About a month and a half ago I made a post about my ‘Boat Experiment’, what I called ‘BEing‘. It talked about my first 45 days, experimenting with living on-board a 32 foot sailboat, in the New York Metropolitan area. Today is about the 90th day, so I thought it time for an update. The first week or two on the boat were a bit of a shock. Then, the next month went by fairly smoothly. The holidays were actually quite fun. I cooked a great Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner (I cooked the same thing both nights as I’d bought way more than I could eat in one night).
I got off the boat for a week and spent New Years up in Vermont… one of my favorite places in the world. I got to ride in a ‘one-horse-open-sleigh’ (and joke with the driver about how often people asked him to sing Jingle Bells). I’d planned to snowboard, but ended up snowshoeing instead, and really enjoyed it. Much of the time, I just enjoyed sitting by the fireplace in great company.
Coming back to the City and back to the boat was a shock. I didn’t realize how much I’d opened up, while out in the Vermont wilderness, and so when I hit the City, with all of the desire, and anger, and noise… it took me by surprise. Once back in my small cabin, my meditation routine, my work routine, things got back to normal.
For me this such a ‘big experiment’, but I’ve known people who have lived aboard boats for years. It’s no big deal. Practically, it is no big deal. But, it is a big deal on certain levels.
I decided to try this experiment, because I was fed up with a life that I was barely present in. A life in a cushy apartment; a life where I’d end my day as early as possible, flip on the TV, throw something into the oven, jump back to the couch to watch some more TV, chow down, drink some more wine, throw in a load of laundry, watch some more TV until I woke up in the middle of the night on the couch, threw the laundry in the dryer, turned off the TV, went to bed and started all over again the next morning.
You can’t cruise your way through life on a boat (at least not in the winter time). Things are much more holistic; they coincide with the Sun and the Moon. In the morning, the rising sun first starts to reflect off my neighbor’s mast spreader, and somehow manages to find its way directly into my eye, through the porthole, no matter which bunk I’m sleeping in. This clues me in to the time of day (I don’t wear a watch). Shower-time is dictated equally by my bowels and the bathroom cleaning schedule (should the twain never conflict), hence the time of day is important.
Once showered and back on the boat, it is good to stay busy all day. Around 4:30, sunset is approaching, so, it is good to go for a walk, get some air, watch the sunset. I either eat out, or pick up something to cook on the boat. Where I used to just throw something into the oven, and go off and do other things, cooking on the boat is much more deliberate. I stand over the stove to stay warm, so, I pay much more attention to my food. And, in the process, enjoy the heavenly smells (most of the time) emanating from the pots.
The dishes are washed immediately after dinner, as, I have no room for dirty dishes anywhere. So, dinner is done by 7:00. The rest of the night, I might work on the computer, read, or watch a little hulu.com, chat, text message, browse Facebook or whatever. Then, relatively early, I shut down my electronics, decide what bunk I’m sleeping in, and crawl into a cool berth that quickly warms with my body heat. I sleep a good night (though often with active dreams), and start again with the first rays of the morning.
I walked around today, and thought about where I am today, versus where I was 90 days ago, and I realized that my Boat Experiment, my BEing was a complete success. I wanted to shock myself out of the rut I’d been in for the last several years. I’ve succeeded! I wanted to be present all throughout my day, and I’ve succeeded. I wanted to save on expenses… I’ve saved about twelve thousand dollars so far… possibly fifty thousand dollars a year, if I go for a full year. Whoo-hoo! I’ve succeeded.
But more than anything, it is about being aware of and present in your life, recognizing when you’re not where you’d like to be, and having the courage to do something about it (however ill advised). And coming out stronger on the other end.