Did you know that on the 5th of March we celebrated our three year anniversary of living on Exodus?
Living on a sailing boat is…
no bed of roses,
no walk in the park,
no piece of cake.
It can be trying at times, rough and frustrating. Like how there is always some fixing and maintenance at the most inconvenient times, minor or major malfunctions that require a stepped problem solving process and keep you entertained for days, or when you wake up early morning after a long regatta day to discover your anchor has skillfully dragged 100 meters past a few other boats in the anchorage because it had a T-shirt wrapped around its nose…
But that is just part and parcel of our chosen life. All in all, we love living on a cruising boat. We’ll give you a few of our reasons why, not to boast about how great our life is, but just to give you an idea on how it differs with a landlocked life.
Living on a cruising boat exposes you to the elements, a wonderfully humbling experience. You are so much more in tune with what is going on around you, and that awareness is key to your well being. On windy and rainy nights there is no turning around in the warmth and comfort of your bed, you will get up and check if your ground tackle is holding, the washing is brought in, and all hatches are closed properly. And you repeat the same procedure as often as is required in one night without grumbling. The thing about storms and foul weather is that eventually they blow over…
In return, we enjoy the most majestic sunsets and sunrises. We now understand why all ancient cultures worshipped a sungod that thriumps over the dark of night. We mire at all the celestial bodies in the pitch black nightsky that make us feel puny. We wonder how our self-absorbed human race can possibly be oblivious to all the strange unexplainable lights in that same nightsky accentuating our own ignorance and insignificance…
Back to the basics
Living on Exodus means going back to the basics. We are as self sufficient as we can be regarding energy and water. We rely on solar and wind power, and only occasionally need to run the engine to meet our power demands. We make our own water from seawater and catch rainwater for washing and cleaning.
Our creature comforts have been reduced to a minimum. There are no dishwashers, washing machines, microwaves or other electric kitchen appliances on our boat, except our greek milk frother. We have no AC or fans on board. And we never miss those things. In our experience, it is very easy to get used to comfort, but if you don’t have it, it doesn’t make your life any poorer. We have no hot water on board (unless you boil it, of course). Make no mistake, although some on board are tough, others are not so. Hence the softies put down their foot when the sailing itinerary was determined that they would only live and sail in max 10 degrees from the equator so that the climate remains benign for their lizard bodies. No sailing to Greenland, Canada, Siberia with this crew, as they are poor foul weather sailors and refuse to linger in colder climes.
Reduced carbon footprint
Living on a self-contained unit of a cruising sailing boat has seriously diminished our carbon foot print. That is a no brainer after reading the previous paragraph.
On top of that, living in the confined spaces of a boat makes sure you aim to minimalise the amount of trash a normal family accumulates. As once it is on the boat, you need to store it until you can find a morally acceptable means of disposing of it! This ensures you do not want to purchase items that come in extra wrapping. We rather go for the bulk or unwrapped product. We buy local, as much as possible. The local fruit and veg and all our shopping travels from the shop/ market to the boat in our reusable bags (still the same ones as we left with 3,5 years ago).
Living on a boat brings with it an unescapable attention for your individual impact on your direct environment – e.g. instead of loading several washing machines per week on automatic pilot, pouring in nicely smelling yet toxic detergent, every laundry item is washed individually by hand. Washing is planned after big bouts of rain, after catching sufficient rainwater and dries in the sun.
Apart from that, we seldom use sunscreen. Sunscreen is found floating profusely around surfing and bathing zones, silently killing the reef. Often, the whole beach reeks of it. With our outdoor life, our skin is used to some sun, and we simply get out of the sun or wear a t-shirt and hat when too much exposure looms. We apply homemade insect repellent (mix of natural and essential oils) to disuade the local bugs from bugging us rather than spreading more toxins in the environment.
And of course, every item on board is given at least three lives.
Healthy life style
We have an active lifestyle. Kayaking, swimming, diving, walking, and cycling are part of our daily routine. There is also a certain beauty in the fact that everything you consume needs to be brought on board through your personal effort. You walk to shop, carry all your groceries back to shore, and bring the goodies back to your boat by tender or kayak.
