Tag: Journey

Because I’m HAPPY!

 

I have been thinking about what happiness really means for quite some time.  Was it to have enough money?  Was it to work in a job that you truly enjoy doing?  Was it finding the right partner?  Was it being healthy?  It was NONE of these things!

Happiness is to be positive, to be humble, kind, forgiving and grateful.  Happiness is to give, and not to receive.

You see, happiness is not something that you can buy with money.  Happiness is what you make of the challenges life presents.  For the first time in many years, I am starting to feel what it is like to be happy again, and although this did not come entirely from within myself, it was a conscious decision.

Can other people make you happy?  Yes and no.  Let me start with the “no” part: If you are not happy with and within yourself, nothing will make you happy.  Now let’s look at the “yes” part.  Other people can’t make you happy per se, but, they can influence your decision to be happy.  You see, positive and happy people are contagious, so if you are already working on your happiness, all it takes is one happy person to be that catalyst and you can unlock your happiness from within.

I recently met a happy person.  A person who is at peace with themselves, the decisions and even mistakes they made in the past, and generally has a positive and can-do attitude towards everything they do.  It’s a person that is funny, positive and who appreciates what they have.  I have been looking for such a person because they are few and far between, but now that I found this person, they brought out the happiness in me too.

You can also be happy.  Everyone can!  Make the decision, think positive thoughts, and go out and look for people that are truly happy.  You can spot them a mile away!  Associate yourself with them, spend time with them, and get to know them.

Why so much details?

You might ask why I went into so much detail telling the story of my two trips.  Well, I actually already answered the question, as I alluded to the fact of what impact the entire Disney experience has had on me.

 

However, it is more than just the impact it had on me.  As mentioned in a previous post, each time I experienced Disney (and especially Disney Cruise Line), a little piece of me remained behind on the ship when I returned back home.

It was during the launch, trans-Atlantic cruise and christening of the Disney Fantasy, that the penny dropped with me that I wanted to be part of the Magic of Disney.

Your next question may be: “Why only now”?

I can think up several excuses which I used both in the past and now, but I came to realise that at some point I had to do something pro-active to make my dreams come true.  I think in a way, seeing how (relatively) easy it was for my partner (now ex partner) to get a job with DCL, made me realise that I too can achieve that dream.  In a sense, I thought it was out of my reach previously, but I believe wholeheartedly that this is a dream that can, and will, come true for me.  I have never been so determined, passionate and set on making something that I really want to come true, and I am taking proactive steps to make it happen, not just sitting back and waiting for it to come my way.

It hasn’t been an easy task so far, as I have been turned down several times already, but I am determined to keep on applying for available positions, as I know there is a position waiting for me there, at the right time, and at the right place, when it is meant to be.

One day, I will be reunited with the part of me that stayed behind at Disney Cruise Line.

My second overseas trip (last part)

My friend and I departed for Atlanta the next day, where we stayed with my friend’s cousin for a few days (I can’t remember how long exactly, but it wasn’t very long).

I remember how we hid away at the back of the house that evening when our host arrived home after work, as he did not know we were there, and it was a surprise to him.  We had arranged with his wife to pick us up from the airport.  After he had entered the house, we snuck around to the front door and rang the doorbell.  The look on our host’s face when he opened the door and saw his cousin standing there all the way from South Africa was priceless!

The next day, we were taken into Atlanta town, where we bought a day pass to see the Aquarium, the Coca Cola museum and have a tour of the CNN Building.  We also spent some time looking at the various sculptures at the Centennial Olympic Park.  Really a fun day to end off our almost month long vacation before heading home.

That was the last time I was overseas, now more than 5 years ago.  With both my first and second overseas trips, I left a piece of my heart behind, and my heart has been longing to go back there again ever since.  More about that in my next post…

Running…

I have never been a big fan of road running.  My father used to do it A LOT and it has just never been something that interested me.

In an effort to lose weight and get fitter, I started going to the gym again about a year ago, and strangely, the exercise that I enjoy the most is treadmill running!

Last night I realised that all this time, I had been running away from things.  I have been running away from things all my life.  Running from my past.  Running from my failed relationships. Running from my poor state of finances.

On Saturday evening, I watched a movie called The Founder, recommended to me by my cousin.  Without giving the story away, it’s about how McDonalds started, and the story behind how it went global.  I learned a few lessons from the movie, one of which is that persistence trumps everything else in order to succeed.

