Author Archives: readjackie

Going the Distance to End Long Distance

Apologies for the long break since my last post. A lot has happened and a lot has changed! This blog is dedicated to travel, love, and work and, since I’ve last written, my life has shifted in all three of these respects. I now resume my blogging endeavor and hope to continue speculating and advising upon these subjects in as entertaining a manner as I can manage!

I left my job working abroad on luxury cruise liners (er, rather, I was unceremoniously chucked off of my last ship when I broke my wrist and decided not to return).  This wasn’t an easy decision, but I knew I didn’t want to work on cruise ships forever and it seemed as good a time as any to get out of the business and pursue new adventures and new challenges. This did, however, bring about a few pressing dilemmas:

  1. How would I continue to travel?
  2. How would my boyfriend and I continue our relationship? (He’s from the UK and I’m from the US and we’ve all but given up on the hope of working in one another’s countries due to the surprisingly complex task of obtaining work visas).
  3. What would I do for work next?

I found myself at a rather complex crossroads, not even sure which situation I should try to resolve first! Fortunately, the path became clear and the route I have chosen has brought about a fine solution to all three issues.  I decided to go back to school to obtain a Masters degree in Cinematography (a long time passion of mine that has gone wholly unexplored due to my own pathetic excuses, but which I am now ready and excited to pursue!).

Having made this decision, it occurred to me that being a student would be a perfect opportunity to continue traveling and to be with my boyfriend, so I began applying for graduate school in London, England (where my boyfriend lives). Two birds, one stone!

After nine months of applications, essays, and interviews followed by a arduous trek through a jungle of paperwork, appointments, and political bullshit – I finally found myself flying into Heathrow Airport: acceptance letter, loan approval, and shiny new visa in hand!

And here I am. Officially an ex-pat. Starting classes tomorrow for what I’m sure will be a challenging and exciting year of creating films, meeting new friends, and growing in my relationship with my devoted boyfriend in the heart of this beautiful, thriving, cosmopolitan metropolis known as London.

It’s been a long year getting to this point, and standing on the precipice of this next chapter, I’m shaking with nervous anticipation … but, someone once told me that it’s better to be excited than scared. So excited is the word I am using to describe my present state of mind, and it’s sinking in!

I hope that this year will bring about unexpected adventures, intriguing characters, and beautiful imagery to fill the pages of this next chapter of my life … and, in turn, I hope I can translate those stories into informative and engaging posts for this blog spot!  For now, I’ll just say this: never let your life get boring. Once you feel settled and comfortable, change something! You don’t have to quit your job or move to a new country, but find something to change. You can’t grow without change and if you aren’t growing, you aren’t living.



Exercise??!! But I’m TRAVELING!!

With the beautiful Spring weather FINALLY making an appearance, it’s time to begin the daily work-out routine that I promised myself all winter would happen as soon as the weather was nice enough.

I thought the warm breeze and vibrant flower blossoms would be enough incentive to get my butt off the couch, but I gotta tell ya, it’s a struggle.

This is the same issue I often run into when I’m traveling. Every time I globe-trot, I pack my running shoes and my cute spandex and tell myself how amazing it will be to go for morning runs past gorgeous landscapes and through quaint towns and exotic cities. Especially when I am going to be away for weeks at a time, I remind myself that its important to make time to work-out in addition to sight seeing, lounging, and gorging on ethnic cuisine. But, inevitably, I get caught up in those latter activities and often my running shoes lay untouched at the bottom of my suitcase for the duration of my trip. So the question remains: how do you force yourself to exercise while traveling when there are so many lovely excuses available to talk yourself out of it??

Here are a few tricks that help me find that motivation:

1. Pack the gear: Kind of a no-brainer but if you don’t pack your workout clothes and proper footwear, you probably won’t be doing much exercise so you’re just setting yourself up for failure. You can even invest in some nice new gear (it’ll motivate you because you spent money AND you’ll know you’re lookin good!) Plus, packing the gear takes up valuable luggage space so while you are away just remind yourself that you sacrificed a cute outfit or some extra toiletries for the sake of your workouts!

2. Groupon gym trials: In the fall, I spent a month in England with my boyfriend and we found a great groupon that allowed us to pay $20 for 10 gym sessions at the local LA Fitness. We had access to the weight room, fitness center, pool, ball courts, and even classes! This allowed us to get some great workouts in throughout the month for a great value. Also, paying out for something can be great motivation because you don’t want to waste your money!

