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31-05-2018

A life on the ocean waves

Some people don’t understand the attraction of travelling, but I don’t understand the attraction of not travelling. As I write this, I’m sitting on the ferry to Ibiza. Tomorrow I’m off to spend a couple of days on the dreamy island of Formentera. As I look through the window at the calm, deep blue Mediterranean, I am quietly gloating at the thought of everyone who is not doing this on a Wednesday afternoon.

Back in the eighties, I landed myself a job on a cruise ship. I would spend every Monday morning gloating as I sat on a small beach chair in the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman, my feet in the lukewarm, turquoise water, as I thought about all my sensible friends working as articled clerks in England. They all have posh houses and BMWs now, but I’m still on a boat, looking at the sea. Nice weather, blue seas and boats are three of my favourite things, and today, on a Wednesday afternoon, I am enjoying all three.

In my twenties I spent four years sailing the Mediterranean in a cutter. I saw dolphins and whales, spent all night watching the stars come out the disappear and the sun come up… it was such a long time ago. Maybe it’s time for another adventure.

Years ago, I read a brilliant book, whose name I do not recall, about a man who travelled around the world on boats, not cruise ships, but shrimpers and cargo boats, eating with the crew and basically roughing it. He didn’t really care where he was going or what he ate or wore. He was just living his life, sailing the seas. Exploring. It sounded like the kind of thing I would like to do, and it still does, and perhaps I will.

When I was a child when my parents would take us off on long road trips around Europe every summer, driving our old car onto a ferry to take us across the Channel or across the hideously rough Bay of Biscay to Spain. I remember bunking down in a cabin for the night, looking out of the porthole at all the other ships, wishing I was off on an adventure to Australia, Africa, or the Far East. That hasn’t changed either.

So why am I on a boat on a Wednesday afternoon? Well, I have sold my house and since I haven’t signed the deeds for the new one yet, I am technically homeless, and am flitting from one friend to another. Have laptop and new 4G router, will travel!

I’ve been on the boat for two hours now, but I’ve already managed to translate a university degree certificate, an article about a mountaineer going up Everest without an artificial oxygen source and a brochure about perimeter security. When I think about it, I could just do this all the time and not even bother to buy a house. I could just stow away on cargo ships and spend the mornings in my cabin translating and the afternoons sunbathing on deck…

All dreams. I’m signing the deeds on Monday, so next Wednesday I’ll be at my desk again. Perhaps when I retire?



Redactora: Juliet Allaway

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