Newly Single and about to spend 3 weeks in the Abacos…

Where do I begin??? All of the fun, adventure, generosity, bonding, laughs, new friendships and overall ‘time of my life moments’ that happened on this trip were a complete surprise. There are plenty of opportunities to party when working on the super yachts but for me, 9 times out 10, I will decline the late night drinking and go straight to bed, even with this amazing group of clients. They are so much fun and love for the crew to be part of the whole experience with them, it’s so awesome. But knowing that I have another 16 hour day ahead of me keeps me in at night, the majority of the time. Plus this trip was three weeks with three sets of clients rotating in; I was not planning on doing anything but resting in between. What I hadn’t factored in was that it had been exactly one month since my man and I had broken up and although I was booked with work the whole month to keep my mind occupied, I was really sad.

When you’re the Sole Stewardess and Mate on a 75 foot yacht, it can get lonely especially when you’re like me and go straight to bed most nights. Honestly, all of my boat owners and their friends treat me as if I was family; it’s the best feeling in the world. Most of them are couples or families and although I chat with them here and there throughout the day, hang with them from time to time or even venture out solo once in a while, it’s still just me at the end of the day. Please don’t feel bad for me though, I am one of the happiest and most blessed people I know but when someone was in your life for almost two years and then all of a sudden, in flash, they’re gone, it’s sad, even when the breakup was kind and mutual.

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So here I am, Thursday, June 14th, 2018 on a plane to the Abacos staring out the window stuck in my own mind, letting go, reflecting and shedding tears, all good stuff. It was now time to be single again and I was beginning to be OK with it. The Captain (one of my favs) picked me up at the airport and we headed straight to the grocery store to provision. From there we took a taxi to the waterfront where his son, our dynamic Mate, was waiting with the tender to take us to Green Turtle Cay to meet the big boat. The rest of the day was spent unloading supplies and getting the yacht ready for the guests who were to arrive on Saturday. Here I am happily working away, not for one second thinking we would be doing anything but working and the boss says, “If we get all of our chores done by mid day Friday, then we can have the afternoon off.”

What, I just got here…..yahooooo!!! Here’s the kicker, this crew had lived there for 10 years which meant they knew every waterway, back road, fun watering holes, the best snorkel spots, restaurants, hidden beaches and tons of locals. I had no idea I was about to experience these places, several times, I just thought I was here to work for 3 weeks. The next day we packed a cooler for the tender and the three of us plus the Mate’s childhood friend, who was born and raised on Green Turtle Cay, (pronounced Key) headed out for the day.

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Our first stop was Munjock Cay where you snorkel with sting rays, turtles and nurse sharks in water that is an indescribable color of blue. You just pull your boat right up to the sand, throw the anchor and jump right in. I was in complete awe of the water and wasn’t scared one bit while snorkeling right past them. Two years prior I was terrified of the water, grew up watching ‘Jaws’ too many times but after a little coaxing from my ex, decided to face my fears, earned my dive certification and just like that, I wasn’t scared anymore. Guess after seeing what was down there, it wasn’t so frightening after all.

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The next destination was to No Name Cay an uninhabited island just south of Green Turtle. There you will find the Abacos version of Pig Island, ‘Piggyville’. There were tons of them running around the feeding station that was built for them all sniffing out what they did and did not want to eat. They are some picky eaters too and the big ones, evil, they will run right over the little ones and take their food. There are many different theories about how they ended up there, but no one really knows for sure, either way they were malnourished and dehydrated. Then years ago, apparently a local named Craig heard about the pigs, visited the island, fell in love and took it upon himself to make two trips a week with food and water. Between him, the tourist and Sunset Marine on Green Turtle, who donated a 2000 gallon fresh water tank, all the piggies are thriving.

This was day two of my three week paid job in the Abacos. I love my career and all the people in it who make my life that much more blessed!! The best part of this trip was that 90% of the places we went to were by boat, not car, which is now my favorite way to travel. After hanging with the pigs we headed for some food at Pineapples on Green Turtle followed by a bit of dancing at Sundowner’s before heading in for a good night’s rest. The first round of owners were arriving the next morning for five days so it was important to be sharp and full of energy. Make sure to tune in for my next story, there are still 19 days left of my trip with so many more adventures to tell you about!

