A Shift in Perspective: Finding God in the Common

“The universe is wider than our views of it. […] What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same [stars] at the same moment!” – Henry David Thoreau

1fc5d2ed-0c91-4570-9d21-df0e3729a29d

I love this picture. And no, it has nothing to do with the dancing Russian girl behind me, but I will say, it doesn’t hurt.

There are so many things that I love about this moment. I love that the last night of my Camino was captured. I love that all of my “Camino family” had left and this group of pilgrims welcomed me for the night. I love that the person who took the picture was a complete stranger, and eight months later has become one of my closest friends. I love that I have no idea who the man is beside me, or what we were looking at, but for one brief moment we were brought together to celebrate the end of a journey. But mostly, I love how much it reflects the beauty in Creation.

That night I witnessed the most beautiful night sky I have ever seen. Stars on stars on stars on stars. I’m talking stop me in my tracks, bring me to my knees in awe kind of beauty. What an artist our Creator is! But then I wonder, Kat, why the heck did it take such a spectacular moment for you to have this sort of experience? Get it together woman!

*sigh*

Now that I’m home I often find myself looking up at the stars through the forward hatch when I lay in bed, thinking about that night and about how many of us are looking up at that same sky. It’s the exact night sky that I had seen, and it has been there the entire time. Yet somehow, with the world muting its brightness, I now allow myself to see it as “common.” (Gee, thanks light pollution…)

It’s such a reflection of the idea that the things of this world can so easily hide the face of Christ. Whether that be physically, like my inability to see the night sky as clearly, or in our spiritual lives, when I allow busyness and worldly demands to cloud my vision of the Creator.

What I often fail to see, though, is how “common” can be insanely beautiful! It seems so foolish to seek God only in the strange and spectacular, but we’ve all been guilty of this. I mean let’s be real, it’s much easier to see Him in a beautiful sunset than it is in the neighbor who gets mad at you for leaving your trash can at the end of the driveway for an hour longer than usual. (My driveway is the ocean, but I’m assuming this happens to some people.)

The thing is, God didn’t present Himself to us in an extraordinary way! When He became man, He chose a quiet, unknown woman for His mother. His birthplace was not a palace, but a cave. During His life, He walked and talked with ordinary people. He chose fishermen as His companions. He did not dine with Herod, but in the homes of common people. He was crucified between two common thieves. He can be found where we least expect to find Him — in common things.

Unfortunately, life isn’t always beautiful night skies and sips of red wine on the coast of Spain. Life is messy and sometimes I allow my sights to be set on things that don’t matter, and fail to see the beauty in the small things that do.

Instead of simply thanking God for giving me a glimpse of His heart that night, I long for more and continuously ask why He is not showing it to me all the time. Newsflash: He is. Silly little me just doesn’t always chose to acknowledge it. But I’m me, and I’ll continue to be hit over the head with His love and then ask where He is. That’s what I do. I’m a messy child that He is loving hard, and if it takes an army for me to see His beauty, I know He’ll send it. He did that night.

So when I said at the beginning of this post that I loved the photo so much because it reflected the beauty in Creation, yes I was referring to the amazing sunset in the background. Looking back, though, I was also referring to the beauty in each and every person that I encountered on that journey; in each and every painful step that reminded me of my humanity; in each and every “common” occurrence where I was, and still am, learning to acknowledge the glimpses of heaven.

(Oh shoot, so I guess it was a good photo because of the dancing Russian girl…)

Well in that case, I guess I need to dance like the Russian girl as I rejoice in the wonderful gift of beauty, and the many places I am learning to see it. Thanks to each of you for being that example of beauty. I hope I can be the same for you.

Much love and adventure,

Kat

IMG_7995

Whatever Floats Your Boat: Relentlessly Pursue Your Own Way

I’m going to call on my boy Rumi to help me flesh out this post, because he had a way with words that I will only ever dream of having. I’d like to think my sense of humor is a little more thoroughly developed than his was though. I’ll let you decide which is more important.

I digress.

