Would you ever book a cruise if it advertised 18 sea days in a row without reaching land? Most likely not. Crew members don’t have the luxury of deciding which cruises we want – or don’t want. We go wherever the ship goes.
A couple of months ago my ship sailed from the Mediterranean back to the USA. It took us nine sea days to arrive. The day we pulled into our berth in Florida we wound up having US Customs and Immigration inspection and then Coast Guard inspections. The new guests boarded soon afterward, and we sailed out again later that evening. Most crew members didn’t get to get off the ship that day, even though we’d just sailed for over a week.
That wasn’t the worst part…
The next cruise sailed straight back to Europe! That meant another nine sea days. Back-to-back Transatlantic crossing cruises!
We planned to stop in Horta, Azores to break up the sea days, but due to bad weather, we had to re-route and sail straight for the West Coast of France, on our way to the final port in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Can I just say that after 18 days onboard we needed to reach land?! The passengers all complained and became impatient because they couldn’t get off the ship for a week. I reminded them often that the crew had now spent almost three weeks on the ship.
Regardless whether it took one week or three, we all agreed that we wanted to arrive at our destination NOW.
Doesn’t paying off debt often feel the same way? Endless! We become impatient…we want it done now, today! But, in the end, it doesn’t matter how we feel. It simply takes time, and growing impatient won’t help matters.
So what can we do to survive this season?
Three tips to help you survive paying off debt…or too many days at sea.
First, mentally prepare yourself with positive thinking. As they say, “Attitude is everything.” Tell yourself things like, “I can do this,” “It won’t last forever,” and “I will choose to keep a good attitude and still enjoy life.”
Practice phrases like “I’m choosing to spend my money a different way right now” instead of “I can’t afford that.”
Second, make a goal for each day and then knock it out. Taking action makes the time go faster. Dwelling on how long the journey is taking only breeds frustration and irritation. It makes it feel even more endless.
So, get busy doing something, anything, that will help you reach your goal. Side hustle, or three, anyone?
Third, just take it one day at a time. Like the wise saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” When I sailed for so many days at sea in a row I distracted myself by finding fun things to do each day.
No, paying off debt isn’t often fun, but we aren’t on this earth to just pay bills and die either. So, get out and learn new things, help others, and have some (frugal) fun! Some ideas to get you started:
- Go for a walk in nature
- Enjoy a picnic
- Find a good book or DVD at the library
- Spend time chatting with friends
- Listen to music
- Cook a favorite meal and use your BEST dishes. Even beans and rice taste fancy on chinaware!
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen or women’s shelter – give back to others in worse circumstances
- Start a blog and write about what you know
- Practice photography from free lessons online
- Learn a new hobby/skill
- Download the Duo Lingo app and learn a language – free!
- Organize a closet and sell stuff you don’t need – more money for the debt!
- Play board games
- Go for a bike ride
- Look at clouds and make up stories about what you see – great with kids!
- Build a tent with sheets in the living room and watch a movie from your tent – don’t forget the snacks!
- Make S’mores and sing silly songs around a firepit – or stove burner…lol!
- Turn off all the lights and tell stories/ read a book by flashlight to the family
- Go geocaching
- Shoot hoops at a nearby park
- Cheer on the high school football team
If you’re intentional, paying off debt will happen, even if it feels like it’s taking forever. So, take it one day at a time and don’t forget to choose to find joy [now] in the journey!
What’s YOUR favorite free or frugal activity? Share with me in the comments!!
Until next time, xo!!
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