BLOG #18 Third Time's the Charm!
Hey everyone! Once again I’m back on board the Queen Victoria to start my third contract of work as a saxophonist for the Royal Court Theatre Orchestra. I’ve been looking forward to this contract for about a year or so now, just from looking at the itinerary! The exact day I joined (January 10th, 2019) we set sail into the Atlantic for a WORLD cruise- which will head west Southampton to Southampton going completely around the world. I’ve never been to Asia (except Japan when I was 10), Australia, New Zealand and until just recently Africa, so I’ve come well prepared for an exciting adventure!
World Itinerary Map:
I knew there were going to be a bunch of sea days this trip, don’t let the itinerary fool you- it may sound like a lot of ports and locations but travelling the oceans takes a loooong time, and I came ready. Over the break I acquired a Nintendo Switch for some lightgaming in my free time and perhaps more importantly, I invested in a new computer as well. Financially, with the travel to Cape Town, it was a very expensive break and my savings took a big hit but I know that it will pay off in the long run if I utilize everything correctly (minus the Switch, that’s more for entertainment). In an effort to prepare to one day work on land again, I want to take advantage of my free time making backing tracks, learning how to DJ, and hopefully produce a couple songs with the software Logic and Ableton, but the first step was to get a powerful laptop that can handle it.
I’m extremely grateful that I can, in this moment, still say I absolutely love my job, to this day the best decision I’ve made in my life without a doubt- I think I will always look back to my experience here as the time where my life took a significant positive turn and when I took monumental steps in personal growth and became who I am. I’ve realized the true gift my work offers me (beyond the travelling) is simply time. In my opinion, especially at this point of my life, time is more valuable to me than wealth, status and anything material because most importantly, I have the opportunity and energy to pursue my passions while not worrying every day, struggling to make ends meet financially month to month (I can instead save money, as a musician!). I’ve learned how hard it can be to work the free-lance life on land and the best thing I can do now is prepare, prepare, prepare. Having backing tracks and learning to DJ would enable me to perform solo gigs, which would come in handy with stubborn clients who want to pay less than desirable amounts. I have a shocking amount of sea days coming up, and hopefully I can fight the boredom with some responsible productivity- The calendar of the itinerary will give you a better idea of what I mean:
IF YOU EARLY BIRDS ARE READING THIS MESSAGE I FORGOT TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THE CALENDAR I WILL UPLOAD IT WITH THE MEGABYTES FOR ALL OF YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE AS SOON AS I CAN
But once again it’s time to return to the Queen Victoria! I’ve been excited to return, as I can’t wait to see all the old faces and friends from before, I’m looking forward to developing and strengthening relationships. Increasing my social skills is still a prominent goal going forward, and the great part about returning is that I have a good reputation among my fellow crew members, which helps greatly with my confidence and meeting new people. I’ve returned to practicing hard over the break, and it feels great to have the confidence in my hands to do so again. I think especially now that I am returning to the similar shows and have performed many of the guest entertainer shows, I’m much more relaxed while performing and the negative tension that caused my RSI in the first place should go away as I continue to work on my doubles in a performance setting.
After arriving to Heathrow at 6:30am on January 9th, I had a whole day to waste before I’d hop on the bus to Southampton the following morning. I didn’t do much, just slept when I felt like it, made a last hurrah with YouTube and some online gaming and essentially just waited for my friends to arrive. And guess who was the first to arrive? My old roommate! A definite sight for sore eyes, not that my last roommates were bad, but if you’ve been following me since the beginning, you know that this particular roommate dates an officer, and is hardly around the cabin. And of course, we later proceeded to do what has become a staple at Premier Inn Hotel and go for last night of freedom drinks at the bar with the band. The Queen Mary was also docked in Southampton, and crewmembers joining that ship stayed at the hotel as well. I saw about three or four people I knew from working on the QV, as a lot of the crew in other work areas will transfer around between the three ships.
