Thursday, February 22, 2024

On the Subject of Cruising

"Never a ship sails out of bay but carries my heart as a stowaway."

Roselle Mercier Montgomery, poet (1874 -1933).

Fourteen years ago this month, I had the great pleasure of spending two weeks cruising around the Caribbean aboard P&O's Artemis, in celebration of reaching my half-century.

For me, cruising is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Which, for those who know me well, may be considered somewhat of an unusual statement. Cruises are often considered to be relaxing, and I am not renowned for my ability to idle away time (or certainly that was the case back in 2010). Beach holidays, for example, certainly do not do it for me. However, I do find that cruising is one of the quickest ways to relax. I can spend entire days sitting on my cabin's balcony, happily reading or simply watching the water as I mentally compose a stanza or two for another poem. In fact, the first daft of my novel, Lamplight in the Shadows, was completed whilst onboard a cruise ship. 

The reason for this apparent paradox is quite simple. Whilst cruising, one is in the process of actually going somewhere. It is not a stagnant process (like sitting on a beach). Psychologically, I am content with the thought of being in the process of travelling to a new destination. The fact that I am not having to make any effort in bringing about that process is additionally satisfying, as well as relaxing. It doesn't even matter what the destination is, as long as one is moving.

That latter thought is very much in tune with the 19th century Scottish novelist and essayist, Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote:

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is the move."

I couldn't agree more.

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