So. You know those front bangs that I had from 3rd-8thgrade? Yeah I wanted those at the time. I look back now and wonder why my family and friends let me continuously make such a destructive decision…but at the time, it felt good in my soul. I was Lizzie McGuire and no one was going to stop me. And let’s be honest, it made for some stellar blackmail material for my siblings. Point being: You’ll never truly be able to regret a decision that was honest, true, and in pursuit of a desire that you held within your heart.

I’m still figuring out what the heck it is I want to do with my life. I started a career in broadcast news, thinking that I would climb the corporate ladder and become the youngest Executive News Producer that Tampa had ever seen. Now I work in marketing and have no intention of ever stepping foot in a newsroom again. And that’s okay. Last year I wanted to get married to the person I was dating and buy a house in Florida. Now I live on a sailboat and couldn’t dream of settling down anytime soon, especially not where I live currently. There is too much of the world to see. Too many experiences to be had.

When it comes to pursuing dreams, we have to be okay with change. We also have to be okay with letting other people’s expectations down. Life is better when you’re not so concerned about how other people will view you for your actions, choices, and decisions. There’s great freedom in doing what makes you happy and being authentically yourself. Whether this is something as simple as how you dress, the career path you choose, or the company you keep. When you’re true to yourself and don’t allow the assumed thoughts of others to dictate your choices, life possibilities expand and your joy increases.

rumi1

Now you might be thinking, wow this girl really has it together. Yeah, no. You know what allowed me to finally embrace change? I ran out of ways to avoid it.

I got dumped. My apartment rent was being raised and I could no longer afford to stay where I was. And then my little dog, my best companion, suddenly passed away. Everything in my life was uprooted and I’ll be honest, for a long time I didn’t know what I was going to do or why this was all happening at one time. Heck, I still don’t. But I remember my Mom coming to visit me after it all happened and saying “Kathryn, you have to get up. You have to go to work. You have to move forward.”

The concept of moving forward at the time seemed too difficult to face. But having everything stripped down allowed me to take time to slowly look at myself and figure out what it was that I wanted. Not what everyone else in my life had wanted for me. It is exhausting trying to be someone you are not. And life is way, way, way too short to spend time pursuing something that doesn’t make you smile.

Now don’t get me wrong, I truly hope that this isn’t the route you have to take in finding out what it is you truly desire for yourself. The important thing is that no matter how change comes about, and no matter what goals we each have for ourselves, that we always strive to passionately pursue our happiness and not the ideas of what should make us happy.

FB-Rumi-Let-yourself

I have not a clue in the world where this journey will lead me, since my desires seem to be changing by the minute these days, but like the tides pulling my sailboat, I’m learning to let go and let my life be drawn towards what it is I desire. Sometimes drifting can be scary, but sometimes it can lead you towards what you have been looking for the entire time. If it turns out that the strange pull towards what you love leads you to front bangs, then you do you boo. But know that we will take pictures. And we will laugh. Let’s enjoy the ride together.

image

And yes this entire post was sort of a Captain Jack/Pirates of the Caribbean “follow the compass of your heart” reference. I live on a boat. I can have one pirate reference on my blog…stop judging me.

Much love and adventure,

Kat

Salty or Sweet? The Tiny Boat Mentality

Sitting on the deck of my boat, journal in hand, I watch as the sun slowly descends along the horizon. The sound of the waves tapping the side of the boat and the muffled laughs of my neighbors playing cards on the dock blend into the background. I can see James, the 14-year-old from across the marina, running up and down to each and every boat boasting the tiniest fish he just caught with an excitement that could be matched by no other.

It’s in moments like these, as I sit watching, that I wonder when exactly it was that my child-like sense of adventure and wonder left me.

It must have been a gradual fade. One that slowly went unnoticed. Until one day I looked up, laughed, and caught myself saying, “that’s just a tiny fish.”

There are so many times in my life when I have these “tiny fish” moments. Where I fail to realize that what I am doing, and who I am, is good enough. Where the pressures of our society and fear of comparison permeate my mind. Where a child-like excitement, so beautifully exhibited through James, is hushed by the busyness of life and its inconveniences.

Well it’s time to switch my “tiny fish” mentality to a “tiny boat” mentality.

