I think it’s impossible to not miss the cruise ship life, even if it’s just a little. It doesn’t just sound cool to be travelling from city to city everyday for 6 months getting to see half the world, it actually is exciting. Well, there is a point where it just feels like everyday life, but it’s still easy to get excited about walking along Cococabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, the steep alleyways in Vigo, through the historic streets of Gamla Stan in Stockholm, or down Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg. Every port that you haven’t been to before was like a new present at Christmas time!
And it’s hard not to miss the people (mostly the crew, but some passengers as well), even with the corresponding negativity that comes from being around them. I just found the environment so infectiously pessimistic, that before I knew it, I was a key part in the depressing side of my own adventure, completely unable to just be grateful; all those years of people telling me I had such a positive energy thrown away in a matter of months. The hardest part in the end was dealing with how disappointed I was in myself for not being stronger and for having been naïve enough to believe that optimism is something which requires no effort to maintain.
I see why everyone says it is addictive - you cannot help but want to go back and try again. Hindsight leaves me wondering if knowing what to expect will better prepare me for the internal challenge of fighting negative ship life. But then, I just imagine myself having to dress up for 70’s night one more time and it makes me want to hurl a little. Sometimes I think sitting through another 2 hour session of ceramics might make me tear my hair out. And if I have to teach one more person how to use an elevator, or explain that the stairwell goes up AND down, I may strangle someone.
In conclusion, being back in Canada (where people really ARE nicer; it’s not just a humourous myth) has made it easier to view the entire experience as a positive one, and as always, reflect on the difficult parts to find life lessons in them – and most prominently this time: Gratitude does take effort.