“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door…You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to,” says Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
For David Johns, a former local TV news reporter, it’s a similar experience every time he sets foot onboard his narrow boat in the UK.
“I wanted something different in my life, so I decided to go the whole hog, sell my house, quite the job, buy the boat, and live aboard and have a bit of an adventure,” Johns explains in a video presented by Exploring Alternatives.
Originally, Johns’ idea was to buy a motor home and tour Europe, but that would be a pricey endeavor. Instead, he picked a narrow boat and took to the water. Nine months later and with one winter already under his belt, he’s had some time to get used to onboard living. It wasn't long before he unhitched from the marina and officially started cruising the canals.
“I suppose the thing I’ve noticed most about living on a narrow boat is the sense of community, and that’s a terribly old-fashioned thing that when you live in a house you perhaps think has long disappeared. Maybe you know your next door neighbor, but the idea of whole streets and communities knowing who they are and helping each other out, certainly where I lived, that seemed to have long died out. But on the boat there is this incredibly strong sense of if you live on a boat, any other boater will be friendly, will be helpful, will invite you over for a cup of tea, will stop and have a chat,” Johns says.
Any stateside houseboater couldn’t have put it better themselves. Check out the full video below as Johns talks more about the liveaboard life as he explores Europe’s canals in the grips of that adventure he’s always been yearning for.