Meet Our New Neighbors on LUNA!

This is a special blog takeover by our lovely new neighbors on B-dock. We met them last fall when they were just starting their liveaboard journey. We’ve watched them go from planning, to buying their boat, to downsizing, and finally moving aboard! They are the most wonderful couple you’ll ever meet, and we are proud to introduce them on the blog!

First, tell us who you are! We’re Zach and Corri. We’re a married couple in our early 30’s who moved onto a 1975 Whitby 42 Ketch sailboat in January 2019, along with our Labrador Retriever named Hudson.

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How cute are they?? Living the dream!

How did you come up with the idea of living aboard? We remember the exact moment that eventually led to us living on a sailboat. We were sitting in this awesome brew house in Osaka, Japan one evening during one of Zach’s work trips. We were living in Japan at the time and were doing a lot of traveling. We’d just met a couple in Thailand that sold all their stuff, strapped on some backpacks and took off to see the world and we talked about how incredible it would be to do the same. And how impossible it seemed. After a few beers and more “what if’s” we made a pact that after Zach’s work contract was over, we would travel the world for a year. Once we returned home, we started researching the best and most affordable ways to travel and we discovered sailing. We decided we would learn how to sail, buy a sailboat, live on it until the work contract ended, then set off for our year of adventure.

What appealed to you about the lifestyle? What made sailing so attractive at first was the idea that we could venture far away without ever really leaving home. We love the space and atmosphere we create in the homes we live in. When traveling in the past, we always missed our own four walls by the end of a trip, no matter how lovely the hotels were. Being able to tote our home along with us wherever we end up roaming is incredibly comforting. But we discovered something even more appealing once we started looking at sailboats to buy and spending time at marinas. We discovered that, embedded in sailing, there is an incredible community filled with so many interesting people. The community and people are enormous ancillary benefits we hadn’t thought of when we first began this journey. We’ve never met a sailor we didn’t like!

What experience did you have going into this? Zach took a weekend course years ago which qualified him to take a 22ft sailboat out for rental, which he only got to do twice because of work demands. Corri had absolutely no sailing experience (except for the one time she went with Zach on a windy ride in said 22ft sailboat). Both of us took the ASA 101 course before buying our boat, then during the delivery of the boat, we completed ASA 103 and ASA 104 enroute. Our lack of experience made our insurers, friends and family quite uneasy with our life choices at first!

What resources did you find to be the most helpful? Having a great broker who made us feel confident during the entire process (shoutout to Dave Huff at St. Augustine Yacht Sales!) and being lucky enough to have a kind previous owner who eagerly answers all of our questions, even now almost a year after buying the boat. Additionally, YouTube and Google have been invaluable resources. Our greatest on-going resource is our community — whether virtual (we are in an incredible Liveaboard Facebook Group) or in person (our neighbors at the marina are all so knowledgable).

What was the hardest part of this journey? Trying to make so many big decisions and changes while still working full time, going to school and keeping up with our social and family lives. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to find a boat and move aboard as fast as possible because we knew that’s what it took to begin learning more and saving. It would’ve been wonderful to focus solely on just one thing — getting rid of most of our worldly possessions and moving onto a sailboat. But, it wasn’t possible for us and that made it very stressful during the time between buying the boat in March 2018 and finally moving aboard in January 2019.

What was the easiest? Corri was surprised at how easy it was to get rid of things (in fact, as more things flew out the door, the stress level dropped). Zach, adapting to living in a smaller space was very easy; less to keep track of, less to clean, less to move where the wind blows.

Anything you would have done differently? No, in hindsight, there everything happened the way it needed it to, when it needed to.

What’s the next step for your family? We’ll be working to fill the cruise kitty for about another year, then we’re taking our big trip! We’re hoping to head north along Canada, then eventually pop over to Europe, but we are open for changes!

Share any words of wisdom or inspiration for people who want to take the plunge! We met a new neighbor the other day who said he didn’t want to tell anyone at work that he was moving aboard because he didn’t want them to judge him. Fortunately, he did tell someone and that someone happened to be a good friend of ours and passed on our contact info. We then gave the new neighbor all the inside details of how to navigate to the marina and getting set up. So, tell everyone about your plan to move aboard. Don’t hide it because you’re worried people will think you’re crazy. Only about 5% of the people we told were negative about it. Everyone else was incredibly supportive and encouraging, and we needed those people to continue encouraging us when the process got challenging.

 

Thanks so much for the great interview, guys! If you want to follow Zach and Corri’s journey, you can find them on Instagram at @microretirement.

