Reasons to Live Aboard
The most compelling reason to live aboard, in my opinion, is the serenity of living on the water, surrounded by the beauty and peacefulness of nature. Even if you are living at a marina, there are usually only people around (hanging out on their boats) on the weekends, and you can always motor off to a private cove whenever you want to be totally alone. For a very reasonable price you have beautiful water views, without the expensive price tag. There is nothing so peaceful as being on the water. You are always gently rocking, even as you sleep. You always see the sun rise and set. If you enjoy watching birds, you will find it interesting to watch many various types in their natural habitat. The quiet and beauty is soul renewing.
Another compelling reason to live aboard is the low cost of living. If you shop around, you can usually find an affordable marina with all the amenities you desire (ie., bathrooms, showers, laundry, pool, wi-fi, cable television, etc.). Although you will also have to pay for electric, the amount of electricity you will use on a boat will be substantially less than the typical house usage. Depending on the type of work you do, you could select a marina that is located near restaurants, shopping, quaint towns, metropolitan areas, or whatever floats your boat. For example, you could live in the city marina in Manhattan and have access to that lifestyle for a tiny fraction of the price, or you could live in a marina in a quaint small American town and enjoy that lifestyle. Having substantially lower bills will allow you to save more of your income, or live much better on your current salary.
Unlike a piece of real estate that you own, a boat gives you mobility. You can always pull up anchor (or untie the dock lines) and motor away to a new destination. If you are on a fixed income you have greater mobility, but even if you are still working, you can move if you can secure employment elsewhere. There is no putting the house or condo on the market and waiting. All you have to do is get out the GPS and off you go!
Once you finally realize that you do not need all the STUFF you have been collecting for years, it is liberating! When you stop hoarding and collecting things you rarely (or never) use, and learn to keep only what you NEED to live, it is truly liberating. You can give things that you don't really need to people who can actually use them. Giving away THINGS you held onto for so long is difficult at first, but gets easier once you begin. You can give things to people you know, or drop the items off at a charity thrift store. It feels good to share with people in need, and you will feel wiser and more human to live with only what is essential to living.
Since you live in a small space, you need to learn to have a place fore everything, and keep everything in its place. It is best not to let clutter build up. Try to get into the habit of putting everything away - right away. Get organized. Once you cut down on the STUFF you need to live, put it into a very organized storage system on your boat. Have few appliances. Only purchase items that have multiple functionality. You don't need specialty cookware or appliances that you store 99% of the time. Only allow items on your boat that you use often. Once you are organized and develop habits of keeping order on your boat, you will have fewer chores and a lot more time to do the things you love. Enjoy!
More Time To Do What You Enjoy
No more mowing the grass or shoveling the sidewalk! Instead of cleaning an entire house or apartment, you are cleaning a very small space. If you limit the amount of dishes, silverware, pots, pans, (etc.), you have few dishes to wash each day (You don't need a dishwasher!). You have more free time to do the things you love: fishing, reading, learning, walking, or spending time with family and friends.
You Meet Interesting People
Let's face it. Boaters are some of the most interesting people that you will ever meet. They come from all walks of life, have disparate backgrounds and experiences, and are usually more than happy to talk about it all. They are very often friendly and helpful. They will give you advice and boating tips, share food and their stories, stop for a chat, and spend happy hours with you. Each person you meet along the way seems to enrich your life for the better. And, with all the boating forums on the net these days, it is easy to stay in touch with the people you meet along the way. If they have a Facebook account, you will be able to keep up with where they are and what they are doing.
More Active Lifestyle
Even though you are living in a small space, you are moving around a lot. You climb up and down on the various levels of the boat. You use more muscles because you have to constantly maintain your balance (boats are always moving slightly with the water movement) as you move around. You also have to walk up and down the dock to and from the boat. Loading the boat uses more muscles than just carrying supplies from the car into a home. Many boaters who live aboard have bicycles which they ride places, or they take walks. Overall, it is an active lifestyle and you most likely be in better shape.