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Floating lifestyle on new ideas

Chloerissa EadieSouth Western Times
Leschenault couple Ben and Shamara Williams are living on their 7.3m ‘everyday trailer boat’. Last weekend they were on the Swan River where they plan on spending some of their time in the summer months, along with Fremantle and Rottnest.
Camera IconLeschenault couple Ben and Shamara Williams are living on their 7.3m ‘everyday trailer boat’. Last weekend they were on the Swan River where they plan on spending some of their time in the summer months, along with Fremantle and Rottnest. Credit: Picture: Chloerissa Eadie, Chloerissa Eadie / South Western Times

For many it would seem like an outrageous idea to live on a 7.3m “everyday trailer boat” and float around to enjoy the State’s waterways, but for a Leschenault couple it has become their new reality.

Ben and Shamara Williams boarded their boat just over a month ago to find the joy of living with less.

Ben, who is nearly 50 years old, looked up from his computer screen in a job he had done for seven years and realised he wanted to feel more alive and in touch with what he enjoyed doing.

He realised the more money he earned, the more he spent and wanted to challenge the idea of living with less.

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“It may not work out, but seeing if it does may be the best adventure yet,” he said.

“Everything lined up, the timing just worked out perfectly and now is the time to reap some of the hard work we have done.”

Their two sons, 19 and 21 years old, both live in Perth and this was part of the catalyst for taking on a new adventure now their sons had flown the coop and it also meant they could spend quality time with each other as a family.

Ben first floated the idea after living on his boat in 2008 for three weeks in the Kimberley, he just needed to convince his wife, who can’t swim, that it would be a good idea.

Shamara said he had spent the past eight years sweetening the idea, with showing her he could make fluffy, warm rice on the boat with a small stove and tea towel to not renting the house out, but listing it on Airbnb just in case they wanted to go home.

They are using Airbnb to cover the costs of their adventure, but said it wasn’t a failure if it didn’t work out, rather an experience to change the focus in their lives.

To celebrate 25 years of marriage they spent four months travelling to 15 countries in the second part of last year, where two and a half months of it was spent in a campervan which was the perfect test for Shamara.

“I knew if I could survive travelling through Europe in the van, I had a glimmer of hope that I could survive living on the boat,” she said.

“I always wanted to run away with the circus and live in a caravan when I was a child and Ben said well, here is your floating caravan.

“This for me is a social experiment, because I am a bit of a princess, so it is about a change of focus and I have realised how work defined me, now I want to learn more about myself and live a more ‘in the moment’ life.”

Shamara is getting back in touch with her creative side by painting some watercolours which she hadn’t done for some time and enjoying the surroundings as inspiration.

Ben is making it a project to document the barbecue areas, ablution blocks, boat ramps and park areas along the Swan River, along with recording the tides, as he has made it a focus to become more in touch with the ocean.

He said he always loved seafaring and scuba diving and this was the perfect time to indulge in some of these activities, while getting in touch with ocean conservation. They are only just over a month into their ‘joy of living with less’ adventure and have become very conscious of their wastage and what food they buy, as they only have a small stove to cook on.

Shamara said she realised how she “mindlessly grocery shopped” before, but now really thought about the food she purchased.

Ben said it came back to the idea of the more space, the more money, the more we feel the need to fill it.

“I use the example of a bin, if you have a small bin you fill it and if you have a big wheelie bin you also fill it, the same as expenditure coming up to meet income,” he said.

As the winter months set in they will head up north to the Abrolhos Islands, Shark Bay and venture as far north as Broome.

Shamara said she had set her sights on one year in the boat, but Ben didn’t have a solid time frame, “maybe two or three years,” he said.

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