Lesson #19: Adventure.

I know, I know… it’s been forever since I blogged. Don’t worry; I’ve hired my own personal Holy Mother, like the one from Game of Thrones, to follow me around and chant “Shame” throughout the day.

shame
Whatta bitch.

Life, man. It’s gotten away with me. But I don’t want to regret not writing about it.

I’m moving this weekend–really only an hour away, but still. It’s a transition, and I don’t do well with those. I’m moving out of an apartment in a quaint town to live in a house with one of my good friends and her sister in a bustling, up and coming metropolian. I’m ready for my new adventure. A new pool of people. New experiences and opportunities.

I only hope I like it–mainly because I don’t feel like packing up my life twice in two months!

pivot

I’ll be commuting to work, so about an hour each way. Honestly, I don’t mind it. The car is one of the rare places where I have room to think. I come up with my best stuff on the road, with my hands on the wheel and soft, indie music permeating the cool air.

I’m looking forward to the change.

Someone asked me recently, “What do you want out of life?”

The very first thing that came to my mind and then out of my mouth was, “Adventure.”

I want my life to be own great adventure, whether I’m reading a book by a fireplace or hiking up hills and deserts on the West Coast. I want to be happy, and I want to live adventurously. I don’t have to skydive or climb Mt. Everest. I don’t need to scale the Empire State Building or come face to face with the most gigantic alligator the world has ever seen. I don’t need to swing on vines in the rainforests of Costa Rica or hitchhike in Amsterdam.

I simply want to say “yes” to adventure. To take chances and advantage of opportunities that fall into my lap. I want to feel content with a nap on a Sunday but invigorated by the call on Monday. I want spontaneity. And joy. And laughter. And love. I want adventure in its purest form. I don’t want to take adventures for the sake of taking adventures, but because I really want to.

I want “doing nothing” to mean I’m doing SOMETHING. I don’t want what society calls adventure, but what it feels like to me.

I guess I just want to live. Happy and free.

adventure.gif

 

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Lesson #15: Jack Dawson IS the King of the World

Turns out, Jack Dawson IS the King of the World. He knows his shit.

kingoftheworld

He knew exactly what he was doing when he took Rose to the front of that boat. He was well aware of the fact that if you stand on the railings and stick your arms straight out to the side, whilst rubbing your tush against Leonardo DiCaprio’s crotch, ANY girl will think they’re flying.

Now, my boyfriend, Tim, is, unfortunately, NOT Leonardo DiCaprio, but I love him anyway. He makes me feel like I’m flying in his own way.

There’s something you should know about me. I LOVE the movie Titanic. I was going to say I’m obsessed with it, but I don’t know if I’d go that far. But I do LOVE it (all caps). So, naturally, when I boarded the Freedom of the Seas last week for a one-week cruise, I planned on duplicating every major scene from the movie. At night, when I went to bed in our small little cabin, I imagined a Model-T car to be sitting idly five decks below, just waiting to get steamy. When I went to dinner, I whispered to Tim that I wanted him to slip me a note that read, Make it count. Meet me at the clock. And then, I wanted to meet him at the clock, where he’d ask me, “So, you want to go to a real party?” And then I wanted the scenery around us to magically morph into a wild, Irish music, below-deck dance party where we’d dance all night and I’d drink beer in one gulp and stand on my tip toes and impress all the foreign men around me who assumed high-class girls can’t drink or stand on the tops of their toes.

Well, that didn’t end up happening. But we DID have access to the front of the boat… where this happened…

For the record, I hate fedoras.
For the record, I hate fedoras.

Some random guy took this shot. I think he may have a career in photography ahead of him. I mean, look at this picture. It’s incredible. Speaking of incredible, this experience, for me, was incredible. Not because I felt, for two seconds, like Hollywood’s power couple. But because I actually felt like I was flying! What did I tell you? Jack Dawson, I repeat, Jack Dawson is the King of the World. He’s done us all well.

