In a recent night that was one of 78% from which I wake up remembering a dream in 2021, I had a dream about living aboard a cruise ship in my retirement instead of some other place other than where I am now. Like with a few dreams, I thought about it more, but instead of the thinking more like psychoanalysis, it was more like feasibility analysis. And you know what? It just got on my list of possibilities, even if remote due to the costs probably involved unless I were to wait until I was 65 to retire.
Living on a cruise ship would mean I would still need a land address from where I could get my mail. A Post Office Box would do nicely there, in a Canadian port like Vancouver. It would help maintain my Canadian citizenship status to be back a few times a year, and there’s no Canadian city I like to visit more than Vancouver.
As for the cruise ship lifestyle itself, just a small cabin would do fine. I would hope to be outside of it for most of my non-sleeping time, so I could probably even do without a window. I’ll see enough of the sea, and there’d be plenty of places to be to look at it, that I wouldn’t need it there. A small desk for writing, maybe a little bit of painting, and other “work”, for when I don’t want to do it elsewhere. I couldn’t care to get dressed in the middle of the night when an idea strikes me and go somewhere on the ship to write it, only to go back to bed 15-30 minutes later. A desk would be needed, and likely be supplied. A drawer for clothes that’s required. A bathroom with showers, and that’d be it for living quarters.
For meals, I would dine where the passengers do, without alcohol, and caution not to get fat with all the amazing foods they would have. There’d be fitness facilities on the ship, as well as a running track around it, with stretches for sprints, to keep me in shape. That’s when the ship isn’t in port and I take the grand tour on feet or two pending how long it’s there via half marathon length runs, or just long walks when I can no longer run that far.
All these ports of call would be my main entertainment, and inspiration, to learn, know, and experience so much! Yet, despite how expensive they might be with tours all the time, I can actually get by with just some self touring with transit and on my own two feet for most of it, saving special tours for a select few places. I’d buy next to nothing for souvenirs because I wouldn’t have the space for it, nor care to haul around a lot with my name.
Stargazing, which I love to do while I brain storm or brain blank, should be pretty breathtaking on lots of nights being out on the dark ocean. Other entertainment I could undertake could involve ongoing courses on these ships, like painting, swing dancing, and such. Some of which will be new to me, and others will be a more dedicated refresher. It would also be my main source of somewhat meaningful human contact, and not just a fleeting hello, comment or two, and goodbye like with others crossing paths with me. If I were a sunbather, that could be a source to meet lots of people, too, but I’m not. There may be some other life cruisers like me, but they won’t likely become good friends with me. They’ll either be too old, since I live a rather young life and would retire young, or too rich for me to keep up with them. Besides, it won’t be the money that would buy me the happiness given how little I’m already planning to be spending in this lifestyle. It would be all the curiosity and creativity and learning, and the zest for life to do them both!
As for human contact, they’d be pretty much transitory with new neighbours every week or two, if I even get a chance to know them. But I’m fine with that. I do have my work and small running group now for consistent contacts, but they’re not what you’d really call good friends. I don’t do anything social with any of them. Further, the COVID pandemic has let me test my ability to live without meaningful people in my “in person” social life, and I am quite fine with that! I am curious enough about the world, and creative enough to be able to keep myself occupied with new things to learn and new experiences, as well as new people fleeting in life, rather than having to need a core of people around me. Indeed, my two strongest signature strengths are curiosity and creativity. Being able to use them lots is my key to happiness as per Character Strengths theory, which totally holds true for me, proven over more than a year of COVID pandemic restrictions.
To keep in touch with family and extended family, I could visit them in ports of call, switching ships for a few weeks, or invite them on certain cruises which I love most. I’d be planning to travel around the world, up and down the Americas, starting up to Alaska before coming back because I love that cruise! Then a piety trip aboard cargo ship across the Atlantic to Europe, which is possible for about $30-$40 per day or rent with food, before going through Europe, Africa, up to the Middle East and Asia, then back across Hawaii for maybe an extended stay there before being back to Vancouver. Then something similar with different routes, or even again a few times! It’s not like I’d be able to absorb it all on just one or two passes around the world!!!
Finally, for the barrier, costs. I wonder how much it would cost to do this? Whatever it is, given my very low cost lifestyles right now, it’s probably more than I hope to spend in retiring really early. But what if I were to find a job on board that is fun rather than work to me? I don’t know what that is, but I could research it and acquire some skills for it between now and the handful of years from when I would hope to do this rather than wait till bloody 65! What if I could offset some or all of the costs that way? Maybe working on one cruise while not on another? Hey, now there’s an idea! Maybe it won’t be so impractical and out of my reach after all!
But that’s why you write this stuff out and think it through, right?