"The lovely thing about cruising is that planning usually turns out to be of little use."
March, 2020. After an awesome West Coast visit, I was off to complete a 2-month pet sit at Solomon's, Maryland; home of our national anthem, Blue Crabs, and people who say, "All y'All." Just a brief stop over before I returned to Europe to explore Portugal, Italy, and other ocean laden countries to select my permanent home. You know, a place where I could stroll on the beach, purchase real food without barcodes, learn a culture, and be an "expat." Boy, how life changes.
Immediately, COVID started rearing it's demonic head. Hello shutdowns and quarantine. I felt anxious. Remember, I'm dependent on public transportation and when that stops...? My hostess extended my sit through September, which was great as "I - just - knew" this whole COVID thing would blow over by June. Right?! She would be home on the weekends providing me with some freedom to get out and explore, on foot or bike. Not much to explore around here. My thoughts of day trips to Washington D.C...faded away.
At the time, I was tutoring business professionals in English through Cambly. The money sucked, but it provided conversation and connection with fellow humanoids; something that, when traveling alone, becomes critical for your mental health. Every student was a blessing, many resulting in lasting friendships.
TRAVEL TIP: When traveling alone long-term, it's imperative that you maintain human interaction, especially in countries where any form of verbal communication resembles a drunken game of Charades. Just to speak English with someone/anyone is golden.
It was a joy to spoil Maddie (dog) and Sasha (cat). There were walks down to the pier, playtime, and the 3 of us snuggling together; especially during East Coast thunderstorms. I would tutor English with Sasha curled up on my lap, gently digging her claws into my thighs while purring away. Have I mentioned I speak fluent feline? It's an important resume item. (HA!) Then, there was the day when poor Maddie had the sh*ts while I'm was tutoring, running around slinging dog poo while I smiled at my computer screen, complimenting a student on their ability to pronounce a verb. Great times!
In March, I met a neighbor (Jeff) and after much thought on my part, agreed to start dating-during a pandemic! After all, how could I say "no" to a man who brought me toilet paper during a pandemic.😅 How could I date someone when Europe was calling my name? My head was spinning. A male homo sapien was not on my list. This couldn't be happening; yet it did.
In June, Jeff's dream came true; to purchase a 46' Nova Sundeck Trawler boat and live aboard full-time. The Carpe Diem was an "old girl" who needed some TLC, but exuded great vibes. He moved onto his trusty vessel and "we" began the process of discovering this "big heifer" as we jokingly call her. Countless wasps nests in various stages of occupation were removed. Hours of swearing in the engine room, scrubbing nooks and crannies, and weekends napping to the gentle rocking of the water; sheer bliss. Then, it happened!
In mid July, every pet sitters nightmare befell your little Silver Oyster. My hostess came home one day and announced her job assignment had changed, that she would be home full-time and that my services were no longer needed.😵 Fear raised it's strangle hold around my neck. The world was on lockdown. Where would I go? By now, I've experienced enough of life to know the best solution to most challenges is to sleep on it. Always a good idea. (tip there). I had options, both locally and internationally, but the pandemic made for uncharted waters. Hmm, sounds like everyday life for an explorer.
After praying and mulling over choices, I spoke with Jeff. He calmly said, "Well, it seems like the easiest solution would be for you to move onto the Carpe Diem and stay as long as you like." I slept on that too! After all, living with someone on a boat? Especially when there's pasta, Italian beaches, and Cappuccino's dancing in my mind. Yet, with peace and my response of "Yes," I moved my 1 suitcase and 1 backpack on board. Something only an existing traveler could pull off. Images of Gilligan's Island ran through my Crow's Nest of a brain.
Have you ever lived on a boat? Share in the comments.
Over a year later, our nautical escapades continue. Sharing 418 square feet, we've navigated tropical and winter storms, days with no aqua, and unbelievable memories. We haven't thrown each other over board - yet. 🤪 Considering I knew NOTHING about boats when I moved aboard, I feel proud to be learning about our buoyant abode. And Lawd, the parties we've thrown...
Stay tuned for stories about day-to-day life on the Carpe Diem, great info for living aboard, the endless waggery, and tips to help you successfully Seize The Day.