'I thought narrowboats were for old people – but now save hundreds every month'

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When Shannon Lane’s rent increased from £950 to £1,020 per month, and the landlord allegedly suggested adding another tenant to the one-bed home, she knew it was time to check out other options.

But a stroll along the London canals made her consider an alternative way of living.

The 28-year-old freelance producer came across a ‘For Sale’ sign on a narrowboat and fell in love with the idea.

Shannon, who is from Buckinghamshire, UK, said: ‘I was living in a flat in Clapton, and my rent was around £950 a month for one room. The landlord wanted it to raise that price by around £70 and put somebody else into the flat.

‘They wanted to build a fake wall and get someone else in the dining room and make it a windowless bedroom, which I’m pretty sure is illegal.

‘I was actually walking down the canal and saw the boat I currently live on. It had a “For Sale” sign on it, so I looked around and fell in love.’

Despite not knowing anything about the boating community, she took the plunge and purchased the boat for £24,000 earlier this year, by taking out a loan.

She added: ‘I was just basically done with renting. So I took out a loan and bought the boat on the spur of the moment.

‘I didn’t know anyone who lived on boats. I just thought it was something that people in the countryside or older generations did. I didn’t know people in my generation could do it.

‘But I’ve had my eyes opened. There’s lots of people my age living on London’s canals and they’ve helped me settle into boating life.

‘I’ve always struggled to make friends. I’ve never had so many friends until now. Everyone’s a free spirit and slightly quirky. It’s great.’

Now Shannon pays around £350 a month for her narrowboat home including utilities – compared to the £1,100 (including bills) she was spending before.

Currently, she lives off-grid on London’s canals between Notting Hill and Mile End with her two-year-old pug mix, called Gilbert – and loves her new narrowboat community. 

When Shannon first purchased the boat it required a little TLC and she had to fork out for a few other costs – including the annual price of blackening the bottom of the boat £100 (to make it waterproof) and a license fee of £800 a year.

Nevertheless, the 28-year-old loves the freedom her new lifestyle gives her. Although, it does have one down-side.

She revealed: ‘The best thing about it is the travelling. I’m a free spirit – I just love being able to go wherever I want.

‘The worst thing is definitely the toilet. I have to empty my toilet. It’s basically a giant well. You have to take it to this disgusting point and empty it out, and sometimes it’s full or clogged up. I’ve had to do that on a hangover.’

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