2018 in a few figures:
- 10 out of 12 months floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Antarctic Seas
- 2 new tattoos
- 13 team changes in 3 months
- 1 time crossing the equator from Barcelona to Buenos Aires
- 1 month of vacation split across 6 places
- 4th time bungy jumping
- 28: My birthday of my favourite number was spent in Switzerland
- 100+ McDonald’s chicken nuggets consumed throughout Spain, Italy, Canary Islands, and more…
- Approx. 4,100 km driven in Iceland in 8 days
- 6 holidays celebrated onboard
- $800 on ship WiFi in four months ?
- 3,260m hiked to the base of the Matterhorn in Switzerland
- 1st casual run-in with an actor while on vacation (Hey, what’s up, Andy Serkis)
I’m currently penning this from Puerto Madryn, Argentina, somewhere near the coastline where half a million Magellan penguins call their home. And despite all the crazy chaos of the past few months that this ship contract has been, I’m reflecting on 2018 with nothing but the simplest feelings of gratitude.
January – July
I rang in 2018 alone, close to hypothermia, waiting for 10 hours for the Times Square ball to drop in -10C weather. I was in a terrible headspace, but I loved seeing NYC in the winter and made the most of my impromptu vacation. I indulged in hundreds of dollars worth of expensive food, took midnight strolls in solitude around Central Park, and most importantly, was caught in my first snowstorm (coined by meteorologists as a “bomb cyclone”). Walking in knee- deep snow was truly magical.
A few weeks later, I began my third ship contract in the Caribbean. It was a challenging contract, but I’m grateful for the main highlight, which was the New Orleans Jazz Fest and our two consecutive overnights. New Orleans is such a fascinating, vibrant city with some of the most incredible food and music. It definitely won’t be my last time there. Oh, and alligator bites are quite tasty.
I eventually found a small niche of wonderful musicians who became my family – my ride or dies, my deck 6 buddies until the sun rose. My best friend onboard was like a brother, and he helped me through all the times when I thought I was worthless or without purpose in my life. Thanks for the deep conversations and for making me laugh for two hours straight in Oceanview, TC.
I’m also grateful to have had the chance to tour a Disney Cruise Line ship. I needed to get that out of my system in order to realise that being a DCL crewmember was no longer my “dream job.”
I rewarded myself for enduring six months of hell at sea by taking a trip to San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, Iceland, and Switzerland. I only had five days at home before jetting off, but I squeezed in a quality Disneyland trip, plenty of happy hours, and reunions with mostly all of my best friends.
For a solid 32 days, I lived blissfully without working around the clock. Sure, I wasn’t catching up on sleep (in fact, I was sleeping less than when I was on the ship), because that’s what happens when you begin a relationship with an Aussie on the other side of the world. But for the first time in ages, I was unequivocally, blissfully, incredibly HAPPY. I fell in genuine love with Iceland and Switzerland and can only dream of visiting both countries again in the winter.
I distinctly remember driving through Iceland without any other cars in sight, blasting my boyfriend’s old band’s EP, and singing (offkey) at the top of my lungs while being surrounded by the most stunning mountains and waterfalls. I could have cried, I was so happy. To me, THAT is living. That is the exact feeling I want every day- and once I end my career on ships, I’m 100% certain that I’ll get that again.
And let’s save this story for a rainy day – but the fact that I survived an extremely treacherous 8+ hour drive to the westernmost point of Iceland (Latrabjarg) without my car slipping on the precarious gravel and tumbling off the pitch black cliff sides was a feat in itself. For a solid few hours, I was hunched over the steering wheel, pressing the accelerator as slow as possible with my high beams on, barely able to see in thick midsts of fog. But I made it – camped overnight – drove to the highest cliff in the morning, eagerly thinking I’d see thousands of puffins as it was advertised all over Google. I saw one. ONE puffin, after 8 hours of driving some of the most dangerous terrains and cliffsides of my life. Now if that’s not living, I don’t know what is…
September – December
With only 24 hours to pack for my fourth ship contract, I ended my vacation in Switzerland/Iceland to fly back to LA, then from LA to Lisbon to join my current ship. Needless to say, monstrous cold and all, I survived and felt like this has been my best ship family since my first contract.
In October, my parents finally cruised with me to Greece, Italy, and Spain. I was able to show them what my home and environment has been for the past two years.
I’ve made some of the most wonderful friends on this ship that will most likely last a lifetime (DEANNA, KAT, SEBASTIAN, MORGAN, MATY, NIK, GIUSEPPE, VASCO, etc. etc. if I name all of you, it’ll be an essay in itself). I’ve seen a few new European countries, including Croatia and Montenegro, which I’m definitely revisiting in the future on my own. I’ve cruised to the southernmost point of the world and eagerly anticipate cruising through the glaciers of Antarctica and having lots of cute penguin sightings.
In the final day of 2018, as we dock in my favourite port of this entire contract (Ushuaia, Argentina), I’m once again blessed and humbled for this little life of mine. I’m so eternally thankful for all the people, places, and experiences that have been a part of my year.
Dearest 2019, I’m welcoming you with open arms and a fresh, new start.