Hotel@nyware*

“And,when you want to truely see the world, all the world conspires in helping you achieve it.”

Archive for February 2013

- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image

How inappropriate to call this planet Earth
when it is quite clearly Ocean.


Faith, I'm full of it! When I started on ships as an Art Dealer, I had no idea what was ahead of me, I had Zen Mind, Beginner;s Mind . Here I am after 6 hours on my first ship, a quick study.

My Big Fat Greek Vacation My first ports of call:

Forced
Perspectives

An I For An Island

Selling art is  leading people to those moments of awe – ecstasy that overtakes you when you encounter a new idea, or place.  After all, the definition of ecstasy is that you are not doing your ordinary everyday routine....essentially stepping into an alternative reality.

There is an I in Team Ed 

I feel that way about living and working on a cruise ship- hours of boredom tinged with moments of hysteria, and those moments are provided by Team Ed, fun informative and entertaining  special events.


With the energy and vision of an internet self-starter,  I create, manage and delegate, throwing it all up against the wall and seeing what gets to stick. It's always fresh, always new, some trial and error, but some things remain the same-Provide  Customer Service and  Drive Revenue.(I lifted those terms from my Linked In profile).


At  the beginning of the day,  I have a guy named Tim Gunn, (The Hotel Director)looking over my shoulder saying, 

"Make it Work"
Next, Rod Tidwell   (Fleet Operations) phones  from Shore side,  and   makes me shout out in my best Jerry Maguire,

Show Me the Money 2, Short
"Show me the money"

At the end of the day, after guests  feelings get hurt because I ran out of champagne or tuna fish sandwiches, or ran into overtime messing with the start of BINGO (That is an absolute no no-a double negative),  
Bob Sugar Jerry's agent (The Revenue Manager) reminding me



N "It's not show friends, it's show business."
Rod Tidwell  sends Jerry ( Me) a voice mail  after I barely  hit my sales target:


You are hanging on by a very thin thread.
"You are hanging on by a very thin thread and I dig that about you!"

Sure enough,  Dorothy Boyd (Jerry's Girl Friend)  An Assistant Cruise Director, (in my case,Sarah, the ships Nurse) who likes  the show that we did, will smile, pat me on the back and say,

You had me at hello.
"You had me at hello"

I respond as Jerry would,


You complete me
"You complete me."

The Cruise Director reminds us, 

"Who cares what the crew thinks, they're not paying for the voyage, the guests are".

In some way or another it always does work! When it doesn't, we get to do it all over again. 



Then there is the travelling- the ports of call


There is no doubt about it, the exhilarating state of mind that travel can evoke, when everything seems suddenly fresh, vivid, intensely interesting, and memorable.

On An Island With the Two G's-Gandi and Gaugain

When I titled this "An I for an Island", I thought of getting even ( in terms of money lost playing poker) and the  famous Gandi quotes,


 Hate the sin not the sinner.


An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind 

I mashed it up  up to say 



Hate the Win, not the Winner, because bad beats are overhead, chips, the cost of doing business.

I wrote on my poker blog years ago. H8 the game, not the player, and my lessons of loss(es) learned from playing high stakes poker, winning and losing the American Dream on a Weekend.




Paul Gaugain, who was a mess physically and mentally is quoted as saying, 



 "Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge."
 I, however, wanted to get revenge on my own thoughts- the idea that my personal freedom was for sale, something I had to purchase, and that travelling took a lot of money. 

Every behavior has a positive intention, unfortunately,  playing poker is an "ify" proposition to finance world travel....although I did go to Macau.
 
I wrote this post: 


The United States of Unconscious Gambling


Poker without money is an opinion; and opinions about poker are just shovels we use to dig our own graves: because if you are not playing poker but thinking about playing poker you are already dead.


I still had "Juice" and "Skin" in the game, and didn't want to leave- You can only quit once and the science of happiness that Ken Keyes talks about  in The 12 Pathways To the Higher Consciousness Planes of Unconditional Love and Oneness, poker was messing with my Serenity. Going on the ships would be a forced exile, and recharge away from the roller coaster.



