Until now, my research about freight cruises has put me relatively at ease for my upcoming trip. I’ve read personal accounts showing that experiences on board have been refreshing and positive. A few weeks ago, I was a little scared when I read this one couple’s blog about the less-than-enticing adventure they had. Overall they enjoyed their sail, but mentioned what I fear the most going into my own adventure. Motion sickness.
They learned that they were not prone to it, and did not need their Dramamine or ginger candies. I *am* extremely prone, and was astounded by their description of the boat’s constant motion. They seemed to shrug it off, saying they just took to doing daily tasks to pass the time as the boat rocked. They took long showers and ate meals. Wait, what? If I were rocking as much as they said they were, I would not set foot into a shower or on any slippery surface! I wouldn’t dare eat while my stomach roiled with the boat. If the cutlery is moving on the table, or food jiggles out of my hand, I will be going on a forced diet, thankyouverymuch.
That said, their blog post was the only one I’d seen like that. I’ve now come across possibly the best journal about one brave man’s experiences. Frankly, they sounded almost entirely negative, from the motion, to the food, to the loneliness.
But I absolutely have to share Mitch Moxley‘s daily diary, because I think it gives a transparent glimpse of the reality of a container ship ‘adventure’. I literally laughed and cried simultaneously while reading. I never expected that the crew would be so depressed and hopeless. It makes me want to bring local snacks or small gifts on board to try and cheer them up, even if just for a few minutes. I like that Mitch left behind his large collection of burnt CDs. The crew seemed to appreciate that, even if they probably went back to being gloomy soon after.
His recounting of his Slow Boat from China voyage is particularly interesting to me because he was on the same vessel and route as I’ll be using. Lucky him though, he was able to embark in Korea back in 2013. Embarkations are no longer permitted, which is why I will need to travel between Japan and China by ferry. The freighter’s route has changed somewhat, but it gives me a very close idea of what to expect.
Do I still really want to travel this way? Part of me is curious to see if it’s really that bad. Part of me is terrified I will be sick for two weeks straight (x2 counting the return voyage). Something also tugged on my heart when I read the passage about Mitch sitting alone among the “boxes” (containers). Though he seemed to feel the desolation and loneliness much less than some people might have, I imagine myself in his shoes, sitting there bawling my eyes out. Maybe I’d want to jump. Maybe I’d miss my friends. Maybe I’d feel stupid for ever trying to get to Japan in the first place. Knowing me, I’m a writer and would probably need to document the whole process. My notes would be found in my cabin, crew members might read it, feel awful, and then throw themselves overboard too.
What scares me more than the seasickness and solitude, is having to then repeat it once I leave Japan. If I’ve had a harrowing experience from Vancouver to Korea, how would I then prepare to set foot back into Hell, to get from Shanghai to Vancouver? I’m of the mind that if I’ve done something once, I can get through it a second time, and probably with more strength than the first time around. But this is truly worrisome. If it were just motion sickness I need to be concerned about, that would be one thing. Unfortunately, it will be coupled with potentially bad food, no offshore breaks, grumbly company, and a solitude much more solitary than I was gearing up for. Not to mention the boredom. I am an enemy of Boredom. I was preparing myself to spend many hours sleeping (especially if I’m using Gravol, which lulls me into a pretty deep snooze), but if I base myself on Mitch’s story, I won’t be sleeping much at all.
Now you may officially tell me I’m nuts. Gone off the deep end, to use cute (bad) sea lingo.