You may notice on my links page under the Minimalism category a little blog called, “a simple life afloat”. It’s a blog about living on a boat out in the San Francisco area by a young lady named Leslie. She writes an extremely minimal, yet very tasteful blog with some beautiful pictures of her surroundings and stories of her life on the water. And if you follow her blog you know that this week, she and her couple hundred neighbors have just found out that they are about to lose their happy homes. The marina she lives is has sold out to developers who are planning a 400 unit condo complex along with privatizing the docks and slips…which means no room at the inn for dirty, nasty liveaboards. Judging from her last post, this is hitting Leslie and her neighbors pretty hard. It appears to be something unexpected and she sounds stunned and shocked at the moment.
I can relate to what Leslie is going through as something similar happened to me just a couple of months ago, only on a much, much, less traumatic scale. I was notified of a pending eviction at the marina where I was renting an apartment but as it turns out, I was able to significantly improve my living quarters over the noisy, shit hole I was renting and parlay the move into the wannabe yacht where I now reside, in a much nicer marina. In fact, I have gone through some similar situations like this many times in the past. Get all settled into something, a good job, a nice place to live, whatever, and then boom, somebody or something comes along and takes it all away. For example: the best job I ever had, with a harley dealer, paid well, good benefits, nice working conditions, good schedule, decent people to work with, lasted less than 6 years. The owner decided to retire and that ended that. I sorta kinda saw it coming but it was still a bit of a shock. It would have been less so had I not been stuck in a house with a mortgage.
In fact, I live my life with the assumption that at anytime, at anyplace, and for any reason, somebody or something will try to take what I have away from me. Call it paranoia if you will, I call it learning from the past, and being prepared. It’s not the most pleasant way to live but it makes any such incident a lot less traumatic and more of just a bump in the road. It’s one reason why I have downsized to virtually nothing in terms of the things that I own. Boat and cats aside, I could leave with everything I need fitted into a backpack. And it could all be replaced in less than a day. Sort of living on the adage, “The less you have, the less you have to lose.” I know, paranoid, but I don’t want to be at the other end of the scale. I would rather be moving around with what I can carry as opposed to burning up all my resources and stressing out over protecting big things like a house, or a boat. Which leads to my current situation.
While the Fritter has provided me and the cats with a nice cozy affordable home, it is something of value that I now must take care of and protect. I don’t have a lot of money tied up in the boat, yet, but that will change. And if I was forced to leave it behind for some unknown reason…well…a 26 foot sailboat is not something you can leave in a dumpster along side of the road. At the moment, the marina where I live is safe, secure, and affordable. But I have learned from experience that this will not last. The marina is a condominium with individual owners of the slips. That means dealing with a home owners association, the single most abusive, petty, form of authority this side of the Stalin regime. All it will take is one complaint, one finger pointed, and myself and all the others who enjoy renting here are gone. It could be for any reason, it doesn’t matter, but it will happen. Or at least I will assume it will…..no….it will happen. So, I will have to prepare for that inevitable day. I make a habit of always checking the ads for other places to live in the Keys and Key West. Always keeping an eye out for other marinas with liveaboard slips. It doesn’t keep me awake at nights, but I do always try to keep my options open.
At the moment I am somewhat vulnerable. The Fritter has no motor, no electrics, no radio, and is not ready for any movement from the slip. If somebody decided to throw me out of the marina this very minute, I would be at the mercy of the tides and currents, or I would be dropping money I don’t have on a motor. Which is why the electrics and motor have priority over other projects. It’s why the boat is unofficially up for sale at all times, just to have one less thing to worry about. At least when I do get a motor on board and some of the electrics working, I will have a way to move should that issue arise. But I would still prefer not to have stuff. It just makes things easier.
People like to believe that they are all safe and secure behind the walls of their homes. They want to think that they are invaluable to the company they work for. (I’ve seen that myth blown all to hell for more than a few idiots over the years.) The reality is that security is as mythical as religion. And it don’t take much to find out how fast you can lose it all.
Judging from what I am reading on a simple life afloat, it looks like the notice of the change of ownership has completely blind sided the current residents there. They seem to have had no idea this was coming and are now in panic mode. There will be tears, anger, and depression, but in the end, everyone affected there will move on to new adventures. Like it or not. I sympathize with them but I would hope they can all cope with what is happening.
Personally, I have learned to be adaptable over the years. I’ve been able to take that paranoia and use it to my advantage. Losing a home is not a traumatic experience. A job is not a career, just a temporary income source. Change is always an opportunity to take a new journey, a new adventure into something totally new and exciting…not necessarily better, but definitely exciting. The trick is to be ready for it.
Once you learn that security is just a myth, (unless you are in prison), then you can live your life with much more freedom than you expected.