Impossible Is Nothing



Going out to sea is  the infinity of hope, the preview of life's coming attractions where you have final cut in your own movie.  You can lose yourself in the ocean's food for thought. Its  menu is the meal,  and itineraries are full of promises. It gives you a  sense of destination and the energy to get started again.


The weather is here wish you were beautiful
Call it faith!  A passion for the possible. I am full of it, and shooting from the hip that is to say,   as I stated, having an adventure is something more but nothing less than bad planning.  When I cold-called for my first ship job, and got it after a 12 minute elevator pitch, I began to trust myself, and my elevator pitch, and only when you trust yourself can you truly begin to live it up.


  

 In fact, the only thing you need if you work on a ship to finance your world travelling is a love  and passion for travelling and for what you do---- the time and opportunity is onboard the ship, and the money flows based on your commitment, focus and determination(if you are commissioned).  You get there. Your attitude will reflect your altitude. Instant gratification takes to long. You get there slowly. 


Jean Paul Sartre, the French existentialist said, 




Freedom is what you do to what has been done to you
 I would value-add that by saying ,


Freedom is what you do to what has been done to you by your own thoughts, words and actions (See my blog post As Seen On TV).



You Do What On A Cruise Ship?


Malcom Gladwell's 10,000 Rule  of  practice is required to achieve a level of mastery and being a SME, Subject Matter Expert, I put in the time. His   book is about outliers, about men and women who do things that are out of the ordinary. I would have to say, living  and working on a cruise ship, is somewhat extraordinary, and definitely unusual. 



Everyone has a photographic memory, but not everyone has film

 Thanks to digital, and my trusted camera, who cares. Just point and shoot, and you capture snapshots of moments. I'm an extremely talkative  person.  Yet photos speak volumes. I may not be a Master like Ansel Adams, but I agree with what he said---Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs. 
To take a photograph of yourself is to participate in your own  mortality, vulnerability, and mutability






Wish Fulfillment  and The  Law Of Attraction



My definition of Thinking is when your  mind is separate from your  body: Some call it dreaming. I call it using your imagination. It is the preview of life's coming attractions. That's when you can leap long distances,  go forward and backward  in time, walk  through solid brick walls and never age, 


My definition of Magical Thinking,  or MT, is when we can manufacture experiences in our mind, and then later, attract these situations into our life.  The mind IS, after all, what the brain DOES. Put simply, you  attract into your  life whatever you consistently think about.  

I always go back to the importance of being Ernest (Hemingway) 



That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best --make it all up --but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way. 







2009 World Tour Cruises


Hawaii 2007-2008











- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image

A change brought about by the sea---I haven’t known what day of the week it is for 6 months. Before that, the daze of the week become countries .Let me slip into something more comfortable, like a comma, No I am on a ship. Here are some other strange  innuendos of meaning that are contained within "cruise club" culture:


Arriving at a new country usually consists of finding the free wifi and taking a bath is considered a luxury You talk about how to spend your "hours off" not "days off". You have to turn on the tv to see the weather outside. When you’re in the real world you stop yourself from saying hello to random people walking past you.

Living on a ship however, might be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria, but you can get drunk for $5
Working less than 10 hours is considered to be "an easy day"You’ve just spent a 13-hour day with the same people, so you go to dinner and happily spend the rest of the night with them.


A Pain in The English

and the guests( Passengers)....

On December 25th, several guests complained to me about the music--" Why is there nothing but Christmas music throughout the ship?"


The Quest IS In The Questions

The most ridiculous questions I have ever heard out of the mouths of passengers.


Here are my top 3 stupid cruise questions?
 "What time is the Midnight Buffet?
"Will this elevator take me to the front of the ship?"
"Do these stairs go up or down?"
 "Is there music in the Disco?"

And Then some:

 "Is the water in the toilet fresh water or sea water?" (Taste it!)
"How far are we above sea level?"
"Does the crew sleep on board?"
"Do the ship generate it's own electricity?"

To Photographers:

 "If the photos aren't marked, how do we know which ones are ours?"

To the Cooks:

"What do you do with the ice carvings after they've melted?"


