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Yesterday I sat on the deck and composed a blog offline in a Word app then we walked to our local pub and I uploaded it. The pub is within easy walking distance, is friendly and has a shop next door that sells a good range of food including fresh fruit and veg. I am delighted about all this.
Not only that, I composed my blog whilst my husband was doing things on the boat, and then he did a vlog. So we were both able to be creative within a small space. Just like I was able to do yoga in the narrow strip of space in the kitchen last night whilst he quietly listened to a rave documentary in the living area. I don’t need a yoga studio or even a spare room. It’s not about space, it’s us.
More challenges this morning, after a patchy shower but then luxurious washing up using hot water from the tap, and lots of hand washing (laundry) the water ran out just as I was rinsing my clothes. We still couldn’t get the water tank to fill up, and then I dropped the tap in the canal. I’ve already lost a phone in there; I am not quite orientated to life on the water yet. I am grateful to my husband for not getting angry, in fact he seemed very upbeat about it. Our neighbour supplied parts to make a new connection, and at last we have a full tank of water. Another neighbour said to me, when talking about the water trouble, ‘There’s always something to do on a boat, it’s a living thing.’
As well as learning how it all works, we’re still finding homes for everything. I have realised that you only need a very few personal items. The boat looks great just as it is, and there’s much less space so a few items really get noticed.
Also, there are very few mirrors. Well there are a few, but they are tucked away, behind the bed, in the shower, inside cupboard doors (handily placed near the front door so as to be able to hastily check one’s appearance if someone comes round). But basically you have to seek them out, and I like that. I’m not brave enough to give up mirrors completely like a friend of a friend has done (she just goes by how she feels) but mirror reduction feels good.
There’s so much to be excited about. We are living in Northamptonshire, a part of England that neither of us knows. We are in the countryside but close to various towns and to the city of Birmingham, which I have never visited properly. We are closer to London. I am also looking forward to making use of trains to go to London and Birmingham. Of course we can also go off on the boat, from going a mile down the canal to a pub and back, to going off for a couple of weeks’ cruising.
Right now though, just being on the boat is enough. Yesterday evening we had a healthy home cooked meal then spent the evening playing cards (Rummy). Last night I was woken up by my new tattoo itching and by me being too hot! The stove is really, really toasty!
Several of our friends are totally confused about what we are doing. Are we waiting for the weather to get warmer before we go off travelling the canals of England? Are we going by narrowboat to India? So for anyone wondering or for anyone who has just started reading this blog, here is a short orientation:
My name is Rachel, I am forty-seven years old. Up until the end of February, I worked as an occupational therapist in secure services. I qualified in 2000, having begun my training in 1997. It is a great profession and I am glad I picked it. However, over recent years I began to wake up and became a strange mixture of bored, stressed and burned out. I felt that I had done all I could and the thought of carrying on for another twenty years was unbearable.
My husband and I began to wonder about what was possible. We played around with the idea of getting a camper van and going around South America or going to live at a healing centre in Mexico. Eventually we settled on travelling in South East Asia for a year. Cue loads of decluttering, mental leaps, awkward conversations, rehoming the cats (sob- they are happy with a relative) and then almost a year after first floating the idea we sold the house.
Along the way we decided to buy a narrowboat to live on when we returned, having got really into the idea of having less stuff and living more simply (and with lower overheads, I don’t want to return to doing such a stressful job again. Occupational Therapy is great by the way, but I was Head of Department, short staffed, under loads of pressure, etc etc.).
The house was sold at the beginning of March, we moved initially into a Travelodge and then onto the boat. We intend to leave for India by the end of March. We just got a text that our visas are ready to collect!

Thank you for reading
Rachel xxx