One of the greatest things about kids is how flexible they are. I’m amazed at how mine adapted to life afloat so effortlessly, when I still feel discomfort from time to time.
Before moving onto the boat, we lived in a 2400 square foot home, and then a comparably sized flat in London. It was a comfortable amount of space for us. Then we decided to liveaboard.
Initially, it felt worse than cramped. I woke up a few times at night feeling horribly claustrophobic. Oh my, how times have changed. Being aboard for over four years now, my boat feels quite large. I’ll confess there are even times when I have thought we should really scale down; usually that is immediately followed by a tiff of some sort between the kids. My thoughts then flip flop, and I consider picking up a small island archipelago somewhere so we can all have our own land mass. (Mine of course would be staffed with attractive Cabana Boys bringing me fruity beverages and waiting on me hand and foot.)
As things settle down, I get to feeling we are just where we are supposed to be. We have 600-ish square feet to live in, and that includes two heads/bathrooms. Both kiddos have their own rooms/berths, which offer them the personal space they are craving more as they get older. We couldn’t ask for anything more. One of the great things about a small space is that it forces a lot of interactions. Since we are all in the same area, games happen with greater frequency, and I get so much joy out of hearing the kids singing and playing together. I ALWAYS know what they are up to.
The biggest thing people wonder about is how to scale down. I don’t know how to answer that except to say that you just do it. Bringing something onboard, you have to ask yourself if you have room for it, or if you can make room for it. We are all thus very conscious about bringing things home.
While sailing, we are constantly aware of each other and looking out for one another. That’s led to a special closeness.
Overall, I think this has been a great experience for our family so far, and am looking forward to what the future brings.