Welcome back reader, it’s been a while. Glad you made it and I’m definitely glad to be back myself. It’s been an interesting 10 weeks wheeling on ice and living on a cruise ship in the Tasman Sea. If you are interested in seeing a video of the act I was doing on the Explorer of the Seas click here but note that this performance is only what I was doing a tiny fraction of the time (sometimes less than 1 show every 5 days). I began to experience an odd sensation I will call public isolation. If anyone is planning on working on a cruise ship, teaching at a summer camp, living in a boarding school, going on tour, or being sentenced to time in prison, please check out;
Chris’s Guide to Surviving Public Isolation.
Welcome to the jungle!
For whatever reason, choice, or fortune, you have found yourself trapped with a group of strangers that you will have to work/live/socialize with. Life will be much better for everyone if you can all get along; you don’t get to pick the other people here, but you gotta make it work so remember no matter how tired and annoyed you may be from travel, first impressions are super important! You only get 1 shot so make sure your first interactions with your fellows is positive. Try and assess the general vibe before you act as much as possible. Go to the first party, staff meeting, therapy session, and be ready to listen to what others will say. Once you know what they are about, you can take the time to establish who you are and what role you would like to fill in the group. Nothing will make the time pass faster than enjoying and flourishing within your community.
Assuming you have had some ability to bring things with you, (aside from the obvious necessities) I highly recommend:
Books, books, and more books!
For me, nothing makes reality fade away more quickly than a good book. Hours become seconds and days become minutes. By and far the best time killers, and you don’t have to feel guilty because books make you smarter; everyone knows that. If sitting down and reading is not your jam or otherwise impractical, don’t write off audio books or E-books if it is a space issue. Story time is crucial to escape the mundanity of existence in a confined space. Just be careful: personally I have to not allow myself to have books backstage because I have poor self control and I lose too much of myself in the narrative. J If books aren’t your thing, that’s cool too. Bring what works for you: movies, tv shows, games, knitting, whatever you need to lose yourself and pass the time.
If you can swing it, it makes all the difference. It helps remind you that the outside world still exists, which can be painful based on the length and nature of your incarceration, but ultimately reminds us of the ones we love, and will return to one day. Visitors can mix up your routine, which is the most useful thing you can do if you want to be able to step outside of and assess how useful a routine is. Visitors also give you a unique perspective on your fellow crew, especially if your guest is someone whose opinion you trust; they can help you find other good people on the inside. You may have not thought twice about Bob, but if your visitor likes them, suddenly you may realize they are kind of awesome. Plus if you forget someone’s name your guest can serve as cover and ask for you J
Now that you are here, keep your head clear and get ready to settle in. The time passes in roughly 3 phases
- Where, When, Who, What, How?
You have just arrived in a new place. You have to establish your territory, alliances, what you are doing here, and how to do it. You are asking all the questions. Make sure to listen to the answers; don’t run your mouth too much until you figure out which way is up. Just stay pliable and learn.
- Days go by
You’ve finally figured enough out where you don’t feel like you are drowning anymore. Now is the time to settle down, this is the longest phase of the 3 by far. This is the meat and potatoes, this is the every day, and this is how you make it through. Be very intentional what habits you set up here, because they will stick and doing something one day makes it much more likely that is what you will do everyday. This part passes in a very odd way, both flying by yet standing still, however after 1,000,000 years you arrive at the third stage.
- The end is nigh
The finish line is in sight. I find this section to often be the shortest but feel the longest. Whether you are moving towards or away from the ones you love, most likely both by now, you are getting ready to leave again. Time to go back to the real world, with all the freedoms and stressors that entails. Take your time and don’t forget to say your goodbyes. In this world of Facebook, we are eternally connected and a goodbye becomes less and less permanent. You’ll undoubtedly see these people on the web at some point, so be sure to take your time in wishing them farewell. Leave them with good memories, it is likely you will see them again; people tend to run in likeminded circles.
While out there in the deep blue world, be sure to make connections. Particularly for introverted people like myself it is important that we force ourselves out every now and again. When you are surrounded by so much new you have to go soak it up. Hope you made it, see you on the other side.