The bigger the summer vacation the harder the fall

The march of stupidity and the routines of tourism are even more monotonous than those of daily life.

In an excursion, when you are always sure of reaching your destination, where everything is so well arranged, souvenir shops sell made-in-China-junk,(adding drywall to the tainted pet food and lead-painted toys), taking a tour is a kind of self induced torture, like going on a wild stuffed animal safari, with stupid rules like Do not feed the animals and No flash photography applying. When you have taken enough of these tours, however,each additional one you may ever take again, is both unbearable and trifling.





My impressions of The Caribbean


When you're born into this world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you get a front row seat. Island life in Dominica is Project Manana.

I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good Tourist because I like to form my own opinions
Is it Manana yet.
Mañana: 1. Tomorrow 2. An unspecified future time
Banana Republic Is Hiring!
Christopher Columbus never actually discovered Dominica, it had merely been detected. After he spotted the island on a Sunday (dominica in Latin, domingo in Spanish...you get the idea). It's more like manana-nothing much gets done on time when it happens, it just happens, life goes on, and you can just pee in the ocean. Carpe Diem verses Carpe Mañana.



If St Maarten is the Mitt Romney of vacation destinations---self restraint in an age of rage, then Barbados is the Keith Richards of the Caribbean--it's over the hill, showing signs of age but can still belt out the kareoke hits of Paradise it once sang. A sort of life is going on, beating with a reasonable version of a pulse, but that life consists for the most part of travelers like myself. The very unspoiledness you are there to experience still shows up in unexpected ways, like the coconuts and the flowers.
Caribbean Roadkill- What Am I doing Here?
The newly refurbished Fairmont Royal Pavillion is beautiful. Yet I always end up in that part of the Carribean which has been made almost exactly the same as everywhere else in the world for the sake of Cruise Ships who have come all this way to "inhabit" a port for 6 hours.
To be a cruise ship tourist in the Caribbean to escape accountability. Quirks and flaws don't stick to you the way they do back home.
Sushi
Cruising the open-sea is a Virtue, Shopping the ports of call, a deadly sin.


Coo Coo for Coconuts
You're able to drift across continents and languages, suspending the operation of sound thought. Tourism is the march of stupidity. You're expected to be stupid. The entire mechanism of the host port of call is geared to cruisers acting stupidly. YOU are economically significant but existentially loathsome. You walk around dazed, squinting into fold-out port and shopping guide maps. You don't know how to talk tothe locals, how to get anywhere, what the money means, what time it is, what to eat or how to eat it. Being stupid is the cookie cutter mold, the level and the norm. You can exist on this level for weeks and months without reprimand or dire consequence. Together with a thousand other passangers, you are granted immunities and broad freedoms. You are an army of fools, wearing bright polyesters, riding scooters and 4by4's and Jet Skis, taking pictures of each other, bloated, drunk stiill thirsty. There is nothing to think about or lust after but the next shapeless event. Alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have---sunshine, sand and indifference to the treadmill of consumption and "stuff.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image


The last time I was t/here was Nov 09


With only 6 months at sea THEN, it will be interesting to see, NOW, that I have my black belt in ships.

Think Van Valen 
We do a full X-ing from Cristabol to Panama City, and beyond.

I shot this video before I was  Youtube fluent.




Next Port Was Columbia 


From Shakira whose hips don`t lie to the Calli Cartel, who make heads roll, wherever I go here I am. My first cup of JOEse in Cartagena and Juan Valdez rewards me with (3) $20 bills on the street,
probably counterfeit!
That`s right. I found sixty bucks. It looks like I am on The Divine Payroll again...
Then I took a tour of the old city, and the castle and church standard stuff...






- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image



If you are what you eat then I am a flaky pastry— denouncing  the cult of permanence, I have converted money back into time  and exchanged "potential" income for freedom to spend my time how I wish. I do it when I decid(ed) to live simply, working half the time, and freelancing. 

To control your cow, give it a bigger pasture.
On India's open road, in Goa,
I have  become more efficient by stopping to do things I no longer like to do. I’m not  worried  about what the world needs.  I ask what makes me come alive and do that. 

Because what the world needs are people who have come alive. 

