With our sudden change in direction, people have asked me if I am wise deciding to move into an itty bitty teeny weeny tin box and give up the luxuries of the yachting lifestyle.  So I decided to sit down and think about the realities of what we plan to do versus the lifestyle we have relinquished. 

First off, I have to state loudly and clearly that I absolutely loved the five years we spent in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Grenada is my most favorite of all the islands for its welcoming and friendly attitude to cruisers. I loved living on a boat even though I personally hate sailing, I loved the lifestyle and I loved the people I met along the way. I loved the endless sunrises and sunsets and the beauty around us made me eternally grateful each and every day for the life we were blessed to live. 

Now our reasons may not be the same as others for giving it up, and to be sure, leaving was a very bittersweet time in our lives. The honest truth is that we simply do not have the endless disposable income it takes to maintain a sailboat. If we had oodles of money, it would be a no-brainer. I would have a nice big catamaran and fly home periodically to deal with taxes, medical issues, and investments. But we do not have that kind of income and so our adventure has to change paths.   Our boat’s name is Winds of Change and we feel the name is quite fitting at this time as we shift our direction to a land yacht.  Wind of Change is still in Grenada bobbing gently on her mooring ball waiting for the right owner to come along and love her and protect her as she deserves to be. If you know anyone interested in a Formosa for sale, they can view it here

Back to boats versus tiny boxes. I have narrowed down the pros to my top 6 reasons, living in a tin box would be preferable to a sailboat, from our perspective anyway. 

No more bending and twisting into a pretzel to reach anything or repair anything. 

There is still going to be some contortion going on but nowhere near as bad as our boat. I plan to design our tin box to be geriatric-friendly. That means smart storage solutions which are easy to access.  See more about that here. The list will grow and develop more over time but it will be the main essence of this blog. 

No more fetching water in jerry cans daily or bending and twisting into a pretzel to use the watermaker. 

Our watermaker was a right royal pain in the butt, just because of its location. It involved crouching down under our bed and raising floorboards to get to it. We eventually gave up on it when it needed new filters and we collected water from shore in jerry cans. Many boaters have rigged up elaborate rain catchers and modern boats often have them in the overall design, but that is assuming you have rain. There are prolonged dry seasons in the tropics. Our van will have a simple water system that can be filled from a  standard hose at any gas station. 

I know that many van lifers use jerry cans, but I intend to have a marine-style water tank that holds a lot more water. It just gives us great peace of mind not constantly worrying about how much water we have onboard each day. I know from experience that we use a minimum of 5 gallons a day.  Oh, the bliss of sticking a hose in the side of the vehicle once a week versus the daily chore of fetching and paying for water every day!!!

No more grocery excursions - Although they were fun with friends ;)

Our usual grocery excursions involved catching an island bus to the nearest large town which was generally nowhere near our boat location.  This meant that we had to be careful about frozen produce and the time it took to get our provisions safely back onboard. It was also sometimes difficult to get the products you wanted, being a tropical island and all.

Once we had done the grocery shop, which took several hours, we would be knackered and still had to put it all in a dinghy and haul it back to the boat. There we had to lug it up a ladder before finally putting everything away. In a van, we will drive up to the grocery store, buy whatever the hell we want, and pack it away the minute we leave the store.  I am going really enjoy this perk. 

No more weather watching and sleepless nights during hurricane season, wondering if your home is going to drag or wind up on the rocks or even worse, crash into another boat. 

This was not such a big deal in Grenada since they are not really in the hurricane belt, but we did have an annual tropical storm and Christmas Winds to contend with. However, we also lived through Hurricane Irma, Maria, and Jose while living in Antigua. This trio of weather demons swirled around us one after another in the space of just two weeks. We were extremely fortunate that none of these hurricanes actually made landfall in Antigua, choosing to decimate surrounding islands instead. Still, the constant weather watching and moving into a hurricane hole to prepare for what might be coming is nerve-wracking and exhausting, to say the least. 

Now I am well aware that Rv’s don’t fare too well in hurricanes and tornadoes either, but the difference here is that it is quite the ordeal to move a boat. It takes planning and a lot of preparations and boats don’t move very fast. As my son once said, he could run faster than the average sailboat, to which his uncle replied, “Not on water, you cant.”  So to get out of harm’s way takes time in a sailboat and often isn’t a feasible option, leaving you no choice but to hunker down and prepare.  At least in a van, you can drive fast and get out of the way of severe weather. 

No more donning dive gear and scrubbing boat bottoms to clean the critters that have taken up residence underneath your home. 

The tropics,  by the very nature of being tropical,  have warm waters. This means that if your boat sits for any length of time, a coral reef sprouts on the bottom and becomes a condo for all marine life. This is pretty cool if you are into underwater photography, but it is not so cool when you want to sail because it will slow you down so much you could push your boat faster, not to mention it is not good for the boat to have critters living on it.  My husband did this chore and frequently surfaced with skin rashes when he didn’t wear a wet suit or tiny crab-like critters in his ears. The last week before we left, he was actually zapped by a crab on his chin.  So bottom cleaning is not much fun but it has to be done.  Van Maintenance is easier. At the very least we have terra firma to work on and handy mechanics in the family to assist. 

No more endless boat maintenance, particularly teak varnish. The salt air and sun are brutal to everything on a boat. 

If you, after reading this still want a boat, please buy one with a minimal amount of wood finish. Our boat is beautiful. A classical old “Pirate” boat but the teak maintenance was never-ending. You would start at one end and it would take a month to prep and varnish everything - decks, rails, trim, masts - It would all have to be done again in 6-9 months. 

Even if you have no wood, the steel fixtures also have to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. It never failed to amaze me how relentless sun damage can be. 

I think the thing I will miss the most is the absolute serenity and peacefulness of waking up every morning, sitting in my cockpit, and watching the sunrise over the water. I am an early riser and this was always the best part of my day. I would usually get my coffee in before the 6 am showers which are almost a daily occurrence. These showers are short-lived and last just long enough to wet your cushions, but by that time I was usually down below taking my own shower. 

I have my memories to look back on and it is these memories that I will cherish for the rest of my days. However there are things I still need to see and explore and I am certain there will be beautiful sunrises and sunsets in other locations, just not a daily event, like when you live on the water off a tropical island.  In a future post, I will talk about the wonderful things about living on a sailboat in the tropics and they far outweigh the inconveniences we have discussed here. The question is whether or not we will find advantages in van life. Time will tell.

If you would like to support our adventures please consider buying us a coffee. For every $50 we receive in donations, we pledge to pay it forward by cleaning up a beach or public park in our location in an effort to rid the earth of plastic garbage.  (We will post the clean-ups as we go along.)

We know it is just a drop in the ocean, but our oceans are very close to our heart and we intend to do whatever we can, no matter how small the task may seem, to bring awareness to the plight of our oceans and marine life.