How I ended up living on a yacht in Montauk the summer of 2018!!!

To my readers who were expecting to read about my flight with Lindsey Lohan, I am sorry. Up until now I’ve been catching you up on my past but I need to fast forward to 2018 for the moment. We will return to where I left off in 2003 when I was working as a Corporate Flight Attendant, but for the next few episodes I need to tell you about how I ended up going from a front office clerk to being paid to live on a yacht in Montauk all summer.

Three years ago I gave up my stable, 6 year desk job to pursue a life on the super yachts. It was not easy. I worked in filthy shipyards, washed down boats all day long for $15 an hour and worked as a Stew on a totally illegal boat where marijuana smoked filled rooms were the norm and the Captain was always drunk, just to mention a few. What I discovered that stifling hot summer of 2015 was this quiet and huge community of yachts below 100 feet who were always in need of good, part time help.

That and this great job placement website that doesn’t make you fill out a lengthy on line profile and won’t ask your age. With most yacht placement companies you have to complete a pretty extensive, on line application, which includes disclosing your age. A 43 year old aspiring Jr. Stewardess with no experience are not what most headhunters are looking for, I know, I worked at one of those agencies for 6 years. Trying to find work that way was a waste of time, I would have to figure how get on those yachts by myself.

The majority of the work posted on this site was for yachts between 60 and 90 feet with short term contracts and typically US flagged which meant they can only hire US crew. Turns out this part of the market was in desperate need of someone like me!!! So every day I would read their newest job ads, send my resumes, follow up, interview, network and wait. Facebook was a big help too, acquired a few jobs from posting there. I did this everyday for months landing a few detailing jobs or day charters but then nothing would come of it.

Apparently the ‘freelance’ help they tended to get were always either showing up wasted, not at all or getting hammered with the clients. These poor Captains had to frantically search for a Stew/Mate when it was time to take a trip because for that size range, owners would typically only keep Captains on full time. They would need to find someone who was not only fantastic with hospitality and housekeeping but also someone to help the Captain with navigation and the exterior duties. Here I come, older yes, but fit, eager, desperate and with a killer work ethic, common sense, endless energy, a constant smile and a tiny bit of work on deck.

I was happy to clean engine rooms, babysit kids, cook, walk dogs, jump off the boat to secure lines when no one was at the dock to help, you name it, I did it. Plus my party days were behind me, I still have fun but when I’m working, I tone it down. Showing up early and not hungover was highly appreciated but the work still wasn’t consistent! For six months I stressed every day and wondered if I had made the right move. All I wanted was a shot to show them what I had to offer even though I was brand new to the industry.

Then one day, my hard work paid off. The work just kept coming in and all by referral. By month 8 I had a fleet of 70 foot (give or take) yachts keeping me busy, each a few days a month, sometimes more. I loved it. Freelance was the best, there was no living in small quarters like sardines with a bunch of people you may or may not get along with and I didn’t have to move out of my cute one bedroom duplex where I had been for 5 years. Business was booming and I was continually learning new skills.

By July 2016, the one year mark as my own boss, I was constantly on the road working from yacht to yacht therefore it was time to give up my duplex that I was never in and live on the road for a while. I downsized, put a few things in storage and decided to try and live out of my suitcase for one year. Never once did I wonder where I would live or how I would survive…no idea what I was thinking. It turned out to be a great decision though because that one year on the road turned into two, then 3….but I don’t want to spoil the end.

What’s crazy is that the week me place was rented and i had no where to live but ended up meeting a wonderful man on Tinder while on a job in the St. Maarten. He was like no one I’d ever dated before and lived between the Islands and Europe working on his computer as an IT expert. After a one week romance, he asked me to move my suitcase aboard and give love a try. You’ll hear more about him later.

