When my husband and I met ten years ago on Orcas Island, we would spend a considerable amount of time dreaming of living alternatively. The thought of a house in a neighborhood bored us to tears. We wanted different, we wanted a little hardship in our living, and we wanted to physically work for what we had. The standard American way of living never looked that lovely to us.
Don’t get me wrong — I drool over perfectly styled spaces. Historic homes will always tug at my heart. But let’s be real here for a sec: if you spend anymore than ten minutes with my husband and me, you will quickly realized quaint historic homes and styled nooks aren’t our gig.
Over the years, our goals and dreams have drifted everywhere from living in a bus, to a yurt, to a grain silo, to a storage container, and everywhere in between. We dreamed of a unique space that would allow us to be creative but also not be tied down financially to our home. We didn’t want a big, expensive, fancy house. We wanted simple. We never wanted to be owned by our possessions.
Then we had our first daughter and thought that all of our creative ways to live had to wait. We needed a proper house to raise our baby. We took out a thirty-year mortgage and settled in with the rest of America in the ‘burbs of Portland, Oregon. We put our true dreams on hold for what we thought we were supposed to have. But somehow, we never stopped sitting up at night drawing new ideas for tiny houses, dreaming up budgets to travel in a bus or scheming ways to live off of the grid.
We were trapped in suburbia and needed to bust the hell outta there quick. There was no denying it. We didn’t belong.
Our second daughter arrived and we started making an exit plan. Our path led us to San Juan Island in Washington. We rented a house. A big house. The biggest house either of us had ever lived in. 2200-square-feet big. And we settled right in. But we didn’t feel settled. We didn’t need all of that space. We didn’t want to buy more things to fill that space, either.
Bit by bit, we started to talk about what our next step would be. We talked about buying land and building our own tiny home (as in, physically doing it ourselves). Honestly though, we have a two- and a four-year-old, and we are tired. We didn’t have time to build a house. We didn’t have the money to buy land. We didn’t want another loan and we didn’t want to be owned by our house.
And then one day it all became clear. We needed to simplify our life to get where we wanted to be. We really had everything we needed already. We didn’t need a big house and we didn’t need all our stuff. What we needed was a boat. Yes, we needed a boat to live on. This little family of four + one old lab needed a boat.
One might think, “oh wow, how fun, they must be experienced boaters.” Well think again, sisters and brothers. My husband boated when he was little, but that was recreationally. My family went canoeing once and only once. We spent a lot of time in the bushes along the river on that particular family trip. Boating is not in our blood. Okay, it is more in my husband’s blood than mine and he is handy and mechanically inclined. But still, you get the point. We are novices.
Everybody has their first day at being new at something, though. So just like any good inexperienced boating family, we purchased a beautiful (yet very reasonably-priced) 1954 50′ Chris Craft Catalina. She is an old wood boat and her name is Wild Rose. She is one of ten boats of her kind, and it seems only one of two still remaining in the world. We fell in love with her as soon as we saw her. All I could think about was the fun someone had in the ’50s when they got this boat.
She works like a charm and I know she has stories. We will only add to her stories. Every good adventure has a learning curve and this will prove no different. Here’s to the “Adventures of Wild Rose.”