Thursday, August 18, 2016

On Traveling Through Air, Land and Sea

Almost 2 years since the last time I wrote. I don't know what to say, as I am a little ashamed of this prolonged absence.

All I could offer as an excuse is that - life happened.
Too cliche'? It doesn't make it any less true though!!!
Friends, I urge you not to dwell on the past and move past this. The past is in the past, and so let us focus on what lies ahead! (See what I did there?)
I am sorry for disappearing... Really... But I am here now. I missed you guys! Besides, I refuse for my post about getting into the cruising industry be the last thing that anyone ever remembers about me... because there truly is a lot more to say... A mountain of stories yet to be told... And I am not done. At least not yet. :)


I am writing this in the middle of the forest in Maryland, at a training center for my ship. Yes, I still currently work for a cruise ship, same position as a trainer, but a different ship with a different itinerary. After a brief stint in the Caribbean, I was assigned to our American ship that is primarily based in Hawaii!


Yes – I have been a Hawaiian for more than a year now. It works pretty well though because I totally rock the Hawaiian look. People think I’m local… And my ukulele? I mean come on. It’s like the mother ship called me home.

I would like to say that all I do is surf on the beach and jam on my uke with the locals all day, grazing around in my grass skirt with flowers in my hair…
Alas… the only thing that is true about that statement are the flowers in my hair. 

BOOM. Tangled, anyone?
Work is still work, and although I enjoy seeing Hawaii whenever I get the chance, I do still work long hours inside the ship.

Every now and then, I do allow myself the pleasure of hanging out with my turtle friends... I mean, come on. How can I not?

I am in Maryland now, assigned temporarily to our training facility that feeds the ship new crew members.  I’m back on the ship in September.


Truly, the best part about my job is the vacation. When I was moved to the Hawaii ship, my contract changed. I now work on a 4:2 rotation… which means 4 months of work, 2 months of vacation – year round. It’s really hard to beat that, don’t you think?

And during my 2 month vacation  (since the last time I wrote, there have been three vacays)  I did travel quite a bit. Of course I did.

I went back to Europe

Hola, Sevilla!

Explored bits of Eastern Europe

That is the glorious landscape of Sarajevo
At one point, I went back to the Philippines
Lalalaaaa....Palawan you're so beautifuuuul...

And Europe Again...


So I’m happy to say that travel is still a very significant part of my life. I think it always will be... just not the same way it has been while I was backpacking.


Truthfully, one of the reasons why I started writing again is because in the past few months, I've started reading my old posts. It's weird because it almost felt like I was reading about the adventures of another person. Isn't that wild? I almost didn't recognize myself. It was only then that I truly got what other people had been telling me all this time... That I was brave. Maaaaan, I had balls of steel!

I mean... my road trip through the North Island of New Zealand where I went through MORDOR was terrifying. Hitchhiking in Israel was pretty ballsy. Getting robbed in Buenos Aires was AGGGGHHH - annoying! And lets not forget, my otherworldly AYAHUASCA ceremony experience that killed me and brought me back to life. That's not even half of the stuff I did.

Reading about all of that was so much fun. I laughed out loud for the majority of them, maybe shed a tear or two for some... But mostly it made me reflect on how much what I did changed me. Going through all of that really and truly changed who I am. I am no longer the same person I was before I started all this.

Yeah, putting myself out there and living through those experiences does sound brave. But when I think about it and remember how I felt during those moments that required me to summon all the courage I had in me -- I realize that as humans, you really just do what you have to do to make the most out of the situations you find yourself in.
It's not necessarily bravery... I think it's just survival. 

No matter how big the fear - most of the time you have no choice but to plow through and keep going. Because otherwise... what's the point? That'st just life, isn't it? If you need to sleep in a basement full of cardboard boxes and dog food for the night to save some cash, or hitchhike instead of paying an exorbitant amount of money on a cab, or scrub toilets and make beds if it meant having a roof over your head and free food for a few weeks ---- You do it. You survive. Not because you want to... but because you have to.

This was my first Couchsurfing Experience. It looks bad but I met the BEST people!

It was my choice to put myself in those situations, and I knew those kinds of experiences were going to be inevitable because I had a small budget. I couldn't afford to be luxurious or picky. However what I didn't expect was how much I was going to gain, as a person, by going through all that. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Now - the question is... Would I do all of that again? Would I willfully put myself in those situations once more?

Ah... the answer is not so simple. Hahaha


Reading about the things that I did made me nostalgic. I do miss the glorious RTW Backpacking days of yore. But as I get older - and as I find myself in a completely different personal situation than the past --- I realize that my preferences have changed.

Let me try to explain further.

Working for the cruise ship has afforded me the opportunity to work, earn money, and still keep traveling. I work for 4 months, and travel for 2 months. Remember when I gave up my worldly possessions? My car, my apartment, my stuff... Well, I still don't have any of that back... Still no bills to pay. And so I guess you can say - I work to travel! (Now isn't that just the dream??? Although my father would argue otherwise. Hehe)

Which means that when I do travel - I have a little bit more money at my disposal to NOT stay in a cardboard box, so to speak. And nowadays - I don't really travel by myself anymore (hint hint)... And so instead of staying at hostels, I find myself paying just a tiny bit more, to book accommodations at Airbnb... which is private, but still cheaper than staying at a hotel. 

This is one of my accommodations at AirBnB. Not too shabby, eh? :)

Because of skimping on basically everything when I did the RTW trip, having a little bit more cash now has allowed me to splurge JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE, on things like food, excursions here and there, or touristy things. And truthfully, when you're traveling with someone, those kinds of things are fun when experienced together. 

So now,  I am making brand new travel experiences! And I appreciate them as much as I did my old experiences... they are just different.

I am STILL cheap as hell though, just so you know. It's just now - I'm cheap by choice, not by default. If that makes sense.


Now? I keep going. I'm going to do this until my body and mind and soul allows me to. I am still traveling. I am still in a pretty convenient situation where I can keep the lifestyle that I have chosen. I work, and I travel. I'm still in a position that is quite different from the norm - and for that, I am grateful. 

When the day comes that I go back "on land", I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing. Life is continually evolving... Things change so constantly, that as human beings, we just do what we can to adapt and keep up with whatever is thrown at us.

But for now, Earth2eartha's story isn't over.  The Round The World Solo Traveling chapter may have come to an end  - but another chapter has been written. All I need to do now is tell it.

Thanks for sticking around... :)