The last thing I expected when we moved onto a sailboat was how many friends I was going to make in the boating community. To me, sailing and living on a boat seemed like a fairly solitary endeavour and I was ok with that. I wasn’t on the water to meet people. I was on the water to be closer to nature, to learn new skills and to get away from the insanities of modern life. To me, meeting more people was the antithesis of at least two of those goals, but those expectations quickly changed.
Growing up, I lived in cities and towns, but being raised by two parents from rural Alberta I was told many stories of what a farming community was like. I was told stories of how you could depend on your neighbors for anything you needed in a farming community, and neighbors knew they could come to you for help as well. It was obvious that my parents missed the ability to come together with community in a way that only people who live close to nature do. There is a camaraderie that exists between those who depend on the unpredictable rhythms of nature to survive, and just as it exists within a farming community, I found it amongst those of us who live on and travel on boats. The main difference is that the boating community is all over the place instead of in a single geographical area. But the way the boat community shares information, comes together to help one another out, shares food, stories and hardships, is very much reminiscent of communities that are built around ranches and farms.
When we live on the dock or spend time on the water, we constantly seem to meet people who are willing to lend a helping hand, share information with us about where we plan to go, share a meal or just chat for hours about boats, life on the water and the ups and downs that go with living so closely to nature. In the boating community, we found a community and connection we didn’t know we were missing. But it wasn’t even just in person we were meeting and connecting with community. It was on social media too. Through Facebook groups, Instagram and YouTube we have met so many people who are living a similar lifestyle. We have had dinner with friends we connected with through our pictures on Instagram, met people in anchorages that saw us on YouTube, and found support for many of our boat issues through local groups on Facebook. Regardless of where we have chatted with people about boats, we have met incredible people who have genuinely wanted to connect with others who were interested in living this lifestyle with all its unique challenges and rewards.
Our boating community is unique, nuance and spread across the world. It is made up of people from all walks of life with the full spectrum of experiences and reasons for their boating choices, but we are all connected by a passion for being out on the water and being closer to nature and I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of it!