My thoughts on boredom:
There are so many people, sometimes crew members, sometimes people on land – but never passengers – who ask me “What do you do all day? What are you going to do for three months? Aren’t you going to get bored?”
Now, growing up my mom consistently used the phrase “only boring people get bored”. I, of course, did not want to be a boring person, so I would get my imagination going and find something to do. Before someone reads this and thinks that my mother wasn’t a kind or nurturing mother or anything like that – she wasn’t dismissing us by saying this, it was her way of encouraging us to use our imagination and us our minds to find something to do. Sometimes it manifested itself in finding a helpful project around the farm, sometimes it was knitting or practicing an instrument, sometimes it was watching Sleepless in Seattle, Sgt. Bilko, Vegas Vacation, the Sound of Music, or Smokey and the Bandit with my grandparents again (they didn’t buy new movies often, so we watched the same five or six over and over again – to this day my brother and I can quote almost every word of these movies). The point is though, that it wasn’t that she was dismissing us, she was giving us the freedom to figure out what we wanted to do, and then go do it.
While it was my mom that used this particular phrase, my dad didn’t use this phrase – he just lived it. Our time at our dad’s house was a mix of going out to help with chores, riding along on the tractor with him, but the times that we were a bit too little, or we didn’t want to be out in the barn, it was us to design what we wanted to do. We had Hot Wheels and a train set that our dad made a big platform with this green material on (“so it would look like grass!”). We had bikes and could ride them up and down the road. One summer we picked four leaf clovers and “laminated” them to sell at the little local store. Our sophisticated lamination process was just folded over packaging tape. But, add some cute kids to the mix and gosh darn it we had a business plan!
Remember, we might live on a cruise ship, but for us it is a normal day
Alright, we are getting to the part about the ship. These people that think that I will get bored are people that don’t know me very well, and what these questions show is either their ignorance over what’s available to you on a cruise OR it shows that they would struggle to keep themselves entertained due to their own personality.
What people also don’t realize is that it’s just the daytime, and only parts of the daytime, that Stuart is at work. Once it is 6:00pm we are just like any other married couple. He’s done with work and we have the evening to spend together. The difference is that we don’t have to cook dinner or do the dishes. You’ll see this particular night we went out to see the show in the main lounge, but a lot of nights we have dinner and then watch a bit of tv, maybe go for a walk outside. We might be living on a cruise ship, but it’s not a vacation. We are simply living our lives differently then most.
Now, for the daytime hours and because I like to have options as to what to do I have brought a variety of things for me to have in the cabin – I have a small sewing machine and a little roll up piano keyboard – the majority of things that I do to keep myself busy around the ship are largely what’s available to me on board, getting to know people, or spending time with friends.
Prepare to be underwhelmed:
What I did Yesterday, February 17, 2020
6:45am: Stuart’s second alarm goes off. Ugh. Stuart leaves for work at about 6:55am and I lie in bed until about 7:05 when I look outside and realize that I am missing the good part of the sunrise.
7:15am: Exercise time! I decide to go for a run/walk around the top deck of the ship. I enjoy running up here because it is pretty quiet and I am outside getting fresh air. However, if I run upstairs I try to do it first thing in the morning because it gets quite sunny and often really hot. The only other place to really run onboard is in the fitness center, and well, I like the fresh air. Down on Deck 3 you can walk on an outside deck all the way around the ship, which while it is quite lovely, you can’t run and it gets BUSY. Plus, if I exercised inside I would have missed a beautiful sunrise and a lovely rainbow.
While I am running I am listening to the podcast “The Tim Ferriss Show”, the episode I have downloaded he is interviewing Brene Brown. Talk about a winning combo. It is worth a listen. His podcast in general is worth a listen. Some mornings when I walk or run I don’t listen to anything and instead let my mind wander and see where it goes. I had hoped that walking I would think about this blog and things I could write about. Instead I get songs like “Some Nights” by Fun! stuck in my head, or Ed Sheeran on repeat.
