When Your Home is Also a Vehicle

One of the realities of a haul-out is the mess—inside and out—that comes from dismantling things and emptying storage areas and bringing in parts and tools for the work that needs to be done. Also there’s the dirt that comes in from the boat-yard itself, which is an alarming mix of paint dust, dangerous chemical residues, salt, and dirt. Even if they let us live aboard while the boat is in the yard, I would not want to.

I normally think of our home as being a cozy, self-contained, orderly kind of place—even if everything isn’t in its place, everything has a place and a purpose. If we have not achieved the simplicity we idealized in our youth, we’ve come awfully close. And one of the things that makes life simple is that we travel in our home. Everything we need for a fulfilling life fits in or on our 48 x 26-foot vessel. The line between “house” and “boat” is indistinguishably thin. Because the engines aren’t separate from the living space, the current project makes the boat uninhabitable and her crew vagabonds.

I peek in every now and then to see the progress, but to be truthful, I feel a little overwhelmed when I climb up the ladder to the transom and step inside. I take a deep breath and tell myself that all this detritus will be re-stowed or removed, the boat-yard dust will be scrubbed away, our boat will go back in the water, a faster, more reliable version of her former self, and our home will go back to containing the organized chaos that is our life aboard. Though I know that this is just a temporary state, at the moment, I wish I had a pair of ruby slippers so I could just go home.