Guest Post: Arielle at Sea
Whether traveling domestically or abroad, I have met some pretty wonderful people with a unique story to share. Arielle and I met years back in Annapolis, Maryland aboard our friend’s boat, and since then she hasn’t strayed far from the sea. Read what this little mermaid has to say about how she carved for herself a life of travel.
I guess I was born with the travel bug having a Naval Commander as a dad and spending my first few years with my family stationed in Italy. My mom, no stranger to travel either, has lived in Hawaii, California, and Alaska among other places. Unlike many Navy brats I was able to do all of my schooling in one place, but from a young age I was always saving up for some upcoming trip. I also had the good fortune of having wonderful friends who brought me on some amazing vacations with their families. By high school graduation I had been to Europe and the Caribbean multiple times, as well as driving around much of the continental U.S. with my crazy road tripping family (if it’s less than 30 hours, we’ll drive it).
Fast forward to Fall 2009 where I was a senior English and French major at the University of Maryland trying, along with most of my peers, to figure out what I was possibly going to do in the “real world”. The idea of sitting at a desk from nine-to-five literally made my skin crawl, and to be honest, hadn’t I already been doing that since kindergarten? Obviously I needed a job and to make money and I was DEFINITELY over waitressing (six years of waiting tables will take it’s toll) but I just had this feeling I couldn’t shake that there was too much world out there that I needed to see.
Long story made somewhat short, I learned about the yachting industry through an older friend who at this point had been in the industry for about seven years. I’d occasionally seen his pictures and heard his stories from around the world and it was consistently appealing. Getting paid to see the world, living on million dollar yachts, 5-star chefs preparing your meals, I mean honestly what could be better? I was sold. In October 2010 I found myself on a one-way flight to Ft. Lauderdale to begin my certifications for yacht work. As it turned out, things had changed a bit in the seven years since my friend had started and it was really difficult finding a job (in the U.S. go figure, right?! I kid…) To be completely honest I was also embarrassingly homesick; it’s one thing to go on a vacation, but it’s a whole other story when you have no idea where you might end up and when you will see your family and friends again. Two months later, I was back in Maryland living under my parent’s roof.
Months went by and it became more clear that I needed to make the yachting thing work. I could feel myself wasting my time waitressing again, not doing anything I truly cared about or that was helping me to grow as a person. I had also become somewhat of a “professional babysitter” at this point for multiple families who I adored but I had a college degree and grand plans of adventure, which just made the situation frustrating. As fate would have it though, that is exactly how I landed my current yacht job (no pun intended). A chance posting for a nanny/stewardess position on a yachting site has led me here typing this a year later from a marina in Singapore.
It took a year, but once again in October I was back to Ft. Lauderdale, this time with a job so the goodbyes were much easier. And the itinerary was a DREAM, starting in Australia and sailing across the Pacific. Hello, Bora Bora! After a couple of months we were flying to west coast Australia to meet the brand new 43-meter yacht, Zenith that I now call home. Originally planning a Pacific crossing back to the U.S., Alaska bound, we’ve changed our itinerary completely, but such is the yachting world. To be perfectly honest I only ever have a vague idea of where I’ll be and when, but it just keeps things exciting and it’s always an adventure.
So far we’ve been in Perth, Bali and other islands in Indonesia, and now Singapore. Personally, I’ve also had a couple of random jaunts in Sydney for a quick getaway and Malaysia for a visa jump. I never thought I would see any of these places and I feel so lucky that this is my life. Don’t get me wrong, the workdays are long and tiring and essentially I live in my office with my coworkers. Even more, when we’re at sea it’s pretty much 24-hour workdays. Keep in mind that since I’m the nanny, most of my time is pretty mundane with my duties consisting of dirty diapers, bottles, baby food and laundry. But I’ve walked a stroller through some pretty amazing places. I can tell you what you can do and see in 48 hours in Sydney or Kuala Lumpur, how some diapers smell better than the slums of Bali, and what it’s like to cross the equator (spoiler alert: it’s really uneventful). The days I have off I hardly even sleep in because there’s so much to see and do, unless of course it’s after a night out at the Bounty Discotheque in downtown Kuta after too much Arak. The best part is that this is just the beginning and my dream destination list just keeps growing. I’ll be back home for a month in December but I know I’ll be itching to be back with my M/Y Zenith family. Next up on the itinerary: Malaysia, Thailand and Chile: bring it on.
To read more about my adventures check out my blog, Little Mermaid at Sea.