I’ve been spending a bit of time on the Internet, reading websites, and watching videos that feature Narrowboats. In fact, you might say I’m obsessed with these cunning boats.
Historic working narrow boats on the Macclesfield Canal in Cheshire, England. The leading boat, Forget Me Not is hauling the un-powered butty Lilith. This became a familiar operating pattern once motors began to replace horses. (Source: Wikipedia. Image is Public Domain)
Narrowboats are long, narrow (of course) boats that traverse the canals of England and Wales. There are more than 2,000 miles of canals and cuts and boating on the waterways is a popular leisure activity for lucky Brits. Some, those I consider very lucky (although you may not agree), live on their narrow boats year-round.
Not everyone can deal with tiny places, tiny houses, tiny RVs, or tiny boats. I can’t deal with large spaces. Maybe, in a former life, I was a tortoise. But can I live in a tiny, tiny place like a narrowboat? The average size is 30-60 feet long, and the beam is 6’10”. The size is dictated by the canal lock size, which average 7-feet wide. These waterways were dug during the Industrial Revolution, and canal boats were the 18-wheeler or Greyhound bus of their day. They hauled people and goods from the ports on the Thames to all points on the compass.
I’m not alone in my obsession with tiny, portable homes. My husband spends much of his free time reading websites and watching videos, too. His tiny home, however, is an RV and at present he’s enamored with the Winnebago.
We both agree we’d love to pull up roots, shed of ourselves of extraneous material possessions and hit the open road/water. What we don’t agree on yet, is which way to go — by land or by sea.
This morning, as I switched between the link he sent me explaining how to adjust your RV mirrors so you don’t run the other guy off the road, and the video I sent him about living aboard a narrowboat in downtown London, I had a brilliant idea.
Why not do both? In fact, why not create a website where folks in the USA who have RVs and folks in the UK who have narrowboats do the old switcheroo. You know, trade homes for three, six, nine months, or even a year.
Seems to me we could all enjoy the change of scenery. Wonder if there’s already a vacation home swap website that includes alternative homes. Google, here I come!
If you’re interested in learning more about living aboard, full time or for a vacation, here’s a website I’ve stumbled across with loads of helpful info: Living on a Narrowboat
Sea Otter Narrowboat
A London-Based Narrowboat