Someone recently Googled “Merchant Navy Cadet First Trip Homesick”.

Not sure my blog was really much help on that subject so I shall try to adjust this balance now.

Feeling homesick is perfectly normal – especially on a 1st trip. Even more so if you are only young. It’s perfectly possible to be a cadet, on your own, on a ship with no one else who speaks English, aged 16.

You won’t be alone in feeling homesick, most people have at some point been homesick, especially at the start, where you are out of your depth, you are in a (usually quite literally) foreign environment.

To be honest if you are only 16/17/18 & this is the first time you’ve been away from home, & you didn’t at least miss it a little bit I’d be concerned.

The best advise I can give you is this though. Don’t disappear into yourself when you are feeling homesick, not when you are a cadet anyway. You still don’t really know how to deal with it. Most of us old sea dogs have ways with dealing with it if we still suffer from it, but we’ve built up our techniques. Go out on the ship, be social, the last thing that will get you out of feeling shitty is locking yourself in your cabin staring at 4 bulkheads of mottled beige.

Have a quick scoot round the accommodation – see whose doors are open, see if the 3rd or 4th engineer fancies a chat, or if you feel like lowering your IQ a few points try & spark up a conversation with one of the mates (joke, I’ve been told there are some intelligent ones out there), but I’d try to speak to the Junior officers, we don’t bite…hard, & generally are willing to chat shit, it’s not like we have an important date to go on.

On cruise ships get yourself down the bar, you don’t have to get blasted, but theres always someone willing to get a few rounds in with you I’m sure. Ships are social places on the whole, despite more & more of them becoming dry, we do all generally like a good banter session. Even if it takes your mind off it for a bit, it’s better than nothing.

But believe me, you won’t be the first person to feel homesick on a ship, & you won’t be the last. Certainly don’t quit because you are homesick, homesickness passes, once you have your ticket and if you are still getting homesick, you can find a job that is shorter trips, or closer to home. There’s options, but don’t give up because you miss home. I mean after all – you were planning of moving away from home at one point I presume?

Also one last thing, when you are at college, don’t go home every weekend, or every opportunity, the faster you get used to not being home the easier it is at sea, & also with a lot of ships these days you will have free access to email, or at least cheap access, also phone calls are a lot cheaper as well (When I was 1st at sea it was £5/minute), so you won’t be out of contact for long & it won’t cost the earth.

Hope it helps

Stay Safe

AJ