3. Disguise your workout in fun activities: Just like when you are at home, a great way to get your workout in while traveling is to seek out physical activity! Dancing, hiking, biking, climbing, swimming, sports … the possibilities are endless!

4. Sightseeing: If you’re traveling, you’re going to be sightseeing anyway so why not use it as opportunity for exercise? Go for an early morning walk, run, or bike ride through the city or along the beach – the beautiful landscapes give you something to focus on during your cardio PLUS its a great way to tour your surroundings, learn your way around, and check out some spots you may want to explore further during your trip. If you’re using your phone to listen to music, chances are you even have your camera with you and you never know when you’ll stumble upon a great photo! Apps like Nike Running allow you to take photos and even map your run:

Nike Running App

Nike Running App

5. Look for fun-runs: Lately, I’ve been looking into “fun runs” … lots of cities offer 5K, 10K, Half and Full Marathons (especially during the summer months) and often they have fun themes like mud runs, paint runs, night runs, or obstacle courses! Afterwards, there are usually big parties with food and drink which can be a great way to mingle with the locals. You can even walk instead of run and it still makes for a great workout! Check out CNNs list of the coolest fun runs around the world:

So, the point is that just because you are traveling doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with your workout regiments. In fact, it can be a great way to acclimate yourself to your new surroundings and try some new things! Plus, exercise helps to increase energy, burns off the calories from all that exotic food you’ll be trying, and even helps you sleep better so you’ll be well rested and ready to make the most of your time abroad!

DO IT!!!

Making It Work (Long Distance Relationship Advice)

When we dream of traveling the world, we don’t just think of taking a vacation, we envision a marvelous adventure: adrenaline rushes, exotic marketplaces, mouth-watering delicacies, romantic languages, breathtaking landscapes, and of course, passionate encounters with foreign strangers 😉

But what happens when that lustful exchange turns into a romance? And what happens when the travel comes to an end, but you refuse to let go of that romance?  Introducing: THE LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP (LDR) dun dun dunnn!!

Yes, it happens to a lot of us world-travelers.  Inevitably, chasing our dreams puts us into contact with people who have similar dreams.  So, it’s no surprise when we find ourselves desperately in love with a fellow traveler who just so happens to live on the other side of the planet.  This happened to me three years ago when I met my current boyfriend while we were both working on a cruise ship.

Over the past three years, we’ve been fortunate enough to work on a few more ships together, but we’ve also spent plenty of time apart in our home countries where we are an ocean (and a five hour time difference) apart.  And RIGHT NOW is one of those times.  It’s been over a month since I’ve last seen him, and our next visit probably won’t be for another month or two.  People often ask me how we manage to make it work, so tonight I thought I’d share a few tricks of the LDR trade 😉

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The World’s Newest Cruise Ship

A few weeks back, while visiting New York City, my boyfriend and I had a chance to stop by our old stomping grounds: The Port of Cape Liberty.  It’s the home port of the first cruise ship we both worked on, where we met, three years ago.  Now, it’s the home port of the newest cruise ship in the world and, since several of our friends are currently working on it, we had the opportunity to sign on board for the day to check out this new marvel! (Perks of the ol’ job!)

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It’s Christmastime in the City!

After spending a month in jolly ol’ England, I found the best souvenir to bring home with me: MY BOYFRIEND! So, we booked him a ticket on my return flight and started planning an amazing visit including a traditional American Thanksgiving, visiting our friends who are currently working on the NEWEST cruise ship in the world, and best of all, a few days in one of our favorite cities: New York, New York!

I’ve been to NYC dozens of times and each time truly is a new and unique experience depending on where you stay, what you do, and the time of year.  My boyfriend and I are pretty spontaneous when we travel and like to make discoveries on our own (true explorers!).  Last time we were in the city, we stayed in Brooklyn.  It was Spring, so the weather allowed us to really do some exploring and our trip included a picnic in Central Park, a visit to Ground 0, a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, a journey to the top of the Rockefeller Center, and a stroll down the celebrated Highline (an old elevated train track converted into a garden/walk path that runs from downtown to midtown).  With so much success last time, we couldn’t wait to see what the city had in store for us this time around!  Here’s how you do NY around the holidays on a limited budget:

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Let’s Celebrate, England!

Back in September, I was rather unceremoniously chucked off of the cruise ship I had been working on due to a fractured wrist.  A month later, I jetted off back to England to go cruising for a couple of weeks because I wanted to have the chance to actually say goodbye to my friends (I had to leave so quickly I barely had the chance!).  Also, my boyfriend was still working on-board so I wanted more time with him.  After two cruises, my boyfriend’s contract came to an end and I signed off with him in Southampton and then decided to stay a few weeks in Sunny England (my boyfriend is British so it was easy enough to just stay with him).

