My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
If you’ve every dreamed of a quieter, simpler life – then this short story is for you. Though it’s a favourite among cruising sailors (for obvious reasons when you read it), Martyr’s story is really about the yearning all of us feel from time to time to be FREE.
A retired man finds new meaning and satisfaction in his life when he moves about a small sailboat and cruises the canals of Europe. “The life was making me young again – and I knew it,” he says. True, he doesn’t have much space, or a bathroom, but he discovers a new connection with people and places, wholesome food and, ultimately, himself. And he does all that on just £200 a year.
“I enjoyed every minute of that first winter, and by the time the spring came round I knew I had discovered the perfect life. I was happier than I ever hoped to be, and healthier than I had ever been. I found myself looking forward to each day, and every day had some new interest. Life was, without exaggeration, nearly perfect,” the retired doctor tells a couple who end up exploring the possibility of living aboard a small sailboat themselves.
Prices have gone up a lot since the story was written during the Great Depression but a simple life is still possible on today’s equivalent.. According to the website Measuringworth, what cost £200 in 1932 would have cost £10,348.50 ($16,777) in 2008. I can say from personal experience that it is quite possible to live happily on this on a small sailboat, such as “Kuan Yin”, provided you eat on board and (rarely in restaurants), anchor out most of the time and don’t stop in a different marina every night. While marina prices can be reasonable on a monthly or seasonal let, it’s easy to spend $1500 a month on the daily charges!
Of course, not everyone wants to live on a sailboat or is even suited to it. But the point of the story – that satisfaction and meaning can be found in a simple life that lived consciously – is a hopeful message for everyone.
Free download: The £200 Millionaire
Over the next few months I’ll be reviewing some of the books, websites and videos that explore how to live aboard and provide practical advice on the cruising lifestyle.