Boatlife – Exploring the freedom of maritime living
Could you imagine moving your life to a boat? Katharina Charpian could. The freelance journalist and book author moved onto a boat with her boyfriend and dog in 2022 and just sailed away. Inspired by her life on board, she published the book Boatlife – Life and Freedom on the Water with Gestalten Verlag in 2023. We were curious and asked her some questions about life on the water.
How did you come to shift the center of your life to a boat?
When I met Axel three and a half years ago, I really came into contact with sailing for the first time. I previously lived in Hamburg and drove to the sea in my VW T3 every free minute. In the middle of the pandemic – we knew each other for half a year – Axel and I set off on our first big adventure. From midwinter to midsummer we sailed almost to the North Cape in northern Norway. After this dress rehearsal, which I also talk about in my new book “Boatlife”, it was clear to us: We want the sea! Experience more in everyday life, own less and leave a smaller carbon footprint. The boat previously belonged to Axel and two friends. We bought their shares from both of them and gave notice of our apartment in Hamburg. We were able to take our jobs on board – I work as a freelance journalist with a focus on zeitgeist, travel and sustainability, and Axel conducts remote research on the transformation of the energy system in Schleswig-Holstein. Our current way of life is not limited in time.
If you had to choose an experience: What was the best moment of your boat trips so far?
Seeing the dancing northern lights over the top of the mast in the Lofoten Islands and experiencing around 50 playful dolphins in the wild off our bow in the Bay of Biscay are magical moments. But all the little moments on board make me just as happy and grateful.
You have already traveled with a van and now a boat: What do you value most about traveling?
I like the combination of small and large adventures and at the same time always having my floating or rolling home with me. You never know who or what is waiting for you around the next bend or behind the next wave. Just the day before yesterday, while sailing into the sunset, huge jellyfish suddenly appeared next to our boat, or a few weeks ago we landed with our dinghy at a seemingly uninhabited island, where numerous wild horses and their foals greeted us.
Your tip for cabin fever on the boat or bus?
Longer trips on land clear your head and it’s good to swap the endless blue for green forests or a bit of culture every now and then.
Where are you now and which direction are you sailing now?
We spent July and August in the Rias of Galicia. We are currently sailing along the Portuguese Atlantic coast. Course south. Last week we went surfing in the waves of Peniche after work. Our boat is currently at anchor near Lisbon and I would like to explore the city so that I can then write a travel guide with the most beautiful hidden places for a magazine. Our long-term goal is the fjords of Patagonia. Maybe we’ll cross the Atlantic next year.