“What day is it? Thursday? No, it’s Friday. Oh, ok, so how many days do we have left on the cruise? 5? No, I think 6. No, 7… or 5?”
After a 5 minutes debate in the swimming pool we decided to give up and just enjoy the moment. We were just 5 of the almost 100+ digital nomads who forgot about time, Internet and worries for a few days. It’s hard to explain in words how this nomad cruise experience was for me. It’s one of those stories that end with “you had to be there”.
I wanted to describe how a “typical” day on the cruise looked like, but they were all different. Except the regular meals that interrupted our meetups, each day had something different. Random drinking meetups by the pool, various workshops held by other nomads, yoga sessions, walks on the deck and discussions with new and interesting people – these were all on the menu.
How it all started…
Oh, but you don’t know what I am talking about. This summer, Johannes Voelkner from Webworktravel had the brilliant idea to get a group of digital nomads to embark on a one-way cruise to Brazil. A small idea was about to transform into one of the most amazing experiences any of us probably had – the Nomad Cruise. At that point it took me less than 30 minutes to book the ticket and say “que sera sera”. It was announcing to be an atypical cruise ship, with lots of nomads who want to escape winter and are willing to meet lots of like-minded people. And it really was.
I didn’t know what to expect, especially when the ticket was really cheap for an eight nights all-inclusive trip. But in the end, it was much more than I could’ve imagined.
Probably the people I met are the best thing in this adventure. These are not your typical nomads that just love to travel the world. They are people who own businesses, work as freelancers and consultants or/and have passive incomes that allow them to work remotely from any place they like that provides a good internet connection. I was also really happy to reunite with the people I met at DNX.
It was surprising how many digital nomads offered to share their knowledge free of charge and how many more skipped the tanning hours just to listen to the ones who have more experience in different fields. From “how to launch an e-book in one week”, business psychology, business mastermind and Bitcoin to body language, travel hacks, hypnosis, and Portuguese tips. I also held a workshop on how to create a social media strategy and was thrilled to see how many people were interested in this subject. Everyone wanted to share knowledge – it wasn’t like a regular workshop where everyone wants to sell you something, they genuinely wanted to help. In eight days, 35 workshops, many gatherings and two conferences made us connect and feel close. The fact that most of us chose an internet detox helped even more to become friends in real life, not just “Facebook friends”.
Between the workshops and meals, a group of hippies entertained people on the ship. And no, they weren’t paid; they were just travelers who were having a good time. Remember I told you this wasn’t the typical cruise ship…
When evening came, I knew I had to see Tahan, the waiter who made my nights even brighter. Could’ve been just his job to be that kind and warm, but that guy and his assistant hugged me in the last night on the ship, wished me all the best and gave me all the tips I needed. That’s the Brazilian welcoming I was hoping to have.
But every good thing comes to an end…
A day before the arrival everyone was in denial. We all wanted to save those moments and ignore the disembarking time. But, in the last morning when I woke up, I knew it. The ship wasn’t rocking anymore and the engines had a different sound. The bill was waiting under the door and when I went outside I had a disappointing feeling: after 9 days, I saw something else except water. We knew it was over and that our little own world has to stop existing for a while. Some remained on the ship to go to Santos, others went to Salvador. A new continent, a new culture and the fear of a not so safe city became our reality now. The good part is that only a few hours later after checking-in at the hotel, I had a smile on my face in Salvador where I saw people I knew – even though I just met them a few days before, I had a warm feeling just seeing them. Interesting fact: I was really surprised to find out that the hotel I stayed in Salvador appears many times in Michael Jackson’s video. Can you spot hotel Pelourinho?
Until the next one…
The first Nomad Cruise may be over, but I am extremely happy that I was there and met so many wonderful people. Now I am taking my memories with me and will always be grateful for the things I learned. And yes, I am still thinking of our own world while I am writing these words from the small cute apartment in my new home until the end of 2015: Rio de Janeiro.
— Anca Muraru (@AncaMuraru) November 30, 2015