Maybe it was fate… or maybe complete alignment with the universe… but when Olga Lysenko and her husband Fernando heard about a friend of a friend’s boat being sold in Jersey, it was nearly a done deal in their minds.
Olga is an interior designer, and her husband a real estate broker with an eye for architecture for YelloTrace…. and they tend to spend a lot of business time in the cruise ship and hotel industries. The very nature of those those industries breeds nomadic adventure… so when it came to making a decision to live aboard, it was a pretty simple one.
“For me, the boat was a solution,” Olga says… “to a problem I encountered when I realized that in the course of trying to meet deadlines for several consecutive projects, I hadn’t left our apartment for 10 weeks… I was simply doing the Bedroom-Bathroom-Living Room-Bathroom-Kitchen-Bedroom loop for close to 2 months. It’s a shocking realization once I allowed it to sink in.”
As an entrepreneur, Olga believes that living aboard has given her perspective for her business and clients. It has helped her learn how people use their spaces and environments… and the impact those spaces have on personal well being. “Moving aboard has personally lowered my stress levels and has allowed me to develop a more sustainable, healthier lifestyle. We are able to provide our clients with better service, since we can set up a field office in any location on the Eastern Seaboard, which is our predominant area of work in the US” Olga says.
Living aboard is most definitely a culture… and in living this lifestyle has prompted her and her husband to understand space even more. Olga finds herself asking her clients more and more questions about how they will use their spaces and getting to the mindset of what they want. She requests in-depth information like what her clients targets are in culture, regulation, security and flow. (perhaps not the run of the mill Q&A you get from an interior designer.)
When it comes to their own personal boat space… Olga finds “systems” as being crucial to their on board success. “Systems are a very important aspect of living aboard,” Olga reveals. “You have to develop a system and stick with it, no matter what. Downsizing from a two-bedroom apartment/office into a 30’ sailboat is an exercise in minimalism: We’ve had to figure out the few specific things that are part of our identity and then got rid of everything else. Since storage is always an issue on boats, I’ve pared down my wardrobe to a small capsule of office wear and casual wear per season.”
When it comes to compromises… Olga’s biggest one was her beloved books collection. As an avid reader… she had to rethink how to either listen to her books or have them digitally produced so she could have access to her favorites. “The one area we don’t compromise in is the galley: My husband is (also) professional chef, so we have a sizable spice area, wine storage, decent dishes, and a proper dishwasher. Living in small spaces can be challenging, so the slightly annoying things like eating out of plastic plates can really add up to become unbearable for some people. I’m a big proponent of figuring out your essential creature comforts and building your boat nest around that.”
One area of life that many liveaboards tend to feel “impacted” within is their family and social structures. This happens often because not everyone understands the draw of living on a boat. Therefore, relationships can change, shift… or downright disappear for some. Olga says that her friends have always known her to be an “artsy” type… so while they might think it’s a little out of the box, they tend to be more curious than anything… and generally support her on board life. Her father was a merchant marine “he likely thinks it’s poetic” that they live on a boat… but her mother and sister are more likely to feel that this lifestyle is just weird.
So if you are in New York… and you happen to see a 30 foot Bayliner Buccaneer 305 cruising the waterways, with the name “Prost” divinely attached to her hull… chances are you’re catching glimpse of two working professionals who decided to do life a little differently and enjoying every tiny moment of it.