Man Goes Into Deep End in Quest to Edit Life
Each week we are profiling real people who are editing their lives for more freedom and happiness. This week we hear from Mike, who is giving up his spacious Bath, England flat to live out his dream, living aboard a 42 ft “Gentleman Cruiser” motorboat, while creating a simpler, more financially sane life.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Mike. I’m 52. I work as an IT consultant, part time film extra (you can see me briefly in Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix) and occasional performance artist (Captain Teapot, I took part in a project on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2009). I’m single and currently living in the UK in the Georgian city of Bath.
What makes your life an ‘edited’ one?
My life is becoming an edited one due to my imminent move from a large apartment in Bath, ceiling heights nearly 12 ft, living room and bedrooms are both 18 ft x 14 ft, built in the late 1700’s. I’m moving to London and I’ll be living on a motorboat that is only 42 ft x 12 ft with a ceiling height of 6 ft. There is no room for freestanding furniture, but there is some built in furniture, a table and 3 bunks and of course a shower and galley kitchen.
living rooms now and later
How long have you been living this way, and do see yourself continuing to live this way?
I’ve been living in houses and apartments all of my life. I’ve never lived on a boat before, but have sailed a little. I see my move to the boat as a long term one, perhaps a permanent one. It was motivated by a long held dream of a life afloat and by the fact that property prices in the UK are too high.
What are the biggest advantages of living this way?
Advantages are more money and time, as most of my work in the past has been in central London I’ll be able commute using public transport and on good days I’ll be able to walk to work.
What are the biggest challenges?
The biggest challenges are the reduced space, plumbing aboard a boat is not as straightforward as it is in an apartment, water has to be pumped aboard. Also I’ll probably have to move the boat on a regular basis, residential moorings in London are difficult to find so I’ll have to relocate every few months for a while until I can find one..
Do you think you could maintain this lifestyle with a family?
It could be done with a family, but I’d need a bigger boat.
What is the number one suggestion you’d give to someone looking edit their lives?
Look carefully at what you think you need. If its been sitting in a box out of sight for years, you don’t need it. I had many items that belonged to my youngest brother who died several years ago, a castle and soldiers I bought him for Christmas when he was 8 years old, and some of his personal items. I was keeping them for sentimental reasons but realised that he wasn’t in them. He’s in my heart, in me and always will be. The things are ultimately not important and now someone else can enjoy them. Items that belonged to him I gave to local charity shops and I had a home sale that enabled me to sell most of the furniture and other items I’ve accumulated over the years and a poster for the film ‘Charade’ has gone to an auction in London.
What item(s) have made your lifestyle easier?
A computer has made a big difference, CD’s, DVD’s and even books are no longer neccessary now that they can be stored on a laptop that fits into a small bag. Also the fact that I’m currently single has helped. I’m the only one that I have to consider, it wouldn’t be quite so easy with a partner or family.
Do you have any design or architectural suggestions derived from your lifestyle?
A boat is made for a purpose, size is limited and there’s a purity to it that I like, also there is a little romance about life on a boat. I intend to do a little work to her and will have good quality fabrics etc on board and I can do that because the boat is small. I’ve lived in many different places over the years but could never afford to decorate them properly, corners were cut and the sheer size of the places meant that decorating was almost a never ending task. With the boat I can decorate easily and afford to do it well.