No House, No Car, and One Pair of Shoes

Unless you count flip-flops . . . .

Some people call themselves “minimalists” because they cleaned out their closet and donated a bag of clothes to Goodwill. I own exactly one pair of blue jeans. That’s all I need.

Landlubbers build houses with walk-in closets to hold all their clothes. I have six pairs of shorts. All are severely faded from the Florida sun. One of them has a bunch holes, from working with acidic hull cleaner. I don’t care. My entire wardrobe can fit in a pillow case.

My one pair of shoes:

Environmentalists are concerned about the quality and quantity of our water supply. I have monitored our water usage for over three years. It’s always the same. We use three gallons (or less) per day. That’s right, two adults, showering occassionally, drinking, making coffee, flushing, washing dishes, etc. Three gallons per day.

Dirt Dwellers fill their garages, attics, basements, and backyard sheds with STUFF. Everything we own fits inside of a 36 x 12 boat. On the rare occassion when we actually buy some material possession, we have to decide what to get rid of. Something comes on the boat, something will have to come off.

We don’t own a car! Earth-bound souls cannot comprehend this. How can you not have a car? We have a dinghy. It’s our station wagon, pickup truck, grocery getter, and taxi. For anything else, we walk or use public transportation when it’s available. All that walking in only one pair of shoes. I have to confess though, I have three pairs of flip-flops.


One pair I found abandoned in Fort Myers Beach. They were my size so I adopted them.

On trash; We can make one garbage bag last for ten days. How long does it take to fill your garbage bag? A day, maybe two? First thing we do is de-package while on land. All those carboard boxes with a plastic bag inside get discarded. Then we recycle. Plastic bottles and beer cans get separated. We hold them until we find a place to take them. Food scraps go overboard, so the trash can stays relatively clean and doesn’t smell or attract bugs.

Here’s our house:


Nice back yard eh?

Yes we live a simple life. So called modern day Minimalists would have to go a lot further to come close the simplicity that we enjoy. No bills, no job, no worries . . . it’s the life we chose and we have no regrets. We can’t even watch TV here in the Keys! Is it hard sometimes? Of course, it has it’s challenges. Weather, boat repairs and maintenance, occassional boredom. Wouldn’t trade it for a thing. Meanwhile, we hae less impact on the environment than the most devout Greenie. We make our own electricity, we recycle, we conserve, not just water, but everything consumable aboard our boat. I guess you could call us conservationists. We are not alone. The cruising life is filled with solar panels and wind generators. There’s fossil fuel powered generators as well. It’s all part of living, not attached to land.

After almost four years away from land, I can not envision ever going back. I couldn’t give up the freedom. I couldn’t deal with the stress, the noise, the consumerism. No sir, it’s the salty sea for me.

7 thoughts on “No House, No Car, and One Pair of Shoes

  1. Suky

    It’s all good EXCEPT…. it’s illegal to dump food scraps less than 3 miles from the coast. May seem crazy but that’s the law. Sounds like you have 4 pair of shoes … 🙂 I have 3 pairs, 1 pr sandals, 1 pair sneakers for those super long walks and 1 pair of DuBarry All weather boots…

  2. woot

    Hey, those are my flip-flops!
    Great post…keep ’em coming. You guys are living the life and inspiring the rest of us. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. William Kelly

    I can’t wait. Come on April! That is when my boat deal is complete. Plan to putter around Lake Ontario until October, get myself accustomed to the boat and then head south. From there it will be where ever the wind blows me. I am truly hoping that I can get some of the health benefits from the sea, sun and sand to make me close to being a whole human again. I hope that we cross paths, would love to meet up someday.

  4. Mark Roope

    Call yourself green. You have 4 pairs of shoes and to me that puts you alongside Emelda Marcos. I had one pair with big holes in the sole (note to self, don’t put cigarettes out by standing on them). I had them for two years and they were my soul mates without a sole. Things were getting bad but then I found there is a god. Someone left a pair of shoes in my size by the skip and they had bottoms you could not see through. I swapped them there and then and now I am upwardly mobile again. Oh how I love dumpsters and sailors who have too much money they can throw perfectly good items away.

  5. Justin Wellington

    I loved this blog post. My mom, BB, and Howard are in Boot Key on Island Fever, enjoying the same cruiser lifestyle that you have. I had the opportunity to enjoy 5 days of it and it was great. I’m still a dirt dweller for now, but, one day I hope to have a backyard view like you have.


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