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Voluntary Simplicity : Living on a Sailboat

Updated on July 21, 2011
A sailboat isn't a lot of space ... but its an amazing space!  Living simply is about quality over quantity, and the focus isn't on material things.
A sailboat isn't a lot of space ... but its an amazing space! Living simply is about quality over quantity, and the focus isn't on material things.

Why I decided to live on a sailboat.

I was very fortunate growing up. My family was very well off. I never went without, we had a nice house, I went to private school, and I was taught that my life should consist of the same. However, the older I get the more I've come to realize that living within the "rat race" of society and always trying to outdo the Jones' is a bit tiring. I want a full and fulfilling life ... I just don't want all the stuff.

And this is where the idea of Voluntary Simplicity and the act of simply living begins to be attractive. But, before we get into a discussion on living simply I want to make a distinction. Living simply does not mean living poor or penny pinching or becoming a gypsy. Voluntary Simplicity is about discovering and placing value on other things in life than material goods. History has proven that the most "successful" people in life normally don't have a lot of money, own a big company, and drive Escalades. And by successful, I'm talking about the people that our cultures look up to as the ideal, for example, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Siddhartha, and Jesus. These people were so successful in life that they have changed the course of history and our cultures morals pretend to reflect their teachings ...

... but the sad reality is that many times we stray from living goodhearted lives in pursuit of "success" and in doing so we lose track of what really is important in life. Voluntary Simplicity is a philosophy and lifestyle which allows us to still live good lives within our society, but without the focus on acquiring more material things. Many people find that the more you have, the more you want. And the more you want the less you'll be satisfied. So, reduce what you want and be happy with what you have!

Again this doesn't mean go without. Many people who live a simple lifestyle still have a home, TV's, cars, and other modern conveniences. Some others who adopt the lifestyle truly go as simple as possible, forgoing motor vehicles, electricity, and really "roughing it". The choice is yours - the trick is not wanting more than what makes you feel comfortable.

So, I decided to pursue a life that focuses more on the internal aspects of life - like spirituality and personal growth. I moved onto a small 400sq ft floating home and learned to live without many of the things I had grown up with. However, I learned that the more I went without, the happier I became and the more time and energy I had to find enjoyment in the other areas of my life, like my music, friendships, exploring my city, and meeting new people. I realized I desired a lifestyle that would allow me to focus on these things instead of buying more and bigger toys. So ... I decided it was time to move aboard a sailboat - and even less space.

TED Presentation on Living Simply on a Sailboat

Why a Sailboat?

For many people the idea of living in a small cramped sailboat doesn't sound like fun. But, for a few of us out there, this is the ideal lifestyle, and it definitely forces you to live simply. Instead of a 4,000 sq foot house, living on a sailboat gives you very little space to store things or have anything extra. This in turn means that you physically can't acquire more than you need! So what does living simply on a sailboat provide?

Well, for starters an absolute amazing connection to the nature all around us! In our homes these days we're shut off from mother nature in a way that living on a sailboat prohibits. If its windy, you feel it. If its cold, you know it. You have to be more aware of the weather that's on its way and how to prepare for it. The changing seasons require more than a change on the thermostat ...

But then there is that other aspect of making a sailboat your home ... its mobile. Instead of spending your hard earned money on that more expensive car ... why not spend it planning a 2 month cruise to the San Juan islands or the Bahamas?! Instead of spending your money on bringing more "stuff" into your life, or upgrading to a more expensive version of something you already own ... why not spend your money on challenging yourself and experiencing things outside of your current world?! Living on a sailboat enables these possibilities. All you have to do is throw off the dock lines.

An amazing blog and story to follow is that of Teresa on her blog Sailing Simplicity and the Pursuit of Happiness. I encourage you to check her out and read up on her adventure. It really is amazing.

Teresa Carey : Living Aboard a Boat

Please stop by and support Teresa in her quest to spread the word about Voluntary Simplicity and follow her adventures living aboard a sailboat. She has helped inspire me on my journey and I wish to help her spread her message as best I can.

Sailing Simplicity and the Pursuit of Happines

Living simply isn't about living easy. Its about living as full a life as possible by focusing our energy and efforts on being in tune with the world around us and acquiring knowledge and personal experience over material "stuff".

Good luck on your Journey

Join me on my adventure!

Come follow along as I experiment with the philosophy of simple living and life aboard a small, 27' sailboat! Join me as I discover the balance between needs, wants, personal growth, and what really matters in life.

In Search Of The Sea : Sailing and Simple Living In Our Complex World


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    • profile image

      Sophia 2 months ago

      Hello do you live stil on your boat

    • profile image

      Kaitlin 8 months ago

      I think you where trying really hard to not say minimalism

    • chinared profile image

      Just call me, Rick 4 years ago from Asia, and all over

      Great hub, thank you. Yes, living without material things, "Keeping up with the Jones'" is something one must come to terms with. My dream is to liveaboard and sail as well, unfortunately, my dream has been extended to yet another year :( before I can make that possible, but I WILL DO IT! Thanks for the information and inspiration. Voted up and awesome.

    • profile image

      Teresa Carey 4 years ago

      Thanks for the shout out! Your post is great. I love how you define success as someone who changes the course of history! Awesome.

      ~Teresa (SailingSimplicity)

    • chinared profile image

      Just call me, Rick 4 years ago from Asia, and all over

      Awesome hub! My dream exactly. I envy you and look forward to joining you somewhere in that vast sea before April of 2014. My one year plan has turned into a 6 year plan, so I'm almost there. Voted up and awesome!

    • Fortadam profile image

      Fortadam 5 years ago from Portland Oregon

      I made the big jump myself recently. I've been loving living on my sailboat! I'm already looking for the next one that will ne able to take me farther than the river I live on!

    • profile image

      andres 5 years ago

      I think I was a gypsy in my past life. I can't stay in one place. Living on a sailboat is a big life change, but it's what I want someday.

    • profile image

      abear 5 years ago

      I just did some horse trading for a sailboat to do the same thing,I just sorta willed it to happen.And now the adventure begins......

    • Fortadam profile image

      Fortadam 6 years ago from Portland Oregon


      Thanks for following along! I really do hope that I can help others find a simpler and more gratifying life experience through my adventure :).

    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Loved it. You are living the dream my friend. I always said by the time I was thrity, I wanted to be living on a boat. Good luck with your adventure, I will be following on your blog. :)

    • Fortadam profile image

      Fortadam 6 years ago from Portland Oregon

      I'm glad to hear my article helped you in your quest to simplify your life :)