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Traveling by cargo ship #traveltuesday

I have a confession to make. Over the past couple months, I've been breathlessly seduced by the notion of traveling on a cargo ship.

Yes, I'm serious. I'll even sign the Piracy Declaration to prove it.


Rebecca Hall, a writer, recently traveled from Greece to Hong Kong and shared her story with NPR's Weekend Edition. Thirty seconds into the piece my heart was racing and I hung on every word. This needs to happen.




Once she completed her journey, she spoke again with Rachel Martin and told her about life on board.




Both audio clips are under five minutes, so listen and fall in love. Trust me.

I immediately set about googling this phenomenon. How did I not know this is A Thing? Matador wrote a how-to for cargo ship travel in 2008. 2008! So many years spent not traveling on cargo ships. So many. The Matador article is excellent, very practical. They tackle the most obvious questions: Where can you go, what will it cost, what is life like on board, how does one begin planning for this? Some of the links are 404, being that the article is half a decade old at this point, but I did my own digging.

A la Carte Freighter Travel is a reputable Canadian travel agency that deals with these unique itineraries. I'm particularly drawn to two itineraries: Tahiti to The Marquesas Islands, and the Norwegian Costal. I mean, seriously. How fascinating would it be to make your way down the Norwegian coast delivering supplies to remote fishing villages? And how about this for a description of the Tahitian ship's mission: "It connects local communities, calling at the principal villages, as well as several remote areas, on every inhabited island." Gah! The adventure of it all. The RMS Saint Helena also sounds amazing, but with 128 civilian passengers, it's a more crowded experience than I'd prefer.

Seaplus is also a site highly recommended around the interwebs. It doesn't seem to have been updated since 2011, but the information is detailed and seems solid, including photos of the ships and passenger cabins. Another travel agency site that's recommended often is The Cruise People, based in the UK. Their site employs excessive clip art (which is to say, any clip art), but the info is extensive. They do have a Twitter account, so all hope is not lost.




So...you may still be asking yourself (hi, mom): Why? The Matador article pretty much nailed it: "You can travel almost anywhere by cargo ship. Just think: anywhere global commodities are shipped are places that you can disembark and spend time soaking up the local culture before re-boarding." Brett, author of Tripping Overland (a blog about circumnavigating the globe without stepping foot on an airplane), posted about his trans-Atlantic voyage and articulates many of the anti-establishment slash adventure sentiments that he and I share. The photo above is his, btw. Also, the ocean is the very definition of freedom. If you've ever been on a ship (commercial cruise liner in my case) in the middle of the giant Pacific under an endless sky, you know that the world is huge and anything is possible. Finally, why not? Even when I travel to well-worn destinations, my goal is always to experience local life off the beaten path. Sure, I've knocked out tourista must-sees all over the world, but that's just to snap the photo and get it out of the way. The romance is in getting lost (not lost in pirated waters on a cargo ship, mind you, but you know what I mean).

This is happening.

Love and little fishing villages,
me



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