Living the nightmare.

22 Jan

 Once you’ve lived the dream of working in Antarctica, what’s left?

The answer is: “Just another job.”

I’ve always liked the quote: “We have too many people who live without working, and we have altogether too many who work without living.” Dean Charles R. Brown said that, about a hundred years ago.
I remember sitting in a café in Paraguay drinking terere and watching the young boys outside with their horse and cart sifting through the curb side rubbish and writing that I was craving work and routine after nearly 10 months of no real work. I should say, though, that I hadn’t just been sitting around playing my dreadlocks and being a hippy—I gained my Dive Master qualification and studied Spanish; travelled around Thailand with friends in our rented 4×4 navigating mountain paths, hired scooters in the north east of Malaysia, snowboarded in Argentina, and caught a ride on a cargo boat in Paraguay and camped out with the carnival folk in Concepcion to name a few; and “worked” full-time looking for employment in the Antarctic.

Now my life is a polar opposite (no pun intended). I’ve worked the past fifty days on the cruise ship without a day off, and every day I’ve worked over ten hours. Only a couple of times I’ve worked the more customary eight-hour day.

I don’t mind working long hours, but I’d prefer to be enjoying the long hours I work, which is not easy to manage in my current setting. This is no surprise when with fifteen people (as we have in the dining room team) working together for every waking moment, 10–12 hours a day without days off, working in tense & high-paced environment while suffering from lack of sleep… The job is not always going to be an enjoyable one. Because we’re together every waking hour, as well as getting everyone’s good moods we also get to experience and share the bad moods. I know I’ve had my days, and that’s only natural.

Don’t get me wrong— I enjoy the work itself, being an assistant waiter, and interacting with and serving the passengers. But it is the disrespect, the bad work environment, the more work/ less sleep lifestyle, the lack of any down- time, poor pay, being a foreigner on the ship, and the generally unhealthy lifestyle that I don’t like— that is, it’s the system, not so much the people. So for these reasons, I have handed in my letter of resignation; this is my final cruise. I have lived the dream, I can tick the box. I don’t want my dream to turn into a nightmare, and end up remembering it for the wrong reasons.

12 Responses to “Living the nightmare.”

  1. Paul Matthews January 22, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    You forgot ‘Fame’!

    BTW, suck it up princess 🙂

    • Mandy January 22, 2010 at 5:58 am #

      8 days and counting?? Can’t you pull a sickie? Excited for you to finish!! xoxo

      • Hap January 22, 2010 at 10:14 am #

        yep i’m excited as well.
        I don’t have to pull a sickie, already got bronchitis, but unfortunately the word sickie isn’t used around here. Yeeooowwww, looking forward, not long now, see you in Paraguay.

    • Hap January 22, 2010 at 10:13 am #

      haha, yeah getting soft in the old age. These last days can’t come soon enough, yeeeooooowwwww, back to living out of the backpack.
      Catch up soon, arrive in Aucks on 11th of March, will be there for 5 or so days, family coming up for a little reunion, we’ll do a dinner or something.
      NBL Hap

  2. Mike January 22, 2010 at 6:27 am #

    Atta baby Hap! I couldn’t imagine doing what you did. I’m not much for tight quarters and lack of sleep. Any plans for your next adventure? If not, it could be “con US Customs officials to let you into the States” and spend some time in Atlanta. Haha. Take care bud.

    • Hap January 22, 2010 at 10:17 am #

      Cheers Mike,
      Yeah got a few ideas floating around between the ears, back to Paraguay as Mandy arrives back on the 21st of Feb, then we head back to NZ as we had pre purchased tickets for the 10th of March, then it’s looking like Melbourne, Australia to recharge the batteries before Africa. But got a few things planned, so will see what happens.
      Hope all good for you mate.
      Nuthing but love HAp

  3. Ellen January 22, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    So whats up next?
    I heard a runour that they need some more people at this little place in the East Pilbara. There will even be a truck and stuff 😉

    • Hap January 22, 2010 at 10:21 am #

      It’s appealing, and I still hold firm that being a fieldie was my best job I’ve had, my god we had some good times and saw some amazing stuff, and you guys got a new camp now! I tell you what, this lifestyle and living quarters makes Woodie look like a 5 star resort, I’m going to post a video of my cabin soon.
      But I think I will be leaving Woodie as a good memory, Boody and Jacko still there? OK, i best be off to sleep, I hope it isn’t too hot out there.

      NBL Hap

  4. Jo January 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm #

    Been there. Done that. Got the tee shirt.

    The love of the girlfriend, the motherland and your family should keep the smile on your dial for the coming days.

    Enjoy it while it lasts as this will be the furtherest south you’ll venture in a lifetime. x

    • Hap January 23, 2010 at 2:55 am #

      Chur love.

      Not long now, I have definitely made the right decision, really looking forward to disembarking and starting the new adventure. I just have to make the most of this last week and being in the environment to get all my writting done while I have all the thoughts and emotions washing around in my head.

      OK, gotta sleep.
      Nuthin but love Hap

  5. Simon Chisnall January 29, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Hap you big smelly monkey!
    Just sitting in Neumanns lounge reading your rants, nice to see you haven’t lost the gift of the gab.

    So now that you’ve quit that shite job the big question is when do you get your 14 y/o pretty boy self to Melbs !


    • Hap January 30, 2010 at 5:05 am #

      Mr Chisnal,
      I am no longer smelly, I’m a well groomed 6 star clean cut ex-assistant waiter, and I now have 2 days facial hair regrowth so I should classify as a 15 year old!
      I unfortunately have to say that I was thinking about you and Mr Neumann today and asking myself the same question as to what date going to get to Melbs. Prob end of March sometime, but yeah bro going to happen for sure, pumped to get there, unpack the bag and call somewhere home for a bit and of course spend some quality time with my dear friends. Any suggestions as to when to get there, in fact send me an email. It will also no doubt excite you that I may have a little web site project for you, since you did such a good job of coaching me into the blog world and making this all happen, but I will let you know what I’m thinking (please control your excitement), may not happen, but will see.
      OK, a big hi to Mr Neumann, and tell him to move his brewery out his spare room and set up the king size bed for our arrival.
      Peace love and rainbows Mr Chisnal.

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