In 2012, I worked for 6 1/2 months aboard a ship called Wanderbird. We travelled up the Maine coast, Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, and then back again. It completely changed my life. Now that I'm back to reality, it's time to figure out what my next chapter will be.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I just did

A lot of what I'm having trouble with right now is figuring out what I'm going to do next with my life, so to begin, I'll write about what I've just finished doing.  It's a little hard because it was such a colossal experience and I haven't processed it yet.  But that's ok because it might take years.

Anyway, the other day, I finished up my 7 month season with Wanderbird.  Wanderbird was a Dutch fishing trawler built in 1963 and about ten years ago my captains, R and K (husband and wife) bought her and refitted her as an expedition cruise ship.  So, we took passengers for one to three weeks at a time on different legs of our trip up North.  I saw incredible things that I may never see again and I went places that I may never go again, but I'll never forget any of it.

As the deckhand, I had to make sure that everything was ship shape (yup, we say things like that) and I had to take care of the guests.  Much of the time, I was basically doing extreme customer service.  I say extreme because, when you're never farther than 90 feet away from your customers all day every day, it can get pretty intense.  I have to say, after this season, I feel a little bit customer serviced out.  It'll be nice to have a break.  This griping is not to say that we didn't have some awesome guests.  Actually, most of them were awesome and I'm even still in contact with some.  The types of trips that Wanderbird does tend to attract a certain kind of person, with a few exceptions.  We called them "turkeys" in order to avoid calling them anything worse (some of them were pretty horrid).

That's enough about the guests.  Although they were a big part of my time on Wanderbird, the most meaningful parts were the things that went on in my own mind.  Throwing yourself headfirst into something completely new (oh yeah- did I mention that as of last April I had had exactly zero experience working on boats?) can fuel some major change and self-discovery.  The hard part is articulating what that self-discovery involved.  I've definitely become more mature, and I've developed a greater sense of excitement for life and for others' lives as well.  There are a lot of other little things about myself that have changed, but I can't quite put a finger on exactly what they are.  I just know that I feel different.  I see the world differently and I see people differently.  I think I just might be one step closer to really 'getting it.'  You know, understanding a bit more about how things are supposed to work.

All this change is stressful, albeit exciting.  One big realization that I had about halfway through my time on Wanderbird was that I didn't want to study film anymore.  I had studied screenwriting at Emerson College in Boston for a year and a half before taking a leave of absence to have my adventure, and I loved it.  I'm still interested in it, but I've realized that it's not how I want to spend the rest of my life.  Over the course of the season, I felt myself being more and more drawn towards music and languages. I've played piano for 12 years or so, and I always knew that it (and music in general) would always be an important part of my life.  I didn't realize exactly how important piano was until I didn't have it for 7 months.  That was tough.  Along the same lines, I love speaking Spanish.  I took it for four years in high school, but unfortunately, Emerson didn't have any advanced classes in Spanish or music.  During my travels, I started picking up words in Inuktitut (an Inuit language I heard in Labrador), Greenlandic, Danish and French (we spent a lot of time on a French island off the coast of Newfoundland called St. Pierre).  I realized how much fun it was to communicate (or at least try to) with people in other languages, even though I didn't really speak those languages at all.  I started to really become aware of the different languages and forms of communication in the world and it all fascinated me.  Still does.
Land of the Midnight Sun

So now the next step is to figure out where I can feed these new passions, where I can be happy.  It's an exciting prospect not to know what's coming next (7 months ago I never would have said that), but I'm also really excited to figure that out.  Right now, I'm looking for schools that not only have programs that I'm looking for, but also will enrich my life in more ways than just academically.  But on the other hand, who knows?  Maybe I'll find some other wonderful opportunity and the world will call me elsewhere in my next chapter.
So here we go...

No comments:

Post a Comment