Location: Petite Piton, Saint Lucia

It’s already been 40 days aboard the ocean star. Forty days of fun, friends, adventure, and beauty. Where every day, there’s something new and exciting to discover. But it’s also been 40 days of work, lack of sleep, disagreements, and sometimes conflict. It’s been a challenge. I didn’t come here expecting this experience to push me as much as it has. I thought I was prepared to live alongside sixteen more people, but I couldn’t have been further away from the truth. Living together for this long in such a small space has shown me a very important thing. People are not easy.

Today I woke up a little bit upset and with no motivation to keep a smile on my face. The challenge of it all had caught up to me, and I no longer had the energy to even feel overwhelmed. I could only be tired. We had breakfast, did cleanup, and got into our diving gear. We made our way to a beautiful reef just at the bottom of the extraordinary Piton. We got in the water and dived. As I was diving, I couldn’t help but have a feeling of freedom and peace. Being in the ocean star is chaotic, and after 40 days, this can become hard to deal with. In the water, though, there is almost nothing to be heard. Unlike the ship, you can go anywhere you want. Up, down, front, or back, there is no limit. During that dive, I was able to take a break from these past few days, which for me has been more difficult than usual. At least for a few seconds, my only focus was on looking at the fish, and no more than that. It felt releasing. After the dive, we got back to the ship and had study time while the other group was gone. During that time, I went down to the saloon, took a seat, and started to work. One of the things I’ve learned during these forty days is that every second counts and that using your time properly is necessary to achieve your goals. So I made myself some hot chocolate (which I’ve been obsessed with during this time ) and got started. I worked on my leadership presentation, which is about teams. While I was working on it, I reflected on our own team and how we support but also sometimes hurt each other. As I said before, people are complicated, and coming to that realization has been a difficult process. Conflict is inevitable when you are in a situation like ours, even if we are friends. We all come from different backgrounds, and habits others consider normal might not be for me, and the same goes the other way around. To give an example: Back home, Im a very loud person, which I now understand might be uncomfortable for some people. Im also very direct and honest about my thoughts, which I’ve realized has the potential to make others feel bad. The point is, even though we all try our best, we just can’t agree on everything, and our beliefs and limits are not the same. Sadly, you can’t learn this lesson with only good days. You need tougher days for that. And I think most of us have had at least a few. Days where someone you care about disappoints you. Days where you disappoint someone you care about. I’ve had touch days during my time here, and I’ve been hurt by people around me, the same way I know I have hurt some too. But I can’t deny it’s making me grow. I came here in search of a wider understanding of what it means to be human, and in an unexpected way, Im getting what I asked for.

While continuing my presentation, David was preparing lunch. He was on his own, trying to figure out how to even get started. He felt lost. And then, one person stood up; Jack. He went into the galley and helped David cook. Then, another person followed, Clara. Clara and Jack didn’t have to help David. After all, it wasn’t their responsibility. But they chose to sacrifice their very precious free time to help someone out, just for the sake of being kind. And at a time when I was feeling upset, seeing that genuine act of friendship made me very happy. And, in fact, reminded me of the good days I have had on this ship. Laughing out loud, having a good conversation, taking an ocean shower at sunset, sailing for the first time, learning how to cook… Looking back on it, I realize that the good things outnumber the bad and that I wouldn’t change my journey at all. I won’t lie, I have had tough days, and there have been times when I’ve felt really hurt. But no one can take the good moments away from me, and that’s what really matters. I realized at that moment that the only thing you can do when you are having a bad day is to just keep moving forward. Because maybe tomorrow could be better. With that in mind, I called everyone up on deck for lunch and smiled at them while I did it. Because at the end of the day, regardless of who you are, there is one thing we can all agree on. We are all trying. And one mistake, one misunderstanding, or one bad day doesn’t define our experience, and at the end of the day, it’s us who choose what this will be. I hope the people around me understand that.

After lunch, we had two classes and then had dinner. As a skipper, I had the opportunity to ask one question the entire team. I asked about the challenges and beauties they had experienced during this time. And while going around the circle, I’m reminded that we are all, in fact, different but so similar at the same time. Today was a day of a lot of reflection, where I put these forty days into perspective. It hasn’t been easy, and I don’t think it will be any time soon (at least for me). But it has been fun and very rewarding.

I came here looking for an understanding of what it means to be human, and up to now, I can say this:
Being human means making mistakes, being ignorant, and at times selfish. But it also means having dreams, empathy, joy, and big hearts. I make mistakes, just like everyone else on this crew. But I don’t let that put me down for more than a day because, indeed, I’m human. And just like the rest of these imperfect people that I live with: I will keep on sailing with my eyes set on the horizon. We may have only forty more days of sailing, but we have an entire lifetime of being human ahead of us. So make mistakes, dream, love, laugh, learn, be sad, angry, scared, selfish, compassionate… But as long as you live, stay human, and understand that everyone else is too.
Be human !!!

– Inaki G.