Love,

Zach, Corri, Taylor, Conor, and W

Base Housing Problems

An interesting article caught my attention while browsing Reddit the other day: Military Survey Finds Deep Dissatisfaction With Family Housing on U.S. Bases. It just reiterated all the reasons we chose NOT to live in on-base housing in Camp Lejeune, and think outside the box instead.

I can’t say I’m surprised with what this article had to say: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-military-survey/military-survey-finds-deep-dissatisfaction-with-family-housing-on-u-s-bases-idUSKCN1Q21GR . While we had a fairly decent set up in Pendleton in our 3 bdr 2.5 bath house, we ran into so many issues with the Lincoln Military Housing Office. Everything broke down and repairs were always done in the cheapest way possible, but only after making 3+ calls to get a service person out to fix the problem.

One evening, I noticed a puddle in our laundry room under the water heater. I immediately called and (for once) the office sent someone out ASAP. Come to find out, it was because 10 other water heaters in our neighborhood had burst THAT SAME DAY and flooded homes. We were just lucky enough to catch it before the seam busted.

When my dishwasher was leaking, I had the repair people out twice, only for them to tell me I was just using the wrong dish soap (I was not) and it was basically all in my head. I went out of town for the weekend and came back to a waterbed underneath laminate floors that rippled where I walked. Cue mold specialists, industrial fans, and ruined furniture that all could have been avoided.

Those were small issues compared to what this article lists. Families are living in environmentally dangerous conditions with mold, poor water quality, lead-based paint, and faulty electrical wiring. But what is the alternative to base housing if renting or buying off-base is scarce/costly, and families need the security of base while spouses are deployed?

We chose boat life for myriad reasons—minimalism, future plans, love of sailing—but a BIG perk is being able to live on base without living in atrocious base housing. If boat life isn’t for you, I know a few families and retired military who live in an RV/camper and park it on base campgrounds. All the amenities like the commissary, hospital, and schools, but while living in your OWN home you can take with you when you PCS!

Please share your base housing experiences below, and what you’ve done to problem-solve. Military families are anything if resourceful! But when it comes to homes, we shouldn’t have to  be.

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The day we said a final farewell to base housing!

 

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

 

Are You ‘Tidying Up’?

“Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix has everybody talking. Thrift stores nation wide have seen a huge surge in donations since January 1st, which I find kind of ironic, considering the madness that is Black Friday in November and the huge push for gift-giving during the December holiday season. BUT I am excited that people are starting to embrace the idea that less is more and stuff doesn’t equal happiness!

So to go along with this theme, we are doing a little throwback post in honor of Throwback Thursday! I’ll take you back to the very beginning of this blog and show you how we downsized from a 3-bedroom house to a 38-ft boat.

Here is where I talk about embracing minimalism.

Here is about our downsizing process.

Here is how we organized our never-ending lists and processes.

Here is when we were living in an almost-empty house!

Here is all about packing tips and being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

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Throwback pic to our first night on a sailboat, via AirBNB. This is when the planning started…

How have you simplified your life lately? How does it make you feel?

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Celebration Week

Lots to celebrate this week: This stud’s birthday is coming up, and we passed 1 year aboard our boat!

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I am such a lucky lady.

But because Conor doesn’t like to make a big deal out of his birthday, the rest of this post will be about our year aboard. This is a random collection of thoughts with contributions from both me and Conor, in no particular order.

  1. Showing off the boat is fun. It’s like bragging about your kid, but people are more impressed.
  2. Parenting is hard whether you are on a boat or in a house. Sleep deprivation is still sleep deprivation.
  3. Sometimes I have no idea what to write on the blog.
  4. It can be hard to focus on work when all you want to do is sail off into the sunset.
  5. All boat work must be done with a beer in hand.
  6. We still haven’t used our dinghy.
  7. Why does the bilge always smell weird after we sail?
  8. Conor keeps accidentally dropping AC filters into the river when he cleans them. We are on #3 now.
  9. Using a cockpit as my writing office is super sweet, until the bugs come out in summer.
  10. I am bad at taking Instagram photos. I don’t have the patience. Usually I look at my phone and say, “Meh, that will work.”
  11. It is hard to get your significant other Christmas/birthday/anniversary presents because you don’t have anywhere to put them.
  12. I have only worn makeup 8 times this year. Hobo boater fashion is going to catch on, I just know it.
  13. Occasionally when the weather is horrible, I envy the people in base housing.
  14. Doing the black water pump out always smells bad. In 4 degrees or 90. The first time or the thirtieth time.
  15. Some friends like to exert their dominance by peeing on the boat, knowing that Conor will have to drag their urine up a hill.
  16. Ice is a novelty.
  17. It is okay to say, “I don’t know why it’s doing that.”
  18. What is ‘personal space’?
  19. The best part of Conor’s day is sliding open the hatch and yelling “Hello girls!” Even when the baby is napping.
  20. We are thankful to be doing this today instead of 30 years from now.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

2017 Recap Video

I used my (very limited) technological skills to put together a little recap video of this past year. Just a simple slideshow about our crazy journey in 2017. The song is “Sleep on the Floor” by the Lumineers. Thank you all for following us through everything!

