Living Large on a Living Barge

A six month per year barge tour of Europe, in installments

Tom Miller’s Travelogue Column

Local writer and adventurer, Tom Miller planned on spending six months a year exploring every village and town along the rivers and canals of Europe.

IMG_0137And so it began:

What have I done?  It was four in the morning and I just bought a barge.  Not only did I buy a barge, but it was a 130 ft. barge and it was in France.Dream or a nightmare?  I don’t know.  It started when I checked my e-mail.  Had the owner accepted my offer?  My wife Lisa and I wanted that barge.  We found Rabelo in La Havre, France during a whirlwind inspection trip through Europe.

I left-clicked the mouse and the screen came to life.  There was the e-mail from our broker.  I hesitated, not sure of the response I wanted.  Had I purchased a barge?    I opened it.  No!  My broker had warned me.  The owner would only accept his asking price.  Wow, the French can be very stubborn.  Now what?  I sat in the dark with head in hand.   Rabelo was by far the best barge we had seen.  With a little work she would have all the amenities.  The asking price was reasonable, but  no one ever buys a barge and pays the full asking price.  Since we sold our last barge in 2005 Lisa and I had been dreaming about buying another.  We wanted Rabelo.  The only other choice was to wait for another one to come on the market.  What should I do? I typed out a letter to our broker and told him I would pay the asking price.

February 6th 2012:

VirginLAX That was four months ago and now I’m sitting in the Virgin Atlantic lounge in LAX.  I can’t help but look forward to the amazing journey we are about to embark on.  But first I have to get Rabelo to Dintlelord, The Netherlands.  This is where the work that we want will be done.  It is also close to where Wilco lives, the captain that I hired.  He’ll be in charge of making sure all the improvements we want are completed.

Fortunately the owner of Rabelo was kind enough to deliver her from La Havre, France to Namur, Belgium saving us eight days of travel.  If all goes well the final part of the delivery shouldn’t take more than four days, but it’s the middle of winter and it’s cold.  I’m not talking sissy California cold, I’m talking real cold and we are going to be on the water.  I just hope the water is mostly liquid, but that’s another story for the next edition of LIVING BARGE.



All the comforts of home aboard ….






















Tom Miller is an adventure writer from Thousand Oaks. His novel The Wave, about a tsunami destroying Honolulu was published in 2010. Tom has a degree in geology, has been a contractor and developer, prolific diver, pilot, sailor, and barge captain. When he’s not chasing adrenalin overseas, he hikes with the local “Heartbreak Hiking Fools.” LIVING BARGE is his memory of his recent six month journey through the canals of Europe with his wife Lisa.

(To be continued….)

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Stefan Djordjevic

I look forward to the next installment and I envy you. Thanks!