New and Improved Bucket List

It seems the more places you go, the more places you want to go.  There is so much to see and do in the world, it’s almost overwhelming!  I’ve updated my list (and categorized it by region!)  Who knows if I will ever be able to see it all!

Link

Wearing the holes in the soles of her shoes

Today was the kind of day where I just couldn’t stand not to be outside.  The sun was shining, but still merciful.  For once, I regretted that I do not live closer to the beach.  At first, I felt the urge to just run – to nowhere in particular – which, for those of you who know me, is a bit unusual.  And so I ran.  I ran for as long as I could – which was halfway around the block.  Then I returned home and collected my purse and decided to walk somewhere, anywhere.  I walked to the library, but couldn’t stay inside for long.  When I left, I had a hard time walking.  My shoes were rubbing my feet raw (they, it would seem, were not made for walking).  I’ve spent a lot of time the past month trying to find the perfect fitting shoes – ones that would keep my feet from aching after a day of walking, and ones that would hold up for more than a couple of months without getting holes in the soles.  But as I stepped out into the fresh winter sunshine, I wondered – why wear shoes at all?  If they hurt, take them off.  And so I did.  I walked the two miles back to my house barefoot.  I thought of the dozens of strange cities and beaches and mountains I’ve walked through over the years.  I walked across hot asphalt and cool concrete and soft, scratchy grass (where I inevitably found a patch of prickers) – the whole while musing over the various song lyrics and old adages about shoes.

They say that to know someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  But sometimes, I wonder if that would really work.  I wonder how many of us forget even to walk in our own shoes.  Our shoes contain us.  They cage and compartmentalize us.  Polished black shoes for working that cushy day job; bright white trainers because we swear we’ll make it to the gym this time; strappy sandals to go with that new sundress that was just made for flirting with strangers – each pair of shoes is only a part of who we are.  No, I decided, to know someone you must walk a mile in their skin.  In their feet.  In your skin.  In your feet.  Why do you think they call it “baring your soul”?  I don’t think it is a coincidence that we speak of both souls and soles being bared.

Bucket List Update

You may recall a post where I added things to my bucket list once I started working on ships (this one). I can now say, that after my last contract I have accomplished the following things on my bucket list…

Hike up a mountain – I’ve hiked a few all over the world, but I have yet to hike to the summit, so I can only halfway cross this off…
Swim with dolphins – Would like to try it in a natural setting, not a giant swimming pool
Horseback ride in water
Horseback ride bareback – have to to ride them in the water!
Stand under a waterfall – I visited/climbed 4 of them in 4 different countries!
Ride a camel – I did this in two countries: Jamaica and Tunisia!
See Mayan ruins
Pub Crawl (in a foreign city) – I went on an awesome one in London!
Visit the Ice Bar – Went to the original one in Stockholm, but apparently there are better ones elsewhere, perhaps this will stay on my list for now 😉

These two were done in my last contract….
-Lumberjack show
-Help in a beach cleanup

I have also now danced in other countries, stayed in a hostel, and had an understandable conversation with someone in another language (they understand my French in Tunisia!)

I also thought of a few new things to add to my list as my new itineraries open up more possibilities….

  • Attend a concert in a cave
  • Tour “Wine Country” in California
  • See wild kangaroos and koalas
  • Experience a “White Night”
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Visit all 7 continents
  • Go to a “swim-up” bar
  • Visit an Egyptian pyramid
  • Attend a Carnaval celebration
  • Visit all the Disneylands
  • Participate in a Flash Mob
  • Ride an elephant

I know I will get to cross a few of these off soon as my next journey takes me to the top of the world and then over to Asia!

My Life is Your Vacation

I’m writing this about 3 weeks into my current vacation from ships.  This time, I left the ship in Jolly England, so decided to delay my flight home a week and explore some of the country.  I spent a few days staying with friends down south followed by a couple days partying and sightseeing in London- it’s what I would call a proper vacation.  Since being home though I haven’t done much besides watch TV (I had to download all the updated episodes of my favorite shows once I finally got decent internet again!)  I also have spent way too many hours editing all of my photos and videos from my last 7 months on the ship.  This just made me more stir crazy.  So stir crazy in fact, that I decided to see if they needed some help in a different position for the summer.  Turns out they did.

