Our two-month excursion away from Kalunamoo has ended and we returned onboard here in Trinidad. Maureen has had a very successful hip joint replacement (right hip) and did great in rehab. I had favorable reviews of ongoing medical issues. It was a mostly restful time, far removed from living on a boat, but all in all, we are good to go. Maureen is walking without any aid at all except she must be careful about dancing “twist and shout”. Unfortunately, she caught a bad cold just before we left which we hope will clear up soon. During this time, we also had great visits with family, grandkids and friends and enjoyed the summer weather in New York City. The temperatures are now past their peak, so it was time to head south again. Voyage number 10 will commence when we splash in Mid- October. It will be dutifully documented in this blog along with other thoughts, ideas, observations that happen to float my way.
While we were off Kalunamoo her interior decks were sanded, stained and varnished. The satin finish matches the bulkhead teak. Tony Penn did a great job and he even stained and varnished some sun-bleached bulkheads and hatches. Some good cleaning of the outside of the boat, new bottom paint and some maintenance details are needed to be done and then off to the islands for the season.
It’s time, however, to talk about space, both large and small. Since Kalunamoo is our only owned space to live in, we have been fortunate when we visit others to stay in spaces that we do not own. Maureen’s sister had been gracious enough to provide space for the bulk of our recent stay, but my dad, daughter, and friends have also provided needed space. All are thanked for their support of our rather vagabond lifestyle. The following observations should not, in any way, be construed as being ungrateful, derogatory or critical of any one’s way of living.
Over time, I have become more aware of the size of personal living spaces as our personal living space has shrunk. We moved aboard Kalunamoo fulltime in April 2011. For the bulk of our lives, Maureen and I grew up and lived in modest houses, both with parents and then our own home. Raising three daughters, I believe we had adequate space for everyone. Others may have disagreed but let’s keep it at that. Nearing retirement and with the children out of the house, we did step into a smaller apartment for a few years before becoming full time liveaboards in a much smaller space. In absolute numbers, Kalunamoo’s living space is probably under 400 sq. feet. What was given up in living small? What effects are there?
At first, it seemed a novelty. In fact, since we owned sailboats for a number of years, living aboard for days or a week or two was like a vacation. Going on a vacation is always a novelty (the very definition of vacation) that provided a change of pace. How cute it is to cook, bath, and sleep overnight on small rocking boat! We always had the house to go back to after the “vacation” and the grind of living in a real place.
When we decided to liveaboard full time we knew we wanted something more than an extended vacation, despite what many would assume. We also did not want to be camping. Others live in smaller spaces as there is no magic number that fits everybody. “Downsizing” in retirement years is nothing new or novel and you don’t need a boat to do that.
But what sets living on a boat apart from just living in a small room is that the personal ownership space, the place that you have control over, dictate the terms of your interactions with the outside world at large. Our “backyard” is still there, it’s just not “our” backyard. You share it with flora and fauna of the earth, not to mention the clouds, stars, winds and sun. The fact that the boat can travel over three quarters of the earth’s surface, with the cooperation of nature, is exceptional. To live in that state constantly, subject to the whims of nature, is daunting. It is also exhilarating; but above all, it is humbling. Its not a small world living on a small boat!
It is not that we don’t appreciate large spaces with the artifacts of life collected and displayed. We love museums. But for whatever reason, ownership is not our prime directive.
Living in a small space, on a boat no less, renders one naked to the forces of the earth (sometimes literally). It may not be a safe space. It may not even be the most comfortable. As mentioned above, it is a humbling experience in the face of the environment around us. Boring? That is a state of mind that can take place is any space. If small spaces feed the desire for larger spaces, outer space may be the ultimate goal. Maybe that explains space travel. For us, out of space is the limiting factor. And yes, that does limit the space for things like cars, pianos, or even a lazy boy chair, the last may have been the original urge of primordial cave dwellers to move out of caves. Some of that space is missed but that nagging thought of too much space commandeering our lives is not.
Well, so much for thoughts on space. I will not waste any more space on that topic. We will concentrate on moving our space to the spaces the wind take us.