Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Consumption

One of the benefits of living on a boat is that you can’t go crazy shopping. But now that I’m living on American soil in a house, I feel like all the stores and billboards are screaming at me to BUY BUY BUY. Bikes, computers, clothes, beds, cellphones … all these things that we didn’t need on a boat seem essential on land.

As I walk into a store, I want to lasso myself back. You don’t want more stuff! Remember the boxes you packed away for three years and didn’t miss? Remember Maria’s family in Vanuatu who lived in a 10x10 foot room and seemed so content with what little they owned.

How can I apply the lessons that I learned on a boat to living on land. How can I refrain from accumulating more stuff? How can I remember to conserve water, like we did instinctively on the boat? It’s so easy to let the faucet run, use the dishwasher and indulge in luxurious baths.

The other day, Maya and I were eating a burrito and drinking ice water at Taco del Mar in Hood River. We both didn’t finish the ice and when we got up to bus our table, Maya looked at me and said, “I don’t want to throw the ice away.” I couldn’t bare to either.

Now that we’re back on land and in a house with a refrigerator and an ice maker, we don’t have to treasure ice. Nor do we have to turn the water faucet off immediately, take two minute showers, switch the lights off, close doors, and refrain from buying heaps of stuff. All this isn’t as important as it is on a boat.

We’ve learned to live with less on a boat, and it sure is nice to live with more, but imagine how much energy and water we would save if we continued our practice of turning off lights, using minimal water, acquiring minimal things like we do on a boat? Imagine how much better our world would be if we all lived as if we were on a boat.

2 comments:

Carol & Danny said...

Hi Ruth, I have been reading your blog the last couple of days, me and my partner Danny are going cruising at the end of the year - first time overseas - to Vanuatu, so I was really interested in your notes on that area, we have met Tim and Kai as our boat is also at Manly. Tim suggested we take a look at your blog and I am so pleased I did. We are trying to slow down our consumption so when we are cruising it wont be so hard, so I can understand what you have just posted going in the opposite direction. Your boat is beautiful it must have been very hard to leave it behind, Danny would like to buy it but finances won't allow. I will keep reading back through your voyage as it is firing up my enthusiasm to be part of the cruising fraternity and experience all the highs and lows of life at sea. Carol

neverforgranted said...

I just caught up on your blog, I really enjoy reading all of your posts. I am sorry to hear that your cruising is over, but it doesn't mean that there won't be more adventures.
I also find it hard to "keep up" with the American way of life, literally. We just left the boat for a few days and borrowed a car, we kept getting honked at and passed with aggression on the road until we realized we were driving 50mph on the highway!
Heres to maintaining the minimalist lifestyle of cruiser.
Best of luck to you all
Danielle
S/v Never For Granted

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