There are a few rules that come along with the “tiny boat” mentality. Rule #1: No shirt, no shoes, no problem. Just kidding…I still need my dock lease. So while I have definitely adopted the shoeless, laid-back lifestyle of the marina, the shirts are staying put. The real Rule #1 when it comes to the “tiny boat” mentality is not to sweat the small stuff. Let’s be honest, life on a boat produces enough sweat on its own, and no one wants those added pit stains.

giphy

I guess you could call me a perfectionist, as I do tend to obsess over the details in almost every situation. Even writing this blog is a practice in relinquishing some control on my part, being that I know it will never be exactly how I want it. (“Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” -Michael Scott) But ever since I moved onto the boat, the beauty that surrounds imperfection, a beauty that too often goes unnoticed, has become much more evident to me.

It’s the way my neighbors are sometimes “too loud” while laughing at the grill that now brings a smile to my face, knowing how much fun they are having. It’s seeing the tiny leak in my forward hatch, and feeling the water drip on my arm in a big storm, that now reminds me how blessed I am to have shelter. It’s the way I can get frustrated in the Florida heat when I have to walk the long dock to get to my boat that now allows me the time to pass every neighbor and say hello, becoming even more grateful for my new community.

It’s all of these seemingly tiny inconveniences, where I often find the most beauty in my day. So I’m going to strive to not sweat the little things, and find something positive in each situation. Even if sometimes I have to look a little harder.

Rule #2 in the “tiny boat” mentality is that you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. Gone are the days of fearing failure. Failure is the world’s best catalyst for change. I was constantly worried about what my failure would look like to others, and it kept me from finding the confidence to pursue what brings me joy for way too long. Now I’m taking time to slow down, recognizing what makes me happy, and taking the first steps towards achieving it.

Quote.jpg

Rule #3: Stop basing your success solely on end-results. Working at a school, I see this every day. Students focusing on the fact that they got a lower grade than they wanted on an assessment, instead of taking a step back and recognizing how far they have come and how much they have improved overall. Even as adults it is so easy to make our happiness black and white. You had a good day at work or you didn’t. You made the right parenting choice or you didn’t. The problem with that outlook on life, is that we don’t take the time to step back and see all of the little successes that are littered throughout our week.

I could be cheesy and say that life is about the journey, not the destination. And that you should celebrate every small success along the way. But really, in a world where we are often told to downplay our achievements, or that our achievements in and of themselves are not good enough, I think we would all be better off striving to be a little more like James. To find that inner, child-like excitement that comes along with even the small victories, the tiny fish.

Rule #4: Slow down. Way down.

We live in a world of constant motion and change. People walk quickly past each other on the street, heads buried in their technology, working their lives away. If there’s one thing I love the most about living at the marina, it’s that the pace of life is much slower. And while at first I thought it was due to the relaxing, laid-back environment (which definitely contributes), I have quickly come to realize that the leisurely, happy atmosphere is just a byproduct of those living here. It’s being surrounded by a group of people whose main focus in life is human connection and friendship, and this can be found anywhere!

My grandfather was the king of slowing down, and as I look back on my own childhood, some of my fondest memories were with him. We would sit for hours on his front porch, just him and I, as he told me stories and jokes. Sometimes we would just sit in silence and enjoy each other’s company as we looked out over the neighborhood. Fast-foward to now, as I sit writing this blog on the deck, I truly appreciate being reminded that often the best way to keep moving forward is to slow down.

“Take time and slow down. Invest yourself in what you do, whether it be working or playing, eating or praying. Notice and give attention and concentrate. For appreciation is the wellspring of joy and thanksgiving, and appreciation is the fruit of patient and attentive experience. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing slowly.”

IMG_4408

Changes in mindset and habit don’t come overnight. I’m conditioned to sweat the small things, to keep up in this fast-paced world, and to find perfection. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few weeks, it’s that I need to take time to rejoice in the “tiny fish” that God has given me, and always pursue those moments, and Him, with child-like wonder. At the end of the day, the happiest people are not those who accomplish the most, but those who experience the most. Never doubt who you are or Whose you are.

Much love and adventure,

Kat

Before and After: Renovating A Boat on a Budget

You know that girl in 8th grade who everyone ignored, and then you all leave for the summer only to find out that she blossomed and came back to high school a STUNNER. Yeah, that girl is my boat, and she just got her braces off!

