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Winging It! Traveling By Cargo Ship



WEEKEND EDITION's travel segment Winging It aims to bring you advice and ideas about different ways to spend your free time. Winging It also gives you the chance to get on the air, to share your own personal experiences with the more unusual and innovative ways you spend your vacation time.


MARTIN: This week, we hear from Rebecca Hall. Rebecca is a British woman who now calls Greece her home. Today, Rebecca starts making her way from Greece to Hong Kong by cargo ship. The journey will mean spending more than a month at sea.

Rebecca Hall joins us from Athens. Rebecca, thanks so much for being with us.


MARTIN: Why in the world would you take a cargo ship? What is the allure?

HALL: My dad used to be at sea. He was in the merchant navy many, many years ago. And I used to grow up as a child hearing stories of being at sea. So it's always been a kind of like romantic notion of mine. And the idea of spending just time looking at sunrises and sunsets and being amongst nature, that appeals to me a lot more than just getting to a destination very fast. It's more about the journey.

MARTIN: But I imagine, Rebecca, you could also take like a cruise line or something that could get you there in a more luxurious state. A cargo ship is something a little different.

HALL: I don't like the idea of forced entertainment and being among hundreds of people. To me it's like a big floating hotel. A cargo ship actually is not as basic, as I think a lot of feedback I've been getting from people, is they don't stay in tiny, tiny tin cabins. And actually, no. I've looked on the Internet sites for the actual ship itself. And the cabin has my own bedroom and my own living room with my own bathroom. It's actually really quite spacious. And apparently at 10 o'clock every morning, I get to morning tea served in my cabin, too.

MARTIN: Wow, so they will bring tea to your room but there will be no all-you-can-eat buffets. There will be no dancing on the Lido deck.


HALL: No, there will be no dancing and there will be no casino. But there will be the opportunity to eat in the officer's mess with the actual captain. And I'll actually be able to play games with the crew in the evening if I like. So I take that to mean that I could actually take a pack of cards and I'll be probably trying to beat them in blackjack or something.

MARTIN: How are you going to spend your days? Are you going to do any manual labor? Or are you just going to find a cozy corner of the ship to read on?

HALL: They have stipulated quite clearly that it is a working ship, from the point of view of the crew working. And there will be absolutely no working for me whatsoever. And I actually write, so I'm aiming to try and finish my book that I started about a year and a half ago. So I'm using this opportunity to spend time to get back into nature, to really get motivated to write.

MARTIN: I understand this journey might take you through some perilous waters. You had to sign a piracy declaration. Can you explain what that is?

HALL: Yes, that's true. They sent me a declaration. It's called a Declaration to Passenger Contract. And it does say that because the ship will or might pass through the Gulf of Aden and adjacent waters - it's a high-risk area and that I have to be sure to follow the captain's orders. And I hereby confirm that I will not sue the company or hold the company responsible for any loss, theft or criminal assault or death that might occur. So...


MARTIN: I mean that's kind of serious. There have been some really high-profile piracy attacks, kidnappings in that area.

HALL: Yes, there have. And, Rachel, I've been keeping an eye on this really quite closely and in different areas of the press.

MARTIN: Are you going to have a bunch of friends or family at the port to wave you off on this journey?

HALL: Actually no, we had our little party yesterday. I'm just going to get my friend to drop me off at the underground station. I'm going to do it on my own, I think. That's how I like to do things.

MARTIN: Rebecca Hall, she joined us from Athens, Greece. She embarks on her cargo ship adventure today.

Rebecca, have so much fun. We may check in with you when this is all said and done to see how it went.

HALL: Oh, please do. Yes, I'll look forward to it, and I'll have so much more to tell you, I'm sure.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.