No matter how many times we've made the transition from life aboard to life ashore, it's always a major change, if only for a few days. I wonder if other cruisers have similar transition issues? Here's our top 11 list of the major adjustments to shore life. Motion. Houses and hotel rooms do not rock or roll nor does water gently (or otherwise) lap the walls outside our window.
Space. Though Cups is a relatively large boat and well laid-out, even small rooms ashore have so much more space (and moveable furniture) than Nine of Cups.
Speed. We think we're really tooling along when we're doing 8 knots (9.2 mph/15kph) on the boat. Compare that to 500+ mph on a plane or, more noticeably, 70 mph on a highway, and it takes some getting used to.
Weather. Though we watch the weatherman every evening, we're definitely less attuned to weather and wind issues than when we are aboard. Unless there's some major storm heading our way or we might need to take an umbrella, we're kind of oblivious to the weather in our everyday lives ashore. Quite honestly, it's a relief.
Transport. Getting somewhere is so easy and fast when you have a vehicle at your disposal. You don't need to launch the car from the foredeck before using it. Need to pick something up at the store? There's a well-stocked supermarket on every corner and specialty shops are just a few miles away. Just jump in the car and go. No need to call a taxi, take a bus or walk several miles lugging your purchases. Need a boat part? Oh, I forgot … we're on land. We don't need boat parts (except to bring back with us, of course), but if we did? Everything's pretty close by.
Permanent address. Cruising around the world, we've had lots of temporary addresses. This limits our ability to have things mailed and shipped to us. Our address changes constantly. If we want to wait for a shipment, it may or may not arrive on time, depending on several variables (ship time, Customs, delivery scheds). Shippers are always a bit leery of shipping overseas to non-billing addresses. On land, we have an address that's been in the system for years (even though it's my sister's address). Easy, peasy for all those Amazon Prime shipments.
Unlimited utilities. Leave the water running while brushing our teeth? Keep the computers plugged in and on all the time? Leave extra lights on? We still try not to waste water and power, but we aren't quite as diligent about it as when we have to carry or generate our own.
Fast internet. We send large files and photos in a flash versus spotty internet connections which sometimes require a long and tedious process to send even simple text e-mails.
Television. We haven't owned a TV for the past 15 years and we're so out of touch with the technology (Cable, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu). Flat screens are huge comparative to watching DVDs on our little laptop screen. In most households, watching TV is a relaxing evening ritual that we're just not used to. On the other hand, how can you have 500+ options and not find anything of interest to watch?
Appliances. Refrigerators, freezers, toasters, coffee makers, irons, grills, griddles, hairdryers, can openers, blenders, microwave ovens … all at our fingertips and we don't even have to be in a marina with access to shore power. And we have ICE!
Convenience. This is a biggie. Living ashore is so much more convenient than living on the boat. Just a few examples? Cups is currently in the marina in Durban where we usually take showers and do most of our bathroom activities ashore at the yacht club. This requires getting dressed and toting all our shower gear down a very long dock and getting through a security gate before actually arriving at the showers. How convenient it is to just jump in the shower with shampoo and soap handy and no need to bring it with you. Need a gas or diesel fill-up? Just stop at one of the hundred gas stations around and fill 'er up. There's no necessity to tote jerry jugs. Dirty laundry? No need to tote it two miles to the nearest laundromat and then hang it out on the lines. Instead, just throw it into the washer, then the dryer and voila … clean laundry in an hour.
All this said … we'd rather live aboard and be sailing. Convenience is highly overrated.