A Cruise Ship Passenger’s Perspective!

Dear committed, uncommitted, just visiting, curious, and not sure what to do ‘One Point Zero-ers’

I think I’m about to come 1st stage committed. Here is MY story…

Saturday morning, 18 June 2016, Papeete Cruise Ship Terminal.

So there I was into my seventh day of my luxury cruise ship holiday. Apparently just around sunrise the ship had docked here in Papeete while I was blissfully asleep, in my 1st class air-conditioned, sound proofed, en-suite cabin. We had a big night at the casino onboard. I lost a bit but that had nothing to do with my sleep in. I just thought there was no rush for breakfast as I’d have a late one in Papeete.

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After six glorious and pampered days from New Zealand this was seemingly like another dream indulgent cruise ship holiday and lots more indulgence still ahead.

For now, I was back on terra firma in Papeete, alongside our ship, waiting with the passenger group for the luxury bus that would soon take us to see the delights of Tahiti: “The Pearl shops, the perfume shops, and oh, I also believe the Papeete market, but I may not go there as its probably just for the locals so nothing there for me.”  Complimentary French champagne and French orange juice in hand, as we waited for the bus we shared our stories of the blissful decadence of the last five days of ship life.

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A guy on a bicycle approached on the road, and strangely he looked like a poor tourist, almost a hippie with his long hair, and then at his age: Why was he riding a bicycle?! He did seem to be riding with purpose, and yet he looked like he’d come from the soul-less container terminal. There was just one ship there: A huge ugly orange one, stacked full of containers. Very industrial, nothing like our beauty which was purpose built for us elite. I wonder where he had been, where he was going, and what was his purpose?

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He seemed shocked when he saw us, and pulled up hard on the brakes. Taking out his camera, and then taking a large number of shots of ‘our ship’, my mystery was seemingly solved: He was a poor tourist and clearly he hadn’t seen a ship like ours before? I felt sorry for him that all he would experience of our elite life was fabricated dreams connected to his photos. “He should have seen the inside to make those dreams more real?”, I thought.

But then he parked his bike and without invitation but with continuing purpose he confidently came up and greeted us all with a surprise “Bonjour”, and asking where we had come from? It turned out we had both set off from New Zealand but to my utter amazement he had come on that ugly orange ship!

He must be crew and it was time someone chased him away from us, he didn’t fit with our elite crowd!  Yet he seemed to have a presence and power that gave the impression he believed he was above us elite! That unnerved me, and so before things got any worse, I decided to put him in his place: “So you work as crew on the ship then? That must be quite a tough life, and I presume you were hurrying to town as you don’t get much time off your job on the ship? What time do you have to be back at work then?

In his continuing elitist but now a new unhurried manner, he replied with a confusing clarification:  ‘Yes Maam I do work on the ship, but this here is also my work, and I’m heading into Papeete for work too. I work all the time, my life is work, and I love it!” He paused before adding:  “I’m trying to help the elite find the real elite?

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It irritated me that this hippie on the bicycle now had my attention, but not just intention absolute intrigue, and I had to reclaim my higher ground:  “You, a man on a bicycle, working on a ship, trying to help the elite like me, find the ‘real elite’? Now that sounds pretty presumptuous? How does that work, Sir?”  I paid cynical respect, and then hoping to finally dump him I added: “Maybe you should ask us first what its like being elite, and whether we are unhappy being our elite?

Rather than chase him away, his confidence and elitism seemed to grow with ‘my dump’ and he unapologetically bounced back: “Sorry Maam, I really do know enough about “Your Crowd”, I left them when I was still a junior, and I’m in the Final Frontier of finding the new elite!

He paused, changing his tone to one of kindred spirit, “I’m also a paying ship passenger, and we both came by ship from New Zealand to Papeete. However while my ticket just cost Me, your ticket cost, You, Me and the Rest of Society!” With a half step move away he then said: “What I’m not sure of is whether you knew that or not?” he must have seen my lack of conviction on an answer, and continued:  “And if you did why you never asked me or society whether we were prepared to pay for part of your seemingly hedonistic holiday?” He took a breath and lowered his tone ended in a clarifying tone:  “That’s what my work is about, Maam!

