For days I’ve seen nothing but water. When I look around me, the blue water stretches to the horizon that blends into an equally blue sky. When I see a bird I’m genuinely surprised, because for days I’ve seen nothing but the sun, moon and stars and an occasional cloud in the sky. The fact that there’s a bird flying around means we’re approaching land. It moves me. I’m not ready for it yet. I want to enjoy that comfortable bubble without Internet just a little bit longer. I never expected 8 days on a cruise ship would be too short. That I wouldn’t be bored for a single second or miss the Internet at all. I had big plans to write blog posts, but I didn’t write a single one. Instead, I found myself in a state of ultimate laziness. A wonderful feeling that still gives me goosebumps.
THE FIRST NOMAD CRUISE
At the end of November 2015, I went on my first cruise. Not just any cruise, but a so-called relocation cruise that took me and a large group of digital nomads (people who work online while traveling the world), a couple of juggling hippies and a handful of ‘normal’ cruise guests from Spain to Brazil. This was the first ever ‘nomad cruise’. What I didn’t know then was that I would do it again in June 2016, over the course of 13 days from Colombia to Lisbon. And I’ll be getting on board again in September 2017. Cruising is addictive!
THE ORIGINS OF THE NOMAD CRUISE
I first heard about this cruise several months before my departure in 2015 through the digital nomad Facebook group WebWorkTravel. In the fall, most cruise ships relocate from places like Southern Europe to South and Central America to spend the winter there and return in spring. That year, the Pullmantur cruiser was making its first crossing with a small number of people on board. You could get on board very cheap. That’s when uber nomad Johannes Voelkner came up with the idea of booking this cruise together with a few digital nomads. The idea quickly spread, resulting in more than 100 digital nomads boarding a real cruise ship in November 2015. Without any expectations, but filled with enthusiasm, I set off towards Brazil on November 18. I was really excited to go because I had already made some friends on Gran Canaria in the days leading up to the departure. It was clear that it was going to be cool, but I could never have predicted it would turn out to be such an epic experience. And initiator Johannes could never have predicted that it would grow into the Nomad Cruise it has now become, with crossings twice a year.
The WIFI on a cruise ship is received via satellite. And it’s expensive. It would mean spending eight days without the Internet. So I had prepared myself for this. I was going to do some digital detoxing! It would be a relaxed trip where we as nomads would be able to share knowledge through workshops and talks. But life without the Internet ended up bringing us so much more. Peace of mind. A certain state of relaxation that’s almost impossible to achieve in daily life. Especially not if you run an online business.
The lack of Internet means we can’t keep in touch with each other either, so we quickly develop regular meeting points such as the swimming pool, the bar and the dinner table. The vibe is extremely sociable. I spend entire days chatting by the pool. Hanging around in the salty water that splashes over the edges and provides some cooling. I love being around other digital nomads. Instead of having to explain my entire lifestyle, conversations quickly become more in depth and there’s plenty of room for sharing knowledge, experiences and lots of fun. Nobody misses the Internet. Hardly any work gets done. However, as of 2017, there are options for buying reasonably affordable Internet packages on board, which offers plenty of solutions for those who do have work to do.
THE ULTIMATE STATE OF LAZINESS
We’re in the middle of the ocean for eight days straight. Nothing but water surrounds us. We’re completely wrapped up in our own little world. Chilling by the pool, chatting with new friends, drinking, eating and partying. I read a few pages of my book now and then, write half a blog post and get myself to do some exercise twice, but give up after a few days. I host a workshop and attend a few hosted by others. But I don’t have to to do anything. Absolutely nothing. Even my room gets cleaned for me three times a day. It means I quickly reach a state of ultimate laziness. We have regular waiters at our regular dinner table who know we usually drink white wine or bubbles. They bring us an extra dessert when we can’t make up our minds. I have my own cleaner who asks me how my evening was when he sees me strolling the halls in the morning, still half drunk. He even folds the clothes I’ve thrown into a corner. It’s hard to describe this feeling, but it’s unbelievable how lovely it is to do absolutely nothing and not be bored for a second.
