We all have that moment in life where you need to make a choice. The choice you are about to make will have a huge impact on your life. It will define you as a person. It will change you, form you, shape your future or the world around you. It is a big decision to make when you are young. No wonder that you are in doubt, especially when you are lucky enough to grow up in a country with endless possibilities and opportunities. And lucky I was. I could become anything I wanted.
So why did I wanted to become a sailor? It is a question that people ask me all the time even though they don’t have the patience or interest to listen to my full answer because I can’t summarize my answer in one word. It is more than that. When my father first bought a boat, I laughed at him. What are you going to do with that?! So, it’s a question I asked myself also, several times. How did this happen?
I believe that choices are made based on experiences in life and the people we meet, influenced by role models, our environment and our dreams. When I was sixteen years old, I decided to give up sports in order to work for a small company that sold speed boats. I was hired as a shop assistant, but soon I found out that I was more interested in everything that the mechanics were doing in the workshop. One day they asked me to help them. I still remember the surprised looks of the customers and the big and proud smile of my boss when I was wearing a black overall with red lipstick for the first time in my life. From that moment on I knew I was different than other girls and I loved it.
Not very long after that day I met someone who was working in inland shipping. I was excited because I grew up in a small village next to the river. In my free time I loved to ride my bike and I spent a lot of time by the river watching the ships pass by. Thinking and dreaming about life. He invited me to his ship where we spent hours talking. His passion for the water and his life at sea was admirable and somehow, he conveyed it to me, for which I will always be grateful. Being onboard calmed me down and made me feel happy. I started dreaming of distant destinations and incredible adventures. The imagination of a life at sea gave me a sense of freedom I can’t explain.
That desire of freedom, adventures and travelling the world started there. At the riverside of a small town in Holland. Choosing to become a sailor and have a career at sea would combine all those things for me including a good salary. It was music to my ears. That this life isn’t as romantic as I imagined it in my dreams is a fact. It is hard, in many different ways. But I believe nothing worthwhile in life is easy. Every time after a voyage I go back to that riverside. Sometimes I cry and sometimes I smile but that is life. I always leave with the same thought. That becoming a sailor wasn’t such a bad decision after all…