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Trying to Keep the Peace
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 2:19 PM

Dear Crew Confessor, My boyfriend and I work on a yacht together. We have had a very hectic schedule but fortunately the owner does give us six weeks off a year, plus flights. Our holidays will be coming up in a few months so we are trying to make plans. This has proven to be more of a problem than I ever could have imagined, for both of us. It seems that our families both are demanding that we spend as much time as possible with them. Now, my family is in New Zealand and his in England. We'd been tossing about all sorts of ideas, from volunteering at an Orangutan facility in Borneo, to working at a vineyard in Italy and then traveling throughout the Adriatic, hitting other vineyards during harvest time. We have a lot of other ideas that sound great too. Hanging out with our parents doesn't really fit in with our plans. How do we explain to our parents that visiting them isn't really a vacation without hurting their feelings? And, oh yeah, we really want to stay together too. HELP!!

Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 7:15 PM
I wish I had your dilemma!! If you have your 6 weeks vacation spread out over the course of the year, why not do one vacation in northern Europe- spend a week with his folks (or better yet, have them come and meet you somewhere for a long weekend) and then on the next holiday, go somewhere a bit closer to NZ to visit those folks and see them for a bit of the time...and then do your last vacation for just the two of you? My husband and I frequently run into the same issues. I usually ask my family to fly in and visit ME wherever the yacht may be- during a time when we don't have any guest trips- they sight-see during the day, and I see them in the evenings. The rest of the crew are usually very understanding with helping to cover watches for you when the folks have come to visit. OR you could just tell them that while you have a wonderful career that allows you to travel the world, a lot of the time you do not get the chance to do an in-depth tour of whatever port you are currently in due to guest trips. I'll bet that all your family and friends at home go away somewhere cool every time they have a vacation. Tell them you want to do the same. They'll get over it, and maybe next time they might organize their vacation to come to whatever cool port you happen to be in. If they really want to see you all that badly, they'll make the effort!
Crew Confessor
Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:39 PM
Joined: 20/11/2008
Posts: 94

Dear Holiday Planner,

Congratulations are in order on many counts. At a time when many are unemployed you and your SO are happily working, and not only are you allotted a generous vacation period but you are told in advance so that you may plan! I hope you both realize how fortunate you are.

The dilemma about visiting your families is a very real one. Most of our families are fairly oblivious about our jobs, it all seems rather glamorous to them and many secretly believe that every day is a vacation for us! One advantage to following the suggestion of the commenter above and flying family in for a week and putting then up in a nearby hotel while you continue working part time is that they can have the chance to see how hard you do work. It is an option for you to consider and I can personally attest that your generosity will never be forgotten. For various reasons this may not be possible, or not possible in the relatively near future, if your boat has a very busy schedule or it is difficult for your parents to travel.

My suggestion? I encourage you to visit both sets of parents together. You have an ample length of vacation time to do this, and one needn't spend more than four to seven days at either family locale. Since they are rather far apart, and with your own proposed holiday plans also being geographically diverse (Borneo, the Adriatic?) I suggest you get a pair of Around the World tickets. These can be a very good deal and would enable you to economically visit both areas with ease. Since I assume you are in the Med you could start off by visiting the family in England and departing from there. With these two tickets in hand your holiday could be the most exciting ever, and you'll keep the families happy. As we get older so do they, and one never knows how long we will have our loved ones around, you just never know, and you don't get a do-over once they're gone.

Bon Voyage,
Your Crew Confessor
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