What is the liveaboard lifestyle? What about the cruising lifestyle? And how are they different? I think a lot of people think they are the same and are confused about the difference between being a liveaboard and the cruising lifestyle. There is a big difference between the two. There are a huge differences between the two. Let’s compare and contrast some of them so you get a better idea of what each one is, and how they are different.
The Liveaboard Lifestyle vs The Cruising Lifestyle
Where you live
The liveaboard lifestyle is simply that, living on a boat instead of in a house. Yes, it’s that simple; if you don’t believe me, check it out on Wikipedia. In part, this is the biggest difference between being a liveaboard verses being a cruiser. I know I’m over simplifying this, but it is so true.
To break it down a little more, where it makes more sense, let’s look at how this is different between the two. As a live aboard you are basically choosing to live on a boat, typically in a marina, rather than in a house or apartment. This choice is usually for one of two reasons; cost effectiveness or they plan on eventually become a cruiser. So, being a live aboard means you live and work in the community you call home.
If you are living the cruising lifestyle, you won’t be. Your home community, generally the one tattooed on the back of the boat, is not your home. You are sailing around to different locations and living temporarily. This is more like owning time share property; you only live there part time. To put it in the simplest way, you are basically just visiting and them moving on to the next place.
Where you work
Let’s be frank, it doesn’t matter whether or not you are a cruiser or a liveaboard, you have to work. You have to be able to buy food, maintain your boat, and have money to live.
As a liveaboard, as noted above, you work in the city you call home. Most liveaboards have jobs within the community they live in, just like any other home owner or renter. You get up, leave your boat, and go to work. There is no difference between working as a liveaboard then any other worker in the community.
As a cruiser, you will typically have a digital job. You will be working online and earning money via a digital presence. Whether you work for a company remotely, become a creator with blogging and vlogging, or running your own online business, you will be doing it remotely.
Another option is that you are cruising part time. You could be a liveaboard that cruises part-time or you could leave your boat and return home to work so you can afford to cruise.
Where you shop
Bare with me here, I know it is obvious that regardless of whether you are a liveaboard or a cruiser, you have to shop in the community where you’re at or order what you need online. Because this is a major thing to consider if you are one of those who is reading this because you want to live the cruising lifestyle, I will mention it.
As a liveaboard, because you live in your home community, you will, like most do, fall into a normal pattern. What I mean is, you will have your favorite brands you buy at the stores, favorite restaurants, and generally the ability to get the things you need. If it isn’t in the community, it is just a click away via the internet.
As a cruiser, especially if you go to different countries, that all changes. When you leave home, even when traveling between states in the US, there are times you can’t go to the store and find the things you usually buy. This becomes even more problematic if you are on a special diet like I am. When you are out of your home country, even ordering on the internet becomes an issue. Trying to order something and get it to you in another country is a logistical challenge to say the least.
How you live
There difference between a liveaboard lifestyle and a cruiser lifestyle is a hard topic to tackle. It is like comparing how you live to how your neighbor lives, or some random person on the other side of town. In a most general comparison, there are some distinct differences though.
A liveaboard you will be more static. Yes, as a boat owner you will probably travel on weekends, holidays, vacations, etc. For the most part though, you will be tied to a dock and live day to day in the community you call home. Your lifestyle would be typical of the community you live in. You would be doing the same things you do/did while you lived on land, you would just do it in a boat.
Typically, this means you also have a 9-5 job, having friends and coworkers that you socialize with, and certain habits and routines that you do day to do. The means after work, when you go out you spend time with friends, family, or when you stay in you are watching television or movies.
These things are very different when you start living the cruising lifestyle. As I noted you don’t have a typical job. You your work hours can become dependent on what time zone you are in, or randomly where you schedule time. You will still have friends, but those friends are in the cruising community and you will spend time with them periodically when you bump into them. Even going out becomes different. You will be in different locations and will be hanging out with other cruisers and locals you barely know.
As you have seen there is a large difference between the liveaboard and cruising lifestyles. The biggest difference is where you live. Honestly if you are thinking about joining the livaboard lifestyle, there won’t be a huge difference between how you’re living now and how you will be living. If you want to learn the difference I wrote a blog about the differences between living on land and being a liveaboard; check it out.
There are also differences in about every aspect of life between living a liveaboard lifestyle and living a cruising lifestyle. As I have explained, everything down to who your friends are and how you spend your free time are not the same.
Both styles of life have their advantages and disadvantages, which you have to consider before choosing to go to one or the other. These same factors should also be considered if you are a liveaboard and looking at joining the growing cruising community.
If you think that just because you lived on a boat for awhile that you know what the cruising lifestyle is all about, please know that it is vastly different. Yes, cruisers live on their boats, but they do it in a very different way.
This blog wasn’t meant to cover all the differences, but just to get you thinking about the difference. There are a lot of people, including some cruisers, that don’t know there is a difference. Yes, a cruiser is living aboard, but they are living the cruising lifestyle, not the liveaboard lifestyle, and vice versa.