possibly get a boat of a mere twelve square meters warm, while a lot of people stay nice and warm in their spacious villas and commercial buildings.

Of course we don't have a resume. And you can often forget a fireplace on board. And those old-fashioned kerosene heaters aren't very reliable when it comes to carbon monoxide. But we do have a good parking heater. A nice compact thing that fits exactly on board. It heats well and (once it's up and running) makes very little noise. They are often put in a boat. Campers too.

Of course they were originally conceived for a car, to prevent freezing or to defrost the windows. It runs on diesel and also uses electricity. We even have a thermostat. How luxurious do you want it!

'But yes…' I begin. 'Just a shower, huh? I mean, there really isn't anywhere. I've been on the road for about two months now and I'm already freaking out dude. How's that supposed to be?'

It falls silent for a moment. It seems as if she wants to unobtrusively check whether there is a strange air around me, but she can't really unobtrusively. Then I start to laugh. My company follows relieved.

"Would you do it?" is something I have heard many times and will probably hear more often. My environment is really used to me, but for some this is a far from their boat- erm … bed show. Where I used to be often influenced by it, I now think more and more often: 'Do the right thing when responding!'

Also read: There is no such thing as a perfect time to travel…

Living on a boat | morning dew

Now suppose you like it…

When you act differently than usual and the standard, soon the advice is that you better not do it or at least think about it for a while. But when you do it differently than usual, you live more according to your feeling and what you want. Because only you can figure that out, no one else can.

It is sometimes difficult to understand that you are perhaps a lot freer and happier on the water with low housing costs, beautiful nature and all the possibilities that entails. Because: 'You had a nice house, didn't you?' or this one: 'But suppose you don't like it…' are clinchers and can really get in the way of happiness. It is conveniently forgotten that a house has to be paid for, and that a dream that has not been pursued can start to gnaw afterward.

I would like to prevent that I will be old and gray(er) and think: 'If only I had…' Or that I will soon be too old and (completely) gray and my health no longer allows for example to get on a boat at all . Shame!

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

Living on a boat | Cow in the water
Living on a boat | Cow in the water

For example, when I called KPN to ask for my cancel internet subscription, I had to explain up to three times that I really wasn't going to move, really wasn't going to live together and that they really didn't have to make me an offer to keep me as a customer.

'Oh really? That sounds good! And where is your houseboat? Yes, I sometimes see them here in Rotterdam. And that seems so wonderful to me, right on the water', the KPN employee had said enthusiastically. When I explained that it was really just a cruiser of about 12 square meters, without a real fixed place, with some work here and there and what we sail with, he had to make a switch. 

Let them cry

Anyway, whatever the case may be: we've been bobbing around as happy and free as a bird for about two months now. My work can be reached, our dog has become very vigilant and we have already overcome many obstacles. There will probably be a few more, but what a pleasure, what a pleasure and … what a good choice. But hey, just that cold, huh? Impossible. (Oh no...just kidding). Let them cry!

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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