The few times I needed a couch to surf on back in Laudy I had my  niece, good friends, my parents in Indiana and my new man’s catamaran in St. Maarten, his condo in Gibralter or the various places he would fly me too. Those stories I will get to later, you’ll just have to keep tuning in…

Now having a long distance relationship can go many ways depending on the couple and the circumstances. Dating me with my crazy travel schedule required a confidant man and one that I could have faith in as well. But with the “Best Boyfriend Ever” (BBE) by my side, we made it work, from different parts of the world, for almost 2 years. Overtime the week’s apart slowly turned into months apart and then we started to drift apart. From June 2017 to March 2018 we had only spent a total of 9 weeks together, but it worked for us, so we kept going. Our last trip was two weeks in Australia after almost 3 months of separation and we had a blast, everything was looking up. Then a few weeks after our trip, I received two job offers for this summer I couldn’t refuse. Taking them would mean at least another 4 months away from my man and there wasn’t much time to make a decision.

The first offer was 3 weeks in the Abacos with one of my busiest and most fun boats. These clients were all from the Midwest and treated me like family. Always inviting the crew along to have drinks or dinner, which was great, but up to this point, I would usually decline so that I could get a good night’s sleep. Yachting days are minimum 12 hours since we are typically up before the clients and still going strong well past dinner time. Little did I know at that point that my no partying rule while working doesn’t apply when in the Bahamas. (details in my next episode) After that I had two days to repack and get my things in order before moving onto job offer number two, three months on Long Island, two of them in Montauk.

It was ideal; I would live on the boat alone with the owner’s only coming on the weekends and get to spend my summer in the hottest spot in New York. For this gypsy child living out of her suitcase, this meant 4 months of free housing, not having to couch surf and all the food I could eat for free, how could I say no????

I accepted both offers and then broke the news to my man. At first we figured we could handle it, but then something changed and before you knew, we broke up. I was sad, not like I was in the past, when I was younger because by the time you hit your 40’s you tend to get used to stuff ending. You learn to take it in stride, almost become numb to it. But for good or bad reasons, it’s never easy to let someone go who was your best friend for 2 years. He seemed to always be on the other end of the line waiting for a chance to rescue the girl who never asked for anything, no matter where I was in the world….my Knight in Shining Armor. Plus, I was not looking forward to being single again. Before him, I was solo for 5 years, yep, long time and I was happy single, but I was also happy in my relationship.

So here I am, just turned 46 with a very successful career, the best body of my life and now the freedom to be fun and flirty with other boys…hello summer 2018!!!!

After 6 weeks of dating, I got engaged….what was I thinking????

It didn’t take me long to change my mind. After gobbling down the cheese and inhaling the free bottle of wine, I was dressed up and ready to go out. The stalker scare at the French hotel pool had me freaked out for like 2 hours but once the wine kicked in, I was all of a sudden brave again and couldn’t wait to go dancing. Then just as I was heading out the door, the hotel phone rang. A hot wave of fear came rushing over my body as I picked up the receiver. Maybe it was the pilots checking to see if I wanted to go out or maybe it was the mystery creeper who sent me the wine and cheese.

‘Bonjour’, I said trying not to sound American to maybe throw him off only to hear Dan on the other end. ‘Hey Carrie, did you get my surprise at the pool’? What??? The man I had been hanging out with back in Laudy for like 2 weeks went through the trouble of calling the hotel, tracking me down at the pool (in France) and surprising me with wine and cheese, wow, what a doll!!!! We had a good laugh as I told him about my day. He apologized a million times for freaking me out which I insisted was not a problem because what he did was super romantic. I could tell right away my feelings for him had gone from just a guy to pass the time with to now a man who I could possibly take seriously.

Once I returned, every day I wasn’t flying around the world, we would spend together. After about a month, it was time to ask him what he did for a living. At first I figured maybe he was like one of these guys you see in the movies who had a secret agent man job where they can’t really tell you what they do or what if he was just some self made millionaire who managed to make enough money to retire young? Either way, it was time to find out. It was very strange that he dressed impeccably every day, but never went to a job. The answer was not what I expected and certainly not attractive, at least to me back then because I was still very insecure and had no idea what to look for in a man. Apparently his Grandmother had passed and left him a trust fund which he was now living off of. Really, that’s it, that’s the big story? Dan was like 38, blew through money like water and expected this money to last him another 50 years?

I’m a worker and even if I inherited tons of money, I’m still going to do something I love to keep busy and feel good about myself. So to me, a man who just takes that kind of money and doesn’t do something wonderful, or useful with it or his time, just isn’t sexy. To others it may be a dream come true but to me, back then and even more now, at 46, what I consider hot is a man in constant motion, always keeping busy with his mind.

