It’s For The FUN Of It All!
WHY else would we do it?
What was one great fun incident I had?
I can tell you, but it won’t be the same; you had to be there.
Ok… but just one short story.
Travel Is An Adventure!
When crossing the Atlantic, being all tucked away together on a ship for two weeks was like living in the same house.
Your friendships develop quickly because you are socializing all the time!
Expect the unexpected.
Run with it and ENJOY it!
Make New Friends!
There were lots of parties and gatherings on the ship and 20 of us grouped together.
We were from the same era.
It was natural and we sought each other out.
So we met for that all-important sociable drink before dinner. Alter that it all fell into place!
Michael was a guy in our group who always made jokes. He was very spontaneous and quick with the retort.
I wondered how many times his momma wanted to slap him silly.
This group alone gave us years of friendships from various parts of the world.
Wow-what a bonus!
Filled With Excitement!
This was a great ship to be on!
The S.A.Vaal sailed from Capetown to Southampton, in June 1977.
It was sold in later 1977 to Carnival Cruise Lines and rebuilt in Japan with extra decks, doubling the passenger capacity.
At 760 feet long, it was the biggest Cruise ship in the Bahamas!
Sadly she is no longer with us. We will miss her.
Join The Performing Arts;
We learned to line-dance on the ship. I think we all fancy ourselves as great dancers.
I had no illusions about myself. I knew I was a terrible dancer so I kept a very low profile.
But I could waltz and now, I can line-dance!
We had skits and plays at night for the adults. We did everything we told the children not to do: we didn’t pay attention, we talked all the time, and hurled one-liners at each other.
This is the short story I promised you, under great duress:
In a skit, when someone forgot their line we threw in a wrong word that left them wondering what they should say.
What was my line?
I had ONE word to say and was struck before those lights.
All I had to say was, “taxi”!
But noooo, I couldn’t remember that one word while everyone on stage was cueing me with “taxi, say taxi”.
I thought they were trying to tell me to go away, in a taxi…..We were on a ship.
What Customs Are Your Customs?
Before our next adventure, we thought it prudent to do some research.
We read: “Read About Japanese Customs Before You Go”.
That was a good idea!
Here is what we learned:
1. We needed to brush up on our bowing: the deeper the bow the deeper the respect. This is not to be taken lightly and we had to know when to bow low or high… Watch your guide for this one.
They bow to say hello, or goodbye… if someone died or was born.
They bow a lot!.. Like shaking hands!
2. DON’T ever leave a tip in Japan… This is considered an insult, and the server will not understand why you did this.
It will be refused… I like this custom but I also like to tip!
3. Take off your shoes: not only when entering someone’s house, but also at some restaurants, hostels, and hotels.
I often wondered if people lost some very good shoes doing this. Would it seem improper to carry your shoes around with you? I would hate to lose this pair!
4. Take a shower before you use the public bath. Now everyone must be clean before they become clean together.
There are showers there and everyone uses them before taking a bath!
5. Slurp your noodles – but not spaghetti – to show the cook that you are enjoying the meal!
Research continued for unknown corners of the world. We wanted to visit Iceland, so we studied it.
What did I learn about this great land?
1. Don’t buy bottled water. They would not be caught dead carrying a plastic water bottle in Iceland. They are a very “Green” country.
Their water is purified naturally through the lava rock and perfect out of the tap… They are proud of this.
2. They are just as crazy-on-you about littering and they will not tolerate anyone polluting their land! Full stop.
3. They insist that you call them by their first name! They don’t really have a last name, as westerners do.
They use this even in business practice and I would think that if you said “Ivor!”, ten men would stand up!
4. Noo tipping!!
5. Geothermal pools are everywhere and people go often.
DO NOT EVER enter the pool without showering first. Only a tourist would do that!.. Just like in Japan!
WHY Do People Like To Travel?
Let me explain the rationale:
1. It is an ADVENTURE right from the beginning. Explore unknown territory, with no plans, and go for whatever comes your way.
I cannot stress this more… just stay loose. Expect the unexpected and roll with it.
You won’t be sorry, but you will be entertained, educated, and left agog!
2. You will make a lot of new friends and believe me, the people you meet are just like you.
They are spontaneous, or they wouldn’t be here, and they want to meet YOU!
You already like some of the same things; you’re on a ship, already!
You’re like twins!
