One of my ambitions for the coming few years is to build a Boat that is large enough to live in, but small enough to run up a beach should the weather get really terrible.
I have no intention of dying at sea.
I drafted a few starts to this post and one thing struck me, that all of the points I wanted to make could be misconstrued in the larger context of ‘freedom’ and ‘privelige’.
I am aware that, compared to the majority of the people in the world I am highly priveliged, and free to a greater extent. But still I don’t feel that I am living the right way. Its the classic eat, work, sleep, repeat that leaves me, and I imagine many others, just waiting for the weekend, or the holidays. I have repeatedly, verbally expressed my desire for whole months of my life to be over so that I can get to the next ‘thing’, the next event that I am looking forward to. It makes me sad, but that does not change the fact that it is true.
The point is that any mode of life that has someone wishing it away cannot be right, but this is where my dilemma comes in, because I am very aware that most people are in similar or worse situations. In the undeveloped world people are stuck in poverty, they won’t have as many things to look forward to as me. If one instantly swapped lives with me they probably would look forward to things that I take for granted. Even in the developed world people are stuck. Sure there is more money, but things are more expensive. Im not saying life isn’t better here, but I would argue that it is no more free. Just a more pleasant captivity, where we get fat by accident instead of getting horrible parasites. Where we can’t go to other countries because we couldn’t save enough instead of being trapped by conflict.
I’m not saying its isn’t better, I’m saying it’s not more free.
“So what, you are a priveliged westerner, shut up and drink your frappichino.” True that. I was born relatively priveliged, but I don’t want to take it for granted. I also don’t want to waste this opportunity.
I feel like I can’t complain about society because I take full advantage of all of it’s benefits on a daily basis, and plenty of people could say “swap with me then” and I would have to say no.
So, I know my life is relatively sweet. I’m not rich by UK standards, but I’m not poor. However that still puts me in the top 10% in the world.
I know I’m lucky, but surely thats all the more reason to go for it?
Back to the point, to explain why I want to live in a boat. Because living in a boat is the closest I can get to being free. Exactly what I mean by free is the subject of its own post, but simply I think that more freedom can be achieved by whittling away at the things that one depends upon.
In the UK I depend upon my job, I depend upon my car to get me to my job, I depend upon the bank, petrol companies, the roads, the supermarket, the internet, the plug socket. I could get more trivial ad infinatum, but those are the main things. Sure, on a boat there is a long list of things I depend upon. The wind, the waves, my hull and sails, my fishing rod, my wind turbine, my clothes. The difference is, what I rely upon in the UK is entirely out of my hands. I can’t fix my car by myself, I can’t fix the internet myself, and those are the things that I could learn to fix. I cannot have the ability to fix all of the things that I rely on in the UK. I think of them as ‘Big’ things.
However on my boat, everything that I depend upon is dependent on me. If any of my things break I can fix them, even the hull and the sails, because I will have built them in the first place. Even the wind and waves depend on my reaction to them. Like I said at the start, I do not intend to die at sea, so I’m not going to do anything stupid. Because I can fix them I see them as “little’ things.
My problem is that I don’t like relying on ‘Big’ things. I have a perpetual gremlin on my shoulder reminding me that I can’t get to work because of the traffic, that I can’t live wherever I want because I can’t afford it, that I can’t do whatever I like because I need my job. I love my job by the way, and anyone who has met me will know that I am a happy chap. The feeling of these ‘Big’ things is more like an existential ennui than sadness.
On a boat I do not have to pay to live, to travel, to eat, so I will not depend on my job. I will wake up to a different view whenever I want it. There will be no rush hour, petrol costs, licenses, taxes. There will be no deadlines.
Perhaps I am overstating it, I don’t know. But soon I will.