Welcome to Notes from the Backpack. This is the weekly post from Luxury Backpack where I offer a slice of a british writer and travel bloggers life in the Florida Keys… my current luxury backpacking adventures, what I’ve been reading, and of course a few anecdotes from my life in the Florida Keys!
Welcome to the 8th edition of Notes from the Backpack. This week has been a knuckle-down week for me. I’ve been working on getting my diving certification, on organising and planning the future of my blog, and on the third draft of my novel. I figured now I have hit the big 3-0 there really is no excuse not to go for it and hit all the goals I am aiming for in life. In fact, if anything, being 30 has given me the extra push I needed.
I have been reflecting on everything that brought me to this point in my life. It is interesting, isn’t it, thinking about all the twists and turns in life that could of easily taken you down a different path.
I wanted to share my yacht stewardess diary about a tough time in life whilst at sea that really changed the course of my life. It is also about how travel can be lonely sometimes, and how you really just need to be strong, collect your thoughts, and let time heal you… even when you are on the road.
What I’ve Been Reading This Week
I jumped on the #GIRLBOSS bandwagon 3 years late, but I am happy to say I am finally giving Sophia Amoruso’s cult book #GIRLBOSS a go. Firstly, I cannot help but have in my mind the recent turn of events for Sophia’s company Nasty Gal (they declared bankruptcy in late 2016 and she has officially parted ways from the company.) However, despite their fall from success, their climb is essentially what this book is all about, and remains inspiring in its own right.
What I’ve Loved Online This Week
- The original #GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal remains a huge inspiration despite her company recently filing for bankruptcy. This interesting article is a must read for any budding #GIRLBOSSes.
- This made me laugh so much, and mainly because NO ONE in America EVER has kettle. So it was also a big ‘ahhh’ moment, haha!
- Anyone else who has gone through hard times whilst travelling will relate to this very revealing post by Anna Everywhere about the break up of her engagement.
- I really want to buy one of these pom-poms in every colour and put them on everything!
- How many of these movies to fuel wanderlust have you seen?
- And lastly, travel with kids? This will make you laugh!
This Week’s Story – Diary Of A Yacht Stewardess, Part 1.
This is something I wrote on my first season as a yacht stewardess as a kind of diary/memoir. It was 14th August 2012. My relationship at the time, and the reason I was working as a stewardess in the first place, had fallen apart. I was feeling a little lost, sitting on my tiny bunk of my cabin, bobbing away on anchor off Sardinia not really knowing where I was going anymore.
Travel isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and can be very lonely, especially when you go through something tough. I have written about this before here. But knowing everyone goes through that eases the pain, a little.
August 14th, 2012
How to keep your anchor firmly down when the sea is so rough you feel like you are drowning.
It is 35 degrees celsius outside: the air is hot. I am sitting in my tiny bed, my hatch open above me letting in more sticky air. Sardinia sits unexplored to my left, Corsica somewhere in the far distance to my right. Below me is water. I haven’t been on land for just over one month and already sand on my toes would be a luxury.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, a wise old man once said, or was it a woman? Most probably. Either way, my heart has grown so fond of all the things I miss; my boyfriend, my family, my dog, coffee shops, up-to-date magazines, phone signal, freedom in general, people watching, different people, nice people, my people… the list is endless.
Tomorrow will be six weeks since my boyfriend left on his boat. He is the reason I am here at all in fact. I couldn’t bear to be left behind, is there a worse feeling? So I packed my suitcase and hopped on the plane with him to Palma de Mallorca.
We had enough excitable ambition about working together on a boat to get us through the hard times of job hunting and money stretching. With all these variables and odds against us the only thing that we could rely on was time passing. As it did it took with it the last of our money and all of our possible dream jobs. And so my boyfriend took the first job which came floating by and off he drifted onboard a 35-metre luxury yacht. I on the other hand clung to any passing driftwood and eventually found work on a sailing boat.
The dream of sailing off into the sunset together put aside, we were now in the thick of life at sea, apart, and I am still wondering why or how my life led me to this, and yet here I am, a hopeless romantic, lonely as can be.
In the absence of all the things that this industry strips away, the thing that it does bring you in the bucket load is time. Time at sea seems to work very differently to time on land. In fact everything works differently at sea than it seems to on shore. In these few short weeks I have learnt more about emotion, depression, despair, loneliness, humans, stress, and life in general than I have ever learnt or noticed.
I have become my worst enemy and my own best friend. I have gone crazy, become paranoid, felt happy, felt terribly sad, and all whilst floating upon 330 tonnes of luxury sailing yacht that to the human eye is a magnificent monster, and to the ocean is but a grain of sand.
I have inner thoughts that I have explored from the tip of my mind to the bottom of my heart, all whilst scrubbing the toilet of a billionaire and doing his laundry.
To say my location whilst thinking these thoughts is irrelevant would be a lie. Yes I have been thinking this way for a long time and have been willing and waiting to share, but it was this final chapter, this time at sea, which led me to put pen to paper, and led to the most wonderful, weird and utterly revealing truths.
It must be a result of either a great deal of time, a great deal of water, or maybe, just maybe, that infamous sea air.
When you gamble your whole life, and take the path for love, everything rests on another person. And like an unsteady pivot, my centre broke. He cheated on me, lied to me, and now my existence as it is makes even less sense. I feel numb and it hurts, but alarmingly, I am still alive, still breathing, and not feeling like my life is over after all.
So what now? I think to myself. I can’t let go, and fall apart. Not here. It is not possible. It is still like time is going very slowly, almost as though it is still whilst at sea. The only thing that changes is that the guests come and go, we eat, and we all go to bed, eventually. But the real world, and real time, they have diminished into nothing. I am truly experiencing something strange, I think, holding my wounded chest hoping the pain will cease. Yet, I write, I am no mess. I just am trying to figure out what is happening to me.
Come back next Sunday, same time, for part 2, where I found an end of something became the beginning of something better.