Do you ever find it difficult to sleep after reading a disturbing news article? If so, you may relate with this story. Last night I was plagued with thoughts of the homeless and hurting in the path of Hurricane Dorian and the Typhoon hitting Japan. Trying to concentrate on my breathing and then counting sheep just wasn’t working. I finally drifted off to sleep, only to wake a short time later thinking of a voyage we made across the Atlantic. It was a world cruise ship facing its last leg of a long journey, when my husband and I boarded in Venice.
It was a small cruise ship serving only eight-hundred guests. Touring many countries through the Mediterranean for the past week, we had now begun chasing the setting sun across the Atlantic Ocean. From our stateroom I watched the African coastline fade into the distance. Getting upgraded to the stateroom on the back of the ship sounded great until we realized the last room on the ship gets all the smoke from burning garbage each night and it’s a rougher ride!
While sipping coffee in bed early the next morning, the captain announced over the ship’s intercom we would be changing our original course in order to avoid a storm out at sea. We enjoyed a slice of sun on our deck throughout that entire day. It was the last sunset we saw from our balcony once the ship turned west.
Whitecaps waved a warning to those daring to cross the Atlantic. Over the next few days, I would not set my cup down without splashing coffee into the saucer. Coffee out of a covered paper cup was wasteful, but safer. While climbing the stairs to the restaurant for breakfast, we realized taking the elevator might have been a better idea. For as the ship began to rise, the next step up felt like a sandbag had been set upon my shoulders. It didn’t take many flights of stairs to figure out, if you waited to climb until the ship was descending it gave a sensation a bit like floating up the staircase.
This was not a glamorous trip with high heels and dazzling fashions. Forget about looking graceful. Hanging onto the rails, guests staggered down the halls to dine and be entertained. The dining tables and countertops were wrapped in cellophane to keep dishes from sliding onto the floor.
The seas had grown more violent the second night. While a group of us were enjoying a game of Truth or Dare on the top deck, loud crashing waves splashed against the windows. Tired of fighting to stand up or even hear the questions and answers, we went to bed. My husband, the data junky pulled an inclinometer out of his suitcase. It was measuring our bed rising twenty feet up and falling twenty feet down.
The ship pitched madly throughout the night. As I stumbled in the dark from the bathroom back to bed, the floor was abruptly yanked from beneath my feet. “Lunge for the bed!” was my first thought. The farther the ship plunged downward the farther I fell. Remaining airborne long enough to think, “maybe lunging wasn’t such a great idea,” I finally landed safely! That night brought new meaning to the phrase, “a rough night.” Everything that was not secured into place, was on the floor the next morning.
Looking back on this trip, the wonderful qualities far outweighed a few days of rough water. We enjoyed many comfortable hours on board with excellent staff and a great group of friends. Some of them have remained in touch.
The title of this blog is an old song title by REO Speedwagon. And so, it’s seems fitting to use a verse from a Rolling Stones song to sum up the trinket I took from this journey that I may find useful when writing children’s stories. “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you might find you get what you need.” No matter our age, gender, social status, faith, or political preference, life is more fun when everyone gets what they want. I got to visit a few places I’ve always wanted to see. My husband got the exciting voyage of crossing the Atlantic Ocean he wanted. It wasn’t the private forty-five-foot boat he had dreamed of taking. But if riding this storm out on board a larger vessel quenched some of that need for my husband, it made this trip worth every one of my bumps and bruises.