When I first started looking to purchase a boat, I knew that I was going to have to buy a fixer-upper, considering I wanted to stick to a very low budget. The boat I am currently living on had been located at the same marina for a few years, was sailed regularly, and it’s maintenance kept up with. That being said, the inside of the boat left something to be desired. In fact, I didn’t even tell my parents about it until I was almost completely done renovating out of fear of giving them heart attacks with the before snapshots. It was small, dark, and definitely had that boat smell. (For those of you who have never lived on a boat, it’s not “sea mist”, contrary to what Yankee Candle’s marketing team might have you believe.)

Before

Some people will tell you that it’s a sin to paint the wood on a boat, or that it’s bad juju to rename a vessel. Those are the same people who forward the “Share this goat picture in the next five minutes or you will have bad luck” social media posts….So just do your thang. Paint, rename, make it your own space. After all, you’re the one who has to inhabit the boat. And I’m fairly confident that if you’re the type of person who has decided to make this transition in the first place, you probably don’t care all that much about what other people say!

As you know, I had never purchased a boat before. What you probably didn’t know was that I had also never done any sort of real renovation besides a simple coat of paint here and there. Even then, I HATE TAPING. I don’t know what it is, but it took everything in my being to tape up this boat before I started. That being said, a coat of paint is such a cheap and easy way to quickly transform a space. My Hunter sailboat clearly had not been updated since it was brought into this beautiful world in 1974. I don’t think it had been cleaned either, but that’s another story.

Some items on the agenda this summer included: re-painting the entire boat from top to bottom, refinishing and sealing the floors, installing air-conditioning, repurposing the couch cushions with new fabric, switching out light fixtures, updating the cabinets in the galley, installing a new sink, and removing the fold-out table from the wall. *deep breath*

I had no idea where to start. So I grabbed a paintbrush, and before I knew it, I was spending every weekend for the better part of three months in a hot boat that was slowly starting to come to life. (Don’t ask me why I didn’t start with the air-conditioning. I don’t have an intelligent answer.)

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 3.58.25 PM.png

Taking on this project was a massive learning curve, but I knew it could be done. The number one lesson I learned throughout the entire process was that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING you set your mind to. The second most important lesson I learned is that when you can’t do anything you set your mind to (lol), you can pay someone else to do it. Just kidding…sort of.

But for real, get your hands dirty and learn new skills! If it’s something that when messed up won’t damage the structure of the boat, give it a shot, but also know when to call in a little help from friends and marina neighbors. It’s easy to stick to a budget if you utilize the people around you.

The thing about living on a boat, is that everything is much smaller, making renovations far less complicated. I had two small light fixtures to change out, and the sink was easily removed, cleaned and refinished. The cabinets were painted a light green/turquoise to brighten up the space and add a pop of color.

I forced my friends to get $2 Ikea breakfasts with me (try it) and scour the store for the perfect accessories to maximize space in my new floating home, making sure to install a decent amount of shelving and hooks to take advantage of previously unused wall space. Finally, once my bigger renovations were complete, I added pillows, comfortable rugs, and blankets, bringing to life my own little oasis on the sea.

IMG_3423

DSC_9008

BeforeandAfter

 

I am still in the process of finishing up some renovations, but be sure to check back for picture updates!

-Kat

 

 

 

A Sea of Ceramics: How to Ease the Process of Downsizing

Riddle me this: Why did I ever own 10 coffee mugs when living alone? And where did they all come from?! Oh you know, just in case me and nine of my closest friends ever wanted to simultaneously sip tea on my 25 square-foot back porch and talk about life, I was covered.

I was drowning in a deep sea of ceramic mugs, clothes, and books. (Okay so I kept the books….but knowledge…am I right?) Excess isn’t a word that I would have ever used to describe my lifestyle. I’m a 23-year-old, single girl who was renting a modest one-bedroom apartment. But the more I began to look at my possessions, and the closer I got to moving onto the boat, I realized that I was much more attached to some items than I care to admit.

