|About the Book|
Forty days. That was the length of my four month world cruise. In April 2000, I boarded the MV Riviera, a 300-passenger cruise ship, in Cadiz, Spain, to begin my dream trip around the world. On the evening of May 23, 2000 the cruise line declaredMoreForty days. That was the length of my four month world cruise. In April 2000, I boarded the MV Riviera, a 300-passenger cruise ship, in Cadiz, Spain, to begin my dream trip around the world. On the evening of May 23, 2000 the cruise line declared bankruptcy as the ship traveled the South Pacific Ocean, shortly after we’d set sail from Easter Island, Chile.The next morning, Tahitian authorities seized the ship for nonpayment of fuel bills dating back two years. All passengers were forced to disembark in Tahiti. When we arrived in the port of Papeete, passengers formed lines as long as the boat to retrieve passports and obtain logistical updates from the purser.Whenever I tell the story of my bankrupt cruise, this is the part where everyone bursts into laughter and says, “Stranded in Tahiti. What a hardship!” Unfortunately, there was nothing funny about my having resigned a full-time job to travel for four months only to learn that one month in, my $13,000 trip was over.Also, I was writing a paid, weekly column about my travels for The Hartford Courant – Connecticut’s largest newspaper. I’d pitched the online column to the paper as a way to jumpstart another long-held dream: to become a professional writer. Four months of bylines in a two-time, Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper was a great platform for launching that career. But if the trip ended, so would my column. I would return home, out of work and burdened by the grief of unfulfilled dreams.Though I’d made acquaintances on the ship who knew my story, the significant sacrifices I had undertaken to be on that cruise were inexplicable to these relative strangers. I couldn’t get anyone to understand that my life had just blown up.