After a relationship of almost 7 years (on and off of course) at sea, I have cut my ties (or ropes in a more nautical term) and I have made the decision to stay on land. Gone are the days of packing for 4 months at a time with the hopes that I did not forget anything in my 50lb allowance per bag, and gone are the days of waking up in a new location be it at sea or in port. I will miss so many aspects to life at sea and the people who I was so lucky to work with throughout the years, but there are things that I now must pursue, and taking a chance on land is one of them.
For those who understand a life at sea, this might all make sense to you (the fear of going back on land, not always being around people if you want, etc) and for those who are thinking about going to sea, this post will be entertaining to you. For those who have no desire to go and work at sea, read away and I hope this will bring a smile to your day.
Here is my top list of what I have learnt/experienced/advice to you list:
- People are very nice. Do not be scared of going to work in a new environment. Yes – you are away from home, you will miss your friends and family, but you will create a new ship family, and they are pretty awesome.
- Real Estate. Do not get caught up in the whole, but he/she has a port hole, but is married at home. You will end up getting hurt in the end, and enjoy the company of your roommate. It’s not worth it in the end.
- Social Activities. You do not have to go out every night. You will be working until the day you disembark, so use your time wisely. Being tired at work, is not fun, either is going home due to your party style. Be wise. Be smart.
- Fresh Air. Go out and get a breath of fresh air, even for a few minutes. Your work day can be so busy that you might forget to go and get some well needed non-circulated air. Find the Crew Deck and just have your “ahhhhh” moment. Trust me – fresh air does wonders for your body and soul.
- Don’t be afraid to speak. What I mean by this is that if you have an idea – share it – however be careful of being arrogant – with so many different nationalities onboard, you might be misunderstood as well.
- Everyone was new once. It’s your first day, people are looking at you, you have been lost since you stepped onboard the ship, you can’t find your cabin, it has a different smell, people are running around, you feel that you are from another planet, yes – all of these can happen, but everyone has gone thru it, so you are around experienced people. Ask questions, smile, get to know others, and it will all work out. You will then see on the next turn around those who look lost, help them out – you were in that spot once.
- Take pictures. If there is one thing that I wish I had done more of, was take pictures to be able to reflect on the fun I had at sea. Even if it is with just your phone, or a disposable camera, do it.
- Along with take pictures, write a journal. The memories, the laughs, the events and activities, the ports, etc. Write it down and take a photo. You will not regret doing this years done the road – it will be all that more special to you.
- Stay connected. Communication at sea is tough, but make it work. Budget your phone card/internet card, because your friends and family at home will be curious to how you are doing and of course miss your presence. Life is like a roller coaster, you will be glad that you have the extra time saved on those days you need a smile from home.
- A smile is contagious. A smile is internationally known as being positive. A smile can brighten up the day of someone you just passed by. A genuine smile. Go and try.
Of course there are so many more points that I can make, and I am being quite sentimental – but it was a time in my life that I will never forget, and not be able to go back to. The friends that I have made, the places that I travelled to, and the opportunities I have experienced, have shaped me to who I am today.
Go out and make the most of your day, no matter where you are. And to my past life at sea – Thank you. I could not have become who I am today without the life I have lived being on the ocean.