After pretty much a lifetime of going to school, doing homework and chasing all kinds of assignment deadlines the time has come to take on a life of a fully functioning adult.
It’s funny how simple things tend to be when you’re a kid. Someone asks you what you want to be when you grow up and you instantly know that you want to drive that big truck, become a firefighter or a designer for Lego. Then as you grow older the notions of traveling the world, meeting interesting people and having a great time come into your head. All you want to do is have a meaningful life, find the girl of your dreams, buy a nice house and a good car. Then have a kid or two and live without worry. Such simple things, it seems.
Yet how do you do that in the world we live in? I’ve tried driving big trucks and while it might be a way to happiness for some, for me it wasn’t the case. I’m a firefighter as well, but everyone does it on a voluntary basis here in Slovenia, and that hasn’t paid any bills yet. People might look favourably upon your role of the brave soul who is always ready to sacrifice his time for others, but it won’t fill your pocket.
I’m not sure how people look on normal life these days. Maybe spending 10 hours every day for work that doesn’t fulfill you has become the norm in the “developed world”. I feel sorry for people who spend their whole lives waiting for the next weekend while life passes by left and right. Then before you know it you’re ready to retire and if you’re lucky enough, you might even have some time left to do all the things you missed during the previous 60+ years.
Perhaps this mindset is why I’ve always had unusual jobs in mind. Jobs that I’d actually enjoy, and not only do for the sake of earning money. Jobs that would allow me to see cool places, enjoy nature, meet people from all over the world and experience stories that I could tell my grandchildren. Doesn’t sound like much if you live in a metropolis like London or New York, but coming from a small town in a small country that everyone tends to overlook, it’s much more of a challenge.
Over the years though, I’ve had the chance to work in some truly international environments at two Kempinski hotels on the Adriatic coast. It was much more what I’m into and a nice change of scenery, though living away from fiends and family starts to take it’s toll regardless. I’ve found that such longer excursions follow a set pattern which consists of the initial excitement of moving, then settling in and quiet optimism, which is eventually replaced by more and more homesickness. In the end what was once an interesting new environment becomes a burden to you, and you are just a stranger in a strange place, looking forward to returning home.
So you return home, back to the life you’re used to and for a while you’re feeling fine. You enjoy the home cooking, the company of your fiends and the general simplicity of the daily routine. But once again, after a while the grind of everyday life gets to you and you start dreaming of new adventures, the kind you just can’t get while living a “normal” life and doing a “normal” job.
For years now I’ve been thinking about working on cruise ships. It’s the kind of idea you obsess over for some time, then it goes away and suddenly pops back in out of the blue. During that time I’ve been to interviews with different employment agents, I’ve read blogs, watched movies and talked with people who have been on board in different roles. I got the universal impression that this was something I had to do at some point and not going through with it would be something I would regret forever.
By now it’s come as far as almost applying for a photographer position with Carnival. I’ve talked with the recruiter a few times, but ultimately failed to fill out all the initial papers due to getting weak at the knees. The offer is still on the table, should I reconsider.
It’s an offer that’s just as exciting as it is terrifying. I believe I’d be able to do a good job and enjoy the lifestyle even through the tough bits. The stories and experiences gained would probably be unforgettable. The pay can be relatively good, chances for promotion are high and seeing the world is something some people only dream of. And yet…
Every time I think these things, the thought of what I’d miss out on comes right after. From what I gather the workflow can be quite stressful. There are no weekends, no green hills, no chances for hiking and cycling with friends and no firefighting antics. Working on the other side of the world can get to you, and there’s no real place of retreat. Folks at home don’t think much of the whole idea, of course they’d rather see me working some dead end job at home, but even these are hard to find in the current state of the economy around here.
In the end, it comes down to guts I guess. Either I take the leap, decide to go and see what life has in store for me, or end up taking the “normal”, and likely quite boring way through…