I’m currently writing this pool-side on a cruise boat off the coast of Nova Scotia. I’ve never felt farther from home.
For some and in some circumstances, that would be a prerequisite for a marvellous vacation but this feeling is built on the oddity of the situation I find myself in.
Like most people, their first vacations were spent with places that their parents brought them along with. From what I’ve been told, my first “vacation” was Shenzhen when my Mom crossed the border from Hong Kong when I was still in her womb. Over the years , my parents like many Chinese parents opted to go on professionally organized bus tours — for one they were cheaper, but also there was no need to plan or no thinking required. No mysteries — not obvious ones anyway.
It was on these bus tours that I likely found out that I suffered and still suffer from severe motion sickness. So travelling became synonymous with me being sick.
I came to dread bus tours. I would be the culprit of so many foul smelling buses along the many trips I took over the years. But I also disliked the almost militarized way of travelling — early morning calls often between 4:30 and 7am and having set times and places to eat. Needing to be back on the bus in 17 minutes or the bus is leaving without you. I dreaded it.
Being sick is one thing, but this time I feel homesick even though I’ve been only been gone for a few days. I’m on a ship which is not a great place for someone who is prone to motion sickness. Add to the fact that there is a strict schedule to follow, where we disembark and when we get back on. It’s suffocating when it’s a supposedly a vacation.
Lastly, there is no more visible a place where class, racial and other disparity are so prominent. The irony is that while the guests are on a paid vacation of immense excess (food in particular) the crew and service are working months-long contracts far away from their families.
I would also argue that it’s not really such a great vacation experience for the guests either. The cruise we are on is suppose to include all the basics, but at every turn the guests are being constantly up-sold to purchase diamonds, extra dining options, extortionist-priced onshore excursion packages, some in the thousands of dollars.
If you ever want to feel guilty for eating a meal served to you by people that are potentially twice your age and that are away from their families three-quarters of the year then you’re ready to set sail.
Luckily, I don’t seem to have the strongest effects of seasickness hit me (yet) but ironically I’m sickened nonetheless.