So, 3 weeks into a 7 week stint, 4 to go.

I have had an epiphany over the last few weeks about contact and correspondence I have with the real world. Now bare with me as this blog is a bit higgledy piggledy

It was a strange old couple of weeks before I came away this time, I’m not going into detail over them, but I had prepped some stuff to take away with me to do some correspondence when I went away with someone. With one thing and other that didn’t happen but I still had the writing materials with me.

I had also been reading a few blogs and that (mainly this excellent blog http://themodstolemyboyfriend.wordpress.com )

Now I’m not going to put myself into quite the same bracket as the Guys and girls of HM Armed forces, but I do spend a considerable time away from home still (just over 50% of the year in my current company) at sea for at least a month at a time. I used to spend 8-10 months a year away up to 5 months at a time. And even though I spend this amount of time away from home, I’ve never in all honesty been a big one for keeping major contact at home, I’ve sent 4 postcards in the last 10 years, 3 of which were on holiday this March. B

When I first went to sea, I was 17 (18th Birthday during my first trip away from home, 3 months on a banana boat working the Pacific Circle then to Europe across the Atlantic), and I had to pay 50 US cents an email sent from the Captains email account – he was the only one with outside email access. The ships sat phone varied in price depending on what Time/day/month/religious celebration was going on, and it varied form £1.50 a minute up to £5 a minute, so as a cadet I certainly didn’t use that. I would phone in port if I could get hold of a phone card from the Seaman’s mission came on-board. And would use maybe a 1/4 of it on a phone call home. I never really got home sick on board the ship, I did when I was at college a bit but never really on the ship. I have a great time when I’m on ships and do genuinely enjoy it.

But I never really wrote home, not postcards and certainly not letters. I’d send the occasional email home but that was it.

I should point out that I come from a happy, unbroken home. My parents are together, we all love each other, there’s no real problems at home that I’m running away from. It’s just one of those things, when I go to sea I am able to disassociate my mind from family, I mean I still love and care about them, but I turn the “missing them” part of my brain off. I have no idea how I do it, and it probably sounds cold and callous to an outsider, but if it was an easy thing to do I wouldn’t need to try to explain myself.

When I qualified and became a full blown Qualified “Competent” officer and got a job on cruise ships I would go weeks and weeks without emailing home, maybe a quick phone call in which ever port I felt like it or suddenly realised I hadn’t spoken to home in a while in but that was it.

I’ve worked worldwide and it would have been a great record for me to have kept with sending letters home in every port and country. I wish I had now. I wish I had that tangible connection with my worldwide workings. But this can’t be helped, what’s gone is gone, there is not a lot I can change about this.

I tell everyone I become involved with on one level or another that contact is great at sea, we have free internet access on our ships and the Sat C-band phone is cheap (which it is now, its cheaper than a pay as you go phone). I can in an emergency phone home on the old style satellite phone, which is expensive but is pretty much 100% coverage. Yet still even with all this, I find it hard to keep an ongoing stream of conversation and contact going. I don’t use the Sat phone, In 10 years I’ve spent about 1/2 hour on the sat phone in total I think. I email regularly enough sure, but it’s just not the same, and with the amount of emails that go bouncing around back and forth, I have one line conversations with my father via email, he types in red, I in purple, its like a really low tech chat room.

So this trip to my surprise I actually sat down and did something I’ve never really done before, I sat down and hand wrote on 4 separate pieces of paper, 4 different things to 4 different people. 2 were cards, 2 were letters (the mystical blueys as they are called in the MOD)

I wish I had done it earlier. I actually did enjoy it, if that makes sense. It wasn’t the drag on my mind I thought it would be. It wasn’t the pain in the arse I usually get with having to handwrite technical reports.

It is definitely something I could do more often, and I believe I’m correct in saying this, they mean a bit more than an email.

I wish I’d had the motivation to write home, or to write to various important people in my life I’ve had come and go over the last few years. I didn’t back then. I do now.

Maybe my minds not as fuzzed up as it used to be, or this is one of those things that they call maturing, but one way or another its something I’m going to try to embrace.

So if one of you could send me a good quality address book it would be appreciated

Ta

S
Antijanner

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