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Testing unchartered waters

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Lisa Sheppard – wife, mother, non-profit worker and nature lover – tells us how she’s able to live a richer, yet more simple life at sea.

“My husband Bryon and I were contemplating moving back to Bermuda because it’s my home and he had never lived here. Being newly married we wanted to think of our next adventure, and he agreed he wanted to live in Bermuda for a while.

“I have a home on the Island that belongs to my family, but it was rented out at the time. My aunt who lives on a boat in Dockyard suggested ‘Why don’t you think about living on a boat?’.  It just so happens Bryon is from Newfoundland in Canada, where boats and water are in his blood, and he was totally excited about that option.

“We started looking at Emoo and Bermuda Boat Traders for something suitable for living aboard, and we ended up looking at several. In the end, we found Free Spirit, a 43ft Carver Cabin Cruiser.

“When it comes to living on a boat, you have to also look at the outdoor living space, as that’s where you’ll be spending a lot of your time.

“We took my aunt with us to look at the boats, and when we saw Free Spirit she was shaking her head in approval the whole time saying ‘This is very nice’.

“It had a lot of natural daylight, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Between us, we have four grown children, so we wanted them to have a place to stay when visiting Bermuda.”

“We moved to the marina in Dockyard on May 1, 2015. It was a different change of pace, but I loved it almost from the word go. I had left behind a 3,500 square foot house on 35 acres in St. George, Ontario, a rural town 45 minutes west of Toronto.

“We had 25 animals including horses, alpacas, dogs and cats. It used to take me three hours to cut the grass. I spent every weekend weed whacking, maintaining fences, hedge cutting, sweeping the barn and in the winter shovelling snow. I had a perpetual to-do list that never ended.

“With two kids who did all the sports, my garage looked like a sporting goods store. We had to scale our stuff down and decide what to sell, keep or donate. In the end, Bryon and I moved here with just two suitcases and two storage containers. The whole process of downsizing was very liberating. Now it takes me an hour to clean my boat top to bottom.

“Living on a boat is very economical. Plus, Dockyard has all the amenities and restaurants you could want. We get up early, and I watch the sunrise while drinking my morning coffee. Then on a Friday night, we untie the boat and go somewhere different for the weekend. We just drop anchor, swim, snorkel or fish, take naps, I read like crazy and just chill. That’s my absolute favourite thing about living aboard. It’s simplified living.”

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 edition of RG Magazine. 

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