Murray Sinclair lives out of his boat and vehicle which he parks in different parts of Invercargill.
Home for Murray Sinclair is his vehicle and boat, parked up on the streets of Invercargill.
The 56-year-old said for the past five months he had generally spent several days parked in one Invercargill street before moving to another.
“I sleep in the boat but if it gets a bit damp I sleep in the truck,” he said.
“I am filling in a gap between jobs at the moment … working out what to do next.”
He spends his days in his boat thinking, sometimes doing poetry, checking out the internet on his phone and enjoying his surrounds, with a favorite spot being beside the river at Sandy Point, near Invercargill.
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“That’s the beauty of [this lifestyle]I can just move positions,” he said.
“I might be in one spot for three days and move somewhere else.”
Sinclair said he was on the unemployment benefit and couldn’t afford to rent a flat, and if he parked up in a camping ground he would have little money left over each week.
He didn’t want to live on the street but couldn’t afford the alternative options, he said.
Sinclair said his boat had been left at a marine business where he was working in 2007, so he bought it, rebuilt it and its trailer, and had been living in it for more than a decade, mainly in Alexandra and Invercargill.
He initially lived in the boat in camping grounds, as it allowed him to pay off his debts and child support. But camping ground costs had risen, as had living costs, hence his current lifestyle.
Murray Sinclair cuts a relaxed figure when talking about his lifestyle, living in his boat on an Invercargill street.
He cooked on a gas cooker in his boat, bought cheap branded foods, used public toilets and sponged himself down from a bucket of water with detergent to keep clean.
He said a “caravan would be better” and wondered about his knees long term through constantly climbing in and out of his boat.
He didn’t give the impression he was stressing about life, portraying a relaxed attitude and saying he had followed the Baha’i faith since 1997.
His minimalist and “gypsy” lifestyle forced him to look at things differently and appreciate the basics of life, including nature, he said.
“You see different aspects of what nature does … sitting back watching birds, they do some astonishing things.
“All the secrets of science are locked up in nature and when you are in this position you see more of it. [But] when you are in society … it’s like a forced distraction, like rushing to work and getting organized, it takes you away from the basics.”
He said he was an outboard motor mechanic by trade, but had walked away from the industry a couple of years ago.
Ironically, the motor on his boat blew up on Lake Dunstan about 16 months ago, meaning he can’t take it out on the water, but he would fix it when he could afford the parts, he said.
“Hopefully in another six months, in time for summer.”