You live on there with your husband/wife AND your dog? Doesn't it get cramped?
It can definitely get cramped! The poor dog gets the worst of it because he doesn't like to be underfoot. When we really need to get stuff done, we send him up on the V-berth to chill out so we can move freely.
We (the people) are also conscious about giving each other space when we need it. That may be for a project, for some thinking, or just for some quiet time.
That being said, multiple times each day one person or the other has to crawl up on the stairs, turn sideways in the hallway, or step on to the deck so the other can have the right of way. It's just something you get used to!
We are extremely lucky in that we really like each other so the small space is something special that we use to strengthen our relationship rather than let the cramped space create a divide.
Do you get seasick?
Tanya has only been seasick twice in her life, and both were on extremely rough seas when she was younger.
Aaron unfortunately does get seasick, but mostly only when he has to go down below while underway. He had the same issue when he was working as a Dive Master and eventually his body gets used to it.
Aaron uses scopolamine patches to help battle any queasiness. They are great because they don't cause drowsiness, work for three days, and are not really noticeable once they are on.
How can we follow along?
We have high aspirations for having multiple ways for you to follow along on our adventure (and misadventure)!
website! We have a blog, a resource section, more details about us and Gypsy Days, and a whole lot more.
Instagram. This will be the most up-to-date news from where we are at any given time.
YouTube. Our channel will contain more in-depth content about our experiences, learning from our mistakes, and general randomness that comes with our cruising life.
Patreon. We have begun a patreon account so that if anyone wants to support our content, they are able to.
How much experience did you have before you bought your boat?
Tanya had been on commercial fishing boats quite a bit as her dad is a salmon fisherman in Canada. That being said, she was always the deckhand never the captain so her actually experience in piloting and maintaining a boat was pretty much nil.
Once we decided to buy a sailboat, Aaron signed up at the local sailing club in Boston and took out some small Mercury boats on the Charles River.
Neither of us knew anything about engines, electrical, rigging, docking, or even what it would take to liveaboard a boat. All of that knowledge we have since learned through necessity!
How do you afford this?
After we moved on to the boat, we were diligent about putting a certain amount of money into our savings account after receiving each and every paycheck, and then only taking money out of that account for boat projects or emergencies.
When Aaron's company folded, he was also given a retention bonus and severence package which gave us a small chunk of money for the trip as well.
Tanya also works remotely 15 hours per week for two dental offices in Boston. The money she earns usually covers our groceries each week with maybe a small amount extra.
Eventually, if we continue on this adventure and journey past the Bahamas, we hope to start monetizing some other avenues such as our social media and blogs. We may start up a Patreon account as well, but these are all dreams as we know how difficult it can be.
Do you ever get homesick?
The short answer is not really.
We obviously dearly miss our family and friends, but both of us have spent many years away from home, either living abroad or travelling, so we have learned to cherish the one or two weeks per year we get to see them across the globe. In this day and age, it is easy for us to keep in contact with our loved ones so although we cannot be there physically, we can still maintain that connection (although most of our family just uses those connections to make sure we haven't died).
For us, travel provides us with a thrill and a way of feeling alive that can't be beat, and probably won't stop. We are so blessed that both our families see, understand, and support that.
How does Coffee like boat life?
Coffee has adapted so well! He is 8 and a half now so he's happy to just chill in the cockpit while we are underway, or on the couch while we are at rest.
He absolutely loves the dinghy rides becuase he knows it means he gets to go to shore (although he still expects shore time to be play time instead of potty time).
In all honestly, he's been shuffled around to so many places with us that as long as we are there, he knows he's home and will be fine with just about anything.
What is the most difficult thing about living on a boat?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are often different difficulties depending on mood, situation, and environment. One of our biggest disappointments is when we are trapped somewhere due to weather. Neither of us like the feeling of being stuck and at the mercy of the wind gods but we also accept that it's part of cruising.
It can be surprisingly difficult to find pump-out facilities so we are often nail biting as our black water tank fills up until we can find a place to discharge it.
In such a small space, keeping things tidy can also be difficult, especially when you use many things frequently. There is also a layer of dog hair on just about everything in the boat which can get old.
All these things aside, we like to think we have adapted to this lifestyle pretty well, and it takes an awful lot to rattle us or curse this whole idea.
What do you do all day? Don't you get bored?
Other than the times we were trapped in one place for an extended period of time due to engine issues, neither of us get bored very often.
While we are underway, one of us is always at the helm (no auto pilot so we hand steer every single mile) and the other is keeping an eye on our navigation or adjusting the sails.
When we are anchored or docked, life aboard is very similar to life on land, except things tend to take longer. We still need to tidy, clean, do dishes, shower, go grocery shopping, cook, and take out the dog. These tasks take up a bulk of our time each day. For example, taking out the dog takes 5 minutes if we just need him to pee, but in order to take him out when we are at anchor involves putting the outboard on the dinghy, getting him in to the dinghy, taking the dinghy to shore, letting him pee, and then reversing the steps home. It's often a 45 minute endeavour at least two times per day.
When we have done our chores, we get to settle in and do more work: updating the blog, updating Instagram, working on our YouTube episodes, planning our routes and anchorages, and for Tanya, working remotely.
If there is time after that, we may watch a movie together or read.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about doing what you're doing?
But don't just jump in without knowing anything. You may not have had practical experience yet, but that's no excuse not to learn as much as you can. Take advantage of the hundreds of blogs, videos, Facebook groups, sailors/boaters, and books that can tell you about anything from taking apart an engine to storing food without refrigeration.
As much as this is an amazing lifestyle, when you travel on a boat, you are taking your life into your own hands - you are therefore intimately responsible for not only your own safety and the safety of those on board, but also the safety of those around you on the water, and your own boat - your home and the thing protecting you from the elements. There is no excuse for not knowing proper safety regulations, rules of navigation, how to check weather and what it means, as well as the laws surrounding boating in your given area.
It sounds daunting and there is so much to learn, but it will be worth all of your research. Then, once you have a boat, you'll discover there is even more to learn than you ever thought possible but you will pick up knowledge each and every day that will help you along in your journey.
Don't be afraid to reach out for help. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to take the leap.
Do you split up your tasks on the boat?
We believe that both of us should know as much as possible about every aspect of cruising and our boat so we make an effort to do things together. That being said, there are certain things that one or the other of us is better at, or better suited for, so we also have no problem playing to our strengths.
Tanya has a much gentler hand and got the 'feel' of how Gypsy Days steered much more naturally than Aaron so she does most of the docking and is at the helm when we are anchoring.
Aaron has much more brute strength than Tanya, along with longer limbs, so he excels at handling the lines while docking, as well as dropping and lifting the anchor (we don't have a windlass).
We are both new to sailing but Aaron has more knowledge so he will generally tell Tanya how to adjust the sails, although we share equal responsibility helming while underway.
We both cook and clean, but Aaron does more dishes and Tanya tidies and does the organizing.
Tanya also handles most of the blog and Instagram, while Aaron is the mastermind behind our YouTube videos.