My boyfriend, dog, and I lived on a sailboat for over a year.Casey Hawkins

I lived on a sailboat full-time but after a year my partner and I chose to get an apartment instead.

Simple activities, like showering and grocery shopping, became much more difficult.

I learned a lot living on board, like how to appreciate the simple things in life.

In March 2021, my boyfriend, greyhound, and I started living aboard a 42-foot sailboat. By August 2022, we’d moved back on land and into an apartment.

In the years leading up to moving aboard, I daydreamed about our nomadic lifestyle, but after a year of sacrificing hygiene, stability, and family time, the wanderlust had worn off.

Simple day-to-day activities, like showering and grocery shopping, became complicated endeavors. We spent a lot of time and energy simply maintaining our basic needs.

So our decision to move back on land was ultimately the result of these challenges, which wore on me physically and emotionally.

Limited water led to limited showers

Although I consider myself low maintenance, boat life pushed my hygiene needs to their limit.

When sailing, especially to remote locations, we had a finite amount of water we could carry. So we minimized showering to conserve it and instead took “salt-water baths” in the ocean.

Since soap doesn’t lather as well in the ocean and salt sticks to skin and hair, I was never able to truly feel clean.

I went up to a month without a freshwater shower, and the heavy layer of salt and grease in my hair made me uncomfortable and self-conscious.

I longed to establish a daily routine

Grocery shopping could be a hassle.Casey Hawkins

At first, finding the most convenient grocery store and a nice running path was part of the adventure, but constantly feeling unfamiliar with our location became tiring. I was relieved when we stayed in a place for a week or more so I could establish a routine.

And instead of feeling excited about our next destination, each departure made me sad because I was leaving behind this newfound familiarity.

Traveling every few days empowered me to become more adaptable, but I continued to have anxiety over access to the resources we needed.

Story continues

Homesickness was more difficult than I anticipated

I missed my family and friends.Casey Hawkins

I always knew leaving my friends and family would be challenging, but it surprised me how suddenly waves of homesickness would overcome me.

While picking up ice cream, I wanted to share it with my dessert-loving nieces. And I yearned to be with my best friend when I tried local hot sauces.

After missing a year of birthdays and holidays, I’m now embracing every opportunity to create memories with the people I love.

I still learned a lot, and the experience was worth the challenges

Living on a sailboat has helped me appreciate the simple things in life.

Since moving into my apartment, showers are readily available and groceries are easily acquired and stored.

I’m grateful to carry memories of beautiful beaches and diverse cultures but am also looking forward to our next chapter on land.

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