Pearls of Wisdom
Icons/LFlorish.gif Random Reflections About Living Aboard Re Metau Icons/RFlorish.gif
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Top 10 Pleasures of Life AboardPearls of WisdomTop 10 Pleasures of Life Aboard
I tend to get philosophical when I take stock of our reasons for enjoying this lifestyle. Perhaps it is because these pleasures are less tangible; esoteric to the outsider. Or perhaps it is because these pleasures were recognized slowing, and strengthened over time. No matter the reason for the philosophical rhetoric, they fit our disposition and give our lives a sense of purpose.

Although we understand this lifestyle is not for everyone (and are grateful for that fact), we've discovered these are the things about living aboard that make it so ideal for us.

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Always Something to Do
~ Re Metau's Belay Pins ~
1. Always Something to Do
Always having something to do is pleasurable, when the things you do provide meaning, comfort and beauty to your life. I wouldn't say that I get bored easily, but I find it comforting that I've always got something to tinker with, and in doing so - I will learn how it works, how to use it properly, or how to fix it.

I gain a great deal of pride in being able to spin a newly greased winch, or rub my fingers over freshly polished bronze. I would rather be outside scraping varnish and bringing the teak back to a beautiful glow, than sitting inside, in a cube farm giving precious hours away to some task that is completely meaningless to my life.

When asked that age old question "What do you do for a living", now my answer is closer to what I am in this life."I'm a sailor."

 

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~ Re Metau's Wheel ~
2. Freedom to Go Anywhere in the World
Very few things in life are certain and forever. Of one thing I can be assured is the wind will always blow. And this certainty provides us with our one true inalienable liberty - to go anywhere in the world. We are truly capable of crossing the only real borders for humans on this planet - those created by our oceans.

Knowing this fact has brought the real meaning of freedom into perspective. No more are we affected by the fear being cultivated of illusory threats of terrorism, societal breakdown and governmental misconduct.

We are living on a small floating island, merely observing the laws of the land in our closest proximity. Should we find the situation in conflict with our well being, we can move our island and pursue our happiness elsewhere.

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Best View from a Real Deck
~ Beautiful Sunset ~
3. The Best View from a Real Deck
You can have a cassette deck, a sun deck, and a deck of cards. You might be decked out, you may get decked or you could clear the decks. I found 24 different definitions for deck, but the first - and most often referenced - was the nautical definition of a deck.

I smile when I see ocean front property for sale, promoted as "right on the water" with "spectacular views from the sun deck". Only a gazillion dollars and it could be yours - all yours.

Well - we're right on the water, we have a real deck, we didn't pay a fortune, and what a view we have! While anchored out we have a completely unobstructed vista of the setting sun. We can hang a hammock from the rigging and sway with the waves in the warm ocean breeze. We grill our dinner and enjoy it on the deck, or rendezvous with fellow sailors for evening cocktails and conversation. And we've got the biggest swimming pool on the planet!

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Independence from Stuff
~ Completely Free ~
4. Independence from Stuff
A funny thing about the stuff you own. It begins to take on a life of its own, and before you know - you become a slave to it.

I truly believe that American society has gone a little insane with ownership. I could start a top 10 list of examples that prove this imbalance; Self storage facilities, Space-saving storage bags, Shopping as a hobby, Enormous restaurant serving sizes, Disposable EVERYTHING, Open 24 hour anything, it goes on and on. All this stuff becomes baggage that metaphorically or physically is carried everywhere by its owner.

When we decided to commit to our dream, we began selling all our household contents on eBay. The first few items were tough to part with I'll admit, but shortly afterwards - almost nothing was excluded from the purge. I found things I'd long forgotten I owned, things whose purpose I couldn't fathom, and things I couldn't believe I'd kept. Each possession sold, donated or given away was something less to dust, store or protect. It was liberating to be finally free of the extra baggage, and the space around us grew so it felt easier to breath.

I believe many people hold onto stuff for various reasons; for a sense of well being, as a definition of themselves, or as a memento of some place or time. But ultimately, a person's sense of happiness and comfort, individuality and personality, and memories are internal. No external thing will ever provide a fraction of what's inside.

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Meet Your Neighbors
~ Boat Besties ~
5. Meet Your Neighbors
For 17 years, I lived in a house on the outskirts of a city, surrounded by literally hundreds of other dwellings similar to my own. It was a fairly safe neighborhood, each house with a small yard, a single driveway and sidewalks around every block. In the near 2 decades that I lived there, I'd estimate knowing approximately 2% of my neighbors. We'd emerge in the Spring; sometimes talk over the bushes - but the majority of the time we were locked up inside our four walls, living very separate and disengaged lives.

Now, with each marina or anchorage in which we reside, we are familiar with every boat and her owner. We have made so many close friends with this way of life, more then I believe I'd ever made before. We share tips, tools and tales, give a hand when help is needed, praise each other's triumphs and pull together in stormy weather. Live-aboards are a close knit tribe of people, bonded by the lifestyle that we've chosen to live. We understand the importance, security and connectedness we have with fellow humans. I've never felt more at home as I do now, surrounded by my tribe of sailors.

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Moving is Easy
~ Rainbow Over Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field ~
6. Moving is EASY!
Like most anyone, over the years I've moved myself, friends and family many times. Each incident was an ordeal; the packing, the cleaning, truck rentals, loading, unloading, unpacking. It takes days, boxes and bribes to relocate your stuff. I believe the majority of the relocation stress people experience is caused by their stuff; not being able to find it, worrying that it will get damaged, and finding a new place for all of it. It's no wonder people plant themselves in one place, unwilling to venture on to new experiences. They are deeply rooted under all their stuff.

