Southampton, UKMarch 9, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C
It’s a very grey and gloomy Southampton that bids us welcome this morning. Our cases were collected from outside our rooms last night and will be waiting for us ashore, so all we need to manage is the hand luggage. I’ve had the great idea of delaying going to breakfast until 8am, which is the time that we have to vacate the cabins anyway. That way, we don’t have to scoff our breakfast down at 7am and get back to the cabin just to collect the bags, as we can take them with us and just stay in the restaurant until it’s time to disembark.
As I’m leaving my cabin, Michael comes running over and gives me a big hug. I wish I could fit him in my suitcase, he’s absolutely adorable. I’ve left him a thank you card and what I hope is a generous tip. He deserves it.
So that’s it, folks. The end of our grand voyage, and it’s been an absolutely magical journey. Over the course of 33,500 kilometres, I’ve been to 32 destinations in 20 countries, and I’ll take home some memories that I will treasure forever. I know I’m extremely lucky to have been able to do this trip—the demographic walking round the boat is proof that not many people of my age get the chance to go on a 2½ month cruise without being in a uniform. As much fun as I’ve had, this has been a personal education too. I’ve learned that I’m not a natural sailor—my proclivity for motion sickness, and my utter inability to call this genderless vessel anything other than a boat (I’m constantly being reminded that SHE is a SHIP) is proof of that. I’ve learned that some people are determined to be miserable, no matter what. And I’ve learned that wealth does not necessarily go hand in hand with either happiness or kindness of spirit. We’ve been to some very impoverished places on this trip, but along the way we’ve met nothing but warmness and welcome. It’s an example some people on here would do well to heed.
The end of this trip also marks the end of an era in my own life—the end of a decade of study, and the start of the next step in my professional life. I still have no idea what I want to do, which terrifies me. But maybe I shouldn’t worry so much. I suspect I won’t know what I really want to do until I’m actually doing it. Maybe I’m doing it already...
As we make our way to the gangway, I shall end this journal here. To those who have been reading along, thank you for coming on this journey with me. Hopefully you can join me on another adventure, sometime in the not-too-distant future.