Why Living and Working on a Yacht is Awkward (For This Girl, At Least)

It happened again today: someone asked me a seemingly simple question about what I do/ where I work.  He didn’t know he was opening up Pandora’s box with his simple inquiry, but that’s what happens for most people who ask that question of a person who lives and works on a private yacht.

I’m not trolling for some twisted sympathy here, it’s just that you might not expect me to say what I’m about to admit:

I hate telling people I work on a yacht.

Just answering a question like “do you work downtown?” literally gives me a brief moment of anxiety because it can send a simple polite exchange down a rabbit hole into a long and convoluted conversation, which in the end mostly leaves me feeling like a completely self centered, pretentious asshole.  Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating here a little bit, so let me try to explain.

People in general seem to not really have a grasp on the yachting industry and all that it entails.  This is a totally normal thing for such an enigmatic industry.  However, that means that when the topic comes up that I am in fact in the industry, it leads to an onslaught of questions.  I’m happy to answer them (most of the time…sometimes a girl is tired though and doesn’t feel like talking) but by the end of said impromptu interview, I’m left feeling like I’ve just talked about myself for 30 minutes straight, often awkwardly accepting exclamations like “oh my god that’s so awesome” or “your life sounds so amazing” (you’d think after 2+ years I’d have come up with a better response than “yeah, it’s alright…”), when all I was trying to do was get a cappuccino.

Home sweet, awkward home.  Not so impressive when anchored next to a glacier.

Home sweet, awkward home. Not so impressive when anchored next to a glacier.

What’s worse is that when I’m finally done with my spiel and ask the other person what they do for work, more often than not, the answer is some cubicle job to which I have NO point of reference, other than to say, “oh, that sounds cool” (bold faced lie).  Seriously, what do I say? (Okay, some jobs do seem pretty interesting but I mean, what DOES a consultant do? And how do I ask that without sounding like a complete moron?) Chances are, I’m going to be far less excited about hearing what it is like to sit at a desk for 40+ hours a week.  It’s just a fact.

But here’s the other thing, in trying to avoid long drawn out explanations of my living and working situation, I often just end up sounding like a cryptic weirdo.  For example, my answer to the guy who asked me if I worked downtown was “kind of”.  WHO SAYS THAT?  Okay, the boat is downtown so currently, yes, I am working downtown.  But heaven forbid he asked where… then I would have been forced into my whole spiel once again.  Sometimes, it’s just easier to leave a person thinking I’m an international woman of mystery and cross my fingers that we never cross paths again.

It’s a privileged inconvenience to have, I know.  It’s just a random musing from someone on the inside.

*Also, a helpful tip for anyone who finds themselves in an impromptu interview with a yachtie: DON’T ask who owns the yacht.  It will just be awkward for everyone.


19 responses to “Why Living and Working on a Yacht is Awkward (For This Girl, At Least)

  1. You are beautiful!
    I love reading your blogs and following your adventures! May you continue to bask in the beauty all around you each and everyday as you travel from port to port!
    God Bless You Little Mermaid @ Sea!


  2. I have the same problem when I talk to people, but it’s about everything, and I’m completely boring. It’s interesting hearing someone else write what I think about these situations, though.

  3. I’m the same way. I had the same problem after I graduated from college earlier this year and had to answer questions of, “what’s next?” My answer of “I’ll be teaching in South Korea” often led to somewhat awkward moments.

    I just don’t like talking about myself, especially when I know that it can lead to awkwardness from the other person if they feel like what I’m doing is better than what they are doing. I never judge others for their career choices but I can sometimes tell that others are envious of my choice to go to a foreign country rather than take the first cubicle job offered to me.

    So I totally see where you’re coming from with your lifestyle being an extremely unique one. Just try to remind yourself that it’s not your problem if these people you meet feel awkward. If they do, hopefully you are inspiring them to try something different than their current lifestyle. That’s what I try to remember anyway.

    • Thanks for the message and kind words… totally understand your situation. I immediately planned on working on yachts after graduation which dumbfounded a lot of people. I have nothing against cubicle jobs though! Just not for me right now (or maybe ever?). In fact, I’m often slightly envious of my friends who’ve known what they want to do in life and have continued on a path to make it happen. We’re all on different roads…

  4. Such a refreshing post….I have worked on yachts for 6 years and completely understand where you are coming from. I am currently travelling for 6 months and I have started to lie or cover up the information of the job. Sometimes it does lead to some awkward conversations! Keep up the good writing! x

  5. I know that feeling! I’m moving to Australia for working holiday in a couple months. And when people ask about what I’ve done (lived in Greece, scotland, etc) and what I’m going to do, it’s so hard to seem ineterested in their desk job…

  6. I absolutely love reading other yachties posts on, “What do I actually do all day?” In the end, an “desk worker” in the “default world” could never truly understand what its like to live and work on a boat. This happens to be the subject of my next post, would you mind if I link to this post? I’m trying to give my friends, family, and readers a wide grasp of our reality.

    • Haha don’t I know it! Go ahead and link it, I’m flattered you asked. Also, your blog just had me laughing on this cold wet morning… I’m hooked. Love seeing other blogs about life onboard!

  7. I agree its so awkward! Especially because I’ve been doing seasonal or freelance the past few years and living in Boston the rest of the time- so confusing and leads to soo many questions!! Also I got to the point where I just started copying and pasting my answers to everyones questions on facebook. This may sound strange but I use to get anxiety when I walked into the hairdressers because I knew I would be trapped there for 2+ hours sometimes and have to answer all their chit chat questions about what I “do” hah!

    • Don’t. I. Know. It.

      I think even my parents and close friends still don’t get 100% what goes on in my life. After almost three years, I think they’ve almost given up trying to sort it out!

  8. Oh my goodness. Yes this is me all the time. I don’t want to lie but I dont want to answer questions for the next half hour either. You summed up exactly how I feel when meeting new people. Such a great problem though to be too interesting! 😀

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