In late 2008 I realised I’d slipped back into the old routine. Two months of fat rent, little pay, ambition lost, working in London (trying to start my own company) and my soul was reduced to tatters.
So I left, bought a narrowboat, and moved onto the Kennet & Avon Canal in Wiltshire. The idea was to wake up every morning and kayak, all in preparation for a source to sea expedition along Australia’s Murray River, a journey that I hoped would get me back on track in my pursuit of a career in adventure. Luckily, it worked.
There were other, hidden lessons that year. Life on a boat introduced a whole new way of living, I appreciated the simple things like saving water and watching ducklings grow up. I emptied my own toilet out whenever nature called for it, cooked on a stove with a finite gas supply and realised a pleasurable life didn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it was ridiculously cheap!
I haven’t always had an affinity with water because up until then my bases had always been landlocked, but life on Aslan the narrowboat led me to my first journey on water, and I can safely say the entire year, both in the UK and along the Murray in Australia, renewed my passion for life. If I hadn’t made a drastic shift from city to country, house to boat, then I wouldn’t be where I am now.
And then there's a new chapter, which began in August 2016. Those few months in 2009 kickstarted a lifestyle based around adventure and living cheaply and simply, which eventually meant I could actually afford a home when I found the right woman to move in with. And here we are.
For all the lessons of living out of a bag, it now feels wonderful to have a base. I move a little less, but when I do I have a nest to fly back to, and a partner to share it with.
It's arguably cheaper to live on a boat than within bricks, even within London and paying annual rent on a mooring. There's a little more maintenance needed on a floating home, too, and in the summer of 2017 I made this little film about looking after the hull of our boat, an activity worth thinking about every two years unless you want home to sink!