When I walked through my apartment with the furniture that I’d slowly been accumulating over the years, I did feel a pang. I won’t lie. I think part of me based my success off of what I’ve been able to physically purchase in my life. And this is me trying to figure out why I needed all of this stuff in the first place. My head is in a space now where I am no longer placing extreme value on things. Two weeks ago, I said goodbye to my place and felt both a sense of excitement and anxiety. Sure, I could put everything in storage, and if this whole crazy boat idea doesn’t pan out, I could always rent another apartment, but that would almost seem like cheating. I’m excited to move towards a lifestyle that is more focused on experiences and meeting new people, and less focused on trying to keep up with everybody else’s expectations of me.

I know what you’re thinking. Okay–awesome, Kat. You weren’t sad to get rid of your stuff. But that still means you had to sort through it all and decide what to take and what to do with the rest…

You’re right. And I won’t lie to you, it was kind of a daunting task to sort through years of my life. But the most important thing to remember is just to start small. Here are some tips I compiled based off of my own recent experiences in moving towards a more simplified lifestyle.

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 12.12.11 PM

1.) Decide What Is Truly Important To You

I am someone who absolutely cannot live without my guitar. If you told me that my guitar wouldn’t fit on the boat, I would just as soon rent another apartment. It is important when downsizing to determine what items truly mean the most to you. Is it a painting that your grandmother gave you, an instrument, your favorite item of clothing? It’s okay to have a sentimental attachment to certain things, as long as you are able to find a balance. And when living on a boat, balance is key. Literally. So before you start donating your old clothes or listing your entire apartment on Facebook Marketplace, choose a few things that mean the most to you and set them aside. Now we can move on to the rest.

2.) Choose Function Over Style

Space is a hot commodity on a sailboat, or in any tiny home at that. When renovating my boat this summer, I had to take into consideration how every space would be used to it’s fullest potential. The same goes for the items you bring onto the boat. Replace a mountain of tupperware containers with two or three collapsable bowls that can be stacked on top of each other. Choose items of clothing that can be worn in layers, or in multiple different styles, to maximize the versatility of your smaller wardrobe. Do you really need that SlapChop you bought from the Home Shopping Network after one too many glasses of rosé? I think not. A small, sharp knife that can fold up will do the trick.

And while I’m at it…don’t drink rosé. It’s wine that can’t decide what it wants to be. I know I’m supposed to be helping you to downsize, but bring both the red and white. Some things just aren’t worth it people…

3.) Make Use of Technology 

Alright, so I’m going to be a bit of a hypocrite for a second, but hear me out. Technology is your best friend when going tiny. Bring along your laptop, phone and iPad and you can essentially eliminate your television sets, music and dvd collections, photo albums and so much more. A lot of people also save a ton of space here by getting rid of their books. That’s where I get caught. If you’ve noticed from my pictures, I kept a lot of my books. But there is just something that feels like home to me when I have a physical book in my hand and am out on the deck at night, reading under the stars. Corny, I know. But hey, you still love me. So plug in, charge up, tune in, and own less.

4.) Store Your Seasonal Items

I’m from Florida, where the humidity is just as high as the pants on every retired grandfather who snowbirds in Boca Raton. Needless to say, I don’t have seasonal clothing. My seasons are summer and a little less summer. That being said, for all of you who have the distinct pleasure of owning jackets, storing them during the off-season can be a little bit of a task when going tiny. Luckily, you still have a few options. When talking to some of the other liveaboards at my marina, many who have lived all over the world, one tip they had was using vacuum bags. Seal large items inside and remove the air for smart storage. Remember to also focus on layers and like we said before, maximize the versatility of your closet by choosing items that can be worn at all times. I’m someone who still owns a car while living aboard my vessel. If that is the case for you, consider keeping off-season clothing in bins in your vehicle and swapping out when necessary.

5.) Organization Is Key

I am not an organized person. Or should I say I wasn’t. I mean let’s be real, the title of this article is a “Sea of Ceramics” and I have been treading water, head barely above the surface, for quite sometime. I like to think that having a little chaos in life can make things a lot more fun, but when it comes to going tiny, organization is key. When you have a small space, there is a place for everything and everything has a place. Wall hooks, hidden storage spaces, and creativity are lifesavers. You’d actually be surprised at how much storage I have in less than 100 square feet of living space.

