A 26-year-old started living on sailboats because apartments were 'crazy expensive.' Now she and her husband see the most beautiful sights in the world from their 250-square-foot home — and are preparing for a maiden ocean crossing.
Maya, a 26-year-old from Canada's west coast, decided to live on her boat while in college.
It was more affordable than apartment rent, and she loved sailing.
Now, she and her husband are preparing to sail across an ocean.
Maya, a 26-year-old from Canada's West Coast, fell in love with sailing around where she grew up. Instead of throwing money toward a pricey apartment each month, she decided to live on her boat, doing what she loved.
"We have a massive housing crisis here, it's crazy expensive," she told Insider, of Canada's housing market. "So a lot of my friends around me were all thinking about alternative housing options. I was like, 'Well, I love sailing. And this sort of seems like these two worlds can combine'."
When she was 18, Maya bought a boat for $1, refitted it and lived in it while she was finishing her degree in journalism and marine ecology.
Maya and her husband, Aladino, asked to be identified only by their first names to retain some anonymity in public-facing jobs. Insider has verified their identities.
Unlike van life, which is popular with younger generations, not a lot of young people live on boats, she said. It's mostly popular with those headed into retirement.
The summer after she graduated, though, she met a fellow millennial lover of the boat life.
While working on a boat on the Mediterranean, she started talking to Aladino, a Swiss and Italian sailor who was on vacation from his boat building apprenticeship in Switzerland.
He was working on refitting his own boat — and their connection was instant, Maya said.
"We pretty much instantly realized that we are both talking to a very interesting person," Aladino said. "I don't know of many that have the same dream as we did," he added.
The couple got married and traveled the waterways of Europe on Magic Carpet I, the 1976 fiberglass sailboat Aladino had been refurbishing when they met.
They spent two summers sailing on the Mediterranean — around Sardinia, Sicily, the Balearic Islands, and Barcelona. In the winter, they would take seasonal jobs in Switzerland.
Then, they sailed through canals all over Europe, making it up to Sweden and Denmark in Scandinavia.
They shared their travels and experiences on their YouTube channel, Sailing Magic Carpet, which has 150,000 subscribers.
Having a large audience lets them make a living off the advertising revenue on their videos.
The boat is about 28 feet long and 9 feet wide for a deck of around 250-square-feet. But because of the boat's shape, its cabin home is even smaller.
The hull of the boat is fiberglass and the deck is made of teak wood, which is resistant to water damage.
Here's what their home looked like.
Still, the couple said they had everything they needed, and the small living space and hard work were absolutely worth the joy of waking up in a different beautiful place every day.
Here's the living and dining area — like the entirety of the interior, all the wood in this picture is mahogany.
For a unique way to make space, they hang produce above their living and dining area. There is some hidden storage in the woodwork as well.
This is the galley — or kitchen area — of the boat home.
The bedroom and bathroom are through the hallway to the rear of the space.
After their European journeys, the duo decided they wanted to take on a bigger quest: an ocean. For that, they knew they needed a different boat.
"It was two years on Magic Carpet I when we realized we love the lifestyle but that if we want to go around the world, she is just limited with how much water, how much food, and how much fuel she can carry, being a smaller boat," Maya said.
Magic Carpet I was also not built for offshore cruising, she said. Offshore cruising can be defined as sailing about 12 miles from land and for longer than 12 hours, according to Schooner Sail.
"It's like this: A fancy Lamborghini convertible is a fun car, and a Land Rover is also a fun car. But they're for different purposes," she said. "Would you do a trip across the Sahara in a Lamborghini convertible?"
Coastal cruiser Magic Carpet I is the Lamborghini in this case — she can't cross the ocean.
So, the couple left Magic Carpet in a Swiss boatyard while they refurbished an ocean-faring sailboat, which they've named Magic Carpet II. Magic Carpet became Magic Carpet I.
They've been working on the renovation for about a year.
The new boat living space will still be tinier than a traditional apartment. While Magic Carpet II is larger than Magic Carpet I, it wasn't about having more "elbow room," Aladino said. It was about gaining space for the fuel, water, and food needed for longer trips.
This is what the living space of the boat looks like so far.
Once they are finished with the boat later this year, they are not planning to hit the open ocean immediately. Instead, they want to explore the waters of British Columbia and eventually take a longer trip down to Mexico.
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