The questions are often worded differently, so let’s skip straight to the answers:
A summer (2013), a school year, and a summer (2014). Unless we feel like returning earlier. A corollary: North to Maine, South to the Caribbean, and back north again. Trying to stay warm, slow down and spend a lot of time together.
No school for a year. Ok, seriously, we have school almost every weekday. Math and reading are the main subjects. We also work on writing in a more formal way. Guitar and knot tying round out the formal day. We keep up our interest in science and history. We aren’t following any particular curriculum for the knots or the other subjects either.
Yes, we brought the kids. If you’re reading this, you hopefully knew that already. I am still surprised that we hear questions wondering about this and often reply that we left them behind in the house alone. That produces an equal amount of surprise on the other side of the conversation.
We eat most of our meals on the boat. Or on another boat. There has been a lot of that recently and it is a blast. We can buy groceries in stores much like we did back when we lived on land except that we have to carry them home. That walk can be a long one. Most of the time, we are in a port every few days and have access to groceries. Except for vegetables in parts of Maine, that is.
We have many modern conveniences just in less convenient packages. We have a fridge and freezer (but small). We have hot water (if at a dock or after running the engine or generator). We try to shower once a month whether we need it or not. We have internet through the cell network which we can access 98% of the time except in the leeward islands where we are in February, cell phones, skype, and all sorts of contraptions and gimmicks to help us connect while we are trying to disconnect.
We don’t have a TV, Netflix, whatever Hulu is, or video games. We spend a lot more time talking with each other, reading, messing around on/in the water, getting wet and muddy, and getting to know all of the folks around us.
There are a ton of kids living on boats. Unfortunately, they aren’t all going our direction, but we have been incredibly fortunate to get to know them. We and most of the other families have a kid radar. In October, we were still picking up a mooring in Solomons, MD when a dinghy came by bearing news that they had 4 kids on their boat and an invitation to play. We have spent time with some nice Canadian families before the big passage and a few times in the Caribbean. We’ve met other folks on the beaches from all over. Even Annapolis.
We don’t think that this is a particularly dangerous way of life. In fact, it has introduced a lot more freedom, responsibility, and independence in the kids’ lives. Yes, they wear life jackets when we are underway or when they take off by themselves in the dinghy. A corollary: we don’t expect to see any pirates.
Yes, the space inside is small compared to a house, but we don’t drive each other crazy or bump into other’s nerves any more than in a larger house. I don’t think that the amount of space matters for that. Our outside is huge both on deck as well as on the waters around the boat. We have the biggest backyard in the world.
We are having a great time. So far, we don’t miss life on land. February 2014 update: we still don’t miss living on land, but the thought of driving to the grocery store and finding things that that even resemble items on your list sounds unbelievable. We came from a place of incredible abundance and prosperity. Just imagine choosing what type and size of milk you want to buy. Yes, we know most of you do that every time you go to the store. Now, we are happy to find milk. We usually don’t even go to the store with a list anymore. Still, next year when we are walking through a huge grocery store, we will miss these times.