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

Mini Vacation in a Tiny Home

We took our first family ‘vacation’ over Valentine’s Day, and we stayed in a remodeled shipping container for two nights. Conor found a great deal on Airbnb (I LOVE Airbnb) and I had always wanted to see what this type of tiny home was really like. It seemed to be a good idea at the time… until you factor in a tiny baby as well!

We headed down to the Carolina Beach area, a bit south of Wilmington. We just needed to escape from the Jacksonville/Camp Lejeune area for a while (anyone who has lived here will understand) to enjoy the last few days of Conor’s paternity leave.

The shipping container home was SO COOL, take a look:

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The reality of traveling with an infant and a dog

The beach was beautiful, the restaurants were awesome, but OMG our boat baby would not sleep. Having spent every night of her short life surrounded by marina sounds, the shipping container felt too open, too echo-y, and too stationary! Without any gentle rocking, the sound of waves slapping the hull, the creak of straining lines, and the musical tap of a neighboring halyard, Baby W was VERY cranky. As soon as we got back home, Baby W passed out for a 4 hour nap. I told Conor that the next vacation we go on, we are taking the boat with us.

Love,

Taylor, Conor, and W

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Of course she slept through her first trip to the beach!

Deck the Halls (or should I say boat?)

I may have been a bit over-eager this year for the holiday season. These decorations were put up right after Thanksgiving:

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For all of our talk about minimalism, it seems a bit excessive, but NO RAGRETS.

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Plus, when your space is tiny, $30 worth of decorations goes a long way! Conor has been gone for a lot of holidays because of deployments, so I try to make December extra-special when he is home for it. We have a lot to celebrate this year, even though we can’t go home to Washington for Christmas.

I don’t think there is anything cozier than rocking gently on our decorated boat, while it is 40 degrees outside, drinking coffee, and listening to music. It gave me the motivation this week to finish the draft of my book! It’s finally complete at 91,500 words.

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with loved ones. Sorry for the super quick post this week, but stay tuned for an update about our v-berth soon!

Love,

Taylor and Conor

A Reader Lives A Thousand Lives

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I grew up in the suburbs, in the same house for twenty years, and had never even heard of a liveaboard until three years ago. So what spurred this examination of different types of living, and gave us the courage to do it ourselves?

Books.

My first ‘ah-ha’ moment came from reading Timothy Ferris’ 4 HOUR WORKWEEK. It talks about travel, escaping the bonds of a traditional 9-to-5, and alternative ways to make money. Most importantly, it discusses ‘dreamlining’ and laying out goals for what YOU want to accomplish out of life (not what is expected of you). Though with Conor in the military, we weren’t able to take the ‘4 hour workweek’ part of it literally, the message of the book got us thinking about how we could make the most of our lives and try new things while he was still in the service. If you’re wondering how to break out of a rut, start with this book. He talks about things I had never assumed were possible, and will truly make you re-examine the validity of “The American Dream”.

If that book inspires you, here are some more that have influenced me along the way:

THE ART OF POSSIBILITY is a great non-fiction for examining personal and professional fulfillment. It gives a set of twelve practices for bringing creativity, and thus unexpected possibilities, into your life. It was helpful in slowly changing my perspective to embrace change and challenges.

Another one of my favorites is called THE ORGANIZED MIND: THINKING STRAIGHT IN THE AGE OF INFORMATION OVERLOAD. This book made me realize the importance of living simpler, and how it would affect my overall happiness. It got me to look into tiny living and minimalism, which eventually led to boats! It is good to read in conjunction with FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE because they have a lot of parallels. Focus on what makes you happy, instead of spending useless time worrying! Don’t waste your brain power.

This is one that I just finished, so I can’t really say that it inspired us to get the boat, only that it reinforced my belief that we made the right call! DEVIATE by Beau Lotto teaches how to think, not what to think, and how by changing our perspective of the past we can influence our future. It explains why human hardwiring makes it difficult for us to live with uncertainty, and how to reengineer our brains to perceive a different reality, one that encourages creativity and innovation. The picture at the top of this post is an excerpt from the book.