So now I leave again in two weeks to go back to Jolly England and the ship I just left this month!   The funny part is, the day I left (somewhat begrudgingly), I told everyone I would be back some way at some point.  I guess sometimes the universe really does take your suggestions!  Definitely a different mentality from my last “vacation”.

When I leave the ship again, I’ll have three weeks home before I leave again for the other side of the world.  I guess when my work is your vacation, why would I want to be stuck back at your work?!?!?

Homeward Bound (A Case of Schadenfreude)

First of all, I would like to admit that I am writing this about three weeks late because my entire post was deleted from my computer (silly technology, tricks are for kids!)

Have you ever gotten the feeling that the world was preventing you from doing something?  That perhaps you were not meant to do something?  Or that in doing it you would face the trials of Job?  That has been my “vacation”.

My job entails making sure all of you enjoy your vacation as you sail around the world.  It’s a fantastic and exhausting job.  Naturally, my vacation is more akin to your everyday life- sitting at home and watching TV.  But when the world seems to be keeping you from getting home, consider it an omen of what is to come.

My omen started when I had to arrive at the airport in Seattle at 10 am for a 9:40pm flight.  I figured I could check my bags and take a train downtown for the day and see some sights, but no, the air line will not let you check-in until four hours before your flight.  So I instead spend ten hours sitting in the one little sandwich shop on the outside of security.  I finally go to check in, only to learn that the entire staff is on dinner break and will not be back for two hours.  So I am forced to wait some more, and just as the time is finally approaching, I receive an email notification saying my flight is delayed until 12:03am.  Now, I have to wait longer to check in, and I will have 10 minutes to make my connecting flight in Miami.  After an anxious call to my family warning them I may need them to drive to Miami and pick me up, I receive another message of a further delay.  Now I won’t make my connecting flight at all.  I go to the counter to see what they can do, and since the plane is going to keep being delayed, they book me on another flight on another airline.

I go to check in with the new airline so I can finally dump my bags, and they inform me that I was booked on a full flight.  Feeling generous since I share her birthday, the girl cuts me a lucky break and keeps me on the flight (although she doesn’t cut me a break on the baggage fees, even with my Seaman’s book!)

I finally make it through security, get some much needed hot food, and proceed to my gate.  I find a friend from the ship and also make friends with a nice airline employee.  We board the plane and they announce that the pilots are MIA but should hopefully be there soon and we should all applaud when they board the plane.  What the?!?!?!?  Thank goodness they are only fifteen minutes late or so, and we are finally on our way.

My connection in Atlanta goes off without a hitch, but upon arriving in Tampa, I discover they have forgotten one of my bags.  At least they know where it is – still in Atlanta.  They inform me it will arrive on the next flight and they will deliver it to my house.  I take a tracking number and head out to my ride, anxious to get home and sleep off my horrible 24 hours.  No such luck, I’m locked out.  After twenty minutes of trying to break into my own house, I finally get my brother to wake his roommate up and let me in.

There is to be no rest as immediately upon getting home, I learn that my car won’t start at all.  There is no food in the house and I am starving so I resolve to walk to the store.  Unfortunately, my missing bag is the one that has all my shoes in it save for the cowboy boots I was wearing (which are not acceptable for walking half a mile in 95 degree heat and humidity!)  So alas, I simply pass out on the crappy green couch that is to be my bed for the length of my vacation.

After a week of fruitlessly trying to get my car fixed, I give up and take a train to visit my parents for a week so I can put it out of sight and out of mind.  Unfortunately there is to be no rest for the weary as other anxieties pile on instead.  The icing on the cake?  I get an email begging me to go back a month early!  This would mean missing seeing most of my friends, my cousin’s wedding, and Thanksgiving with family I haven’t seen in years.  And if that were not enough, they want to change my ship to one with a much less exciting itinerary.  They have yet to confirm said dates, and so I sit here knowing that I could POSSIBLY be leaving in less than a week and knowing that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to take care of all of the things I needed to before leaving again.  Perhaps next time I should just skip vacation all together and go straight to another ship.

My life would make an excellent “comedy of errs” type film.  Schadenfreud!

