As I begin to write this blog, my new job hasn’t quite started. But as it’s published today, I have been working for Norwegian Cruise Line for 2 weeks and 4 days and I feel absolutely wonderful.
But let’s take a look on how I was feeling a few days before my start date…
November 18, 2015 – I’m freaking out. I’m starting a new job that is completely unfamiliar to me, in a place I don’t know, on a BOAT. I don’t even know if I get sea sick or not… I’ve been on a cruise once, when I was 8. And I’m pretty sure I was sea sick while we were there. But I remember still enjoying it. Everyone keeps telling me the cruise ships are so huge that I probably won’t feel anything. So that’s what I’m hoping for. And what I will continue to tell myself. I got some of the best advice today while I was explaining how nervous I was about everything. “You’ll be great. Don’t overthink it. Just take their f*****g photos and enjoy the experience.” You know what? That’s true. I guess it would help if you understood the relationship that this person who gave me this advice and I have, but all you need to know is that that is exactly what I needed to hear from him. I WILL be great. And I WILL enjoy the experience! But…. Unfortunately I won’t stop overthinking it right now.
I’m AWFUL at packing. I had a break down while I was trying to pack for Spain. It’s a hard thing to do! Especially when you don’t know what to expect. I was going to Spain for 10 months. I didn’t know how much space I would have to store my clothes, what the weather was going to be like throughout those months, or how the people there dress! I knew nothing. And that’s what I’m going through again. At first I thought Pfffffft. I’ve done this before, and for longer. I got this! But now that’s not what I’m thinking at all! It’s a completely new experience. In a new spot. And I don’t know what to bring. But I’m sure I’ll figure it out…. because I have no other choice.
November 19, 2015 – It’s the night before I leave and I’m yet again freaking out. I’m second guessing everything, and freaking myself completely out. The hardest part is not knowing what to expect. I don’t know why, but I always do this to myself. I never choose the jobs where I know what I will be doing and what the living situations are like. Instead I just throw myself into the unknown and roll with it. From the outside it looks awesome. “You’re just packing up all your stuff and moving to Spain for 10 months? Do you know anyone there?” Yes, I am. And no I don’t. That exact same thing is happening now. I’m packing up all my belongings (or trying to at least) and leaving for 6 months. Not knowing anyone. Not knowing how long training is. Not knowing what clothes I really need to bring. And not even knowing what shoes I have to wear for work. I know I will look back and read this later and laugh at myself. But seriously, one of my biggest worries is not knowing what shoes I am supposed to wear. Don’t you think they would have told you specifics? Or at least asked for your shoe size if they have something specific they want for you? I literally am getting on a plane tomorrow, staying the night at a hotel, waking up in the morning, catching a van to the ship and have 100% no idea what to expect. It’s kind of one of the scariest things to think about. If you know me, you know talking about the future scares me. I tend to get scared because most of the time I don’t know the answer. When I was about to graduate college, everyone kept asking me “So Brooke, what are you going to do after you graduate?” And sometimes I would just run away and not answer them (because most of the time they kept doing it as a joke knowing I hated the question). I didn’t know. Which worried me. And now I feel the exact same way. I’m literally just dragging my exactly 50 pound suitcase, camera bag, and carry on onto a plane, and then into a ship…and hoping everything will work out.
HAHA. I was right. I’m looking back on that and laughing now! I haven’t been here very long, but I’ve adjusted to the lifestyle so well that it feels like I’ve been here for an eternity! The group of photographers are a bunch of crazies and I fit in just fine. The whole cruise ship work/life thing is different and weird, but I honestly feel like I’m in college all over again, which is fun! We’ve got a crew bar where you can grab a drink and play some foosball with your coworkers/friends. (I can hold my own against the best guys on the ship, so that’s exciting.) They do trivia nights occasionally and last time our photo team got second place! (Good thing I know about times zones and the Brady Bunch…)
The hardest part is finding my way through this giant ship, and this isn’t even a very big boat compared to some other ones! Everything in and around the crew area looks the exact same. The staircases, elevators and doorways are all similar… and what makes it even more confusing are the fire and water tight doors. Sometimes they are open and sometimes they are closed. It’s like finding your way through a changing maze and hoping that you don’t get too lost. Little by little I am making my way. It’s still confusing, but each day I get a little less lost.
As far as the shoes go, I really wish they would have told me I would have needed solid black slip resistant shoes. I could have actually found comfortable ones… instead I have to wear the ones they had for me and they are so uncomfortable and the rubber part on both of the heels already fell off and I had to go to the carpenter to have him super-glue them back on haha. On another note, I WAYYYYYY over packed. I don’t know what I was thinking! I wear a uniform every day, and when I’m not, it’s for like an hour. I have way too many clothes and I really just wish I could send a lot of them back home because they are useless and they take up way to much space in my cabin.
Since I really didn’t know what to expect, I’m satisfied with my life onboard. The wifi is awful (and expensive), and the food is redundant. But those things don’t matter. We learn to survive off of conversation instead of using our phones, and I love that. We get too wrapped up in our technological world that we forget what it’s like to hang out with people, and actually talk. It’s rare that you’ll see crew members spending time on their phones, and that’s amazing. There is an awesome variety of people who work onboard as well. I’m definitely a minority being from the United States, and guests always say “WOAH. You’re American! That’s rare to see. Why are you working here?” Haha. I don’t understand why more people from the United States don’t work on cruise ships. You learn so much about other cultures, gain patience for language barriers, and challenge yourself every day.
My advice to you all? Try something new. Clearly I was scared to death before starting this job. But it has been amazing so far. There will be times you don’t want to leave what you are doing because it’s comfortable and you’re doing just fine where you are. But are you REALLY doing just fine? Or are you just telling yourself that? The more you challenge yourself, the more you learn about yourself. I am constantly battling between being comfortable and experiencing new things. Unfortunately, most of the time I choose to stay comfortable. But when I do decide to try something new, I’m never disappointed, and I always crave more. Get out there and do something you never thought was possible! I promise you something good will come out of it.
❤ lil b