I was a little embarrassed at first, being so cliche and all. “They WOULD reenact the famous scene from Titanic. Typical white people.” But surprisingly, we weren’t judged. In fact, the guy who took our picture told us his girlfriend just had him do the same thing. PHEW! I gave her a look that read, Jack Dawson, right? So hott. She returned the sentiment with a cocked eyebrow. Now that I think about it, she might have just been confused. But I digress.

not lame

I think Tim finds my love for Titanic cute, because he doesn’t criticize it too often. Conversely, I think it bothers him how frequently I accidentally call him “Jack” in bed. Well, Tim, it bothers me that you won’t call me “Rose” and paint me like one of your french girls! Take a damn art class, you uncultured sloth.

I’m not obsessed, I promise!

Ok, maybe a little...
Ok, maybe a little… Damn.

Tim, I love you. And you’re an amazing sport. Thank you for putting up with me… I couldn’t ask for a better adventure buddy. {End sap.}

Lesson learned? Jack Dawson IS the King of the World. He deserves some kind of award. 

Ooohh... awkward
Ooohh… awkward

Lesson #14: People in Haiti protest, too

People in haiti protest, too. And I found that out firsthand.

Well, I’m back!! I would say, FINALLY, but… I’m not all that glad to be back. I wanted to stay on that dang pretentious cruise forever. And I’m not ashamed to say it. Between the friends, food, and fun, I had an excellent time. The weather wasn’t even super great; the boat rocked like crazy one third of the time, and I lost too much for comfort in the casino. But MAN, was my time away from home awesome, or what?! Our first destination was Haiti, and we didn’t even get to get off the boat, but I don’t care! My time cruising was superb.

mexico

Wait, back up. Why couldn’t you get off the boat in Haiti? Hold your horses… I’ll tell you.

My boyfriend, Tim, and I hadn’t planned any excursions in Haiti, so we weren’t THAT disappointed when the morning we arrived, the cruise director came over the loud speaker to tell us we couldn’t get off the boat yet because of protestors camped out down the dock. Being still in bed, I peered out our small porthole of a window to sneak a peek at the Haitian rebels.

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Only, our room faced the ocean. So, I kicked off the covers and pulled on some shorts. Tim walked into the room then to tell me the cruise director wasn’t lying. There were actually people protesting outside our boat. But we were told it was because of the upcoming election–nothing to do with us. I was skeptical.

I climbed a few flights of stairs and emerged into the sunlight and leaned over the railing. Below me, perhaps a little too close for comfort, were maybe two hundred people, on land, and in boats, banging on tin and chanting. They did not sound angry. There were no fists being shaken. There were no weapons from what I could tell. You could have mistaken the protest in Haiti for a welcome party. Aw, thanks guys. Good to see you, too!

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I wanted to get closer.

So I walked along the railing and up a flight of stairs until I stood just off the front of the boat. Other cruisers were gathered around, watching curiously. I think we were all more intrigued than anything.

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A small security boat hung back in the water below us, not far from the chanting mob. Only one man was piloting. I wondered what good he would do if something went down. Then, a cruise employee saddled up beside me. He pointed to the security boat and said, “That is my brother,” in a foreign accent. He called him and told him to wave to prove it. He wasn’t lying. The little man in the little boat was his little brother.

I asked him what was going on; why were they protesting down there? Two other cruisers leaned in to hear. From what I could understand (his accent was strong), he told us that Royal Caribbean owns this port in Haiti, and it’s a popular company to work for in Haiti. I suppose because it’s so large. I eyed the red-shirted local excursion guides watching the protest a dozen yards back on shore, confidant they were pissed at the rebels for disrupting their business.

The man went on to say that after reaching a certain age, an age Royal Caribbean deemed “too old,” employees would be let go, without much more than a “good luck.” It didn’t matter how many years or months you had dedicated your service and your labor. It didn’t matter how badly you needed the money. It didn’t matter if you had seven kids in need of support.  If you were deemed “unfit to work,” you were let go. Naturally, this would make people unhappy. And according to my new friend, this is what the protestors were, well, protesting. No, it wasn’t about some upcoming election. It had to do with the very company whose boat we were on… according to this guy. I thanked him and went off to find Tim. I wanted to share what I had learned. USA Today would report on this not long after. 

