Friday, 19 November 2010

Living the dream.

I read a very interesting blog post about living life on board a narrow boat. Now I am a bit free and easy with the advice. Often giving it whether it is needed or not. I have been asked what's its like living on a boat. My answer is always a positive one because I enjoy it so much. The blog posting title is "Is it for me?" Where Jo, who lives and works on the canal, highlights some of the issues surrounding boat ownership and the vexed question about living aboard.

After reading Jo's posting, it set me off to thinking, what would I say to the next person who asks the question. What's it like living aboard a narrow boat. The answer would be downplayed to be "well its OK for me, but it might not suit everyone. If you would like to find out for yourself then the one bit of advice I would give is. First get some experience of the life aboard, by having a few holidays crewing a boat on the canals and rivers. Don't only do this during the typical boating holiday season. You must include some time spent aboard during the winter months if you are going to get the true picture."

For us, we spent a year just researching and reading everything we could. We started to "look at possibilities" but with no intention to buy. We also hired in the winter, including February 2009 when many places on the canals were iced up. Boat ownership and the lifestyle is often portrayed as time spent aboard moving from one rural idyllic location to another. Other boat owners will say that the definition of a boat is a hole in the water where you throw your money. However, for us even in the middle of a prolonged cold spell, we still loved every moment.

What I do know is that you will need to research the cost implications very carefully before committing yourself. We spend as much time on the boat as we can - but we know that "living the dream" for us will include spending some time living ashore in the depths of winter. So we have a permanent mooring where we will return to at the end of our "cruising season" (March - November). We know what the costs are and we are prepared to meet them. We are very clear in our expectations and our choice has been made based on a full understanding of the benefits and pitfalls.


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