Elizabeth Earle, a 33-year-old English writer, said she’s been saving money and living a life of adventure since moving out of her apartment and into a boat.
What began as a hobby in the early pandemic has become a way of life for Earle, who spent more than $20,000 buying and refurbishing a narrowboat — a small barge designed for navigating canals.
In an all-encompassing interview with The Sun, Earle gave an up-close look at her life aboard the Leviathan, the 32-foot vessel she’s called home for the last two years.
Elizabeth Earle Seeks Adventure
The writer said she’d fantasized for years about living a nomadic lifestyle, even before she set off on her permanent voyage.
“I’d always loved the idea of living on a boat since I was a child, traveling to different places, meeting new people and taking your home with you,” Earle said. “It felt like utter freedom. Not tied to paying rent or working for an ungrateful boss.”
“I grew up reading Lord of the Rings, and the Chronicles of Narnia, and grew up in a village, so I always had a fascination for that fantastical life,” the writer added.
So when she found a dilapidated boat on sale for only $5,200 in 2019, Earle decided the time was right to set out on an adventure of her own. She hired workmen to renovate the interior and continued to make the space her own after the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
“The Leviathan, my narrowboat, ended up becoming a lockdown project, alongside my illustrating business,” she said, adding that she spent more than $16,000 transforming the vessel into a floating home.
“She’s not finished yet, and there are still a few things I’m paying off, but she’s homely.”
Boat Living Saves Thousands on Bills
Making sure the Leviathan was seaworthy and habitable was no small investment, but the writer said she’s saving money since she moved aboard.
“My bills are extremely minimal,” Earle said.
“It’s incredible just how much money you can save when you’re not paying rent or a mortgage. That money goes back into my own life, my own property and future. I’ve gone from paying $1,642 a month with rent, gas and electric to just $347 a month on the boat,” she continued.
Earle told the outlet that she pays $164 per month for a spot at the marina in Mancetter in central England. That allows her not only a place to dock, but also access to vital facilities like showers — a necessity, she said, since she’s “not managed to get the gas and hot water sorted yet.”
“I pay $131 a month for my boating license, boat insurance is $10 a month and the Canal and River Trust tax is $136,” the writer added.
When she’s hungry, she cooks on a camping stove aboard the boat. A log burner keeps the Leviathan warm and cozy year-round. Some of the creature comforts she’d grown accustomed to while living on dry land are missing, but she said the sense of freedom she’s gained is well worth it.
“You definitely have to make big compromises like emptying a porta-potty and battling with condensation but it’s all worth it when you wake up in the morning to the beautiful countryside,” Earle said.
Onboard, she likes to keep busy reading by the fire, writing, working on her illustrating business, or playing with her dog Leela. But for Earle, the real allure of the boat lifestyle is what happens outside the cabin.
“There are so many adventures waiting for me and Leela to follow,” she said.
“I don’t want to take our time for granted, which is why I’m doing it all while I can. Life is like a book. It’s up to you to decide what is written inside.”