Regarding food, we try to eat as healthy as possible, adding fresh ginger, tumeric, garlic to our dishes. We have further reduced our intake of sugar, by replacing store-bought muesli by our own breakfast mix of oats, seeds, fresh fruit and home made yoghurt. We boil up a variety of beans, chickpeas, and lentils in order to avoid the added preservatives in prepared foods. We make our own hamburger patties and boerewors.
An important source of protein comes from fishing whilst sailing or spearfishing.
Resilience & creativity
Living on a cruising boat means choosing the unpredictable, the unknown. You never quite know what the day or night has in store for you, whether it concerns repairs or weather. You are ignorant to when the next curveball will be thrown at you. Whatever comes, it is yours to deal with. There is no calling in the gas or power company to sort out minor issues or dropping off broken items for repairs. It is best to have at least one jack or jill of all trades on board.
Sounds terrible? Not to us. We like the occasional mental challenge, being kept on our toes, wide awake, to have our resilience tested and strengthened from time to time.
Another good thing is that we are forced to learn more languages. After our time in ‘las Americas’ we hope to master the basics of expressing ourselves in Spanish.
With the normal humdrum of the rat race eliminated, there is more space for creativity. For instance, how frustration with the slinking sorrowful items in one’s wardrobe lead first to recycling some of the boys clothes and eventually taking up a hopefully useful hobby…
But the biggest positive point of living in an ever-changing environment is that you cannot but be absolutely amazed about the plentiful wonderous and beatiful things around you e.g. how all the fish under the boat go crazy if we throw excess fat and skin of raw chicken over board, and how in a matter of seconds, this is followed by a feeding frenzy from all the seagulls, pelicans and frigate birds in the anchorage, as if Exodus were featuring in a remake of the Hitchcock movie ‘The birds’. One of the girls’ favorites remains taking salt water showers at night. When we swim in the nutrient rich waters of Panama where bioluminescence is plentiful one comes as close to being a fairy as humanly possible!
Princess of a vast realm
The test if we made the right decision, lies in observing the effect of our lifestyle on our daughter. How does she respond to the education system (freestyle with a firm hand)? How does she cope with being exposed to many novelties? How does she handle being regularly thrown outside of her comfortzone, buffered by the safety and security of an ever present loving family? As far as we can see, we are on the right track. And she is growing in a similar manner to other sailing kids: Solid, with a confidence that comes from doing and trying, well grounded, happy, cheerful, interactive, interested, and a great imagination not spoiled by excess screen time or those brainwashing children’s programmes on TV.
One of our sailor friends refers to his daughters and little girls in general as princesses. The way sailing kids move around the world, perfectly at ease and confident wherever you drop them off, you can only admire that. They are princesses in their own right, and rule a vast realm. And hopefully one day they will be wise rulers.
Sailing is the last bastion of true freedom. We are free of taxes and constraints, free to go wherever we please. Master of our own destiny, whether it be bliss or demise…
We got out of the rat race, where one is lulled into flatline and conformity by the promise of security. From a distance we are watching the whole circus, with the Western values collapsing, and its populace blissfully unaware, detached, not interested. The freedom and rights humankind fought so hard for, for which millions of lives were sacrificed, is just thrown away, offered up by those scared to rock the boat and stand up for what is right. The western concepts of freedom are replaced by the false gods of politically correct speech, woke ideology, and the socialistic dogma, with the beast of islam brotherhood lurking behind the corner, sharpening its teeth, licking its tongue in anticipation of the kill of its decrepate old enemy… How did the Roman empire decline? Don’t break your head over it, we are living that decline right now.
But don’t you miss the comforts of a big house?
Was one of the things an acquaintance asked us when we moved onto our river barge, not realising that on the houseboat we had the same, if not more living space than the average belgian house…
But to answer that question from our current situation, where we live on a 13.5m sailing boat: “No, not for one second”. The world is our oyster. We have the biggest swimming pool and the prettiest, constantly changing garden view. Granted, on cold days a plentiful hot shower would be welcome. Luckily cold days are few if you are sticking around the equator.
Living on Exodus has given us a greater awareness of our surroundings (dolphins, pelicans, sunsets, the minor or big changes in natural environment) and has allowed us to visit many unique places. Life on a boat is rewarded by a feeling of being alive, full of purpose (exactly what brain numbing life in western society lacks) and freedom.