Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

This will be our backyard most of this summer. The post office does not deliver here.

After spending six years living aboard boats, traveling through 31 countries, home is more where the boat is than a fixed address for Wayne and me.

We moved to Florida last September in large part so I could spend more the last of my Dad’s golden years with him. I said my final goodbye to Dad in December, less than 7 months after my Mom.  Tough year.

Meanwhile, we are appreciating the rare luxury of an electric dishwasher, and a washer and dryer that we don’t have to walk or drive to, if we have access at all. Bye-bye all that and long hot showers that won’t require a trip to refill our water tanks, though it’s still easy street compared to limiting our total water use to 100 gallons for the month at sea it took us to travel 3200 miles from Galapagos to French Marquesas.

This dingy bath was an unexpected and much appreciated cruising windfall —
a fresh rainwater bath from an overnight deluge in Tonga.
Serendipity has ample freshwater tanks can easily be refilled by hose from a number of freedock nearby.
Much easier than lugging jugs or using a watermaker.

In just over a week, we will reluctantly bid all those wonderful modern conveniences a fond farewell. May twelfth is the date we hit the road.

We will miss the friends we’ve made here, and hope we meet again, though we don’t yet know when or where. We continue to be pleasantly surprised with those encounters.

Today’s Turkey Creek kayak. Thank to Tom for leading it and Gail for these two photos of me.
Yep, I knew he was there.
He smiled nicely for my camera today.

I will miss warm winter kayaking in Florida, where I got regularly mix it up with the ‘gators and the manatees. And experience more weird Florida wildlife hiking — armadillos!

Our living room for the summer, aboard the good ship m/v Serendipity, reupholstered in 2018.

At the same time, we are eager to return to our floating home, the good ship Serendipity, awaiting our return in Portland Oregon. We are incredibly grateful to our friends James and Ellen for keeping her at their dock, a few blocks from their Sellwood home while we were gone. And always,we are humbled by our friends Larry and Nancy, who gave us the opportunity to make Serendipity our home. We look forward to seeing them this summer.

Our drive from Portland Oregon to Florida’s Space Coast was 3,442 miles.
We expect to log more miles as we meander more on the way back.

Now it’s time to reverse the process of our move here (and then some)…. 

  • Get rid of every bit of furniture and appliances we picked up for our 2-bedroom Florida apartment (we didn’t have to deal with this on the way out as we moved off a boat of built-in furniture). 
  • Scale back to what fits in the back of our Prius hatchback and about 400-500 pounds of boxed stuff to rejoin us when we arrive back in Portland.  
  • Sell the second car we picked up in Florida. That transaction is supposed occur tomorrow eve.
  • Drive back, cross-country, this time from the South East to the North West. 

My staging area for what needs to be packed, given away, and discarded. To be completed this coming week. Other than my clothes and a few electronics, everything going cross-country in this room will go via Greyhound at $1/lb/

“Really? You can’t do that!” is the common reaction when I explain our plans, in particular getting rid of all but our clothes, a toolbox, an inflatable kayak, a few bits of art, our records and some token mementos. 

What I have learned from my life cruising and living aboard a boat…. The best things in life are not things.

How I felt once buyers were lined up for all our furniture, and were willing
to wait until the day before our move to pick up the mattresses,
couches, tv, and microwave.

As of a few days ago, I have owners for every bit of our furniture as well as every appliance except our toaster, which we’ll likely give away, and our billy, which is coming with us.

Nonetheless, I confess, unlike my true minimalist husband, I’m a bit of a packrat. Wayne will load less in the Prius than me, He has his one box going via Greyhound is already packed and ready to go. Of course, the kitchen, office supplies and more are my responsibilities. Like most men, Wayne’s sartorial wants and needs are far simpler than mine. He will never an archivist nor feel compelled to maintain a mess of paper for writing grist. And he has far too much sense to get saddled with his parent’s stuff.

One of only pieces of artwork making the move with us. This is a Liz Collins image,
channeling my goal to get a book written and published this summer.

I planned to winnow down and digitize my photos. I’ve made some headway organizing and reducing, but at this stage the digitizing isn’t not going to happen before our move. Instead, I’m cheating… and sending our retro family photos my brother’s way, where we’ll go through them there. Or at least that’s the plan.

Our Prius, an unlikely packhorse that still managed to average 52 miles / gallon cross-country on the way to Florida.
The luggage is from Helene and Stephen of Brisbane Australia. We’re continuing to put it to good use!

This time, unlike the trip out, we are not rushing to make the start date of a new job. We plan on taking some time to enjoy the trip and explore the in-betweens a bit. We plan to arrive in Portland by June first. Our route is very loosely planned.

We plan to stay off the main highways and take back roads as much as possible. Image from Pixabay.

We are still not sure what we’ll do come October, when living aboard a boat in the Northwest is far less inviting that in the summertime.  We may stay. We lived aboard through the winter of 2017, so we know we can do and at the same time that it’s not ideal. Or we may find jobs  that will pay enough to afford living in the area off the boat or land some or house-sitting gigs that give us a reprieve from the boat. Or we may return to Florida. Or we may end up someplace else altogether.

Come October, we don’t know where in the world we will be.
Golden Bridge, Da Nang, Vietnam, from

The upside of downsizing is we are able to move with relative ease. We don’t have much, but we don’t need much. Our options are open.  

Your suggestions are welcome!