Well I was shocked at this unfounded accusation, but the calmness in which he stated it he allowed me to ask him for clarification: “Please help me understand what you mean?

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Well Maam the ship that brought you here is purpose built for passengers only, and luxury passenger travel at that. It is what I call a ‘vessels for the old elite. If there were none of your crowd, the ship wouldn’t have left New Zealand and the world would have been that bit cleaner place. Not just cleaner but also there would have been a reduced load on Nature’s already 60% overloaded vital regenerative system.  It would have been better if you had flown because your cost to me and the Rest of Society would have been some 40% less.” He saw my obvious surprise.

Do you know that other than a single passenger in a private jet, cruise ships are the most costly way one can travel? When we add up all the elite travelling like that, the cost to me and society in an overloaded Planet is unacceptable. I know because I used to be a bit like you until I knew how much I was costing my fellow humans, and the generations to come.

I did have inkling that cruise ships were not the most eco-friendly, but I had the money, the time, I bought a valid ticket, and hey one only lives once! But what this elitist hippie was accusing me of was something new to me, and I was lost for words.

Breaking the silence he said, “Apologies Maam, I can see from your reaction this is a shock to you, and you are probably one of the uninformed and genuinely innocent elite, but please go look on this website, and read ‘The Facts’.” He handed me a card with www.one-point-zero.com and “The Facts” written on it.

As he was writing I regained my elitist composure and without appearing to attack him, but at least bring him off his pedestal, I asked: “So why did your passenger ticket only cost You, and not me or Society like you say mine did, when that ship looks much larger and a worse polluter than ours?

In an impressed, yet caring teaching tone he replied, “Good observation Maam. Yes ‘my ship’ did no doubt contribute a lot more ‘bad stuff to the environment than yours, but my ship is not for passengers, it has another purpose: To take freight from one port to the next. There are only three of us passengers and the ship goes with or without any passengers, uses virtually exactly the same amount of fuel  if we passengers are on board or not? In terms of our footprint it’s like we travelled but we didn’t! Does that make sense?” He finished off factually, but clearly intending to end his mission.

It was as if a whole new room had been found in my brain, and I just said to him: “I now understand your work, and how all-consuming it is. Thank you, and good luck!

Before leaving on his bicycle he said “Lovely to meet you, and when I said maybe it would have been better to fly, I wasn’t promoting flying as a solution! Bon voyage!

I never thought I’d see him again, and I thought my trip into Papeete would take me straight back into the now of the holiday. However somehow this interaction had deeply affected me and instead of going to the perfume shop, I found an internet café, went on to one-point-zero.com and read ‘The Facts’. I was challenged and went through a whole cocktail of confusing emotions, from hating him, to realising it wasn’t ‘him’, and this was somehow food for my soul. As the day progressed my thoughts drifted back to The Facts, and by the end of the day I’d come out realising that from that day forth my soul knows I have no excuse that: ‘I didn’t know.”

All I have now is a choice of whether to be part of The Crowd, or to do something about my contributory role in the developing picture of ‘The Facts’. After lots of to and fro-ing, I concluded saying ‘I didn’t know’ was not an option my soul could live with, and that profound realisation brought a strange confusion as to whether I had been liberated or imprisoned?

A few days later a feeling of strange liberation started flowing, and without knowing what this means for the future, I know my future won’t be what I thought it may be three days ago. I felt compelled to post this story on the site.

Signing off:   Just another human! Now trying to be a REAL human and belonging to Nature and our Planet???

OK, as you must have worked out:  This wasn’t a factual interaction, but a ‘faction’ post by Howard designed to capture the realities of the challenges ‘we’ face. The issues around container, cruise ship, and air travel, increasing conflict with ‘others’ and the mind-set challenge we face! Over the years I have had interactions that would fully support the attitude and representations presented above.  (Faction being a mixture of fiction and facts!)

