We have been living and working on a sailboat for a while now and it’s time destroy a few illusions about the life on board. Here are the TOP pros and cons on living on board a sailboat.
First, let’s start off with cons and leave the best part to the end (in no particular order):
- You will hit your limbs and head at stuff in the boat much more often than you would in a house or a normal office. Especially in the beginning.
- When the wind and waves are stronger your office will be moving, so you may need to have another hand to hold on things while working.
- There’s a special place for everything. Socks are not just lying around the boat. You have to keep order and clean much more often than you would in a house. More like in the army I would say.
- Family and your close friends are far away and often not visiting. So you really need to look into yourself and ask if you are willing to sacrifice Friday evenings with friends and weekends with your parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers to float alone on a boat.
- A boat takes much more of your free time than a house would, but you will get good at it. Electronics, construction, all the pipes and lines. Sails and blocks.
- There’s not enough space for all the stuff you have gathered so far. So you really have to prioritize – which kind of things you really need and sell or give away the ones you don’t. Plus half of those you thought you’ll need you actually don’t.
- Constant change of environment can be challenging, so you need to keep up your routine and discipline to not lose your game.
- Internet connection is your water and sun. You cannot survive (be able to work) without it. So this usually becomes the first priority and you need to plan the change of location well ahead to schedule your offline time for your clients.
- None of our friends live as we do. So it could easily happen that on a dark and cold rainy evening you really start to question your choices. Often you just want to leave it all behind and change it to a warm house in a countryside or comfy apartment in the city. So it needs some determination and a huge amount of foolishness to swim against the current.
- People assume that you are on vacation while you are actually working your ass off. “But you are on a boat not in the office – so you must be on vacation,” goes the typical old-school saying. Considering the recent changes in work environments, this myth will soon disappear – just give it a bit of time and push the boundaries. For many forward thinking businesses this is not a problem for a long time already.
And now let’s get to pros (again, in no particular order):
- I am much more effective and getting more work done while keeping a good work-life balance. There are no outside distractions, no long meetings to waist the time for and I’m able to focus on one thing at a time much more easily.
- I am more healthier and never sick as I can choose the best climate for myself and then just sail the house/office there. And in case you didn’t know – there are no viruses on the sea. The only way to get sick is to hit yourself onto something or get seasick.
- Most of the time I am out of my comfort zone. This is uncomfortable, but it makes me more sharp and helps to make the magic happen.
- As the environment is constantly changing, so are the people around me. The person who invented the hybrid engine lives just next to our boat at the moment. So is the restaurateur of church windows, civil-engineer from middle east, author from Ireland, private equity manager from Canada, surfer from Switzerland and scrum-master from United Kingdom. They all have different stories and backgrounds. I am still surprised after traveling quite a lot during my life, how much more there is to discover about different cultures, nations and ideas. This gives tons of ideas and inspiration.
- Working for myself in different location helps to cultivate high self-discipline as you have no outside motivators. The only person you have to give answers to is the one that looks back to you from the mirror in the evening. You better not let down that guy. I still dress myself adequately each day like going to the office. Although I could just have the Skype made in my underwear. But this won’t work. Strict routine, healthy meals and dedicated working time gives you a good self discipline, gets work done more efficiently and gives you a good feeling.
- Living on a sailboat makes you think more environment friendly. Even more than you would in a really eco-friendly house, I think. You are constantly monitoring how much energy you generate and consume, how much water you use, what kind of things you buy and what will happen with the garbage. To be self-sustainable you have to understand that there is no endless resource.
- Hey, working in an office cubical is so 80s. It’s a new century, we have a digital revolution going on here with full automation, self-driving cars, tourism trips to Mars and everything. Do the work where you want to do it or work for it to be able to do it.
- Living on a boat has established a unique connection between us. You really get to know each other fast while living in a small limited space. You will understand right away if she is the one or not. In my case – we got married after being together for a month and the time we’ve been living on a sailboat has tested everything. Paraphrasing a singer – if you can make it on a sailboat you can make it anywhere.
- Living and working on the sea helps to keep your head clear and away from first world problems, micromanaging while still staying connected, but from a totally different perspective.
- Living on a boat is not more expensive than living in apartment. Actually it’s cheaper if you want to. It is cheaper for me to live and work on a boat and then just rent a small place for the time travelling for teamwork and meetings. Including traveling costs.
Not here, not there, but everywhere. The more you do, the more you get done if you do it right. Try and test what works for you and then just go for it – let us know how it turns out!