I have been back a little while from my crafty cruise but I wanted to tell you how it went. I can sum it up in three words:
It was fabulous!
I've written a short diary of my experience so I can share this with you. It was a wonderful new way to teach a whole new host of people and one that I hope to do again very soon.
Day 1 - Setting Sail
I arrive at 9am at Southampton Docks, my car boot filled to the brim with jewellery making materials, clothes for every eventuality and nervous knots in my stomach! The ship I'll be sailing on (the Aurora) is sitting there majestically and it looks absolutely enormous. I want to turn back and drive home but no pain no glory right? So on I go. After several rounds of form filling and security checks, I face the very steep gangway to the ship. As I'm considered to be a member of staff there are no porters to help, I have to get all my gear onto the ship myself. It is only the kindness and brute force of a lovely Officer who came to my rescue that I manage to drag my trolly on board. I honestly want to burst into tears, why did I sign up to this? It feels so stressful.
Pull yourself together Natalia...now go and find your cabin! This is a feat in itself as my sense of direction is terrible. I do eventually (after several wrong turns) manage to find my cabin and my way around the ship with great aplomb over the coming days. In fact this is the thing I most proud about.
It's at the lifeboat and safety meeting that I finally begin to relax. I'm introduced to my fellow Guest Entertainers. There's Andre the comedy Magician, Billy Bubbles the Children's Entertainer (and another magician), Julian the public speaker, Richard the Concert Pianist and Suzanne and Michael the Dance Teachers. I'm feeling much less terrified now and it's very interesting to meet such a diverse range of people. Suzanne, Michael and Billy (aka Stephen) will become my best friends over the course of the next 7 days, as we swap stories, chat, laugh and generally have incredibly good fun together.
I have the rest of the afternoon to myself and head off to the salon for a quick hair appointment and to get ready for the welcome ball. It's amazing to see everyone dressed up to the nines. I feel like a princess in my new evening gown. Everyone dances the night away as Dance Teachers Suzannne and Michael lead the live band with lots of fabulous ballroom and sequence dancing. There's something so wonderful about dancing, even though I have two left feet, I feel free and all my cares melt away. I promise myself that this is something I must do more of when I get back home, it certainly releases your inner happiness.
Day 3 - We're in Norway
I have the next 3 days off to do as I please so when I wake up and open the curtains, I'm excited to discover that we have arrived in Norway at a town called Stavanger. It's so beautiful, with little winding streets and pretty flowers everywhere. After a lovely walk around, I'm back on the ship and enjoying some peaceful time in the library. This room is wonderfully calming. It has large windows where I just sit, sip on a coffee, reflect and watch the scenery.
I'm loving this trip so much, it has opened up a whole new world to me and also given me much needed thinking space. Life back at home jam packed with activity and is often so full that I don't give myself the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. At first all I want is to find a distraction, something to do to fill the void, but in being still and embracing this thinking time I feel more in touch with myself than I ever have done. I feel truly blessed to be part of this experience.