Whether I wanted to learn it or not, the skill of saying goodbye forced itself upon on me like a storm beyond the strikingly blue skies of the caribbean once I began living/working on cruise ships. When you work, eat, travel, exercise, banter, debate, relax, party (the list goes on) with your mates/colleagues on board, it’s hard not to form a unique bond. Although it’s always up to the individual to choose how much they want to share about themselves and what they expect to represent, with these unfamiliar living conditions compressing time into a model where a week can feel like month, a persons truest nature can’t be easily suppressed. The beauty of this is a persons authenticity and integrity is valued even higher in this work place as we are all undoubtedly in this ship together, and for sometime. Failure to accept this (with all the crew members) is only making your life on board harder as no one here spares a breath for your selfish attitude.
With my first contract down and my current one already including departures from close mates and an unexpected goodbye to my girl, I can’t help but reflect on my development of the art of saying goodbye. Being a middle class male westerner born and raised in Australia with very minor encounters with death in my blood family, I feel my true schooling with this art began as I became a cruise ship musician. In all honesty I am still working at it but can genuinely say ship life has changed me and for those looking at this career, I will continue to share my experiences on and off board as a musician with Royal Caribbean.