As we set sail for the south I have to wonder, did I bring too much? Did we bring enough? How do you prepare for something you've never done before? How do you pack for a family of 8 for an indefinite period of time? What will you wish for? What will bog you down and occupy your comfort space?
We have downsized so much and for that I'm grateful and happy, but we probably have a ways to go. Based on the first couple months of experience, many of our things will be disposed of into the water accidentally. So there will be a natural attrition of things over time. They will also break and go in the garbage without being replaced so readily.
We have been going without grid power, therefore without climate control, without TV, a microwave, a dishwasher, a refrigerator, a washer or dryer for the past month. I guess refrigeration is the one I miss the most. Food storage and preparation is much more limited without it. It doesn't last as long, especially meats. No more turkey sandwiches, no more lasagna, no more milk (powdered it is!), limited cheese options, and salad doesn't last long. The pressure cooker and I are not on speaking terms currently, but I will get the best of it yet. What I have been enjoying is stove top popcorn. The kids LOVE the making and eating of it. Stocked up on extras of that family activity and snack all in one.
Today said goodbye to the vehicle. That's yet another step in the austerity measures. What a freedom, yet things will get harder! Bought two wheel carts today to make it easier to get things to/from the laundromat and grocery store, but rations for 10 people on foot and in a dinghy will be interesting to say the least.
I am excited for the adventure and for our family. I think the quality time together will be a most wonderful experience. I think the adventure will bring bonding that our every day lives have drifted away from. I think the simple life will teach the kids skills for survival, problem solving, and common sense approaches to things. Teach them what is valuable and what is taken for granted. They will learn "need" from "want". They will learn geography in the most relevant form. They will understand where water comes from and how to conserve it, where power comes from and how to conserve it, where our food comes from and how to appreciate a fresh apple. While we are giving things up, imagine what we are gaining!!
I am reinvigorated with a sense of freedom and adventure that I haven't had in years. It's a breath of fresh air, point her south and see where the wind can take us . . .