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 12.29.44 PM.png

Making a list of items that you want to keep is a useful first step. Start with the necessities and work your way down to items that are wants. Think about how many of each item you realistically need (then take one away.) Set goal dates for accomplishing tasks. Want to get rid of half of your clothes by the end of the month? Turn your hangers around backwards and at the end of 30 days anything that you haven’t touched can be donated. Keep track of items that can be sold and those that would be better for donation. Small, organized steps help relieve the stress of downsizing and allow you to focus on the freedom of going tiny!

6.) Relax and Enjoy the Process

Going tiny can seem overwhelming at times. But the freedom of owning less will quickly set in, leaving you refreshed and ready to take on your next adventure. At the end of the day, remember the reason you wanted to embark on this journey. Whether it be for financial freedom, reducing your environmental footprint, increasing travel time, or one of the other million reasons to simplify….it’s important to take a few deep breaths and enjoy every second!

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 2.47.44 PM

 

Much love and adventure,

Kat

@thewanderingkat

 

The Realities of Being a Full-Time Liveaboard

When I tell people that I live on my boat, their initial reaction is usually one of shock. “So like, how do you take a shower?”…..

I bathe myself in the ocean, Debra. No, but in all seriousness. I’m one of the lucky ones who has a shower on board. That being said, life on a boat definitely comes with its challenges and takes some getting used to.

When I started looking around at varying marina communities in my area, I noticed they were all extremely different. Some docks had 4 liveaboards, whereas my current marina has upwards of 40. Whether you have a small community, or a much larger one, there are some basic things that everyone should expect to come along with living docked full-time.

Laundry Day Can Be a Much Needed Break

Gone are the days of throwing your wrinkled shirt in the dryer quickly before you rush out the door to work. (Wait am I the only one who does that?) Living on a boat takes a fair bit more planning. Unless you are jetting around on some mega yacht, in which case nothing on my blog applies to you and I’ll assume you are here for my good looks and witty comments, you’ll have to make use of the laundry facilities at your marina. That means gathering your clothes, carrying them off the boat, and using the shared washer and dryer facilities. I typically spend an hour or two on the weekend in the laundry room catching up on emails while I wait for my clothes to dry. And by emails, I mean the latest episode of Law and Order SVU. So plan ahead, bring something to keep your attention, relax, and you’ll have salt-free clothes in no time.

You’ll Find a Sense of Community.

The best thing about living at a marina: community, community, community. When I moved onto the boat I had no less than five different people introduce themselves, ask if I was new to the docks, and offer to help me move on. For a young girl, living alone on a boat, it’s important that I feel safe and comfortable with those living around me. Because of the proximity of the boats and the need to walk along quite a lengthy dock to get out of the marina, I chat with my neighbors several times per day.

This whole transition has been a massive learning curve, and I’ve had help from my new floating neighbors at every turn. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it, or simply grab a drink with someone new. Remember, it’s more than likely that you will find you have a lot in common with other individuals who are choosing to live a similar lifestyle to you. The social setting is fantastic. Every evening brings a new opportunity to enjoy a chat and drink along the dock or aboard someone’s boat. Get to know your neighbors and have fun! (Side note, if you haven’t seen the show Community, ten out of ten would recommend. Not an ad, I’m not popular enough for that.)

Random Birds and Animals Will Make Themselves Your Roommates.

Just the other day, I was on FaceTime with my mom to show her the final renovations of my boat. All was good, until I turned around and had a crow fly directly into my boat. I nearly s**t myself. And if you’ve seen everything on my boat, it’s all white. No bueno. Anyways, after it laughed at me and hopped around for a second it was gone. Leaving me to bask in my embarrassment. When living at a marina, not only will you have dogs in the ‘neighborhood,’ but every day you’ll be graced with dolphins, seagulls, and a variety of other beautiful wildlife that you would never find in your apartment. (I hope) Needless to say, close hatches and windows if you don’t want a little company here and there! (Then there’s Kevin, the massive bird that keeps me hostage on my boat at least once a week. But Kevin deserves his own blog post.)

