There are two main questions we Mariners get asked most frequently…
When do you go back? This is usually asked hours after you have only just come home and
Whether we find it difficult being away from home, away from family and friends?
Of course, it can be hard, sailors miss out on many things; weddings, births, birthdays, all sorts of parties, fun and exciting things, important things, even upsetting things such as funerals and goodbyes.
Every single day I miss my little Nephew, Jack (proper sailor name that) he will be 16 months old this month and it’s so so hard to come home and see him twice the size and changed in so many ways, but in actual fact I see him more than anyone. I’ll see him almost everyday when I’m home; Jack is tucked up in bed before his hard working dad is even home at night. So I consider myself very fortunate I have the time to dedicate to the important things in life.
Yes, it is true that any period away be it 4 weeks or 6 months is hard. It is easy for people to question why we are willing to spend so much time away, in fact I’ve been called selfish numerous times because I ‘choose’ to work away. But that’s not how Mariners think, we frequently do more in one leave than most do in a year and when we are home we are truly present!
We appreciate our family, our friends and home comforts more than anyone for we know what life is like without them. When I spend time with my family and friends I’m truly present, listening, understanding and dedicated to the moment. Weekends are unburdened by the need to stay home and catch up on the household chores before going back to work Monday to Friday; we proudly do not allow ourselves to fall into monotonous routine.
As we grow older we all know it can become hard to maintain our friendships, it is normal to allow life to take over. We let social events slip us by and see friends monthly rather than weekly, then months become a year and I feel that my time off work allows me quality time with those around me, it allows me the opportunity to see friends far more often than if I were a land-lubber!
All in all I have no regrets, I feel my leave rotation (currently 5weeks on/off) works fantastically with helping to maintain family ties, friendships and every now and then some home-time chores. I just hope that I don’t miss my own wedding!