January 31, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 12.32.58 PMI have been onboard for exactly three months now and finally have an opportunity to reveal all of my thoughts and feelings regarding ship life. I haven’t had a chance to blog any of my experiences or adventures yet because I thought I wouldn’t have time or any need to use my laptop. But, now since I have a laptop right in front of me (thank you Ryder) I am going to take advantage of this chance and unleash all of my feelings and opinions, which is going to be a very telling story.

It’s interesting to note how my reflecting time on ship life has blown up since some new friends of mine (colleagues and non-colleagues) have arrived onboard in the past few weeks. They have asked me a lot of questions regarding ship life and the adjustment to this new lifestyle – which has opened a whole new world of opinions and thoughts for me, which I will be sharing.

They have asked me: “Do you get use to living in close corridors with your roommate? Do you enjoy not waking up the the sunshine? How do you handle eating the crew food? Can you carry on and live a normal life onboard?” All valid questions for a newbie to ask. When I answered them I was blunt and completely and utterly honest. To the first question: Yes, you get use to having one or several roommates. You get use to planning your shower time and sleep time around your roommate’s work schedule, and sometimes you will wake up or come back to your room and find and unexpected guest and your roommate together, which slowly gets less awkward as time passes. To the second question – I personally love the sunshine. It is very hard to not have windows in my room or be able to catch a breath of fresh air in the morning or even before I fall asleep. To the third question – Do not expect to be eating like royalty onboard. It’s similar to residence food. If anything, you end up losing weight, which isn’t the worst possible scenario. To the last question – it is sometimes difficult to live a normal life onboard because (depending on your position) you can constantly be on radar. Passengers know who you are and all the crew members know who you are as well.  It’s difficult to keep your personal life personal because word travels quick on a small ship. Everyone knows where you work, who your friends are, who you did and/or didn’t sleep with (even if it’s true or not true). To avoid these rumours – while at the same time minimizing exposure onboard – is impossible unless you are a natural hermit, unfriendly, and a complete introvert. Most of us onboard are the complete opposite and have bright and vibrant personalities that never sleep. And, these are the kinds of people I love and want to work with and live with.

Keep in mind, ship life isn’t for everyone. It can be a very hard life to adjust to – lots of ups and downs – highs and lows. That being said, I am at the stage of my contract where I am comfortable with life onboard and I have accepted this new and exhilarating lifestyle for myself. There are some very exciting things about ship life that make me think that I will do a few more contracts before I settle down in the real world  I love my job, I love my friends (new and old), I love the social aspect of ship life (Crew Bar), and I love the fact that we get the chance to explore some new and incredible parts of the world. There is a certain type of indescribable energy onboard, which you will find, that keeps you going everyday. I have definitely acquired the travel bug during my time onboard so far and will be eager to set out for my next contract, hopefully again in Europe.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 12.33.04 PMI hope this testimonial of mine, although as candid as it was, has been an insightful and helpful resource for those of you who are considering ship life and interested in trying out something completely new and thrilling. I do not regret this decision of mine whatsoever and would hope that many more people embark on a similar journey in life. “The voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes but having new eyes” – Marcel Proust. Grasp onto any opportunity that comes your way, test out new waters, and see if it is a good fit for you.  Don’t be nervous and shy. Instead, embrace the moment and live completely in the present.

– Nicole

Nicole is a first-time contract Youth Counsellor from Ontario, Canada. She’s currently travelling the mediterranean sea visiting mainland Europe, Africa, and the Canary Islands.

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