Liveaboard Life: Minimalism in a Tiny Home at Sea

Teresa Carey Press, Video 61 Comments

The following video was made by Kirsten from Fair Companies. Kirsten contacted me because she is currently interested in how and why people live in small spaces. Daphne surely is a small home. Fair Companies is a vlog centered around sustainable culture. It’s full of interesting videos!

Thank you, Kirsten, for making this video that is a glimpse into my world.

Comments 61

  1. DanBat

    Happy for you and to see such a robust effort with your site. This team will be a plus. I pass this adventure along to my grandchildren in Indiana.
    Keep up the good work,Best to all, Thank you.

    Dan Batson

    This is before your time but my vessel was the Happy Clam a 36 Grand Banks out of Huntington Harbor, N Y

  2. thecakebuoy

    That was a great interview. It was cool to see the many snippets of your previous trips and experiences. Downsizing to live aboard was a huge task, I found, especially as a person who attaches memories to “things.” Though we got rid of about half our things, we have found with seasonal gear (snowboards, winter clothes, camping gear, summer clothes, motorcycle gear…ect.) we have to keep a storage unit. Or give up all that fun stuff.
    I think that age can also be a factor: People who own a home and are in their 40’s or 50’s have had that many years to accumulate stuff. Plus they have had an entire house to fill it up with. My husband and I are young and we only ever lived in rented out basement suites and so didn’t actually own very much to start out with.
    But I agree with you, it’s amazing how little people need to live a healthy and comfortable life. It’s much less then many might think. An interesting thing has been seeing how our ‘visits’ to our storage unit have greatly declined. At first we were there often, switching out clothes, keeping extra food there, but then our priorities changed. We now grocery shop regularly, every other day, and only have a few outfits!

  3. Tim

    It’s was a happy little surprise to see you back on the web. It’s always good to take a breather now and then.

    My girlfriend and I are working towards simplifying and doing a bit of wandering around. We are doing a bit of a gradual process, winding down hectic careers and getting ready to sell or rent our home, bought a boat, prepping it for seafaring and learning how to sail all at the same time.

    I’m really looking forward to getting out and about. My sweetie, ever practical, is worried about cash flow and if she can handle ocean sailing. I think she will be fine on the boat, as she is much scrappier than she gives herself credit for. As long as we ease into it, it should be ok. If not, we will probably look for somewhere to live by the ocean that is not too expensive (is there such a place?), and hopefully use that as a base for some trips. We’ll see.

    Thanks for keeping up on your blog, it gives us inspiration to give it a go.

  4. Kathleen

    Welcome back, I love to follow your adventures. It was fun to see Dory in action! What is it about cats and their need to share cereal bowls LOL? I also have to keep the butter covered…

  5. Gus

    Enjoyed the vid very much. Takes me back to my days living on Caraway.

    It does make me laugh the talk of a small boat though! Daphne is huge! She has an aft cabin!
    Try living on a Flicka like I did for two years! Now that’s a small boat!

    looking forward to more films


    1. Post

      Gus, I think the Flicka is a great boat! Before I sailed Daphne, I sailed a Ranger 23, which is also a fun little boat.

      How long did you live aboard your Flicka?

      Daphne is a small boat, when compared to a house or apartment, but I did say that she never felt small to me. I felt like I had the open ocean as my home. Horizon everywhere. However, when I lived aboard during a northern winter, with a boat cover on her, it was like living in a cave! That was the hardest time living aboard. But I would do it again.


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  6. Betty

    Teresa, I envy you, what a wonderful life…I will be following your adventures on “Daphne” and remembering fondly her namesake.

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  7. Marsha Baile

    Am so happy you are able to live your dream. Of course Ken would say there is nothing like living in Indiana especially his beloved New Harmony. We do have the Wabash river that we can drive our golf cart down along the river trail.

    Will keep checking on your great web site. Ken and Marsha

  8. Sue Baxter


    I’m Joe Taylor’s girlfriend and I’ve met your wonderful parents and we actually spent a weekend at their home last year. They shared with us your love of sailing. Wow! What an adventure. It’s so cool that you’re sharing this with all us land lovers who will never have the opportunity to experience what you’re doing. Your movies are so interesting. I will be waiting anxiously for the next one. Believe me, I am living vicariously through you. Nice job.

  9. Jim Carey

    Hey Teresa: I really enjoyed this recent video, especially your commentary. Keep up the good work. You’re teaching now, I understand…when does the next adventure begin?

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  10. Germán Arias

    Lovely boat and a nice video. We live on a small boat too in Spain and it´s nice to share this kind of live with other people like you and learn from each other.

  11. Bill

    This might seem like a crazy question but, why couldn’t you just tow a small dingy behind your boat with a whole bunch of solar panels on it? Something small that could hold maybe 5 or 6 of those panels you have and hold as many deep cycle marine batteries as you want to store power in. In other words, you would be towing your own power production plant behind your boat.

    1. Ben

      Bill, unfortunately, towing even an empty dinghy has it’s own set of problems, and is pretty much impossible to do offshore. Add in hundreds of pounds of batteries and panels, and you would be towing around an sea anchor. Most likely this towed power station would fill with water and sink, or the tow line would chafe through and it’d be lost at sea.