And finally I’m also in another personal struggle over what I’d like to do and what One Point Zero will allow me to do:

One of my dreams is to go down to Antarctica, the Falklands and South Georgia. Actually that was one of the reasons why I bought Allone! But increasingly for a number of reasons I’m starting to accept the disappointing realities that this may not happen. While in Tauranga, NZ I visited ‘Cruiseabout’, a travel agent that focuses only on cruise ship travel, and chatted with the consultant and I picked up this brochure below:

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Flippantly I was exploring the possibility of replacing the intensity of an Allone experience with a cruise ship cabin. “Ha-ha, you hypocrite!”, I hear you say!

Well my soul would definitely struggle with that, then the bank account, but more importantly immersing myself in One Point Zero and stuff like this Post above, I could now NEVER do it the cruise ship way! It’s actually quite scary how fast I’m moving along my own One Point Zero journey!! At this stage anyway it doesn’t feel at all like I’m shooting myself in the foot, it really feels like it is JUST THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

While looking through my files for a few facts for above I came across these three graphs. I’d seen those months before, and filed them for this trip, but as I looked at them again, somehow I was even more shocked than I was before. I used the ‘F word’ saying: “Man this has to f’ing stop, why can’t we all see how serious this all is? It is an indictment on all of us who know The Facts and do nothing!” These two graphs have just upped my One Point Zero resolve a few notches more!

The truly Shocking Energy Usage Picture! We all know the picture, but did you know it was this scary? ‘We’ have got our Success seriously wrong guys! No amount of alternative fuels, magical technology will solve that rocketing demand!
The truly Shocking Energy Usage Picture! We all know the picture, but did you know it was this scary? ‘We’ have got our Success seriously wrong guys! No amount of alternative fuels, magical technology will solve that rocketing demand!
Data from 2010, but I’d be prepared to bet the growth slope is higher now! I can safely say I’m not increasing my spending like that!
Data from 2010, but I’d be prepared to bet the growth slope is higher now! I can safely say I’m not increasing my spending like that!
I wonder what will happen when those 1.5% poorest people understand that the other 98.5 % are not just fat cats, but also screwing their world up! I guess even the 60% should start getting angry with the wealthiest 20% who are consuming a mammoth 70% of all the worlds consumption. I know all the arguments about contributions to the economy, charities, philanthropy, etc, but it is no longer the way if these curves just continuing to go up and up, and One Point Six goes to One Point Seven, etc. I also know that not all good consumption is bad for the planet, but the story has it that most of the bad consumption is the stuff the 20% demand and ‘need’!
I wonder what will happen when those 1.5% poorest people understand that the other 98.5 % are not just fat cats, but also screwing their world up! I guess even the 60% should start getting angry with the wealthiest 20% who are consuming a mammoth 70% of all the worlds consumption. I know all the arguments about contributions to the economy, charities, philanthropy, etc, but it is no longer the way if these curves just continuing to go up and up, and One Point Six goes to One Point Seven, etc. I also know that not all good consumption is bad for the planet, but the story has it that most of the bad consumption is the stuff the 20% demand and ‘need’!

Sorry, guys I went on a bit of a rant but these graphs shocked me again! I’m not placing myself on any pedestal, I can see how I fit in to these pictures too. But what is liberating is I’m finally doing something about all this, My own Way of Life and through One Point Zero, even if it’s just me writing to myself!

Somehow this challenge to humanity is almost exciting in its Extreme Challenge objective but more the Chasm Crossing Challenge soon…

Safe and sustainable travels!

2 thoughts on “A Cruise Ship Passenger’s Perspective!”

  1. Had lots of laughs reading your “faction”. Howard, you really have knack for capturing attention, with your tales. . . And yes, those graphs are jolting. Much to consider. Explain more why there is no technological fix. Why cannot switching to renewable energies do the job? What if we came up with contraptions that emit next to any greenhouse gases. Why would that not do the job?

  2. Hey Howard:

    Enjoyed this post and your fantasy interaction. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were that easy. Enjoyed too your story about your Australian friend and the gentle way in which you shared your journey and helped him (hopefully) separate the motorcycle and the end point from the journey.

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