You may recall the music video we showed you as we got ready to board the M/S Expedition for the repositioning cruise. Our friend Katherine showed it to us right after we found out we were going, and we jokingly sang “I’m on a boat!” to each other as we waited for our trip to start.
Once we got onboard, we spent a couple of weeks getting to know the crew. It is a completely different environment than being a passenger on a regular cruise. Everyone wears casual clothes, a lot of work is being done around the ship in preparation for a new season, and you get to see a less formal version of everyone’s personalities. For the most part, they even stopped calling us “Ma’am” and “Sir” after we told them it made us feel old.
We started out having dinners all by ourselves in the formal dining room with one waitress/waiter assigned to us each week. It was a little odd at first, but we started talking with our waitress Julita during our meals the first week and realized she had a wicked sense of humor in addition to some pretty savvy business skills. We laughed a lot and got to know each other over comfortable topics like food, family and career.
During the second week, Jonalyn told us a pretty amazing story from her own life, and I doubt there is anyone’s courage I admire more than hers. We hung on her every word, even more so when she talked about the people she thought had it tougher than she did. It was beautiful to see such compassion in a person who could have easily focused on her own sorrows. I’m not sure I could be as honorable as her in the same scenario.
By the time week three rolled around, our waiter Louie was pulling up a chair to share coffee in the morning, dessert after meals, and to talk about his home and plans for the future. Slowly but steadily, a few crew members would come by to say hello and share a drink or a dessert.
In between all that we learned about the people themselves, their families, their dreams, what makes them laugh, and the hobbies they like in their downtime. We also learned some new words in Tagalog, Russian, and Polish and tried several Filipino dishes. We sang “Happy Birthday” in Portugese.
Then Jerry loaned us a bunch of movies. Pilar invited us to karaoke. Alessandra shared her birthday party with us. Garnet invited us to band practice. We were starting to make friends. It felt good to start fitting in, and it was a good reminder that it takes boldness and effort on your part if you are the new kid in town.
What you just read is an accelerated version of making friends in a new place.
Warren and I are pretty experienced at this because we lived a somewhat mobile lifestyle even before the trip, with a few big moves and job changes over the last 10 years. In every new place – town, neighborhood, or job – we walked in not knowing anyone and always left with lasting relationships. It wasn’t without effort, though, and we share this story with every person who tells us how hard it is to meet new people or why they are scared to relocate or travel.
It takes boldness: Seeking out groups of people with similar interests, asking questions, becoming the hostess, and being really good at followup and thank you. We just proved it again on board this ship in just 3 weeks, and we are looking forward to long relationships with many of the people we have met – even visiting a few of them in Poland and the Philippines during our travels. It can be a little bit scary to put yourself out there, but the reward is well worth it.
Speaking of boldness and effort, this is where Warren takes center stage.
He’s been branching out more with his photography, and we’ve already talked about his gift of “the ask.” If you combine those with his newfound love (thanks, Katherine) of I’m on a Boat, and you can see where this is headed.
I’m not sure how it happened, but he convinced this crew of mellow, beautiful people to turn into cursing rock stars – ON FILM! For three days Warren wandered around the ship with Garnet, the bartender and co-director, shooting scenes of crew members lip-synching the song. He convinced them to do things that would make their mothers faint, and to have a good time doing it.
Everyone really got into it, and some of the shyest people really went all out. It was so much fun to make, and even more fun to watch everyone’s reactions in the Discovery Lounge on “Premiere Morning” – a mere 4 days after shooting began.
We hope you enjoy the music video and see the personality of the crew come through. (Please not we used the “clean” version of the song, though you can still tell the curse words. If you are at work, you may want to consider using earphones.)
If you don’t see the video below, click here.