8:15am(ish): I go to the little pantry down the hall and get some hot water for tea. I put my green tea bag that I snagged from the Lido in it and let it steep. I go back to our cabin and do a little ab workout and then do some stretches. Oh my muscles. I remember how I used to be able to do splits and back bends and was bendy. I sip my tea and do a big stretch to the sky. I feel good that I’ve started the day with some exercise and am ready to take on the day!
8:40am(ish): Shower and get dressed. I am currently going with the concept of “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” and pick out a cute-ish top with a fabulous royal blue pleated skirt. I got the top at a second hand shop, but the skirt I got on sale from a cute shop in Montpelier (Vermont).
9:00am: Breakfast time! I’m trying to cut my breakfast down a bit. A bowl of cheerios, a glass of chocolate milk and a cup of tea or water with lemon. I toss in some berries and a banana when I’m feeling wild and crazy. I mean, when you have a full breakfast buffet available to you every single day it is pretty easy to be a bit gluttonous with bacon, blueberry pancakes, crepes, and more pastries than I can name. I try to save my gluttony for the specialty pastas at lunch and dinner or a particularly delicious looking dessert.
I will note that while it wasn’t on this particular day, there are cultural ambassadors onboard from Hawai’i and the Polynesian islands and often time at breakfast out by the midship pool you might seem them teaching a dance class to the sounds of the islands we’re visiting.
9:20am: I make my way down to Deck 3 (the walking deck) to sit and work on my blog. I write for a little bit, and then a gentleman goes to sit in a chair near me. He trips a bit and I ask if he’s alright. We start visiting. He tells me about his time working for a variety of banks, primarily Swiss banks, and tosses in that one time when he was doing contractual work the company wanted to know how they could get him to come back again, he said “oh, just toss in another $20 an hour and that should be fine” he said “and they thought that seemed like a pretty fair deal and so I worked with them for another year or so.” So laissez-faire about another $20 an hour whereas for my base wage (prior to benefits and bonuses, and excluding time and a half overtime or tips while waitressing) has never exceeded $20 to start – and this was just what was tossed in as a little extra. In a 40 hour a week world $20 an hour is $41,600! Holy hell dude. Anyways, I learned so much about him, his story, outlook on life, and another kind of lifestyle. He retired at about 40ish (plus a few small jobs here and there) and has been just enjoying life since then. It was definitely a reminder of the variety of people that are on board and that everyone has a different story and has been on a different adventure.
10:30am: I excuse myself from my conversation and make my way up to meet my friend for the knitting club. Yes, you read that right. The knitting club. You can go sit and visit with other people that do knitting and crocheting, but they also do a partnership with Project Linus which provides knit or crocheted blankets to terminally ill children in the Seattle area. I find it a touch frustrating that it’s specific to the Seattle area, but there needs to be good done everywhere in the world. I sit with her and I work on knitting, she crochets. We visit. She’s getting married this spring and has all of the stresses that go with it. She is unapologetically honest and it is hilarious.
11:45am: After chatting for quite awhile, I head up to our cabin. I work on tidying it a little bit and then Stuart comes up for his lunch time break. He’s a bit tired so he wants to take a nap. I read my little kindle for a bit and then drift to sleep a wee bit myself.
1:00pm: Stuart is back to work. Lunchtime for me! I can eat with Stuart down in the Officer’s Mess at 12:00pm when he eats, but I like to give him a little bit of time with his coworkers in a relaxed setting without me being around all of the time. That and I like the food in the Lido better than the food downstairs. So, I head to lunch and sit with a slew of crewmembers. If you go on a cruise and many of the Officer ranked positions can eat in the Lido or the buffet have a lookout for a “crew” table. Very often there will be a table that crew sit at quite regularly, and if you were to watch it over the course of a meal you would see many people come and go. This works because crew are all on a slightly different schedule. Sometimes people sit and chat for awhile, other times they sit down, say a quick hello, eat their food faster than you ever thought was possible, and are gone and off to work. I have been in all of these categories. The only dining rule of etiquette here is that if you stand up to grab something you ask if anyone needs anything. Also, if you are going to get a dessert you typically need to come back with a rundown of the ice cream flavors and if there are any other desserts that look particularly yummy.