The dreaded first day remained to be the same boring, dreaded day of paperwork and waiting in long lines to join the ship, but I was able to say goodbye to a lot of people leaving the ship that morning as I waited. The cast finally finished their brutal 7-month, injury-riddled contract (21 different cast members were employed in total, normally 14) and were welcoming an entirely new crew. I’ve heard there’s a brand-new show and some changes coming my way, most sound pretty solid, like adding Dreamgirls to a show, and supposedly a very strong full opening show, I might have work to do!
When walking up the gangway, a funny thought occurred to me, I look so different from when I started ships I’m waiting for the glorious day the security officers don’t recognize me in my picture or they ask me to take a new one!
I love my long hair, I'm definitely keeping it this way #sorrynotsorry
I powered through the travel exhaustion and unpacked all my gear, including instruments and a tuxedo I left with the cast, as well as a 50lb luggage bag I left hidden in a storage room that I trusted would be left alone. I didn’t want to have to lug around everything when I traveled to Cape Town so I figured the best thing I could do was leave some stuff on since I knew I would be returning. I recently got bought a Himalayan salt lamp that I wanted to bring on the ship, since they add an amazing ambience and as of right now, totally worth having a 12lb rock in my bag! No rollers, I might add (muscle emoji)
Within the first couple of days I immediately noticed how great this contract is going to be, having my own space/cabin again. I got my Switch, laptop and rock lamp set up- and I can play music as loud as I want without worrying about annoying my roommate! Not a bad life, eh? I think it will prove to be incredibly valuable to have what is rapidly becoming a solid man cave to unwind and relax in.
I don’t know what it was this time around, but I really struggled to get acclimated to the time change, with it being six-hour time difference forward. While work and doing the safety trainings/drills again was a breeze, I struggled to sleep at an appropriate hour and instead elected to just sleep when I could find time or was able to. I figured since we were heading across the Atlantic right away, the clock would be eventually moving back to an appropriate time where I can find sleep on a normal pattern.
I learned quick, those hour backs are actually going to be the biggest blessing of this voyage, I’ve heard some world cruises go East? I mean, WHY? That just sounds awful, hour forwards all the time! The hour back means an extra hour of sleep about 1-3 days, giving an extra hour to add to the day to socialize, practice or play games. Hopefully it’ll feel like an eternal summer with long nights and cool places to go on land. And based off the first five or so nights, I’ll be hanging with the musicians A LOT, cause when you have six sea days in a row and you don’t start work til 6pm, we have a lot of time to kill.
In Hamilton, Bermuda, since we had a dress rehearsal for the cast and safety inductions, we unfortunately only had a couple of hours in port, but I found some much needed air on land after being at sea for so long. This sounds pretty bad, but when I walked outside I was confused at what the sun was, it was too bright! I guess my body was in shock going from winter, cloudy, weather to summer time weather so suddenly. I found WI-Fi (not at a restaurant, just paid for it at a hotspot) and lay around in the grass by a tree catching up on the video highlights of the 5-game Utah Jazz (now 6) win streak!
Hi everyone, I know this comes out of nowhere, but I just had the biggest life breakthough I’ve ever experienced and I’ve decided I need to find a way to share what happened. My story needs to be heard, I’m on the cusp of changing a lot of lives, I can feel it in my heart. I’ve decided to put a lot of things on hold, stuff like practicing (only warm ups and to improve the shows), and a lot of things I just said in this very blog like video and music editing (LOL), I’ve realized my true calling in life is to help others. . ! I've realized it! In other words, I’ve decided to write a book! And it absolutely needs to be done right now and as soon as possible before something too crazy happens in our individual lives (I also want to write about two more topics as well in the future). Do I still want to do music? Absolutely. I love music so much, but this takes precedence. That said, this will be most likely be my last blog for a while so I can focus my attention on my new project- that is, until I have writers block then I’ll blog just to get my mind back to a creative state, I’ll drop little hints about what happened, but not the whole story ;) Something is telling me this is my path, my calling and I know I can change so many lives because the truth is that I’m already doing it right now, on the ship, with people of the world. I am prepared, confident, and ready for the world to try and knock me down.
STAY. TUNED! (This is officially my peace out slogan fyi)