I had an early morning flight from London to Rome to catch my next ship. This time however, I felt a bit apprehensive. After having one of the best summer holidays ever and wasn’t sure if I really wanted to face ship life again. Working on ships is fun but there’s a fine line where “ship life” becomes your “only life”.
But seeing that I blew all of last contract’s savings on my awesome summer holidays and have no other means of income, back to ships it is. To be fair, there are worse things than having to spend a few months in the Mediterranean. I arrived in Rome was quite surprised that it was close to 30C, especially after getting used to the cooling temperatures in Riga. Anyway, I was promptly taken to the airport hotel to get ready for an early start the next day. It was my first time in Rome and while on paper it all sounds very exciting, I knew I had to get mentally prepared for work again so there was no point to head to the city. However, it was nice to have a real bed to sleep in for the first time in months – after sleeping on one of those bizarre “transformer” couches in Riga and on various couches while traveling before. I even had a bathtub in my hotel room and almost had a bath, until I remembered that I never take baths although I do like the idea of them. Instead, I made full use my last hours of fast, free internet for the next 6 months – internet speeds while at sea is pretty slow and expensive for obvious reasons.
The next morning, I enjoyed the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. I had forgotten what a good breakfast tastes like after, settling for cheap Rimi muesli, Kefir (which is kind of in between milk and yogurt) and instant coffee for the past couple of months. After breakfast, all the returning crew were put on a bus and taken to the ship. I suddenly remembered one of the quirks about ship life: people are generally uninterested in talking to you unless you are an officer, entertainer or have a vagina.
We eventually arrived at my new ship and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was one of those shiny, newer ships. Sure, had I researched it I would have known, but I like surprises. It’s like Christmas. (Or when you step on a scale after weeks, only to find out you’ve lost weight.) I’m not even entirely sure of the full itinerary of the ship apart from “going somewhere in the Med”. That’s good enough for me.
As I entered my new cabin, I had that sensation of being at home. I knew I had a comfy bed to sleep in again and my periodic insomnia would cease (it’s very easy to sleep in a pitch-black windowless cabin, rocked to sleep by gentle waves). I had all my things with me once again and didn’t have to wear the same clothes every 4 days. All my stuff felt like new again after not having seen it for the last 3 months (like my Kindle and Apricot facial scrub). And I am relieved that I don’t have to cook or do dishes for the next few months. I wonder if I’ve already crossed that fine line with ship life.
Where are you now?