What affordable "type" is best for longterm cruising?
For what it''s worth here''s my opinion. I think you would be well served by #1 doing some research. By that I mean read. There are a myriad of resources available from magazines, and the internet to classic sailing adventures. #2 do some sailing. Find the local sailing club or yacht club and volunteer as crew for the weekly races. Talk to people. #3 Define your goals a little better. Do you just want to live on the water or do you want to travel. If you want to explore and actually go somewhere other than from one side of a lake to the other or up and down a river somewhere, then forget the houseboat idea. (I knew a guy that brought an old wooden houseboat from Monterey Bay all the way up the San Joaquin delta using a AAA road map but I wouldn''t count on that kind of luck too often). Are you pretty handy with tools? If not find a job working on boat in some capacity. Boatyard are always looking for honest hardworking people.
In short, it''s kind of like you are trying to decide what kind of automobile to purchase without ever having been behind the wheel or even having ridden in one. Don''t jump into this. You may end up wasting a lot of time screwing around with a boat that won''t serve your purpose or that needs too much work.