It was early on a Sunday morning in May 2018 when I had the sudden thought, “I wonder what it would be like to work on a cruise ship?” I had thought about it once about 6 months before, but just hadn’t had the motivation or self-belief back then to really chase it (more about lacking motivation to come in my book). When I thought of it again, I remember I was lying on my friend Brenda’s sofa, trying to gather the strength to get ready and head back to my place in Kensington, Melbourne after a late night out. I guess I had gotten to that point where I was fed up of being fed up of what I was doing and feeling…and not having a clear direction. I had come out of a hard breakup and just felt like I was starting life again, and I had always given back to everyone around me over the years…but never gave much at all to me.
So with that thought, I messaged one of my sisters in law who has worked onboard ships for years. She messaged back “do it”, along with some information on how to apply and a summary of what life onboard could be like. So armed with that information, I went on Seek (an Australian careers website) and typed in the Search box ‘personal trainer cruise ship’. Within seconds a role came up, with the deadline being two days away.
Just Do It
“Hmmm should I send this information in?” I wondered. I had to send a CV, cover letter, copies of my fitness qualifications along with a photo of me in business attire plus a few other official documents. So right there and then, I decided not to tell anyone because I wanted it to be solely my decision, without any influence. So on Monday morning – I ran around getting the application together. By 1pm – I had pressed ‘send’, then waited to see if I would get a response.
Two days later, I got a reply inviting me to interview. I remember screaming with excitement at the computer – not believing I had taken this huge step for myself. Again, I told noone. I thoroughly prepared for and attended the interview on the Sunday of that week – exactly a week from when I had first seen the role! The interview was 5 hours long lol! Not only did I have to talk about myself, and my fitness career background to a group of other interviewees which included Personal Trainers, hairstylists, beauticians etc – the Personal Trainers also had to take each other through a training session and be fitness tested by the Interviewer.
I gave it 110% and at the end of a long interview – I was told that I had been successful! And so began my journey to life at sea!! I then told my sister and a handful of close friends about what was about to happen, as I began the immigration and study process to get myself ready for sea.
It was a heady mix of excitement, nerves and sheer panic as it all registered that I was going to spend 9 months at sea!!
After another two months of trying to decipher various visa ‘puzzles’; standing in immigration queues with my heart beating fast and numerous online study and testing for the role – I made it through to the Fitness & Business Academy in London, UK where I would be studying for at least 4 weeks to qualify for a role as an onboard Personal Trainer. During this time, I would qualify to teach Yoga, Pilates, Cycle, Stretch along with hosting various public health seminars onboard.
It only became real when I got my flight for London. It was exciting knowing that I was finally heading to London for this role, but I didn’t enjoy packing up my things in Melbourne – particularly fitting my life into one suitcase ready for life at sea! I gave soo many clothes away to charity, then left a case with a good friend to look after it for me. Shedding layers of clothes and ‘things’ that I had amassed over the years was a form of cleansing for me. I remember looking at my piles of things and remembering all the events that had happened as I collected these things. And that’s what a lot of them where – just things! It was like peeling off layers I no longer needed in my life. I cried, I celebrated and cried again.
The packing at this time taught me that I didn’t need ‘things’ to feel or be any better as a person. What matters is your soul and what you have as treasure inside of you. Things come and go, but your soul doesn’t.
During this time I was also happy and proud to complete cooking and taking all the photos for my Flat Tummy e-book. How I managed it all – only God knows but it goes to show that you can do whatever you put your mind to! And for me, I absolutely live life through my passions!
One of my most memorable weeks was staying with one of my close friends Brenda for a week in Melbourne, before I left for Sydney to stay with another close friend Nyarie – after which time I would then head to London. I cherish that week in Melbourne because I got to rest, I was able to express myself fully to Brenda about my feelings, but I also needed time on my own to prepare myself mentally, physically and emotionally for what lay ahead although I don’t think one can ever really fully prepare for what was to come! I took lots of walks, sat in the sunshine and did things just for me that are still hedged into my spirit to this day.
Emotionally, as I left for the ship – I realise now that for the past two years before that I had been in such a strange kind of ‘No Man’s land’. I had gone through deep-seated trauma, the most recent which was losing my dad and going through a horrific time throughout his funeral. Throughout those two years, due to several reasons – I had lost my essence, my confidence and didn’t even know it until many months later when I began travelling. I wanted Tee back and I was determined to find her!
In the next blog…walk with me as I travel to Sydney for 2 weeks before heading to London where I did further Fitness and Business education before I joined the cruise ship…
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