We already have enough tourists and zombie options. Fish are  the last to know they are  in the ocean, and people in a trance are the last to know.

 When I feel l stuck in the grind and daily trivialities, I am in a trance. Stepping back, and getting spaciousness, allows me to see things from a more natural perspective. A run, a walk,  or a bike ride helps too. It's harder to do on a ship, but not impossible. In Hawaii, I was  able to store  a bike and  surfboard- In Europe , I could  sign out bikes for each   ports of call, and I took advantage of this  EVERY  chance. 
A Bike And A Prayer
in Stockholm
The bike below was actually stolen in blue-eyed naive Sweden. How Ironic, a place with the safest cars on earth (Volvo and SAAB) See The Geography of Bliss
There is wisdom in allowing things to happen. But it is so American to make things happen; and first and foremost, I am an AmeriCAN. We all need balance in our lives, and like riding a bicycle, to keep balance you have to keep moving. Balance is beautiful!

cOPENhagen








- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image

There is no doubt about it, the exhilarating state of mind that travel can evoke, when everything seems suddenly fresh, vivid, intensely interesting, and memorable. 

Life without walls on ships, planes and bikes puts you in a singular category---One of the privileged homeless. It frees you up--In fact, every act of perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.

Any original blog post, Tweet or Facebook Status update, no matter how trivial, produces an ecstasy similar to that of first love,again and again. 

Every day is a journey," wrote Basho, "and the journey itself is home." 

If the Zen poet hadn't said that more than 300 years ago, I would have. I am Basho on a frequent flyer pass, with complimentary mojo on take off


We're all just walking each other home. 

think of my job(s) on  ship(s)  as leading people to those moments of awe that overtakes you when you encounter a new idea, or place---like my trip to Burma two years ago to date:




Yangoon-One Hand Clapping- Smiling With One Lip



Cnn verses The Alphabet
Yangoon's  analog eyes don’t see our digital world. But does it matter. Internet or InterNOT? Traveling in places with out electricity with TCN's, Third Country Nationals, are not voyages of discovery, but  rituals of reassurance- "I won the lottery". As Bruce Springsteen says, "I was born in the USA". So with,curiosity, vulnerability and vocabulary, I will articulate the Myanmar sound bite.
These ppl in Burma, aka Golden land, are so sweet, Yet they are the digital homeless, who couldn’t tell you the difference between google and facebook, a laptop or an ipad. The largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had is not the internet, it's Mynmar. My conscious, however, permits me to love them.

How To Buy Nothing----DetermiNATION Mynmar.
No TV.  No Logos. No Mc Donalds's. No McDonnell Douglas. Few cell phones. A sim card costs $500 and the phone system is broken. Few  cars. There is no CNN, 24 hour news cycle, no tivoization to time shift your day, no napsterization or digital downloads-­this is the "axis of evil" the millions of ppl who make less than $2 bucks a day. Countries, like ppl however, are loved for their failures. It's a shame I can't spend any money in this place and help the dam economy. I am unable to buy anything for 72 hours.

What Happened to Downtime? Deep Thinking & Sacred Space in the United States of Uncoinsciousness is extinct  verses the real deal--- Living in a quasi  “airplane mode.”For the uninitiated, and digital homeless- setting their lives to “airplane mode” disables phone calls, text messaging, wi-fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. It is distinct. It's their blisscipline.
 
Traveling is a  Life Sentence--We yearn for journeys like  prisoners dream of rooms without bars. And we all want time off for good behavior.
Raman Noodles 2.0 Choosing between the digital and the analog.Arguing against the laws of gravity.   If Ramen noodles are a dish of effortless purity  than Yangoon's outdoor market of fresh produce, the egg or tea,  gives you oodles and oodles of these ubiquitous states of grace with a marriage of nothing more than hot water.





#Winning is like shaving your head - you do it every day or you wind up looking like a bum-Be Brave and Shave!

I visited today one of the seven wonders of a shrinking planet-Google, and came up with this  comment,  Iw rote on my 1995 trip to Cambodia, where I made the astute comment--Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day-Give him Raman noodles and you don't have to teach him anything! 
The fact that there is no refrigeration and everybody is  hustling to eat someting for the day, Yangoon will stick with you like gum in your hair until you get it out with peanut butter.




