We have been landlubbers for about six weeks now; long enough to be able to compare the pros and cons between being a dirt dweller and a liveaboard. And boy, are there sure pros and cons…to each!
Landlubbers have to do this thing, this annoying thing, where they run (or walk) a piece of machinery over sandy, weedy terrain. Okay, lets be real, in the South the terrain is more sandy than anything else; making the work a million times harder. The sand and weeds combine to make a plume of allergy-irritating dust and dirt, nearly blinding the worker as s/he has to restart the mower every few minutes because the weeds are too much for the blades.
Of course, I also wear long sleeves, pants, and boots in 76 degree weather because I am terrified of copperheads, brown recluse and black widow spiders, and – of course – ticks. When it is all said and done, I sprint to the shower and collapse on the couch in exhaustion. Con.
Liveaboards may not have a yard full of sand and weeds (or as many hiding places for copperheads), but they have marine air conditioning units that get clogged with these icky little water bugs and nasty algae, needing to be cleaned out (and sometimes replaced) roughly every four weeks. The work is also hard, sometimes awkward, because of the location, but at least my allergies don’t get irritated! I always feel so accomplished when I’m finished repairing the air conditioning! Pro.
Landlubbers have the luxury of an in-house washer and dryer to wash clothes-without the need for quarters-anytime they please. No trudging to the laundry room with sea bag in tow, bursting at the seams with several weeks’ worth of clothing. No waiting in lines while others utilize the four washers before you get your chance. Nope, you just toss some stuff in the washer and walk away. Pro.
Liveaboards have a community unlike any other. Within a few weeks of arriving at St. John’s Yacht Harbor we were surrounded by a supportive community of people, stopping to talk along the dock walk and being invited to cockpit cocktail hour. The dock staff became like family and the entire community came together to help me with Vivienne while TJ was away, and everyone pitched in to help each other with hurricane prep. Pro.
Landlubbers don’t have to walk down a long dock to get from their car to their house. Park the car and in just a few short steps you are inside your home, dropping your groceries that you were man-handling onto the couch. Seems like it should be a pro, right? Wrong.
I actually miss walking down the dock. Given that I have a very sedentary job, walking down the 2-6+ times each day gave me a least a mile (sometimes more) of exercise. Now I not only sit at a desk for 8 hours daily but I spend 90 minutes daily in the car driving commuting. My commute from the marina was 10 minutes each way. So, not walking down a dock daily…Con.
Liveaboards have to combat mold constantly, especially in the winter. If you try to save on electricity costs by not using the air conditioning/heat you run the risk of peeling paint and a mold-spolsion in areas where air circulation is poor. We are currently combating this problem in our forward crew cabins, as I am preparing to sand and paint them with Killz this weekend. Con.
Landlubbers definitely lead a life of greater convenience; everything from accessibility of stores to easy of laundry, huge refrigerators, and scalding hot showers. Landlubbers have it made in so many areas and yet, so much harder. They have house projects, just as liveaboards have boat projects but they lack the community a marina provides. Sure, some neighborhoods provide a tight-knit community, but that appears to be few and far between. Even while I am surrounded by all our stuff, space, and convenience I find myself missing the boat and still referring to it as “home”.
Liveabaords definitely work a little harder for pretty much everything. Long walks, showering in a facility other than their “home,” tiny refrigerator space, and mold-splosions. The community is unparalleled, the simplicity of less space and fewer processions helps clarify and focus an individual; not to mention the sense of accomplishment when fixing something! The option to sail away and leave the rat-race of the United States behind is always a pro, as well.
In short, both living on land and living on water have pros and cons.
In the end an individual just has to decide which set of pros and cons suits them and their family and make the leap into that lifestyle.
What about you?
Landlubber or Liveaboard?