Run Away And Join A Cruise Ship
A common misconception when people think of travelers is that they are "running away from something".
- Soundtrack of the report
- I'm on a Boat
- The Lonely Island Feat. T-Pain
I guess that's true some of the time but most of the time, people just want to travel because it's fucking awesome. It's like owning a huge house and only wanting to live in one room. Just because I'm born in one country doesn't mean I have to stay there my entire life. The concept of countries is fiction anyway. Land borders are mostly fiction too unless it's a mountain or some sort of fence. Do countries even have fences?
Once upon a time when people used to ask me where I'm from, I would say "Earth" or that I'm an "Earthling". Invariably I would get puzzled looks. I'm not sure why. If I had said Martian or Venusian, sure. But I'm fairly confident that I'm from Earth. Unless my birth certificate is fake. Anyway, I finally conceded to social pressure and settled on saying that I'm from New Zealand. But for the record, I'm from Earth and I refuse to live my entire life only in one "room" on Earth. Even if the scenary is amazing and the sheep are cuddly.
I had a point. Oh yeah, but on cruise ships none of this applies. Most crew are bonkers and are probably running away from something in their life. And when I say most, I only mean a few people (but not really). Note: If you work on a cruise ship and are reading this, I didn't mean you. Awkward.
Cruise ship life can be bizzare. You are traveling and you're working but it's in an artificial universe. Some parts of this artificle universe are great eg. perpetual summers, not having to cook, wash dishes, clean or grocery shop. Other parts aren't so great eg. working everyday, lack of job-security and feeling like a canned sardine. It feels almost more like escapism than travel. Like a summer camp meets Total Recall but based at sea instead of Mars.
Anyway, this got me thinking. It's not necessarily a bad thing to run away. It's nice to have a break from everything to embark on a new adventure. Travel helps you grow as a person and can be restorative on so many levels. The only time it can become a problem is when you are running away from your life or yourself. You won't notice it at first because of the euphoria of experiencing new sights, sounds, tastes and smells. But eventually, all the issues from your past will catch up with you again. So before running away, first look at fixing yourself!
While traveling, it's especially important to continue looking after your mental health. Your support network is not with you and the fun acquantainces you meet will not understand you as easily. Travel can be frustrating and lonely at times, so you need to arm yourself with a warchest of strategies to stay strong and stable.
Perhaps the best source of strength is by volunteering. When you volunteer, it's a selfless act where you do something for someone other than yourself. It's a magical feeling to bring happiness to another human being, which in turn feeds your own self worth.
Another useful tool is by maintaining a gratitude journal. When you are focused on what you are grateful for in the world, it's hard not to stay positive.
Make sure to take some of your favourite music with you. Music is meditative and can change your state.
Take reading material that inspires you. It could be a notebook of quotes or some of your favourite books.
Writing is a great way to reflect on your thoughts, clarify your feelings, clear your mind and find peace.
Keep a few of your favourite photos and videos handy. They work well as an anchor, when you feel lost. Or if you're like me and don't take photos, trying your hand at drawing. You can't be any worse than me!
It's important to be open but selective with the friends you make. The last thing you need is to be pulled into someone's gravitational field of drama. It's also very important to train yourself to enjoy your own company, something that is still a challenge for an extrovert like me.
Fortunately, travel gives us many opportunities to read, write, meditate and work on healing and personal growth. We need to reserve time for this or it's easy to fall into the trap of partying all the time. Partying is great but left unchecked, you will be headed for one big emotional hangover.
Now, run away. Life awaits!
So what tips can you add?
Roy is a nomad and the newest recruit in our editorial team. He's lived in 7 countries so far and right now works on a cruise ship. You can also follow his travels on CruiseSurfingz.com