You Will Drop Things in the Water

There’s a reason that boat keys are attached to that floating thing. (What’s it called?) That reason is me. Kat Kelly. I once dropped an entire unopened gallon of paint off the side of my boat during renovations and, like the environmental freak I am, I dove in and swam quite far to get the can out. It was a great way to meet my neighbors at the dock across from me…

When climbing on and off a boat multiple times a day, inevitably things will take the plunge. My advice: invest in a quality waterproof phone case, attach floaters to everything that is important, and say a little Hail Mary. Anti-slip shoes will be your best mate. I have yet to fall into the water myself, but with short legs and a tendency to err on the side of clumsiness, it’ll happen sooner or later.

You’ll Get Used to Not Needing Much (And Like It)

One of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of downsizing onto a boat, at least for me, was parting with all of the possessions I had accumulated over the years. Now I absolutely love living a more minimalistic lifestyle! Having fewer options quickly equates to having fewer worries. I don’t have to stress about cleaning a huge space and it’s not humanly possible for dishes to pile up in my sink. A cluttered wardrobe gave way to a smaller selection of items I actually love to wear on a regular basis. I’m living based off of what I need, and no longer what is just convenient. Smaller living spaces just mean more time is spent outdoors, but with 360 degree views of the water, you could say I’m not missing the walls of my old apartment.

Making the transition to moving onto a boat full-time takes a lot of courage and adjustment. Small steps are better than no steps. Don’t be afraid to make that first move…you’ll be surprised how owning a far less will make you feel far more. 

-Kat

Surviving Your First Night Living On a Boat

Night one is in the books! And I didn’t sink! I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights, letting this irrational fear seep in (pun intended) that something crazy will happen and my boat will fill with water as soon as I move on board. Just when I had fully come to terms with the fact that the fear stems from nothing concrete and I’d be fine…..*cue Hurricane Michael*

REALLY. Guys. You do not understand. When I moved into my apartment last year, on the water, a hurricane strolled in the next day and I was evacuated for five days. Left in my dark, power-less, parents’ house. I don’t know what it is about my moving schedule and massive storms, but I’ll be sure to let you know the next time I’m moving so you can all get prepared for the impending doom making it’s way to Florida’s beautiful West Coast.

IMG_3642
BRING IT ON MICHAEL!

Needless to say, it’s been quite windy these past few days and I’m still working on the sea legs. What doesn’t help is when you meet your new marina community and have a few drinks, then try and come back to a moving house! I have quite a few bruises on my legs from moving and renovating but I won’t pretend that two or three of these aren’t from me losing my balance…yikes!

IMG_3586

Bruises aside, the neighbors I met on my first day were so welcoming! I had two different people ask if I needed help moving and then invite me out sailing for the day. One guy rode up on a kayak and even offered to make me a custom door that my air conditioner would fit in. They invited me out to the community grill where everyone brought a different dish and we all had dinner together. We drank wine and got to know each other as we watched the sunset. I had been told that living with other liveaboards is all about the sense of community and friendship, but who would have thought I’d find such a comfortable fit on day one! 

IMG_3532

Once I got back to the boat and was all moved on, it was smooth sailing. I tried to make the boat as comfortable as possible, being such a small place. Lots of pillows, blankets, and rugs. String lights, candles, and a whole wall of wine…I’m not sure how anyone could have a bad first night here.

The weather relatively calm for my first night, and the gentle rocking of the boat put me to sleep quickly. I tend to move a lot in my sleep, so it’ll take a while to get used to the shape of the v-berth. I definitely can’t stretch out as much as I am used to, but I’m starting to like this whole cocoon-like room situation. Is this what those super tight Thunder dog shirts are like?

I woke up to the sound of the boats and birds, both buzzing around the marina early in the morning. The sun shining through the forward hatch. I made a cup of coffee in my tiny coffee pot, grabbed a book, and sat out on the deck for about an hour reading. I mean where else are you going to get a morning view like this?

I had a lot of people tell me that I’m crazy for wanting to move onto a boat. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned throughout my short 23 years, it’s that negativity has no room in pursuing dreams. It’s a morning like this, sitting outside writing this blog post, that let’s me know I made the right decision for myself. I hope that each of you strives to find your own personal happiness, whatever that may look like. For now, mine looks like a tiny sailboat, bobbing quietly on the horizon.

Much love and adventure,

Kat