Back in 2011 I got a phone call from a fellow harpist asking me if I would be interested in doing a contract on a cruise ship. It really took me by surprise because it was something I had never considered doing. I had done a bit of travelling, to Thailand and India, and wanted to do more, but I felt I couldn’t now that I was at the start of my career as a harpist. So being given the opportunity to travel parts of the world while also earning money playing the harp sounded like the perfect solution.
I agreed to do it and so the piles of paperwork began. The organisation of everything felt like I was climbing a mountain, but it quickly came to 20th December 2011, the day I was catching a plane to Los Angeles. It felt strange to be leaving my family for four months, but it was important for me to have this experience and I knew that.
When I first joined the ship I had very mixed feelings. I was having a great time meeting new people and celebrating Christmas and the New Year, but I also felt extremely homesick and was suffering with really bad sea sickness.
I could talk through everything that happened in the four months that I was on the ship, but this would be a veeeery long post. So I am going to tell you two positives and two negatives.
The main reason I decided I wanted to work on the Cruise ship was the opportunity it would give me to see some of the world. I feel incredibly lucky to have been to places like Pearl Harbour, Los Angeles, Madeira, Mexico. But the time spent in these places was never long enough, just a few hours in one day. Although we did stop at some places more than once.
I missed my family and friends dreadfully, that has to be the hardest thing about joining the ship. It’s a strange thing, living on a ship. You are surrounded by people you’ve never seen before, who you suddenly see every single day. They become like your family very quickly, but on a very superficial level. Don’t get me wrong, I made friends on that ship who I would still consider to be my friend now, but generally there were a lot of people on that ship I soon realised were not who I would choose to see every single day.
I would have to say the most positive thing that came from me working on the ship was my stamina when playing the harp. I was playing for up to five hours a day and in four months I only had five days off.
When I finished my contract on the ship I knew I wouldn’t be doing another contract, and since then my career has improved a lot. I came home to a lot of enquiries which lead to more work in the future. I also knew that I didn’t want to leave England for a long period of time, being away from my family was incredibly difficult with certain things happening at home. It was relief to finally be able to spend time with them again.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!