There are a lot of transitions when settling into a new lifestyle. Moving from a home to a boat seems to have countless transitions. One of the main transitions is living in a smaller space which leads to having less stuff. We have always liked living in smaller spaces. Our two-story house in Seattle is about 775 sf., but we cut our living space down to about 230 sf in our 35' sailboat; I just measured it.
Living in our House --- Living in our Boat
- 775 sf house --- 230 sf living space sailboat
- 10 cuft frig/freezer --- 6 cuft frig
- Endless sewer --- 10 gal holding tank
- Endless water --- 70 gal water tank – enough for our needs.
- 40 gal Hot Water --- 6 gal & only when motoring or at shore power
- Endless Power --- 303 amp hrs w/ solar panels – super great!
I love all of these transitions and adaptations because we have to now be aware of how much we are using and how much we need to conserve. This is also something that is kept in mind when someone is buying and outfitting a boat. The buyer needs to make sure all the needs are met and realistic for themselves. Some people don't even have a frig on their boat and some people have a full frig and freezer with an ice maker. So, we made sure that all our limitations were something we could be comfortable with adjusting to for our new lifestyle.
Along with the transition of space and things we use on a daily basis, there is also the emotional and metal portion. As we prepped and researched for this trip, we knew a big piece of it was to help our son, Aksel, adapt to this new home and lifestyle. Starting in college, Jason and I have adapted to new homes almost yearly and normally on the smaller side. So, the change is not as big to us and we have dealt with change a lot in our lives. But this is Aksel's first move, first new home and to put on top of it a new way of living. We read the book Voyaging with Kids by Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson & Michael Robertson that was great to help us prepare, plus we read articles and chatted with sailing families in person, and online, for suggestions and experiences.
Some things we did to help with the emotional and mental transition for our son, and us, was that we involved him with the planning and preparing. Talking about the trip as being a part of our next step in life and what it might be like, what is exciting and is different. We had a map up on a wall to select places we want to visit and understand the distance better. We met up with other kid boats that were doing the same trip. We moving onto and lived on the boat, months before leaving to adjust to it while we were at the dock. This also made it so he could share his new space with friends and family before we left. We did all of these things but it is still hard for Aksel to leave his family, friends, and first home behind; he is homesick. We have lots of pictures of home and friends to look at, and we are keeping in touch with people. But being homesick is another transition that is hard, especially the first time. It really just takes lots of time, heartbreak, and patience.
The things that have helped us start to overcome this has been meeting other kid boats, finding a place to explore and play, and good food & sleep. Sleep is so important for all of us and it is easy to forget how tiring everything ‘new' can be; an emotional and mental strain. We got lucky meeting our first three kid boats in Newport after the first week of our shakedown cruise in the San Juans & Gulf Islands. It has been a great clan to travel with down the coast.
For lots of transitions, time is really the only thing that moves us through the process until we become comfortable and it feels like it is part of our everyday life. It seems that people say about 2-3 months to get really settled into a new lifestyle; find the new routines and adjustments. I think that sounds about right for us right half the time, and the other half seems like it might not ever happen; that is where patience comes in! Some things are starting to feel like we have always done it this way like our slow mornings and some things are still taking time to get used to, like school on the boat. I am excited to see how we feel in another month. Fingers crossed we will have fully settled into our new cruiser lifestyle.