  12. Colette

    Like so many others, glad to see you back online!

    Jim and I are completing our ASA 104 in Punta Gorda, FL this weekend. Since we began our “happily homeless” adventure last summer I haven’t met many sailing women, so I enjoy your perspective. I’m a cat lover, too, so that’s a bonus. : )

    Take care,

    Colette & Jim

  13. Dan

    Love your blog and videos. Glad to see you and Ben are in the islands….Your adventure keeps an old salty smiling all the time. Not sure why you would want to go chase ice burgs????
    Good luck with that ….But we will be watching.
    Be safe,enjoy…Dan& Bonnie

    1. Post

      Ben and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the northern waters better than the islands in the south. In fact, we were itching to leave the Bahamas and head north.
      Glad you like the vids. We plan on making a lot this summer. Be sure and sign up for the email list.

  14. Cal 20 Sailor (aka Carson)

    Love your lifestyle and philosophy (and your website)–like Thoreau said: “Simplify, simplify, simplify…” (In fact, I’ve thought of naming MY Nor’Sea 27 just that…when I get her…)

    Like you, I prefer northern waters, especially the Puget Sound/Pacific Northwest area. Though I grew up in Hawaii (where I am stuck, again), I always dreamed of returning to the Rockies, where I was born, and ended up living some 27 years in California: in the Redwoods, Lake Tahoe, The Bay Area, and the Mt. Shasta area; and motorcycled most of the West from British Columbia to the Desert Southwest and the Pacific Coast Highway. Love the seasons, cool weather, mountains, granite and coniferous forests–the PNW has it all! Hawaii maybe be “balmy” to most, but to me it’s just muggy (and too small). And sailing between the islands is NOT paradise, but home to some of the roughest winds and waters in the Pacific.

    Thanks for living a good life and sharing it with us dreamers! I’ll make a point of continuing to follow your adventures and live vicariously through your blog until I get the sails on my own dream aloft and underway.

  15. Matt

    Just stumbled across your website as I am impatiently waiting for the weather to break in the NE to launch my own boat. I just had to tell you I thought your video was wonderful — you capture an awful lot that others have missed. Thanks. .

  16. Leanne

    Hi Teresa,

    Very cool what you’re doing. There’s a great freedom that comes with having less hey?
    I’m helping some friends put together a social network all around the sea and activities associated with it. It’s called Nautical Community ( Would you be interested in sharing this particular blog post on our blog? We are looking for people who love the sea, blog and want to share their experience and knowledge.



  17. Pat Langer

    Love the video, Teresa. I didn’t realize you teach. Do you live on board while teaching and just sail when school is out? Do you enjoy teaching? I look forward to following your journey!

    1. Post

      I was a teacher before I moved aboard Daphne. For a few years while living aboard I took transient jobs to pay the bills. I found that to be the most difficult part of that lifestyle. I wanted a job that was meaningful to me again, so I returned to teacher this fall. I’m also planning a bigger voyage and therefore need to save up a bit more money. I’ll be back sailing again soon.
      I don’t live aboard while I teach. My job requires me to live in the dorms. I’m a houseparent at the boarding school I teach at.
      I do enjoy teaching. I get to teach Oceanography on a campus that is located on a beautiful harbor, and just a short walk to the ocean. I also get to coach a competitive dance team….who just took home their first trophy this weekend!

  18. Pat Langer

    What a perfect job for you! You must have felt Gods smile when you got it.
    Congratulations to you and your dance team! What a great accomplishment! What grades do you teach?
    Im sure you are starting to get busy getting Daphne ready for your voyage. Is she in dry dock now?

    Thank you so much for writing me back! I love your blog and followers! I see your mom on here. Please give her my email, we lost touch after the fire. I would love to correspond with her.

    1. Post

      Pat, I teach all High School grades. And yes, I’m very busy getting both Daphne and Ben’s boat Elizabeth ready for the summer. Its a lot of work!

  19. Richard @ Lifestyle Design Unleashed

    Great video. Really inspiring stuff and you’re doing something right now that I’ve always dreamed of. Thought you’d be amused, bearing in mind the “minimalism” message your video portrays, that YouTube decided to put an advert about “driving a Honda powerboat” over the video at one point while I was watching – now *thats* bad ad targeting 😉


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      That is funny! I’ve never seen them put any ads on my videos. I didn’t know they even did that. Hey, do I get any of the money of someone clicks on the ad and busy a powerboat!!! Tee hee.

  20. Rob R.

    Great video! I can relate with my own experiences on my own boat. She’s a bit bigger, but the concept of reducing remains true. You won’t regret it!

  21. Scott

    Wow, I love your story! Last night I was sitting in this same spot at my computer practicing bowlines tied to the arms of my computer chair! Gee, it’s not like I’m itching to get back out on the water or anything. I’ve sailed since I was in high school (also on Lake Michigan) but not very much in the last few years. Seeing your video makes me want to get on board again. (Although not today – it’s currently snowing outside…miss Michigan weather?) Anyway, good luck to you. I would love to live your life right now!