While the main purpose of the journey was to spend some quality time with my man, I of course took the opportunity to do some exploring! I’ve visited GB a few times now: a couple weeks in touristy London, a few days in historic Bath, a weekend in vibrant Liverpool, a brief visit to the shores of Brighton Beach and the quaint cottages of Brighton town, and of course dozens of turn-around days in the port town of Southampton … so where to next?

Well, my boyfriend lives in Essex (a bustling suburb of London) … I’ve also got some friends who now live in the coastal town of Great Yarmouth … and of course being so close to London, a few more visits were necessary.  Here are the highlights: Read the rest of this entry

All Aboard But Me! (A tribute to my years working on Cruise Ships!)

Last Saturday, my boyfriend and I watched our home disappear. That is, we sat on the docks of Southampton, England and watched as the ship on which we had lived and worked for the past 8 months sailed away into the distance. This had been the 3rd ship I’d called a home and my boyfriend’s 5th – but for both of us, it would also be the last. That’s the plan, anyway. It’s been a brilliant experience, working at sea, but at some point you have to decide whether it’s going to be a permanent career or not, and if it isn’t, you must resolve yourself to break free and acclimate back to land-life. On the latter side of our mid-twenties, my boyfriend and I both feel that it’s time to retire our sea-legs and get back to “reality”.

cruise ship

First look at my first ship! Such a scary day!

cruise ship

My second ship – ah the good life!

cruise ship

My third ship!

In honor of the end of our sea-days, I wanted to write a post about working on cruise ships. I’m going to answer some of my FAQs for your reading pleasure: Read the rest of this entry

A Jamaican Memory

Working on cruise ships has taken me all over the Caribbean – spending lazy week-day afternoons on post-card-perfect beaches beside swaying palms and vibrant blue seas. Pretty lucky, ey? I think so too. So today I wanted to share a journal entry I wrote several months ago while sitting in the dockyard in Falmouth, Jamaica. Here goes:

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Practice Your Travel

I spent all summer working in the beautiful Mediterranean on a cruise ship and then a few weeks ago I fractured my wrist and got sent home on medical leave. Ugh!  Watching day-time TV and cooking lavish dinners was great for a few days, but I soon grew extremely antsy and couldn’t wait to get back out there!  I reflected on another time in my life when I was struck bad by the travel bug, after my first big travel adventure at the age of 19.  Once the trip ended, it was a few years before I landed my job working on cruise ships and started traveling again.  I was busy finishing school and pursuing my dreams for the stage, but I felt a constant, biting ache to see more of the world.  Finally, though, I realized that that just because I couldn’t hop on a plane the next day, didn’t mean that I couldn’t start preparing myself for my next adventure! Believe it or not, there are practices you can incorporate into your everyday life that will help to prepare you for your travel, when the time arrives!  Here are just a few rituals I try to incorporate into my daily life to keep me travel-ready: Read the rest of this entry


Well, here we are.  My first blog!  I’ve been traveling the world for a few years now and have finally decided to organize my thoughts and document my journeys … or maybe I’m just looking for a way to be productive while I’m currently signed-off from work on medical leave due to a fractured wrist….either way, I like it!

Anyway, my goal for this blog is to practice writing and documenting and also to reach out to other Twenty-Somethings who find themselves in my position.  “What position is that”, you may ask. Well, you see, most people in their mid-twenties can be grouped into one of three categories:

  1. Focused on starting a family
  2. Focused on an exciting career
  3. Not focused at all, not quite sure when everyone suddenly became “adults” and freaking out slightly about whether or not life will “come together” before dreaded age 30 (slash secretly happy that still do not have major responsibilities or commitments…)

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a category 3 all the way.  Fortunately, I know that I am not alone! In fact, there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of 3’s out there in the world, and I know it because I’ve met them through my travels. I think traveling really appeals to us 3’s, in fact, because we find ourselves without the burden (I mean responsibility) of family or career that would tie us to one location. So, for all you 3’s out there (or even any of you 1’s or 2’s who may have stumbled upon this post), hello! And welcome! I hope that my ramblings can help you to realize that you are not alone and that world-travel is not just the cliché dream of a dewy-eyed undergraduate, but a real and perfectly attainable goal. And not just a goal, actually, but a lifestyle! So please, read on, be inspired, send inspiration, and enjoy! Yay!