What is it really like to disappear into a place where money is only paper, perfection is the only option and you and the champagne are always on standby? Where you call and skype back to the real world and feel an opening gap between the shore and the floating hostel you now call home? But no. It’s the weekend. Charter just finished. You are free. There is serious money in your pocket and you feel yourself again yet someone else entirely, now living it up in South Beach and flying in a girl to a world class hotel. You don’t have bills, only the price of fun which you soon realize comes at another cost entirely. It’s no longer your life. It’s the rarest of bargains. It’s a trade few will ever have a chance to make: a hard week for a $700 weekend of hard partying leave, a long Charter for a $2500 cash tip, another year for a license and $6000 of entertainment dollars a month. Yet it all creeps in like a tide that slowly lifts you as you find yourself in an amusing funhouse of adventure and luxury, by the time it begins to make sense the tide is going out to sea….
Welcome Abroad is that space between your facebook profile, a proper memoir and the semester abroad that you never wanted to end and like any great story it is only a beginning…”
My Ebook review: firstly, I should say that I would very much enjoy finding out first hand what it would be like to sail the oceans on a luxury yacht. I always enjoyed sailing and the ocean and would be happy to find out if this is improved by adding a layer of luxury on top. It would probably beat eating a meat paste sandwich in the rain on a wet ‘summer’ day when the wind has dropped off completely and the next race is about to start.
The author has chosen to keep himself anonymous which gives the book an immediate feeling of an exposé, but really this seems to fit well with the confidential nature of the world of luxury yachts. At one point in the book we are told that the deckhand is not allowed to reference the owner of the yacht or to comment in any way about whosoever may be on board; clearly discretion is important in the World of luxury. Welcome Abroad is a Work of fiction.
We follow our deckhand hero as he first joins a yacht crew, as he still retains some thoughts about ‘proper jobs’ and settling down. The journey with our hero is a very interesting one as we see what happens behind the scenes to make a floating palace ready for the next call. It is not all glamour but it is not all just hard work either.
Welcome Abroad is intelligently written in a style that is unpretentious yet nicely descriptive. It brought to mind the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt” as the crew know the luxury of their lives and the shine rubs off another weekend charter to places with which they are already acquainted; ultimately this is a job and the crew are folk trying to make the best of it. The voyage from choosing to take a nomadic existence to understanding that this affects ones permanent relationships and the acceptance of the good and the less good aspects of a job that folk would happily envy but probably would not undertake is a captivating one.
It is always fun to see behind the curtain to see what really goes on back stage, but in the end it is like watching a swan gliding across the lake, the thrashing of the feet under the surface are inevitable.
Great book, well worth a read.