The Blue Mosque

Life at Sea Cruises – 3 Year Cruise Cancelled.

Due to Lack of Ship

Stranded at the Dock: Waiting for a Ship That Isn’t Going to Show

I packed up my bags, booked a one-way ticket across the world to start a three-year adventure with Life at Sea on a cruise ship around the globe… and do you know what happened next?


While I can chuckle about it now (kinda – don’t get too wild), it has definitely been quite a learning experience for me in both the personal and business side of life.

Allow me to share, because it’s really too juicy not to…

Istanbul word sculpture

The Master Plan

First, I was over the moon for the three years (I thought) I had coming up. I mean, who wouldn’t be?!

To be on a cruise ship headed to some of the most incredible places on earth? 
Yes, please!

But in order to make this work, I knew I needed to do some planning.

I started by discussing my plans with all my clients and they were nothing short of thrilled for me to be part of this adventure.

Here’s the thing – I have built incredible relationships with my clients to where doing something like this would absolutely be a possibility for me.

For the months leading up to the voyage, I made a plan for every single one of them.

I organized everything down to the smallest detail – their systems, launches, management, even how to handle our Zoom calls.

We already knew I was going to constantly be in different time zones, so I put those systems in place for effective and timely communication.

In other words, I was ready and did not skip a beat.

Not only did I do this for my clients but also for myself. 
Yes, I have a business to run; but what fun would it be to travel the world and not actually get to see any of it?

I included my ‘days off’ as the time we were in port to explore each location and mingle with all my neighbors aboard the ship.
During our days at sea, you’d be able to find me in the business center, maximizing my WiFi usage, and keeping not only my client’s work ahead of schedule but also my own business.

So, let the trip begin!!! Right?


The Plan – in Motion

Months started to quickly pass by and actions were gaining momentum. 
Having let go of my apartment, sold my car and the majority of my belongings, and packed my three small suitcases, this dream started to feel like a reality.

I spent two months with my family to see them a bit more before I left; and then, on a random Saturday, I went to the airport and set off on what promised to be a once-in-a-lifetime epic journey.

Even though I’ve been to the airport plenty of times before, this time felt different. 
After all, this was my first international trip.

I boarded the plane, found my seat, and said: “Let’s do this!”

Looking back, I’m sure I was subconsciously grinning from ear to ear, but I had good reason, right?

I had a connection in Paris prior to landing in Istanbul, but since I wasn’t able to leave the airport, the reality of it all, still hadn’t hit me.
14+ hours of flight time and 38 hours of real time later, I landed in Istanbul.

After a short ride to the hotel and a quick mini unpacking, I met up with the other cruisers for dinner and some meet-n-greet.

I don’t think I initially felt the jet lag. I was too excited.
There was too much to see and do, and too many people to meet.

The first couple days I met ‘in person’ the people who I’d been communicating with via our group app. The surreal experience of feeling like I already knew these people made it feel like a reunion instead of meeting them for the first time.

I took time to explore our neighborhood the next couple days waiting to get information on when we would board the ship.

The Bosphorus Bridge lit up with lights at night

Trouble in Paradise

We knew about a week prior to my arrival in Istanbul that we wouldn’t be boarding the ship on November 1st
We had been told that there would be a small delay but it was expected to be the 8th or 9th of November.

However, we met with one of the executives of the company on October 31st and were told things were going to be extended even further – to the 16th.

Everyone in our group had different reactions; some were starting to lose their patience, most were full of questions, but some still had hope this would pull through. I was part of this group.

At this point, the company arranged (and paid) for us to go on some tours of the popular local tourist sites.
We explored the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, and went on a Bosphorus dinner cruise.

As weeks went by, we only had sparse communications from the company. 
News articles from other countries started to pop up with lots of information we hadn’t heard so we were all left to wonder – is this true or just clickbait? 

Stories rumored that our company was going bankrupt, that they couldn’t pass the qualifications to purchase the ship, and even that the ship they were trying to purchase had actually sold to a different company.

Unfortunately, that last situation was very true.

On November 16th, another company revealed they had actually purchased the ship we were supposed to be boarding for our three year cruise.

At this time, we all knew something was very wrong.
We still hadn’t had much communication from anyone and it was time to get answers. 
Unfortunately, they weren’t the answers any of us wanted to hear.

The company was actually not able to purchase a vessel and we were all being told we could submit for a full refund, or wait until next year when they would (potentially) have a ship.

As my hope sank, my mind started forming a Plan B.

So What Now?

The days that followed were a haze. 
Actually, as I’m writing this, they continue to be. 
I still have no refund and continue to stay at the same hotel I entered over six weeks ago.

I had no clarity as to how I was going to move forward.
I had no immediate action plan.

But, in spite of it all, I refused to let this experience ruin my plans.
There was no way I had traveled across the world just to go back home – at least not yet.

Coming Up With Plan B

There’s definitely one thing that works in my favor…

When it comes to my business, I call the shots. I don’t have to go back to a 9-5 so I have the ability to make my business work around my personal life.

It’s all just a matter of ‘how’.

After talking to some of the other people I’ve become friends with during the last six weeks, I was able to come up with a semblance of a plan. But it all has contingencies…

It’s All About Perspective

Gazing under the umbrellas light up at night on umbrella street.

Many would probably think that this was a ‘total fail’.
I strongly disagree.

However, I do have to admit this was my initial reaction as well.
How could I have believed so much in something that no one else has ever been able to do?
How could I have been so naïve to send such a large deposit to this company?

Here’s the real truth:
This isn’t a failure for me.

I am a dreamer at heart with the head of a realist.

Taking this big leap wasn’t done without some serious thought as to how I would be able to keep my business running and afford to be on the ship taking adventures in different countries at the same time.

I had a plan but any good plan has risks. 
Any startup company takes risks to try to be ‘the next big thing’ and I saw this as the same kind of idea.

This type of cruise has never been done before, and with 20/20 hindsight, I can see why in some of the issues the company had.

Did the company do things correctly?
No, not by a long shot.

Did they have a great idea? 
Yes – and it shows because of how many people were financially bought into this adventure, and the many more that had interest but needed a few different terms than were offered initially.

After a few days in my hotel room (which is now being called ‘home’) and a good cry in the shower (because, duh), I’ve come to some realizations about what this experience has taught me.

What’s the Takeaway?

Firstly, take the leap!
If you don’t, you’ll never know what’s on the other side. 
You’ll never be able to truly know what you’re capable of doing or being.

Second, find the positive.
There’s a reason that I was able to negotiate a payment plan to be on this ship and on this adventure. 
Was it the reason I thought? 
Nope. But I have faith that it will turn out to be something positive for my life. 

The initial positive of being able to explore the world, like I have always dreamed of doing, started with this trip. Türkiye becomes my first international country to explore.

And lastly, always be flexible enough to pivot.

This has been a theme in the past couple years for me, so for it to show up again now is more than appropriate. 

I’ve had ups and downs while I’m here for many different reasons but the flexibility to be able to shift and change along with what’s going on around me will always be a positive attribute for which I’m grateful.

Hagia Sophia at night

The Adventure Doesn’t End Here

There are still some things we’re working on here in Istanbul; but I now know, it’s possible to take this remote job of mine on the road wherever I want to go.

I’ve made some great friendships here and will continue those friendships along some of my next explorations.

I won’t be going back to the U.S. just yet, but haven’t solidified any of my current ‘Plan Bs’ either. Right now, I’m honoring being in the flow of the uncertain and not letting it stress me out too much. All I can say for the future is… stay tuned!