EMBRACING THE CRUISE RHYTHM
A cruise ship is a kind of floating all-inclusive. I don’t know if I would enjoy a regular cruise as much because in this case, the ship is only two-thirds full and there’s a relaxed atmosphere. So a relocation cruise is a bit of a different story, particularly in this case where there are 100 like-minded people on board creating an infectious travel vibe. Not to mention the entertainment team Yes, I’m always up for a party, but I didn’t expect to be dancing along enthusiastically to ‘Fireballlll’ after a few days. The group of participants in the entertainment program on the pool deck is growing every day. And it really does create a great atmosphere. And when all the waiters in the restaurant suddenly start dancing for us one evening the restaurant goes wild. Of course, we all join in enthusiastically! Before I know it, we’re in between the tables doing the conga with all the waiters. What can I say, the cruise rhythm: just give in to it and give it your all!
WAVE POOL AND BUBBLES
I was wondering beforehand whether I would get seasick on such a huge ship. How much would it move? Once I was on the ship, I actually quite liked the constant movement. I do take a pill against seasickness from time to time, which prevents me from getting sick in the end. Walking down the halls to my cabin, it’s sometimes hard to walk in a straight line. “No, I’m not drunk, the ship is drunk!” And this creates a funny effect in the swimming pool. It’s almost like a wave pool sometimes, wonderful! The salt water splashing over the wide edge is almost like waves breaking on the shore. Therefore, our regular hangout quickly gets nicknamed ‘the beach’. When I’m in the Jacuzzi with some good company and a glass of wine in my hand watching the sun slowly set, the picture is complete. I can’t get enough of this cruising!
No matter how relaxed life is on the nomad cruise, there’s also plenty of room for some serious business. Multiple workshops are held every day on subjects ranging from marketing, social media and Lean start-ups to financing, mindfulness and bitcoins; it’s all there! Twice, they hold a conference with inspiring talks. And for those who like sports, there are plenty of opportunities for running, fitness, yoga or whatever your people feel like doing. But don’t forget the good conversations by the pool or at the dinner table. You might find some interesting business talks going on here too and even some collaborations coming about.
From the first day, reading the newsletter I receive in my room every evening becomes a daily ritual. It doesn’t actually contain much more than the program and dress code for the day. But hey, I love costume parties, so these dress codes are right up my alley! People quickly start taking this seriously and we all meet each other at dinner dressed in white, tropical, gala (where possible) or rock. It gives the Broadway shows, pool parties and many other festivities just that little bit of extra. Life on a cruise is basically just one big party in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. From cocktails by the pool and drinks at the 360-bar to dancing in the disco till the sun comes up. And if you want to spend an evening taking it easy, you just head back to your cabin early where you’ll quickly be lulled into a deep sleep by the rocking of the boat on the sea.
LAND IN SIGHT
Life on a cruise is like living inside a comfortable bubble. You won’t want it to ever end. When there’s land in sight after eight days, everyone is actually a bit sad. The first steps ashore feel strange and unreal. But once I start wandering through the colorful street of Salvador where I meet cruise nomads on every street corner, a smile immediately appears on my face again. Yes, we’ll continue this lifestyle in Brazil for a while, where a new adventure awaits us!
WANT TO JOIN THE NOMAD CRUISE ON SEPTEMBER 25, 2017?
Can you totally see yourself on one of these nomad cruises? Great news! There’s another one leaving on 25 September 2017, from Gran Canaria to Panama with stopovers on St. Martin, Curacao and Aruba! You’re more than welcome to join me and 180 other digital nomads on the Atlantic Ocean. And there’s more great news: during the crossing, I’ll be hosting a workshop on setting up a virtual office and working with a remote team. But I’ll also be giving a talk about how ikwilmeerreizen.nl & travelingdutchies.com developed into what it is now!
All-in: 14 nights, 40 events, speed networking, food & drinks AND the crossing
The cruise takes 14 days and tickets cost €834 all-in (but don’t wait too long, the prices will go up next week). That includes 14 nights in your private cabin with private bathroom, 14 days of food and drinks (yes, alcohol too) and the option of attending lots of events while on board. In total it’s over 40 events and you can attend over 20 talks and workshops + speed networking + pitches and much more (for real!). Not to mention the crossing itself of course!
And we have good news: we can offer you a €50 discount. To get this discount, simply mention the code ‘ikwilmeerreizen’ with your booking. This discount is only valid for new bookings.
So do you want to cross the Atlantic Ocean with me in September? Book your ticket today on nomadruise.com!