I like small living spaces. I grew up in a 3/4 cape, then lived in a dorm for 4 years, then a series of small apartments, and then bought a one-floor ranch-style house. Moving onto a 44-foot catamaran seemed reasonable; she is quite roomy, for two anyway. But boy, does this boat get small on a cold and rainy day with four aboard stuck inside this tiny salon! Unfortunately for us, that’s been about 70% of our weather these past three and a half weeks. Large portions of this trip have not been what I would deem ‘comfortable’.
So I ask myself, what makes me ‘comfortable’? A hot drink and a place to curl up with a book or movie makes me ‘comfortable’ on a cold or rainy day. I find sunny days with temps above 65oF to be comfortable, but I don’t like it too hot or too humid. Being dry is comfortable. Being able to have a regular exercise routine makes my body hurt less, which makes it easier to be physically comfortable. On an mental/emotional level, time with family and friends alternating with time alone is important for my comfort. Having enough joy to offset the challenges provides me with a sense of balance in life, and therefore a type of comfort. Planning gives me a sense of order and control which give me comfort.
Now how do I attain this sense of comfort onboard now rather than holding out for the elusive ‘comfort’ once we reach warmer climes? I am finding this challenging.
Weather impacts my mood, which impacts my comfort level. I can’t do anything about the weather. All I can do is keep myself as physically comfortable as possible by wearing the right clothes and gear, drinking hot beverages and using the space heater when it’s cold, being outside when I can. I am a bit more acclimated to the current temperatures, which is helpful because I don’t feel as cold as often. I have to accept the fact that I and the boat are going to be damp frequently, at this time of year due to condensation, in warmer climes it will be due to humidity. We just open her up when we can to air her out and regularly clean the forming mildew. I pretty much have to suck it up when it comes to weather.
Balancing together time with alone time is important for my mental/emotional comfort and I have been struggling with this, especially because the weather has prevented us from spreading out on the boat. One method I’ve adopted is to just get out of bed once I realize I’m not going to fall back asleep. Instead, I get up and do something alone, like working on my blog this morning. The 30-45 minutes of alone time helps center me. As it gets warm enough, I’ll carve out time each day to do yoga up in the bow, even if I have to put on an extra layer I wouldn’t need at home. I can say that I’m not bored, and there has been much joy on the trip- joy in the company I’m with, joy in the activities we’ve engaged in in the places we’ve explored. Balance between joy and challenges- ✓.
I like to plan things out, and I like for the plans to work out as, well, planned. While planning is extremely important when living aboard, trying to have a plan is like beating one’s head against a wall. Planning for safety is necessary, and we do this all the time. We plan around marine weather forecasts in order to travel from place to place safely. We plan safely navigable routes. We plan to have enough food, water and fuel aboard for times when we can’t get to them ashore. We planned home-like ‘comforts’ before moving aboard. I made quilts for each cabin. We made sure we would have reading material and movies for entertainment. We provisioned foods we enjoy eating, and brought aboard kitchen aids and gadgets that make cooking enjoyable. We ensured we could easily keep in touch with family and friends back home. For warmer climes, we have what we need to dive and snorkel. Still, the deeply rooted ‘planner’ in me finds it stressful to not have a more detailed plan, like knowing exactly where we will be going and when and exactly what we will be doing and exactly what we will have for supper. (Okay, yes, at home I plan out the week’s supper’s before shopping for groceries. You can stop laughing now). Stress does not lead to my being comfortable. The rational part of my brain acknowledges that trying to generate these types of plans on board is pretty silly, but it hasn’t yet convinced the other parts of my brain of this.
What I really need to work on is becoming comfortable ‘going with the flow’. I’m going to start practicing now. We’re going to dub our way down Long Island sound, stopping where we can when we can, and I’m going to be okay with that…I hope.
For now, everyone is up and in the salon. The sun is sort of out, it’s not too cold, and the bow is dry. I’m going to go do some yoga- alone.