3. You will see new countries with a different terrain from yours.
Everything is different; the vegetation, houses, waterways, mountains, and deserts.
4. The seasons in the southern hemisphere are reversed. Go there in December!
5. Some cultures are opposite to what you are used to.
Learn some lessons!
6. Get ready to visit their local bars, restaurants, and town markets.
Don’t worry about your pronunciation! People cannot wait to help you, especially because you are a visitor.
7. Learn a new language. Ok, at least make a stab at it. The few keywords you learn will be fun! After the trip, those words will be the main topic of conversation. You’ll remember them forever!
Discover those places you learned about!
8. The places that you learned about are THERE! Yes, it’s the real Patmos, Greece.
Yes, that’s the real Waterloo.
Come and visit the real Leaning Tower…..It is all still there……Like the pyramids!
9. You are away from your routine and indulging in relaxation and quiet. It’s stress-relieving!
Yes, it can be stressful if connections are missed or delayed. But you know what?
That happens to people who have an itinerary.
If you are ok with delays, or changes in the mode of travel, nothing will stress you.
We get there when we get there.
10. I cannot say this enough: you are exposed to wonderful new foods! The food is different, nutritious, and a gastronomic delight. What was imported in your country is local here!. Knock yourself out!
And when you can’t read the menu someone will magically appear and promise you a good meal.
It will be homemade; you will be treated like family. It will be unique, tasty, and enjoyable.
How Can I Save Money On My Trips?
1. One of the best things you can do is shop a year in advance, for your trip.
Expect to get a very good discount and buy cancellation insurance, in case they cancel. Do your due diligence.
And now you have one year to pay for the trip.
2. Be flexible. Look for an expedition that is not full and they need just two more people for a full ship!
Where is it going? Panama? Ok, let’s go there. Be ready to sail in two weeks!
3. How you travel will make a huge difference.
Going across Canada? See what it would cost to take a train instead of flying.
Have you considered a bus? Look up the chartered busses going at least part of the way.
Then catch another!
4. Going to the other side of the Mediterranean?
Ever worked your way across, on a ship going to a new country?
You might even try fairy boats and small private sea-going vessels.
Ever been on a cargo ship? Don’t rule anything out!
5. Would you join a caravan and cross a desert?
Can you imagine sleeping in a tent on a desert oasis?
The camels would be nearby, grunting and spitting.
Don’t get too close!
6. Remember all those friends you made on the ship crossing the Atlantic?..Yes?- –House swap!
7. Check the exchange rate! If the USD is not doing well against the Euro, don’t go to Europe! Find another place to visit.
Go to Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
8. Go south; very south. Fly to Patagonia or the Falklands and join an adventure ship sailing to Antarctica. (For more on adventures in Antarctica, click here!) These ships are becoming more and more accessible and you could do it now before it becomes too popular.
TO SUMMARIZE: The World Is Your Oyster!
I cannot minimize anything about how wonderful it is to travel.
For every country you live in, you inherit another life!
1. Don’t let this be only about education or only about seeing something in a brochure.
It is a good learning experience, but don’t let that force you to stop at every ruin and museum in the country.
Are you really enjoying this? After a while, your eyes glaze over
2. It is not just about self-esteem, although there is a certain amount of satisfaction in making a good deal and executing a successful trip. This makes great conversation for a while.
3. Don’t forget about the new places you want to see, even if they are NOT educational.
Just do it! Visit that seashore, or climb that hill.
4. Travel is also about the people you meet and the friendships that come from it.
If you are expecting to be surprised and delighted about all of it, you will be.
Psst: they want to meet you too!
5. You have been warned about the food and don’t be afraid to be adventuresome! Try everything you are comfortable with. I lived in a crocodile country for twenty years, but I never wanted to try it.
I don’t know anyone who did, but some people don’t eat pork either.
6. For me, travel is all about going there. I WANT to go there. Period.
I want to meet new people, see new hills and rivers and just be in another place.
And if I am totally relaxed and happy as a side-effect, then I am enjoying a non-threatening past-time.
If you booked a flight and checked in for boarding and you boarded the plane and everything was cool,
it’s a failure!
If everything went well, according to PLAN, there is nothing to write about.
You wouldn’t even remember the event.
Now you check in to board this same flight but they over-booked.
You were asked if you would like to stay in (New York, or Venice, Italy) for the weekend, all expenses paid; THIS is a success story!
Now you have something to write home about!
Now you are on an adventure!