 

 

New Bucket List for Cruising

Working on ships has opened up opportunities for me to do so much new things!  Here’s a few I hope to do on this contract and my next…

  • Dog Mushing
  • Spelunking
  • Hike up a mountain
  • Bike through a town
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Visit a Beer/Rum/Liquor factory
  • Horseback ride in water
  • Horseback ride bareback
  • Stand under a waterfall
  • Ride a camel
  • See Mayan ruins
  • Pub Crawl (in a foreign city- Key West counts!)
  • Kayak
  • Visit the Ice Bar
  • Lumberjack show
  • Help in a beach cleanup

     

    Sidenote:

    It’s hilarious to read Shore Excursions for Tampa- they go to UT and Ybor city- in other words- they do about $100 what it costs thousands of college kids thousands of dollars to do.

#WordsofWisdom … in Other Languages

You know you spend too much time studying languages when you answer “Keyfa haluuk?” with “io sto bene”!!!

Those who can’t do- teach. Those who CAN do- CAN’T teach.

#wordsofwisdom #fromships

These are a few of my most missed things…

Things I Miss:

  • Waking up to sunlight
  • My soft sheets and mattress
  • Turkey bacon
  • My puppy
  • Boneless buffalo wings
  • Fast internet
  • Cooking (esp. grilled cheese and quesadillas!)
  • Days off

Right Thing, Wrong Reasons?

President Obama has decided to support Gay Marriage- it has been the headline three days in a row now. While I support gay marriage, I do it because I actually believe in it, not because it’s my best chance at reelection. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that he is unsure of his decision over it. Would we rather have a president who does the right things for the wrong reasons, or who does wrong things (or rather, things we do not agree with) but fully believes in them???

Forget Two Cents, I’m Giving You My Two Dollars!

I was recently made aware of a Bill in Florida in which they are trying to cut server’s pay in half.  Right now, we currently make about half of minimum wage per hour.  And over the past few years people have started tipping less and less (a phenomenon for which I still blame Oprah as she told everyone it’s fine to only tip 8% because the economy is so bad- but that’s a whole other rant).  When I first started serving 7 years ago, our hourly wage was $2.13/hour, which is what they want to lower it back down to.  What they forget to consider is that the cost of everything else has gone up at least a dollar since then.  Multiply that by a lot of things and you can see how the cost of living has gone up at least a few hundred dollars per month.  Now you might not think that that extra $2 per hour should make a huge difference, but consider this:

1) People often forget that after all the tables leave and no one is tipping us any longer, we have about another two hours worth of extra work to do, for which we are essentially not getting paid.

2) We do not get sick days.  Or personal days.  Or paid vacations.  So if we need to take a day off because we’re sick, or our kid is sick, or we just need a day away from all you people for our sanity- we don’t get paid at all.  Which could very well mean neither does out rent for that month.

3) On top of not having sick days, most servers do not have health insurance, so when we do get sick (which is often from touching all you people’s germy plates and dirty napkins that you feel the need to leave everywhere like an uncivilized pig) we have to pay an arm and leg and at least three days worth of tips for the doctor and some antibiotics.  Or worse…

4) We can’t afford to take off from work to go to the doctor, so we come to work sick, getting everyone else sick and, o that’s right, touching your food.  Remember that the next time you don’t want to tip your server- they are probably working despite a 100 degree fever, passing their illness to you because you, the government, and everyone else could not spare them a few dollars for their services.

5) This one is my favorite!  How much is your pay check every week?  $300? $500?  1000?  5000?  Have you ever worked a full week and received a pay check for $0?  And as if to spite you even more, it says, “This is not a check”, as if you might try to cash it for $0 anyways?  By the time they take out taxes, and if you’re one of the lucky ones, insurance premiums, most servers don’t even get a pay check.  In fact, I have worked overtime before and instead of receiving a bigger check, I get one saying I OWE them money!  How is that for your exhausted overworked mind to wrap around?  If they lower of wages, we will have to PAY TO WORK!!!!!  How much longer would you be going to work if instead of them paying you, you had to pay them?  If you’d still go then you must be fortunate enough to have already made your life’s savings.  Most of us, however are not.  So if you want to lower our wages, you’re going to have to lower taxes too, because I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would go to work for free.  Or worse, pay to go to work as so often happens.

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