“Oh, to be in England now that April’s there.” ~ Robert Browning
We’ve had our share of ups and downs learning Spanish while in South America, and while we know we can’t learn the language of every country we visit, we are going to make a valiant effort to learn the language of our next destination.
On Sunday, March 20 we are reboarding the M/S Expedition, an ice-breaker ship owned by G Adventures, to be their first passengers on a repositioning cruise from Ushuaia, Argentina to Svalbard, Norway (though we are disembarking in Falmouth, England).
That gives us just 37 days to learn the Queen’s English so we can easily order a pint, partake in the afternoon tea, and tell the bonnet from the boot of a rental car.
Why in the heck are we doing this?
One thing we like about long-term travel is that getting there is half the adventure. We’ve traveled in the back of pickup trucks, on rickety buses in the mountains, on hard benches in the back of a ranchero on dusty roads, in moto-taxis on busy city streets, and in shared taxis with 22 people stuffed in a minivan. We’ve biked it and hiked it and even once hitchhiked it.
Traveling by ship seems like a nice addition to our list of travel experiences, and we are curious about what we’ll learn along the way as the only passengers hanging out with the crew.
How did this happen?
I’ve learned to be careful what I ask for. While we were on the cruise to Antarctica I jokingly mentioned how nice it would be to travel like this for a while instead of by bus. As usual, Warren was paying attention.
He asked Alessandra, the “hotel manager” of the ship, what the ship does in the Antarctic winter. She told him they went up to Norway for the Arctic summer season and would be heading that way after one more trip to the Antarctic.
Side Note: You have to know by now that Warren is king of “the ask.” He is fearless in his requests and truthfully states that it never hurts to ask. We could all learn a lot about negotiation from him.
Warren then point-blank asked if we could go with them to Norway. Instead of laughing it off, she said they had never done anything like that, but she’d check into it.
We put our odds at about 1% and went about our business.
As we went through the final days of the tour, we also reached out to our friend Erin at Gap, whom we met last year when planning the Meet, Plan, Go event in Seattle. She was gung-ho about the idea, and between her, Alessandra, and several people at Gap Base Camp, they tried to see if they could make it work.
We found out the day after we left that all systems were go. Not only are we getting a ride on the boat to Falmouth, England, but we get full access to the crew to learn about the workings of the ship, what it takes to get a job on board, and maybe – just maybe – get to drive the boat for a while. (Okay, I made that last part up, but I’m learning it doesn’t hurt to put things out there.)
What’s in it for you?
We will be writing about our adventures on the boat and giving you an insight into a few themes:
- Behind-the-scenes stories of the crew and why they chose this lifestyle
- The inner workings of a polar cruise ship
- 37 days of basic nautical knowledge – as we learn it, so will you
We do have stops in Montevideo, Uruguay and the Cape Verde Islands before we reach England, so we’ll have a bit of exploring to do as well.
In the interests of full disclosure, you should know that G-Adventures has offered to cover almost all of our expenses for this adventure, excluding our bar bill (smart move).
What about South America?
We hate leaving South America early because we still have much to see and friends we want to meet up with on the road. But part of the adventure of long-term travel is being open to new experiences, and we knew something like this would not likely come along again soon. Our friend Julie has a theme for the year of “just say yes” and we’ve adopted it for our travels, too.
So we’ll be back, South America, don’t you worry. Who says we only get to circle the globe once? 🙂
Read more about our 5+ week adventure and what it taught us in our book, Married with Luggage. We share insights about our time crossing the ocean and how it brought us closer together in the process.