I wasn’t surprised by what I had heard. A big part of me figured they must be protesting Royal Caribbean. Why else would these Haitians have come into private waters, to a side of the island frequented strictly by Royal Caribbean employees and cruisers? Because they wanted attention. They wanted to be seen and heard. I have to give it to them–they knew what they were doing. Between all the phones and GoPros I saw in the hands of the spectators around me, they got their media attention.

An hour later, Haiti was behind us, because the Captain had not wanted to compromise our safety, which made sense. He just forgot to mention that sticking around didn’t threaten our safety so much as Royal Caribbean’s reputation as a cruise line.

I have to say, I’m glad I witnessed a protest on the Haiti coast that hindered our chances of going ashore. Vacationing in places like Haiti, or Mexico, or Thailand is wonderful, isn’t it? But it’s important to remember that the resorts we stay at don’t represent reality. They are, instead, a romantic version of life. Diamonds in the rough. Because who wants to stay in the slums of Mexico instead of a five-star resort with pool and bar and all you can eat food? That’s not vacationing!

Still, as I stood on the deck of the Freedom of the Seas, staring down at the mass of Haitian people holding up picketed signs and dancing to a rhythmic chant, I felt goosebumps prickle my arms. I felt like a part of something important. A bystander, yes, but a bystander to the wonder of human nature. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t disgusted. I was curious. Intrigued. I wanted to join in, simply for the thrill of making some kind of difference, no matter how small.

Tim and I hadn’t signed up for a Haitian excursion, but we got one.

Lesson learned? People in Haiti protest, too. Because when it comes right down to it, we’re all the same. 

P.S. MORE PICTURES TO COME! Perhaps a sneak peak just for fun?

Hell yeah
Hell yeah

Lesson #13: There’s nothing more pretentious than cruising

There’s nothing more pretentious than cruising.

And when I say “cruising,” I don’t mean riding along with your four best buds around town, throwing empty beer cans at the elderly, and rapping to Fresh Prince of Bel Air. 

Hey, why not?
Hey, why not?

By “cruising,” I mean getting on a  gigantic boat with a bunch of rich people and exploring the world, preferably the warmest parts.

Well, I’m just the type of person who enjoys being more pretentious than everyone around me. That’s right, I’m cruising tomorrow–Royal Caribbean, brah. From Florida, to Haiti, to Jamaica, to Grand Cayman, to Cozumel, and back to Florida. I think I might have gotten the order wrong, but whatever; I’m just along for the ride.

The best part? I’m going with my boyfriend, Tim. (Yes, my boyfriend, Tim, has the same name as my my dad. What of it?) Tim is my best friend, and just the kind of person I want to explore the world with! Makes dating him a little more convenient. That, and because he likes cheese dip almost as much as I do. He would argue he likes it more. That’s a lie.

Anyway, I’m incredibly excited! From relaxing on the dock, to chilling out with stingrays in Grand Cayman, to endless cocktails, there’s not much more a “more pretentious” girl could want.

Awww
Awww

How have I prepared?

Well, I put off packing until today. 99% sure I packed my entire wardrobe away. I’m sorry, but I need options. My anxiety can’t handle the concept of under packing. I MUST be prepared. And that’s why I got myself a manicure and pedicure today with my mom.

Hell yeah
Hell yeah

Because God forbid I get on that boat with gnarly toe nails. Sounds like blasphemy to me. Or I’m just digging myself an even more pretentious hole. #ownit

[Disclaimer: Do not do a Google-image search of “girl in hole.” You won’t like what you find. Lesson #14.]

I don’t know if I’d call this week’s lesson a REAL lesson, but I needed a way to tell you guys I’d be MIA for a week. But don’t worry; when I get back, I’ll have TONS to tell you about! I’m sure I’ll make countless stupid mistakes and learn a whole lot, like Lesson #14: Do not attempt to take the sting ray home with you, or Lesson #15: If the hypnotist calls people up on stage, stay firmly planted in your seat where it’s safe, or Lesson #16: Put the drink down. Maybe I should just go ahead and preemptively write that last one…

My journey begins at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!! And don’t worry, if you think I sound pretentious now, you just wait. I’ll sound even more pretentious upon returning. HUZZAH!

pretentious

Lesson learned? We’re all more pretentious than we think we are. But especially when cruising.