As you can tell, I LOVE to read, and if anyone has other recommendations for me, I’m all ears! Please share your favorite books and what they have inspired you to accomplish.

Love,

Taylor and Conor

Itty Bitty Living Space

Even before realizing that I wanted to live on a boat, I was obsessed with tiny houses. It takes creativity and adaptability to make the most out of a non-traditional home, and I just love seeing the different ways that people utilize small spaces. Tiny House Nation, Tiny House Hunters–I’m a creep. I just love touring inside people’s houses!

In the spirit of HGTV, here is a little glimpse inside the creative space-savers that we have on our Catalina 380.

We’ll start with the galley. In this picture, there is a full pantry, a fridge/freezer, all of our pots and pans, a set of 12 plates and 6 bowls, 4 glasses, 4 coffee mugs, cooking and baking utensils, a full set of knives, and whatever else I forgot to list. Looks pretty tidy, no? I’ll show you the tricks (moving counter-clockwise)!

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Under the sink we have our knives, cutting boards, a salad spinner, two saucepans, a big pot, a casserole dish, and 2 baking pans in the back. Our cast iron skillets hang out in the oven when not in use. The not-so-fun part is that this cabinet shares space with the A/C pipe (that silver thing) and our water pump (on the left)

kitchen 1 Moving back up, underneath the blue mat to the right of the oven is our hidden pantry:

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It is deeper than it looks, and there is a second half underneath the false bottom! Great for storing canned goods and stuff you don’t need to access everyday. Tadaa!!

 

Kettle goes in the microwave when neither one is in use. Sometimes you gotta get creative! This thing does NOT fit in any cupboard.

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Underneath our microwave and top cabinets, there are little hidey-hole, shallow spaces that are perfect for things like measuring cups, cheese graters, blender bottoms, etc.

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Moving on to the other side of the oven underneath the second blue mat: our fridge/freezer space. You can access it from the top or the front. Our little fridge also has the same magic floor as our pantry, and is much bigger than it looks!

 

Now for the table/settee area. I love love love our table. It has a handy silverware drawer attached right underneath it! Handy, right?

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The best part: the table drops down to make a comfy bed to watch TV on! (Anyone else pumped that Game of Thrones is back??) We just throw the extra cushion on top.

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Behind both of our couches, we also have some storage cubbies. I usually use them for extra supplies, like paper towels, cleaning stuff, toilet paper, etc.

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Back into our bedroom, we have two VERY deep cabinets on either side of our bed. Scout sleeps on top of one on Conor’s side. Great for holding extra tools or paperwork.

 

In addition to our closets (2 in our bedroom, and 1 in the v-berth), we also have these sliding door cabinets on both sides of our cabin. Just like having a dresser, only more compact!

 

In our tiny shower, there is a surprisingly large waterproof locker. Conor plans on putting his scuba gear in there eventually.

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Lastly, up in the cockpit, we have two GIANT lockers underneath our bench seats. These are the reason the ceiling is so low in our room! It is hard to tell from the photos, but they are so deep I can literally stand up inside them. Inside this one there is boat cleaning supplies, two umbrella chairs, a bbq, and 6 adult lifejackets. The other one holds extra lines, fenders, flares, etc.

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One thing we’ve learned about boat life is that there is a place for everything, and everything needs to be in its place. I hope you liked the photo tour! If you have any space-saving tips, please share them with us.

Love,

Taylor and Conor

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

My voice echos through my empty house, my suitcase looks like it exploded, and I’ve only eaten sandwiches the past few days to avoid cooking. As I shove the last boxes into a tiny 7’x7′ container, I marvel at the fact that this POD now holds everything we own in the world.

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Packing tip: Use stackable Rubbermaid bins and Pelican cases. Their durability is great for long-term storage and life on a boat!

Packing up the POD is more than just putting our stuff in storage for the next 2-3 months, we are also saying goodbye to any sense of ‘home’ for the near future. Giving up our stability and security is an adjustment, but by pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones now, our sacrifices will be exchanged for greater gifts down the road. At least, that’s what I told myself last night as I tossed and turned in my sleeping bag.

For the time being, we are adrift. Well, about to be cut loose, anyway—checkout is on Friday. It is terrifying and exciting all at the same time, and we get to discover what we actually need in order to get by day-to-day. Familiar creature comforts are gone as we prepare to live out of 1 suitcase each for the next 2 months, from temporary living at an Airbnb, to driving across the U.S., to our TBD situation on the east coast.

The great news is that I heard from our broker today 🙂 I will update with boat info soon! He’s found us some truly spectacular options.

Love,

Taylor and Conor