Friday 8 April 2011

Meet The Boaters: Karolina's Family

Rainy Kensal Green
 What makes someone decide to live aboard? Does having kids change that? Why do some families stay living aboard, and others decide that as their children grow older, it’s time to leave the waterways and live ashore? I’ve begun to interview some boaters and ex-boaters about life afloat.

Karolina, (32) is a finance officer and lives with Grzegorz, (27) a sound technician, and their daughter who is fifteen months old. They bought their first narrowboat in April 2009, so have lived aboard for two years. They are “continuous cruisers” who sometimes take a winter mooring. She loves the peace and quiet of canal life.

Karolina, what first attracted you to the boating lifestyle?

There are no noisy neighbours, you can sightsee London easily, it’s close to nature and on top of it. We could not get a loan for buying a flat so this was a nice alternative. My husband always dreamed of living on a boat, he is a "sailor soul."

Our boat is a 40 foot, traditional, BMC1.5 (engine) I love my plants on the roof. The down sides of this boat are that there is less space for a spare gas bottle, and we need to fold and unfold our table every time after eating.
The best things about living on a boat are being close to nature - birds, peace – and escaping from the rush of London.

The worst thing about living on a boat is winter - you need to be careful with the heating (not too hot, and not too cold, and not to run out of coal etcetera).

After having our daughter I would say that the worse elements are these same things.

I lived in Germany for four or five years before moving to the UK, and we moved together to the UK in Autumn 2008, so we have lived for one year in the UK before having children. I think the best thing for children about this lifestyle are that you can feed ducks from the kitchen window!

So what are the worst things for children about the boating lifestyle?

I just wonder how I will commute to work and nursery once the winter mooring has finished and we have to cruise again.

What are the best and worst things for parents about living aboard?

My daughter will speak English without any troubles! But the worst thing is that we are too far from the grandparents and all family - I feel quite often isolated, we do not have here many friends who would do babysitting.

What are the most common questions people ask you about living on a boat?

Is it cold in winter? And is there any risk that my daughter will drop in to the water?

What encourages you to stay living aboard? Can you imagine anything that might change your mind about living afloat?

Poland is quite an expensive country; it is easier to live in the UK for us at the moment. We might move to Poland only due family reasons, for example, if our parents were ill.

Click on the label/tag Meet The Boaters (in the side bar) to read more boat family interviews.

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