I have been disappointed that the last two months of regular and hard gymming, had not resulted in major weight loss, but what I have realised is that I am becoming fitter.  My resting heart rate has dropped from 75 to 62.  I also checked my blood pressure, and that has come down to normal levels without medication.  The persistence in working out has paid off: perhaps not exactly in the ways I wanted it to, but in other ways, and probably better ways!

Last night, while achieving my 5km personal best run, I realised that I was no longer running away from things, but running towards better things.  I was running towards becoming a healthier person, and I decided that I was going to start running towards the positive and good things and my future, instead of running away from the negative things and my past.

I am running towards financial freedom.  I am running towards a new career (my dream one…).  I am running towards being a success and I am running towards making a difference in this world!

The silent battle inside my head in finding my dream job…

I have this dual going on inside my head.  Or is it a dual between my heart and my head?  I don’t know, but I felt the need to write about it.

I have applied for several different positions at several different cruise lines, and at some point or another, the response is exactly the same from the recruiters: “We have other candidates who are stronger for the position.”

On the flip side, I know that each and every position I have applied for, I can do the job for the most part, and I am willing to learn the part which I am not able to do yet.

The question is, where am I failing to convince the recruiters of this?  I know what my capabilities are, I know that I am a fast learner and that I can do just about anything I put my mind to, but I also know that I do not apply for positions that I don’t know for sure I will not be successful in.  Why would I set myself up for failure?

Over the weekend, my mom saw that I was becoming disheartened by the repeated failures, and her wise words to me were: “It means the time is not right, and it is not yet meant to be.”

That gave me the encouragement and confidence to keep on going at it.  My logic says that at some point, someone will see the potential in me that I know I have – and I am not being over confident or arrogant, I know myself, and I know my capabilities better than anyone else, and I know that I would do well in the jobs I apply for.

I also remain thankful that I am not unemployed at the moment, as I can imagine that this process must be ten times worse when you are hard up for a job.

Nobody has ever achieved anything by quitting, so I intend carrying on and working at achieving this dream of mine.  I WILL  succeed!

 

My second overseas trip (leg 6)

The sixth part of our trip included a stop over in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, and finally to Port Canaveral in Florida, which would become her home port.

First a bit about Castaway Cay:  Although this was technically my third time on the island, it was definitely also my favourite!

 

We booked the Stingray Experience as well as snorkelling for our day on the island, and wasn’t disappointed by either.

With the stingray experience, we got to not only see them up close and personal, but also learnt a lot about them, and even got to feed the stingrays – an experience I will never forget!

We also enjoyed some quality relaxation on the white sand beaches of the island, cocktails on the beach, and a little bit of exploring the other things to do on the island.  Lets not forget about the food.  In true Disney style, we were treated to an island barbecue, with all the meat, salads and other condiments that go with a traditional barbecue (or braai as we call it in South Africa).

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From the island we continued our overnight trip to be welcomed into Port Canaveral, as the Disney Fantasy arrived for the first time in her home port.  Not only did people from all over Florida flock to the port, but the Disney staff at the Disney Cruise Terminal were out in full force to welcome her to her new home.

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Once again, the excitement in the air was extraordinary, as a new chapter began for Disney Cruise Line.

Keep a look out for the next part of our journey in my next post…

 

An unexpected application request…

As I have mentioned several times in previous posts, and the whole point of this blog, is that I have a dream to work in the cruise industry.

I have been keeping an eye on available positions not only at Disney Cruise Line, but also at various other cruise lines.  I would be delighted to work for many of them, although not all.

One of the lines I have sent my CV to is Holland America Line’s Entertainment Recruitment Team.  Although there weren’t any positions available immediately on their website, I took the chance regardless.

I recently received an email from them, saying that they looked at my credentials, and invited me to do a first round of video presentations for a Cruise Director position.

Now, the thought of applying for a Cruise Director position hasn’t even crossed my mind, but I certainly wasn’t going to let such an opportunity go by.  After all, I do have a fairly good understanding of what the responsibilities of a Cruise Director is, thanks mostly to my cousin who has been a Cruise Director for several years, and having had several opportunities to see him in action and also often talk about his job.

So, I bit the bullet, and submitted the application with the videos they requested.  Even if I am not successful for this position, perhaps they will see that I really am interested, and that I am willing to make the effort to show my passion to work in the cruise industry.  Perhaps someone will see some potential in me?  That’s all I wish for, to be given an opportunity, to prove myself, and show just how passionate I am about making this dream of mine come true!

