Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Simple Life

Bernard Moitessier once said that "A sailor's joys are as simple as a child's". It's so true. Obviously living on a boat leads to a more pared down, simpler life - but I hadn't thought much of how living on a boat simplifies one's joys as well...

A little wind shift in the right direction, full sails, topping off your batteries with only solar power, a smooth running water pump, flat seas, a fresh breeze, getting to a destination without running the engine, a glorious sunrise and it's equally impressive sunset, free wifi, a quick fresh rain squall to rinse the deck of salt water, dolphins in your bow wave, cheap laundry, making landfall after a twenty-four hour sail, a solved problem, a simple solution...all of these things can just about make a day out here.

But why? Why is it so much easier to find joy in very simple details when at sea?

I think the answer lies in several conditions that are inherent to life on a boat:  time for reflection (we have lots of that when sailing), living intimately with nature and viewing first hand the 'circle of life' on a daily basis, and the constant, cautionary reminder that we are so small and so insignificant to name a few...

Moitissier gives this advice to sailors:

“Don't needlessly complicate your life. Give top priority to the essentials. Firmly put aside anything superfluous. Given a choice between something simple and something complicated, choose what is simple without hesitation: sooner or later, what is complicated will almost always lead to problems - needless expense, loss of time and waste of energy.” 

While he is saying those words to sailors - I think they can be beneficial to ocean voyagers and landlubbers alike. Really think about that advice - literally and metaphorically - it can be applied to anything from buying a house to choosing a spouse!  I’m pretty certain we all have room for improvement.

Bottom line:  Take time - make time - to de-clutter, to simplify, to tread lightly and to stop and smell the roses.

* We have many friends who live “simply” on land as well - in fact, many probably lead “greener” lives than we do. But I think - in general - on land it takes much more effort to live simply. At least it did for us.


Kyra and Rick said...

I couldn't agree more. As a liveaboard sailor, and soon-to-be offshore cruiser... I can relate to those simple joys you mention... I remember the first (and only) time as of yet that dolphins swam across our bow wave - we were like kids, we were so giddy! Fair winds, Kyra

Chani said...

I love this blog! Thank you for so much inspiration!

~ Chani W

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