Speak of simplicity. My first LA was a 19ft Bristol SailStar. I moved onto it for, I thought, a weekend after my gf and I broke up...and the idea of living on the hook with no bills hooked me. The weekend became two years in the blink of an eye. This was the mid 80's.
No engine no lights no battery no galley no slip no phone no computer no TV no address no bills $0 maintenance but a lot of barter and elbow grease. I sailed coastally all over from Louisiana to the Keys and there were months where my total expenditures were $20, and that's no BS. I know because there were trips where I left with only $20 to my name.
I built a sweep for maneuvering short distances. Sometimes when anchoring I was just as likely to put on my diving fins, jump overboard and tow the boat with legpower to the spot I liked best and set the anchor by hand. I may have been a curiousity to onlookers but it worked very well. Washed myself and clothing in Joy and salt water with no ill effects for two years...remember to beat the salt out of my shirts before I put them on lol. Cooked with a driftwood-fueled Hibachi bolted to the transom. (You're really an eagle scout if you can make coffee at 6AM with a 20knot wind going on) In places where I didn't want my dinghy stolen, I bought the cheapest 2 man blowup raft I could find, ride in to shore, deflate it and take apart the 2 piece plastic paddle, put it in my backpack and go to town. Going back to the boat, I habitually took a gander along the shore for driftwood to stock up my locker. For entertainment, I had a solar radio and read from my library of mold-spotted books by candlelight, did not feel culturally deprived. Being the 'weird person' in an anchorage I think added to my popularity...boat people seem to love a madman and want to feed him...lol. I made moorings out of engine blocks and milk bottle buoys, and a day of sailing didn't need an opportunity, only the urge.
The boat I have now, people would say is simplicity itself as it is. But 20 years on, it seems I "have to have" a PC, internet, phone, TV, cable, a diesel, stove, fridge, icemaker, the list goes on. Part of me really misses the simpler way. But as I'm 20 years older I'm almost a little afraid now to try it.
The boat needs to be hauled out within the next 12 months, and when it comes to that I'll decide. I may pull the engine, prop shaft, tank and toss the batteries, and replace all nav lights with solar beacons they use for ocean buoys. One motivation is there's an incredible amount of space to be gained with all the engine related units gone. No circuit box, no wiring, charging, fueling, maintaining, repairing...back to full time sailing and submission to the elements. Maybe my memory is faulty in my old age, but I don't remember being in significant trouble before because the wind wouldn't blow hard enough...if you kept finding wind on the nose, it meant you were going in the wrong direction, lol. If I was trying to cross ahead of a freighter and a sudden dead calm ensued, that would be bad. I try to stay away from city-sized mechanized behemoths at any rate...rather scary things, seems like they're bumping into bridges and islands and spilling black muck on a regular basis.
If the mad act occurs, I'm back to the minimalist thing. Well, semi-minimalist. A portable solar panel, cellphone and a laptop can make life easier if they're used right. After all, I'm I'm not going to start chasing dinner with a sharp stick just to prove a point...lol
It's not a done deal yet...just a temptation needing a temporary insanity for it to bear fruit...see what happens. It would be very liberating to take a thousand dollars and think I could disappear indefinitely. Don't know if that's possible anymore..can I really be free of my civilized addictions? Do I even want to be?
that's an amazing story, especially as it seems that most folks I see roughing it like that aren't doing it by choice.
but something does often change with folks as they get older; when once all they needed was a pack and a tent and a can of sterno to see the world, suddenly they need half a village, twenty pack animals and a few elephants (with wireless of course). do we just get lazy or weak or smarter?
i suppose you can't generalise. in my neck of the enchanted forest, I sure wouldn't want to be roughing it. southern california or mexico is one thing, but up here its just too damned cold. it's a lot easier being a sand fly when the water is 30 degrees and the air is 40.
as i've gotten older i have moved more and more towards simple and wondering how far i can go, and whether i'll have a mate with me the whole trip. most women won't buy what is described above, not once they reach the grey side of 20.
one person's hell is another's enlightened bliss.