My second overseas trip (leg 4)

The next part of our trip was the longest one and the most relaxing one.  It was the part where we actually crossed the Atlantic, en route to New York.

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This was pretty much what we saw for several days.  Just open blue waters.

If my memory serves me right, we spent about 12 days on the open seas, where all you could see around the ship was open ocean, and great sunrises and sunsets.

This was the part of the trip where I really formed an appreciation for the work that each and every crew member does on the ship, and what it means to be a Disney Cruise Line employee.  I also appreciated the hard work each and every one of them do, and began to form an idea of what it means to be on the waters for extended periods of time.

With each day that passed, the ship really started running more and more like the well oiled machine it was bound to be.  Keep in mind that many of the crew were new, it was a brand new ship, and although the operations were not running at 100% capacity as yet, there was a lot of hard work being done behind the scenes to get her ready for her full capacity cruise.

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Of course I couldn’t resist another photo op with my favourite Disney character.

We spent our days lounging around in the sun, enjoying the on board entertainment, making friends, and eating.  It sometimes feels like all we did was the latter, but there were some other fun times in between.

Allow me to take some time on the food:  It was everything and more one could ever imagine!  From breakfast, to lunch, to supper, and all the snacks and things between, “Every Meal was a Moment”, as we often said as we took pictures of the wonderful and delicious food that was available or served to us.  At some point, and I can’t exactly remember when, all we wanted was just a plain old home cooked meal!

Just a few of the many lovely dishes we were served.

Apart from the food, there was some great entertainment too.  I fondly remember the nights that we spent in the “Adult club” area, dancing and drinking the night away.  The best nights were those nights that we moved an hour on, as we were crossing different time lines.  On such nights, the bars would stay open an hour longer, and the crew would all go to bed an hour later, as they could get up an hour later the next morning.  There was a certain untold excitement each night that the clock moved an hour on, which you could feel in the air, and subtly see in the behaviour of every crew and passenger.

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Many of the days now seem like a blur, although we were “busy” all the time…

The seas started becoming rougher as we went along, and I remember one day, standing at the aft of the ship, looking forward, on one of the top decks.  Although one could not feel it, the ship was moving quite substantially.  One moment, looking towards the bow, you would just see sky, and no horizon.  The next moment, as the bow of the ship ducked down, more than half of your view would be ocean, and the rest the horizon.  This ship is so big, that if one didn’t see that, you wouldn’t believe how much the ship was actually moving.

One other moment where I realised just how rough the waters were, was one night, where I went outside on the fourth deck to have a smoke, and the sea spray from the bow hitting the swells came up all the way to where the smokers were standing.  That, together with the strong winds, made it nearly impossible to get a cigarette lit, never mind smoke it.

Like I said, those days were a blur, however, it was during these blurry days that I realised something again (and this was not blur at all, it was clear as daylight): I knew I wanted to come back to this ship, but not as a passenger, as a CREW MEMBER!  That dream has not yet come to fruition, but, I am working on that, now more than ever, to make that dream come true.

In my next post, I’ll be sharing some of our adventures in New York.

 

My second overseas trip (leg 3)

Our first port of call on the Disney Fantasy after leaving Bremerhaven was Ponta Delgada.  I thought it was an island itself, but it turns out it is a municipality on the Sao Miguel island, a Portuguese Island North West of Africa, and to the West of Portugal.

This beautiful island is a little piece of paradise in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.  The ship was welcomed into port with the water canons celebrating her arrival, we got to do some retail therapy during our day on the island, and got some really nice photo opportunities.

We did a day excursion with a bus which first took us through the narrow streets of the town, then up to the pineapple farms just outside of town.

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The tour continued up the mountain, where we also got to see some fantastic views of the island, the harbour (where the beautiful Disney Fantasy was docked) and some other scenic views.  After a short walk into the forest, we arrived at a natural sulphur hot spring.  The sulphuric fumes could be smelled long before we got to see the spring, and it felt as if we were walking through a tropic paradise.

I don’t know where the time went that day, but before we knew it, we were due back onto the ship before it departed for the 12 day journey crossing the Atlantic.  We stood in that line to get onto the ship, and as my friendly fondly reminded me this morning, made it just in time.  We were ready for the long sea days, and nowhere to go but somewhere on the ship, for 12 days!

More about our sea days and adventures on the ship in the next post.