On minimalism and boats

A movement characterised by not having a lot of shit, and living in a space where you’re unable to store a lot of shit seems like a good match, right?

I have no idea…

I don’t live on a boat and I’d learn towards modesty and say I know little about what it truly means to be a minimalist. However, for the last several years I've found myself growing increasingly impatient and aware of ‘clutter’ and ‘mess’. One of my favourite cleaning habits would be to scrutinise the value and future use of my belongings; often resulting in a bin bag of rubbish, and mutterings about the crap and trinkets I’d bought.

My father has always had an issue with parting with things, which may have contributed to my interesting in sloughing off now worthless belongings. It did seem that it was a cyclical process however, I would get rid of items, only to gradually acquire more.

If minimalism is a means of saving more money then I think that’s going to benefit in the long run saving for a boat.

I've read that minimalism is the pursuit of happiness and freedom by reducing a dependency on items and nurturing a more stoic, honest relationship with the things a person owns. The goal of which is to free focus and time for important activities, friends and new experiences. To me this sounds worthy and intriguing; but certainly not an overnight value you can instil.

I’m definitely attached to the things I own. I try to buy items of quality, especially recently, but also to make items last. So my speakers (creative T10’s) which are probably at 6 years of ownership and feel like a very good purchase; I view them as a workhorse, reliable and familiar. With my pair of Dr Marten’s, they’ve lasted the best of any shoes I’ve owned and I really like that fact. It doesn’t bother me that I form attachments to belongings and in some ways personify them, and while living without attachment to items might make the journey into minimalism easier; as long as I have only what I reasonably need I think it is fine for me to really like what I have.


On the issue of boats.

Living aboard a narrowboat is not exactly a simple life altogether. There are more things to plan ahead and be mindful of; basic resources like water, gas and electric have to be managed more closely. Does that agree with a minimal life? In some ways it does; everything is more direct rather than relying on an entire infrastructure to support it (except in the case of water or

sanitation), so there a less steps and levels between the resource and the user. On the other hand upkeep can involve things that seem unnecessarily complex; such as having a boat out of the water for blacking and inspection of the hull.

One of the main attractions for having a boat for me is the perceived freedom and adventure. I’d be free to move my entire home for a job, to see friends, participate in an activity or relocate entirely. I think the simplicity of that is suited to minimalism, and yet tinged with other complexities like long lock cue’s, broken water points and flooded rivers. But that’s life; it often isn’t simple and easy but it’s up to you how to react.

I recently switched jobs, and I often thought “If I had a boat this job would be much more viable”. I had to turn some options down, but it turned out great!

For me it’s a promise to myself; I feel like someone who has never been particularly daring, or outgoing, or adventured the way I feel would suit me. Diving in feet-first is one way to find out and learn more about the person I could be and things I can do.

Purely in terms of number of physical space and number of items, boats and minimalism should take like a duck to water!


What next? I’m going to keep it simple; learning about boats, learning about minimalism, save money and climb on the weekends.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.