This is one of the best things about having a floating home. When you want to have a new experience in a new location - even if just for a few days, there is no need to go through all the stress. All you do is untie a few lines, and sail off. One time we had visiting family aboard, and took them for a weekend sail to a nearby key. Several hours into our sail, I saw John's face go through a series of emotions in a matter of seconds; deep thought, annoyance, enlightenment, and finally amusement. I inquired as to what just went through his head, to which he replied sheepishly "I thought I forgot to bring my coat, but then I realized all my stuff was here on the boat!"

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Herd of Manatees
~ A Herd of Manatee ~
7. Environmental Consciousness
Wind is our primary and preferred mode of transportation. It is a renewable resource that creates no pollution. That much is obvious. But there are a lot of not so obvious environmentally conscious habits that most sailing cruisers have.

We generate our own electricity with wind and sun. Because we are highly aware of the amount of amperage we have available to us, and the wattage of our gear that consumes electricity, we regulate our use of that equipment, and rely on some by-gone technologies to conserve what we do generate.  Remember manual can openers, stove-top peculators and oil lamps?

We are also acutely aware of the amount of water we use and so we tend to conserve it. Not just because we don't want to be stranded in the middle of the ocean with nothing to drink, but also because we have tanks with specific holding capacity. For us, accessing fresh water doesn't mean just turning on a tap. We have to get it, desalinate it, filter it, clean it, test it, pump it into our tanks, pump it out of our tanks, and then we can use it. You tend to conserve the things you work hard for.

Sea Turtles
~ Sea Turtle ~
We've substantially less stuff now. Most of our possessions have a dual purpose, provide a means for us to be self-sufficient, or maintain our vessel. Nothing is stored unless it is a spare part, or frequently used. Our gear is built to withstand the harsh marine environment, and at some point may be the one item that saves our lives. Therefore superior quality is of a greater value than cheaply made, mass produced, economically priced junk. Disposable goods are an inconvenience for us; they take up too much space both before and after they are used.

Basically, live-aboard cruisers tend to be more environmentally consciences because we don’t wish to pollute the area we live in - the ocean, any more then the home owner would wish to turn his yard into a dump.

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Don Reynolds Living a Real Life
~ Don's Catch of the Day ~
8. Living Real Life

On average, Americans spend 4 1/2 hours per night watching someone acting a life on TV. I always found it ironic that none of these television characters spend more than a few seconds in front of the tube during a program. Imagine cameras showing up at the average home on most any given night.  "It's a new reality program - just do what you normally do" the director would say. The cameras would capture 60 minutes of uninterrupted television watching - including the 14 minutes of commercials.

Put 3 average Americans in a room together and you're guaranteed to have one of them bring up 'America Idol' in a matter of minutes. Put 3 sailors in a room together and you're guaranteed to have hours of delightfully entertaining conversation about eventful voyages, close calls, lucky breaks, cultural enlightenment and extraordinary experiences.

As live-aboards, we seem to have disengaged from the commercial world - not an easy feat in American society. But in doing so, we have reconnected with our real lives. Every day we are learning something new, by doing something different. We are reliant on, and thus more aware of the natural world around us. Most every moment becomes an adventure; every voyage a fresh experience; every new place full of discovery. All the precious time we have in this life is genuinely ours, and we find each episode to be very entertaining.

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Clearwater Beach, Florida
~ Clearwater's Old Tampa Bay ~
9. You are where Everyone Wants to Be
United States citizens average about 12 vacation days per year. And a family of four will pay close to $2000 for food and lodging during a weeklong respite. And the most popular places for Americans to spend those precious days and dollars is ocean side. Take a look at any commercial targeting the illusion of freedom; be it from credit card stress, from some physical malady, or from the daily grind, and you'll see blue seas and white sails somewhere in the video. The ultimate escape is packaged in crystal blue water, soft white sand, and shady palm trees. That is exactly where we are year round!

Our lifestyle allows us to spend extended periods of time and considerably less money in the same vacation hot spots to which Americans migrate. We often take long walks along the beach. We can hoist the sails and go out for the day, or forever whenever we choose. And we are surrounded by happiness, as all the vacationers relax and unwind, becoming more open and friendlier than normal.

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Don and Diana Reynolds at Sunset
~ Our Wedding Sunset ~
10. Proof of Our Abilities to Create
Some years ago, both Don and I were independently exposed to the concept that we have within us the ability to create our own existence. Typically, this idea is accepted metaphorically, in that by altering your view or attitude you can accept what life sends your way. However, we have accepted the idea in a literal way and believe our current experience is proof that we possess the capacity to transform our thoughts into reality. Reviewing the events that occurred to get us to where we are attests to the fact that deliberate, focused, positive statements expressed in word and deed are the medium for bringing forth our experiences.

In our past, we were normal, land-dwelling citizens, living in the Midwest - surrounded by acres of farm land. We were both living typical lives, working regular jobs, making mortgage and car payments. There was the occasional small water craft or sailboat experience here and there for each of us, but generally, life on or near the sea was completely alien to us and everyone in our lives at that time. But we both had this dream, which developed into a strong desire, and then further evolved into a goal.

The spark was when we made a conscious decision to progress toward our aspirations. We took focused action in whatever pursuits were attainable to us at any one time, always with the ultimate goal in view. We centered our thoughts toward a particular vessel, visualized specific experiences, verbalized our future repeatedly, and planted seeds of our conviction all around us.

Unfailingly - the universe responded and yet continues to respond. Consistently - our experiences are what we create for ourselves through our thoughts, our words, and our actions. If you doubt the power within yourself, or question the effect your imagination and ideas have on your life, consider this; All things created began first as a single thought.

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Copyright © 2015 Diana E Reynolds - SV Re Metau.  All rights reserved.

"Wind is to us what money is to life on shore." ~ Sterling Hayden