Eat Your Colors


Cuteness
English.  I used to have a "drug" problem, but now  I make enough money, and found my voice.
Tune in Turn on Drop Out! and Be Here Now.

Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you. As I said, I was born in the USA, and being born there-my life has to be my message-Star-spangled happiness,: because love is a responsibility and I love America, and  its A list language, American.

The messianic metaphor of  the American Dream becomes the lottery and game show mentality – that outside chance that the planets will line up  to liberate us from financial worries once and for all. Yet we were all born(in America) having winning tickets as a mere circumstance of birth – and cashing them in is a simple matter of choice.

Hugs and Drugs

The joke goes, you call a person who speaks 3 languages trilingual, 2, bilingual, 1, American. What is the most powerful drug known to mankind? American English. I used to have a "drug" problem but now I make enough money, and found my voice.

Write? Right.

Blogging is literature in a hurry. People climb mountain because they are there. In blogging there is no there there. Why do bloggers blog ? Because it isn't there. It's always  shifting and changing and the searching that makes it fun.



Long-Term Travel

The Committee to Ascribe a Naval Origin to Everything Is Now In Session. Give me a wide berth, I’m a loose cannon and three sheets to the wind. Anchors aweigh...








There are three sorts of people; those who are alive, those who are dead, and those who are at sea.

As long as I am on a ship, the future is full of possibilities that I must constantly shoot in the head, because if you want something GR8, you must be able to limit yourself. "I haven't been everywhere, but it is on my list". Nothing of importance happens accidentally in our life. I am so glad I  have been able to do long-term travel, and doing it on cruise ships.


 "I'm not really choosing between experiences,I am choosing  between memories of experiences. Even when I think about  future vacations, I don’t think of my future ports of call normally as experiences. I think of  my future vacations as anticipated memories."

Normal people need three things to travel-Time, Money and Opportunity. As an abnormal person doing abnormal things---It has never been about resources.

You see, I am the Bobby Fisher of resourcefulness, the Cosmo Kramer of planning , the Curious George of predictable unpredictability. >note to self< Rock on man with the yellow hat, rock on. No matter how low the budget bar gets, I always manage to limbo my way under it. If you think about it, I am the Wilt Chamberlain of shoe-string travel. I'm putting up numbers so unthinkable that normals will never, ever reach them.-300 ports in 365 days.

If I do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens. Yet I’m not simply seeking interesting surroundings, but I am continually interested in whatever surrounds me.


Retrospect: The Persistence of Time-The 2011 World Cruise




This world cruise has been one of the most rewarding forms of introspection. It is one stage of my “re-entry” in Hotel @nyware, continuing my extended break from Normal Life again to travel the world on board another cruise ship. I’m living my dream of PT-Permanent Travel, also known as "Mini Retirements". I haven’t been everywhere, but it is on my list. As I document this adventure, this a round-the-world travelogue, I say to myself "Roam Sweet Roam". Home is not where my heart is but where my computer is- I remain a digital nomad, where Anywhere becomes @nyware, location neutral, as there is no such thing as a bad piece of real estate when you use technology and social media. As I make my way to Sri Lanka, in the middle of nowhere, but the center of everything, thanks to a reliable high speed Internet connection. I am doing pretty much everything I would do in the USA, only with the economies of scale, at a less greater cost.


Retrospect: The Persistence of Time:  Hawaii

That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best - make it all up - but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way." ...

"I showed up In Hawaii and magical things began to happen. 

It all started with the simple decision-to go. 
Helped By Hidden Hands-Huna
















Retrospect:The Persistence Of Norway

Before, Norway, Earth Goddess was just a yuppie  salad dressing you could buy at Whole  Foods. I never thought  that people died. They just went to organic health food stores... and  that Japanese guy who always wins the hot dog eating contest is the anti-christ.
Today as I kayak in the fjords and observe the sun, the water,  the green and everything in flow, I say to myself  "Yes indeed, all this belongs to me!". and, more than that,I play a role in its appearance.