As you’ll be able to see quite easily on the map, the original plan was to do a small loop to Austria and Switzerland, visiting some friends. From there I wanted to go back through Germany and up north to Denmark and from there I was going to take a containership to Canada. Status around June 2013 as that was the time when I cound a ship that would take me over to the American continent. After analysing my situation back then, three deciding factors were left that would define my time of departure. My deposits, the situation in the country itself and a possibility to cross the Atlantic. At the time, it looked like this:
- Contra departure in 2013: my finances were pretty bad, a tent would have stretched the limits already
- Contra departure in 2013: therefore bad equipment and tramping through Canada in the middle of the winter?!
- Pro departure in 2013: I had a ship taking me to Canada
2:1 for delaying the departure I had planned for the summer of 2013. Since the cooperating shipping company – whose containership I was talking about – gave me their word to take me over on a date we would find in consent, I wasn’t bound to that date. Therefore it seemed like a good idea to spend another six months working and trying to save up some money before going on the journey. Generally that idea worked out as my financial situation improved a bit since then, but I do not have a way to cross the atlantic Ocean anymore. What’s that? I had their word? Yep, but they didn’t really stick to it and that way I’m left with the opposite situation from summer 2013.
- Pro departure in 2014: by now I can afford proper equipment
- Pro departure in 2014: hey, it’s summer in Canada! Piña Coladas at the beach! (or something like that)
- Contra departure in 2014: there is an ocean I forgot about… well…
Looks like my situation turned around completely. The new status is quite a lot of motivation, not that much money and no ship. And I’ll have to change that. Let’s start to look around for another mean of transport.
Well, how do you cross the atlantic Ocean without money? Just ask for it straight forward. Call shipping company after shipping company, try to get someone with the necessary position on the phone and ask if you can work a passage. Given that you tried most of the companies you could find last year, then this option is not the best for you. Especially in the western part of the world it’s hard to get such a position on a commercially used ship as hiring you will cost the company a small fortune in form of insurance, taxes etc. That leaves some negative numbers in the bill, bringing the numbers of cooperating ships down to a few overall.
Otherwise there are cruising ships and private vessels. The first group would include working in a restaurant or welcoming guests on board in the name of the host; but those jobs are about as rare as the category above. It helps to speak two languages and English a requirement. But nonetheless, without an apprenticeship in a corresponding trade you’ll hardly get hired. Especially not for a single trip.
Let’s try private vessels then. Those are usually owned by private sailors searching for a crew to help them take care of the ship. The problem in this case: those who can’t sail are unlikely to be of great help. Since my only experience on open waters has been my surf board, I cannot even call me “seaworthy” without coming close to a porky.
Given you’re not living next to a port, we’ll stick with those three options. Would that have been the case, I could simply have walked up to the anchoring ships and ask their captains if they tolerate my presence for a while (according to some people on the internet I would have a higher rate of success here – well, maybe). And even though I spent the last six months in Greifswald, the next international port would be in Hamburg. Not really in range looking at my mobility. Therefore back to the three main options. While I’m not first choice in any of them, I’ll take my chances and stick to the phone for the next few days. I’ll keep you posted.