I spent some time looking at ferry options between the Dandong in China and Icheon in South Korea, and the North Korean Cruise from Rason to Mt. Kumgang, which got me thinking in a nautical way.
Now most people’s idea of travel is taking a plane to a destination, look around then flying to their next destination or returning home. More backpacking types may find themselves hopping borders on buses and trains, moving through the world.
But we live in a very blue world and there is evidence of us setting sail as far back as 45,000 years ago. As a species we have shared a bond with the oceans to a point of being almost critical to our development and expansion in the world. It’s almost unimaginable to think of how our world would be now if we had never put wood to water.
And yet today, even as ships continue to indirectly maintain our lifestyles, keeping teabags on our shelves, parcels in our mailboxes and soldiers on our front-lines we seemed to have slipped away from oceans in favour of the skies, much like horses have been replaced by micro-pigs and ridiculously fluffy cats.
I’m sure more people would keep horses nowadays if they had the storage space, time and money to do so, as I’m sure more people would own a sailboat too. Sadly these luxuries remain fantasies to most of us, and never more.
If you dig a little on the net you can find some amazing ‘find yourself’ ocean trips tailor made to suit any mid-life crisis. Whether it’s sailing round the world, or following whales on research ships, if you have been bitten by the travel bug, then there should be at least a 3 month ocean based adventure somewhere on your bucket list.
For the common traveler, the easy option is to book yourself a spot on a cruise, but this isn’t an option that many younger travelers would consider. Not only are many of these ships lavishly overpriced, but many share a sobering likeness to posh portable nursing homes. But in a world where you can strip the costs off a Continental European flight down to so basic that you don’t even have water included in the deal, the room of budget cuts is enormous for floating holidays.
But naturally the spirit of traveling goes beyond the number of ‘0’s on the bill. The collectivism of hostels is something that brings together like-minded travelers, meaning if you can’t convince any mates to tag along for your plans, you’ll still likely end up meeting some people who are up for it once you arrive.
Sadly most of the ships are still run like hotel resorts where you would raise some eyebrows by booking a table for 1 every night. This doesn’t have to be this way.
The world of cruising needs pioneering…