Since we started Cruising over 11 years ago we have taken a certain pride in living a simpler life, one without a house full of stuff and a storage space chocked full of things we never use but can’t seem to let go of.
I like to call it Living off the Grid. By living the vast majority of our time away from the dock we are also unplugged from those utility demons that we used to pay each month for constant electricity, water, cable TV and supporting a vehicle to get around in.
It does take some getting used to, and we have made adjustments. When I first moved aboard Circe with Carrie in 2006 I commented that I’d miss hearing the latest breaking news on a certain Cable News Network channel, but that didn’t seem to last long. Now whenever we see a TV with 24 hour news droning on we shake our heads at how the talking heads can go on and on about anything just to fill the time.
We watch our power and water usage carefully, and replenish them both as needed. Our lights are LED, some are solar powered, and they’re only on when actually necessary. It’s amazing how much you actually don’t need to live comfortably.
One thing that we’ve remained spoiled by, especially recently, is access to the Internet. Email and social media keep us tuned in to what friends and family are doing and are essential to posting these Blog entries. Years ago we found shops with computer terminals, then restaurants started offering WiFi, then we would “borrow” someone’s home WiFi signal along the shoreline. But now every island offers WiFi broadcast in their harbor that we can pick up on a booster antenna, which doubles as a wireless router for multiple devices onboard.
We still resent having to pay for Internet access, but free WiFi is getting harder to come by, and it’s usually much slower than we’ll tolerate anymore. So we work the cost of of decent WiFi into our monthly expenses to stay in touch with family and friends, do our banking, find weather information and research interesting subjects. Oh yes, and the recent political developments have grabbed our attention.
So nowadays “Off the Grid” takes on new meaning. We recently spent several days at anchor in a little bay called “le Anses D’Arlet” with no Internet access. There’s still things to pass the time: reading, writing blogs offline (like this one), having friends over, snorkeling, naps, and the ever present boat chores.
Did I miss keeping up with the latest news? OK, maybe a little. But the break from it was a nice reminder of what is really necessary.