  22. Heather

    First, you are my new Shero. Second, the fact that you share your cereal milk with your cat makes me feel normal now, as I do this too. : ) May you have many blessed journeys ahead of you and thanks for the inspiration.

  23. gas

    truly inspirational, whilst you have an enormous bath overboard i was wondering how you manage without a lavatory? or was it simply not featured in the film?

    i’m looking to make a similar break from the uk & into the med but have had a shower & lavatory as pre-requisites. maybe it’s our poor climate i’ve been downtrodden by. hehe

    have fun

  24. Courtney

    I googled “liveaboard life,” thinking that I’m going to give up all my stuff and live on a boat with my sheltie for company, and found your inspiring videos. It’s great to see a young woman like yourself taking on adventure and living in total freedom. You’ve inspired me, and I’ll follow your progress and journeys. I can’t wait to get my own boat and join you in the seas!

    Question about Daphne: She looks to be a wood boat? May I ask why you choose wood rather than fiberglass or another compound?

    Au Revoir!

    1. Post

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoy my blog.

      Daphne is a deceiving boat! She is not wood, she is fiberglass. I would love to have a wood boat, but they are much more expensive and more difficult to care for. Perhaps my next boat will be wood. My boat is a Nor’sea 27. She is an excellent boat and the lapstrake hull, which makes her look wood, also makes her very seaworthy.

      Good luck in your adventure. Please keep me posted and perhaps we will meet on the high seas!


  25. Mark

    That was a great video !!!!

    I have been doing some research into living aboard a boat. Currently live in a apartment and feel closed in. Its nice to see people doing this and enjoying it. How do you cope with the winter?



    1. Post

      The first winter aboard Daphne I was in a northern climate. I lived at a dock and had an electric heater. The entire boat was covered by a brown cover. It wasn’t fun…like living in a cave. Much like the closed in feeling you get from your apartment, but I’m sure even more extreme because of the size of the boat. Also, moisture becomes a problem in colder climates. I’m experiencing that now in Newfoundland. But I managed because I had some “shore friends.” The following winter I sailed south to warmer climates. This winter I’ll be living in a dorm room at a boarding school, as I am a teacher again and a houseparent. Living in the dorms is a requirement.

      1. Mark


        just some quick questions. How did you acquire your boat? I have been looking around for a boat myself and find that prices are everywhere. How much head room is in your boat? I am finding it hard to find something that will fit my tallness 6′ 2″. Up here in Toronto dealers seem to push everything, and I am still trying to find what suits me.

        Thanks again


        1. Post

          I have always known that I the Nor’Sea was my boat of choice. The reason isn’t practical. Its only because my father told me all about the Nor’Sea over and over when I was a little girl. The Nor’Sea is an EXCELLENT boat for one or two people. I love it, and I love the Nor’Sea even more now that I’m trying a different boat this summer.
          Please keep in touch and let me know what type of boats interest you and I might have some suggestions for you.
          What type of sailing will you be doing? Will you live aboard? What latitudes? There are all things to consider.

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  27. Jim Donovan

    Hi Teresa and Ben!,
    Jim from Toronto, ON. posting here…..I am saving up a down-payment for a good, sea-going sailboat. I had the opportunity to check out a Nor;Sea 27 at Kingston last summer, my brother-in-law, not a sailor, took one look at the Nor’Sea and said “Now that’s a boat you can go to sea on!” I am interested in either a Nor;Sea 27 or a Lyle Hess 26, rare as hen’s teeth in Canada, but KISMET may be in my favour when the time to buy comes.
    My interest is in sailing the waters of the Eastern Seaboard and knowing the health of the marine ecosystems along all these waterways.
    Keep posting your adventures you two, it’s an inspiration for me to actualize my own sailing hopes and dreams! Sincerely, Jim D.

  28. Barbra Donachy

    We’re always on the lookout for good sailing blogs. Yours has come up on two different occasions. We’re glad to have come across it.

    We, too, are teachers to support our newly found sailing habit. We love to live “small” and agree with you… we are happy with less. We feel more rich than ever.

    Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle.
    Jack and Barbra Donachy

  29. David

    I want to say first of all. I envy you for the path of simplicity you’ve chosen. Being by water brings me peace. So I can only imagine what living on it is like. I’ve always wanted to sail. But haven’t yet. So I’ve subscribed to your blog to learn more about it from someone who knows, & to experience vicariously through you some of your experiences. Please understand that what you’re doing with this blog is providing an opportunity for me. That I may never have been able to have. Know that I’m very appreciative to you for it. May the wind be always at your back.

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  31. James L. Carey

    Love the site and everything you’re doing! And of course that you’re a fellow Carey blogging about simplicity, although you’re a bit better at it than I am 😉 Oh and I’m not your Uncle, though I am someone else’s Uncle Jim.

    Anyway, keep it up!

  32. Mark Kilcrease

    Inspiring, Just acquired a boat and on the steep learning curve of seamanship. Old boat lots of work to do. Hope to move onto it in a few months. Godspeed to you guys and cat.

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