A Sailor’s Life for Me?

I’ve traveled by plane, train, and automobile. I’ve taken taxis, subways, horseback rides, and the English Channel ferry. But I’ve never traveled by sailboat or large ship, and I think this trip might be the time to start.

Luxury liner

Now someday Heather will convince the rest of us in the family to join her on a cruise, and that will be fun. But in the meantime, it’s possible to travel by large ship with a little less glamour but just as much comfort. You can hitch a ride with a cargo ship. When I first heard about this mode of transport, I envisioned rattling around in a vast ship full of container boxes, peeking my head out from below deck occasionally.

But the reality is much nicer: you pay for a room with its own bathroom, you dine in the officers’ mess, and there’s usually even a swimming pool on board. It actually sounds like the perfect way for me to travel; there are no more than 10 other passengers on the ship (since if there are 12 or more, they’re required to pay to have a doctor on board), and the crew is all busy with sailing the ship and looking after the cargo, which means little need to socialize and lots of time to kick back and relax. Of course, it’s more expensive to travel by ship than it is by air, because it takes many days as opposed to many hours. But the slower pace, and the endless ocean views, are appealing.

the sailing life

The other boating method popular among travelers is sailing. You can join up as part of a crew and work for passage, or you can pay a certain amount per day and sail as a passenger. I’ve been on a sailboat all of once in my life–although that was in the little harbor of a Greek island, not bad–so I’m not sure any crew would hire me on. I’m also not entirely convinced of my abilities if they did let me on, but maybe I’d be a fast learner whose muscles would be much stronger than expected? But sailing as a passenger, chipping in with cooking, rocking to sleep on the waves… I could do that.

Anyone have sailing experience and access to a sailboat this summer? Want to show me the ropes? (Ooh, I bet that’s where that phrase came from.)

Image 1. Image 2.