London woman ditches house share for off-grid narrowboat

29-year-old Shannon Lane was sick of paying £900 a month for a room in a three-bedroom apartment in Clapton, East London and decided it was time to look for somewhere “more affordable”.

The artist wanted space for herself and her pug, Gilbert, eventually finding the perfect spot, a £24k 30ft narrowboat.

Shannon quickly swapped her cramped houseshare living for the narrowboat and managed to save £500 a month. She now travels around the Grand Union Canal, moving every two weeks.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Shannon and her pug, Gilbert.Shannon and her pug, Gilbert. (Image: SWNS)

‘I ditched my London houseshare to live off-grid in a narrowboat’

The artist is currently based in Hackney, East London and shared: “I was paying £900-a-month for a room, I thought ‘this is ridiculous’.

“I was thinking of other options that were more affordable with space that me and my dog could live in comfortably.

“As soon as I saw the boat advertised I knew it was one for me, I spent £24k and I worked out that my loan repayments are £300-a-month.

“That is a huge difference to what I was paying back in my houseshare and this is something I now own.”

Shannon had previously been sharing a house with two friends with a rent of £900  a month until her landlord upped her rent to £1,000.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: The narrowboat. The narrowboat. (Image: SWNS)

The artist came across her new home after walking around the Kings Cross canal in October 2022 when she came across a narrowboat for sale.

Shannon said it was a “no-brainer” to move onto a boat and is now saving thousands a year.

She said: “I saw the boat and thought ‘what if?’.

“I texted the owner and we set up a viewing for the following week.

“As soon as I saw the boat itself I saw it was £24k and I worked out that paying my loan from the bank to afford it would be £300-a-month.

“That is a massive saving from what I was paying in my houseshare .”

But it’s not all been smooth sailing and Shannon says she experienced “boat blues” as she grappled with freezing weather, learning to move the boat, emptying the toilet and refilling her water.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: The living space on the narrowboat.The living space on the narrowboat. (Image: SWNS)

“I thought it was going to be amazing and I would have all this freedom but when you come down to it you have all this hard work,” Shannon said.

“It was January too so I was freezing, I didn’t know how to move the boat, empty the toilet or fill up the water.

“The best thing about boat life is the community, it is so nice to each other – if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I could have done it.”

Shannon said she would love to live on the boat for the rest of her life and doesn’t like the idea of going back to paying traditional bills.

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