Elizabeth Earle bought her boat, Maggie, in 2022 and has been living on it for almost a year.

Elizabeth Earle is a freelance author and illustrator in England who lives on a 70-foot narrowboat.
Because she doesn’t have a steady income, she was unable to qualify for a mortgage.
Earle said living on a boat is cheaper than a house, but licenses and insurance also come at a cost.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Elizabeth Earle, 34, about her experience living on a 70-foot narrowboat from the 1920s in the English countryside since April 2022. Earle is an author and illustrator from Warwickshire, England. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Living on a boat was an absolute accident.

In 2017 while I was living in Australia, I’d been in contact with these two American brothers and they’d been living on a sailboat traveling the world the past 10 years creating content and putting it out there. They would occasionally look for a crew and they asked me if I’d like to sail with them from South Africa to Brazil. I agreed.

I thought, I could do that. I’m going to live on a boat. I bought a hurricane-destroyed sailboat in the Caribbean with my bank overdraft. I think it came to £8,000 and I only had half of it so I had to sell everything I owned. I moved to the Caribbean, renovated this boat, and adopted a street dog who hated sailing. 

I had to make a choice of selling the boat and keeping the dog, or getting rid of the dog and carrying on with this worldwide trip. I chose the dog.

Earle with her dog, Leela.

I managed to renovate the boat to a certain point to resell her, cut my losses, returned to England and then I fell in love with canal boats. I bought a shell of a boat for £3,800, once again using my bank overdraft, and renovated her for two years and then lived on her for a year and sold her for £22,500.

I spent a lot of money on her. I made a lot of mistakes with some cowboy builders, so really the money that I made out of her is probably the money that I put into her renovation and the mistakes.

None of the money was wasted, it still went back into my pocket and went towards what is now …read more

Source:: Business Insider


I’m a 34-year-old who lives on a boat in the canals of England. It was the least expensive way to buy a home and allows me to lead an extraordinary life.

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