Lunch runs a little bit long – one of our friends is debating applying for a different job and is fairly torn about what to do. Remember how I started my day feeling great? At this point those positive feelings are going away. He is talking about applying for jobs that I’ve applied for. The table talks about how it should be easy to get the job I most recently applied for because there seems to be a lot of turnover of it on this ship. Inside I am falling apart. If there is such a turn over why won’t they hire me? What am I doing wrong that they don’t want me for this job but they have so many people that don’t last do it? Why won’t they take a chance on me? Being onboard can be wonderful, but sometimes with the perpetual reminder that they haven’t hired me it makes being onboard really hard. This conversation was a challenging one. Trying to be a good friend and be supportive of someone when you are struggling on the inside is one of the hardest things to do.
2:15pm: After this I head up to the Crow’s Nest to meet a couple of my friends to work on resumes – interestingly not the same friend that was talking through his challenges at lunch. I don’t know when the last time you opened up your resume was, but dang, resume writing takes a fair bit of brain power. In a weird twist of things this kind of helps my mentality. These friends specifically asked me to come help them on resume writing – which means that they must think that I have something to offer! I am not just a failure of a person that can’t get a job and I am useful!
3:00pm: I go down to meet Stuart for his coffee break. Each day he gets a break (assuming everything is going alright) between 3:00 and 3:30pm. I usually try to get him to go upstairs to one of the outside decks to get a bit of sunshine and fresh air. In his job he could literally go weeks without fresh air unless he puts the effort into it. I make him put the effort in and we head upstairs for a bit.
3:30pm: I head back up to the resume writing adventure. Woohoo! Many days around this time I play cards or read a book.
4:15pm: Where we are sitting happens to be where they host trivia. We decide to participate and we get about 50% of the questions right. I guess that’s okay? Maybe not what we should put on a resume.
5:00pm: My friend that is also sailing as Friend On Board right now and I go down to the library with me and help organize books. With so many sea days the passengers are going through books like crazy in the library and we had offered to help out if there was anywhere that needed a bit of extra help.
6:00pm: Dinner time with Stuart! We stay in the Officer’s Mess for a little after we finished dinner so Stuart could socialize with a few of the other engineers.
7:30pm: Showtime! After a quick change from regular clothes to evening clothes (and for Stuart his uniform) we went to see the show in the main show lounge. Tonight the show was “ABBA FAB”, and is an Abba tribute group.
8:15pm: Music and Drinks in the Ocean Bar. After the show we all went up to the Ocean Bar to have a few drinks and listen to the band there. The shows are always more fun with a group of people go together and tonight there were probably ten of us all out and about together.
8:45pm: Down to the Officer’s Bar we go! We play some darts, listen to music, and have a couple drinks with friends.
11:00pm: Bedtime! We head back to our cabin to call it a night. As we are having a time change tonight (going back one hour) we decide to watch an episode of tv before going to sleep and ordrer room service. I am so grateful that they let me order the BBQ Pulled Pork sub even after 11:00pm (that’s the time they usually switch to the night time menu). Then, we change our clocks back one hour, and head to sleep, to wake up and do a variation on it all over again.
Throughout every day there are plenty of activities with the passengers that I am welcome to participate in – but, since I have quite a few friends on board right now (and not all of them are staying through the whole cruise), a lot of the time I would rather spend my time with them.
Every day on board is a bit different, and the days that we are just cruising are days to recharge for days when we are in port in Sydney or Bali or any of the other awesome places that we go to.
P.S. I will add some photos once I get some regular internet – ship internet is giving me a hard time loading pictures. 😦