Former airline executive and author is most at home on a boat
Jimmy Buffett, songwriter behind such hits as “Margaritaville” and “Come Monday,” once told concertgoers that when he began playing music, all he wanted was enough money to buy a boat he could sail away on if success faded.
While success hasn’t faded for author Lorraine Grubbs, she has adopted some of Buffett’s boat lifestyle and philosophy.
“It’s not something everyone would enjoy,” Grubbs said. “It takes people who are more minimalistic. In a sense, it’s freeing. It takes someone who likes to party.”
The former Southwest Airlines executive bought a 32-foot boat about 22 years ago and has been living on boats ever since.
In January, Grubbs and her partner, Richard, moved their 52-foot Jefferson Monticello motor yacht, Loyalty, to Offatts Bayou. Grubbs had been working with the Lighthouse Charity Team — a nonprofit organization that provides equipment and volunteer labor to prepare meals to raise funds for charitable causes — when she decided to move to Galveston.
“We love the weather and the water,” Grubbs said.
Grubbs lived in Houston while working for Southwest Airlines, which often meant that a typical workday would involve waking up to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Dallas and then returning on a 5 p.m. flight, she said.
While Grubbs loved working for Southwest Airlines, and even wrote a book about the company’s culture — “Lessons in Loyalty” — her life has taken on a more relaxed vibe since moving onto the water, she said.
“I’ve always lived near the water, but never realized I’d live on the water,” she said. “It gives you a real sense of freedom. Unlike most neighborhoods, you have something in common — a love of boating — with everyone you’re living around.”
Before moving to Galveston, Grubbs kept her boat at the Waterford Harbor Yacht Club & Marina in Kemah and describes the community of people living on their boats as transient.
“People ask me ‘how can you live on a boat?’ I always say, ‘How can you not?’”
Grubbs has visited some of her fellow boat lovers in far-flung regions of the globe and has traveled many interesting places because of her choice to live on the boat, she said.
Each time Grubbs talks about life on the boat, she keeps going back to the traveling experiences and the sense of freedom, both from getting to pick up and move whenever she’d like and also the freedom from possessions.
“Every time you buy something, you have to think ‘what will I give up to have this?’” she said.