Metal railing is my nemesis. Over 500 feet of metal rail to be more precise, screwed into the sides of a gleaming white super yacht in the Newport Boatyard. I forget the name of the boat already but I’ll never forget that unending rail. It was my job to polish it. And polish… and polish… for days on end.
A monotonous beginning perhaps to what was otherwise one of the most exciting and spontaneous journeys I had yet embarked upon. Spur of the moment I had decided to move from western Canada to the eastern United States to follow my sailing dream. If I couldn’t afford to get my own sailboat and travel the world, then I would do it on someone else’s sailboat, and get paid to boot.
That was the plan anyway. I had been lucky to get the metal rail job (even if slightly tedious) through an acquaintance at the crew house where I was staying, but after that I was on my own to find work. On to the agency.
I sat across the desk from a stern looking woman at the Newport Yachting Agency, a big smile plastered on my face, hoping to show how energized and eager I was to work. Soon my smile fell, however, as I was informed in no uncertain terms that as an unexperienced girl, I would never be hired as a deckhand (even though I had taken multiple sailing courses to prepare). That I should give up and apply for stewardess jobs.
Now there’s nothing wrong with being a stewardess but I was there to get experience sailing, not folding towels and serving meals. As someone who wanted my own sailboat one day, it only made sense. Besides, I already knew from a brief stint working at a Chinese restaurant (where I broke eight glasses on my first day) that I was one of the worst servers ever. Being a stewardess was not my calling.
Downtrodden but not wholly defeated, I spent my days for the next while between half-hearted job searching, exploring the town, and wondering what on earth I was going to do with my life.
Newport itself was lovely. The buildings were all so old and there seemed to be a graveyard on every corner (I don’t know why but I just really like graveyards). What struck me most about Newport, however, was all of the rich people. Okay I guess I don’t actually know that they were rich, but I have to say that they looked and dressed exactly like rich people do in movies. One afternoon when I spoke to a particularly fancy looking woman (like early 1900’s, going to a horse race fancy), she didn’t respond but instead pursed her lips at me – Devil Wears Prada style. I had never been lip pursed at before so I have to confess it was quite an exciting moment for me.
But despite all the fun in this new world, I still hadn’t found a satisfactory job. I decided to take a break. I took the bus to New York and went to Comic Con (a trip worth its very own post). And when I got back I had a job! My French Canadian friend, Marc, (See previous post: The Breaking of the Hermitage) had gotten a spot on a sailboat heading from Newport to Bermuda. And he had talked to the captain about hiring me as well. I was so excited! Finally I would have the sea adventure that I had always dreamed of.
And adventure it was. Or nightmare, depending on your outlook. You can decide when I tell the story in my next post!
Or, to see just how I ended up here, be sure to check out my previous post: