“Back to cold showers and warm beer?” a friend in the yard asked as I crawled up the ladder to Swell draped in bags containing a month’s worth of accumulated stuff.”Yep.”
I replied with a curious cheer, dropping the load as I reached the opening to the port deck.In the last 3 years, my recent month of house-sitting was the longest time I’ve spent living in a normal house. Although I relished the small differences of ease and comfort that make boat life a little tougher (hot showers, flowing water, refrigeration, and the washing machine ranking the highest), I felt oddly happy to be returning to live on Swell.
I had appreciated more connection with the land, watching the mangoes grow round and red and make the limbs of the trees sag and hanging my clothes on the line barefoot in the tall grass. The roar of a squall passed in the night without a worry for reefing my sail or dragging anchor and I woke to the sound of chirping birds (not to mention, chickens and cat fights). Sharing the house with typical land nuisances–spiders and geckos and rats and ants and termites–was temporarily amusing. And sweeping”¦oddly, I somehow found it charming to sweep the patio. My temporary pets, too, charmed me. The adoring cat and the neighbor’s dog (who blatantly liked me much more than the neighbor) greeted me with overt enthusiasm upon my every return.
But as my time in the house came to a close, I actually started to look forward to returning to my simpler life. Indeed it was a HUGE relief to live off of Swell for the sink and floor projects, but in the end, I began to feel a little soft and a bit disconnected from nature, which in turn, deflated that little bubble inside me that was filled automatically in my daily life aboard Swell. Of course, with Swell on land and being completely busy with the repairs, things are slightly different, but even now, it is the raw little moments-like brushing my teeth under the stars, hauling my fresh water, jumping under the cold shower, or peddling my brake-less bike to the corner store at sunset, that are not only necessities of my simpler existence, but fill me with an unexplainable joy and love for life. Now don’t get me wrong, I did NOT miss the dreaded yard bathroom and I’ll be the first to tell you that I LOVE a hot shower now and then, but I’ve concluded that despite my prior whining, cold showers can be amazingly energizing and truly make me feel alive.