People ask me all the time while I’m onboard about what I enjoy doing while on “vacation” away from the ship. My standard, and favorite, response has always been that I cannot wait to go into YOUR office buildings and sit in cubicles. I guess it IS a bit on the ironic side that for people’s vacations, they come and see me at my work, and for MINE, uh…..I go home….?? ……………..Hhhhmmmmmm, home….. Well, sorta…
See, I consider myself a professional wanderer. All my friends and family live in Chicago and its suburbs and I was born and raised there and will always consider it home, however, I sold my house there when I got the position with Carnival 8 years ago and don’t have a permanent place any more. Sure, I have a ton of places where I could crash, but don’t have a spot of my “own.” Susan was born and raised in Niagara Falls, NY area and has a really nice house, huge fenced in yard and two dogs there…. but again, not mine, and I have no interest in ever living there.
So, that takes me back to my original point… what do I do, and where do I go, while off my UNofficial home, the Carnival Glory? The most simplistic version of the answer – whatever I want, wherever I want to do it. Susan and I L-O-V-E southern Florida, and we are currently in process of exploring different areas and options to move down here and set some roots, however, as of right now we’re doing what we love to do best – traveling and exploring! I’ll always vividly remember an early conversation we had when we began “dating” on the Carnival Holiday in 2004 (Although you don’t really date on ships, you “after-work-hours shmooze.” I once took her to the disco and then for late night pizza at the pizzeria…I know, I know….I’m smooth. I sure had her (myself) in the palm of my hand). Sooz and I both had a common lifelong goal of one day setting foot in every major city and country in the world, obviously excluding those at war or might pose a serious health concern or threat – like Detroit (Sorry Eric and Joelle). Ultimately, this free spirited mentality has always fit in with our goals, and my lack of a permanent home.
But, looking back on my life and reminiscing, I have come to the paradoxical conclusion there’s another reason I’m in the incredibly groovy position that I am today…. and it’s kind of embarassing to say, actually……….wait for it………………….
The Ship Of Dreams herself…….
The R.M.S. TITANIC.
Huh???????? Josh, are you serious?!?!?
I know what you’re thinking (I can see the strange wrinkles above your eyebrows pop up) … How can this guy who makes his profession at sea possibly credit the most shocking, ghastly, legendary maritime disaster in the history of mankind with the gratifying life he has today?!?!
For the answer, please read the below email which I recently sent the the British Broadcast Company, who will be attending and documenting the 100 Year Titanic Memorial Cruise that Sooz and I will be ecstatically joining as of April 8th. They want people to tell their stories to the world, and you know me, never the shy one, I jumped at the opportunity to try and get a spot on their program…
So, whatcha think? Are you judging me yet? I would if I were you….
Now, I know what ELSE you’re thinking…. Let me get this straight…. Josh, you spend your life on the ocean, and on your time off, you booked a cruise?!?!?!
I’ve always just held this fascination with the ole’ ye’ legend herself – The Titanic – and 2 years ago when I received an email from the Titanic Historical Society (yes, I am a HUGE DORK and a member), I jumped at the opportunity to book this historical memorial voyage. The ship, Fred Olden Cruise Lines’ Balmoral, sold out in a matter of months from what I understand, even with the astronomical prices it has charged to get onboard. It holds the exact same amount of passengers at the Titanic did (1300), was built at the same shipyard (in Belfast, Ireland) and will be doing the exact run out of Southampton, England (well…. hopefully not EXACT…) that the Titanic did exactly 100 years ago, with many historians, authors and documentarists onboard! There couldn’t be a more perfect choice of a vessel. The 12 day itinerary itself will include stops to Cobh, Ireland (Titanic’s last ever port of call), Halifax, N.S., Canada (where the ships chartered to pick up any remains/artifacts came from and is the final location where many of the famous victims were buried) and end in New York City (the intended destination of the Titanic). However, the highlight of the trip, besides for the chance to experience the many famous speakers, will be that the ship will literally stop right on the exact location the Titanic hit the iceberg and sank, to the second, 100 years later. There will be a ship memorial tribute and a moment of silence for the 1500 souls who perished at 2:20am, the time when the ship slid under the icy waters of the North Atlantic in 1912.
Did you get the shivers yet? The first time I heard about it, I was so excited/enthralled/mystified that I got the heebie jeebies!!
However, as I was just mentioning before, because neither Sooz nor I have ever had the chance to visit any sites or sounds of England, we have planned a week of sightseeing and touristy “stuff” beforehand. Prior to our cruise, we will have the distinct opportunity to stay and play with one of Carnival finest Cruise Directors ever, who retired about a year and a half ago, Sir Lenny Halliday, at his and his wife’s home in Liverpool. He has assured me that there’s more than enough Beatles and Titanic sites that we will be occupied just about the entire three days (I’ve always wanted to visit Abbey Road!). We will then stay two days in London doing random tours of the city itself, in addition to Stonehedge, Windsor Castle, the Roman Baths, and ultimately end up in Southampton for two days enjoying the Titanic monuments and museums until the ship sails on April 8th. This is TRULY a trip of a lifetime for me and Sooz….
Now, while onboard, I don’t anticipate joining in on any Hairy Chest Competitions or Deck Parties, sliding down and twister slides, or being part of a Love & Marriage Show like I’m so accustomed to (especially the slide part, I got trapped last time I try to go down one), but I do expect to sit back and relax and immerse myself in the seminars and events all relating to the Titanic, eat everything in sight and enjoy cruise life from the flip side! Hell, we’ve got 5 days at sea! I might even stand at their guest services desk laughing and yelling at people who make ridiculous complaints and possibly even heckle a Cruise Director or comedian just for fun…. why not, I’m on vacation! Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do??? :) On a serious note though, I do intend to blog my ass off and include a whole bunch of photos on here throughout our momentous trip. So from April 8th onwards, make sure you sign on to Bigsexyinc.com!
As for my “schedule,” I’ve got another week here in Florida until 3/28, and then 3 days in Chicago til’ we fly out to England on 3/31 (landing 4/1), so in the meantime, expect another blog or two from me….
Sorry this one was so long today…. but you know me…. I can’t stop talking once I start…………
I’d like to leave today’s blog with a little quote I love to use during my morning shows on the ship. It’s courtesy of Mark Twain and sums up this entire vacation for my wife and I, and has sort of become my life’s motto…. it goes like this:
“Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So, throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbor and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Bye for now.