He then said that he was working on a business idea with a buddy of his but it was on hold at the moment. At the time, I believed him because, one, he was so sweet and spoiling me and two, I had kind of fallen for him. In my heart I wanted it to be true so I figured what the hell, we’re not married and had just started dating so I’ll just keep it casual and see what happens. Besides, I was quickly discovering that the people I had been meeting in S. Florida were super fake and materialistic. Finding real friends was hard in that town and we had fun together.

But to be honest, we didn’t have much passion, he didn’t believe in recycling or taking care of the environment, my dog wasn’t really his thing and when it came to handy work, Dan only knew how to dial someone to come and do things for him. But you know women, in our minds; we can change a man and mold him into what we consider the perfect guy. He already had a good base so now I was on a mission to change everything about him and the poor guy had no idea.

About a week later, we hit one of those outdoor strip malls to do a little shopping and in the parking lot was a Jared’s jewelry store. Dan thought it would be a good idea to stop in, he wanted to buy me a sort of promise ring to show how he felt for me, which I thought was really cool. At almost 31 years old no one had ever asked me or even considered asking me to marry them. If you had read my past blogs you’ll remember that I was a crazy, jealous girlfriend who couldn’t handle her alcohol well so I could understand why I was still single.

Well that promise ring turned into an $8000 engagement ring…..yep, the next thing you know, I was getting married. All of the things about him that bothered me seemed to disappear and just like clockwork, I was staying with a guy because he wanted to be with me, not because he was my perfect match or because I was in love. The girl who was afraid to be alone was making the same dating mistakes from her past. I had no friends, no family and had been away from home so long, I had forgotten what it was like to be part of something, to be loved so why not marry him, I was now in my 30’s and it was about time.

During all of this courting I had managed to fly my 13 year old niece in from Indiana for her spring break. One day we were at the beach when I met the coolest chic and right away I could tell she was just like me. Cathy wasn’t materialistic, loved to go out, be fit, have fun and had was completely normal. I was so excited to have a friend. She lived walking distance from a really cool strip of bars and restaurants by the beach and since I didn’t like to drink and drive, said I could totally crash at her place after we went out. So that night, we hit the strip, had the best time and ended up meeting tons of cool people who also hung out there. She and I would just sit on her balcony for hours, sipping wine and talking nonstop. Cathy had recently been through a terrible tragedy and was still in mourning from the ordeal and like me, only had a friend or two, but not really anyone she could hang out and party with. I was the perfect distraction for her and she was the perfect new bestie for me.

As the weeks went on and the wedding planning began, for whatever reason, I began to sabotage the whole thing. Starting fights, questioning his loyalty, picking out everything that bothered me about him. At one point Dan looked right at me and said, ‘Carrie, it’s me, I’m a good guy, why are you doing this?’ At the time I didn’t know why, but in hindsight, I see now that he was all wrong for me and with my new bestie in tow, Dan was becoming obsolete. I was now engaged to a man that I didn’t love and had no idea what I was I going to do????

It was Cinderella’s fault I was so unhappy in my 20’s….

This was now the second time I decided to move across state lines for a boy. And this was the second time it failed. One day after moving to Orlando, I caught him at the beach with another women! Between my broken heart, paying double rent, student loans, credit card bills and endless bar tabs, I was a mess. If it wasn’t for the $1 menu at McDonald’s and the cheap hot dog vendors at 3 am, I would have starved. I was extremely unhealthy, drank too much and was out of control. The sad part was that compared to where I had just moved from, life was pretty good. Here I am, living in Orlando, newly single with a steady job and a fantastic apartment, but none of that mattered. I was 23, broke, alone and desperate to be in love.❤

Dating was like playing the lottery, the odds of winning were 1 in a million, but I kept playing anyway. 

Unfortunately my mom was always working, so there wasn’t much time to teach me about boys. But she did mention one thing that stuck with me, mom said, ‘Carrie, don’t ever feel that you have to get married or have children’. I don’t remember if I ever asked why and to be honest, it probably went in one ear and out the other, but looking back on it now, she was absolutely right.

I was obsessed with finding love and it’s all Cinderella’s fault. Her and all those silly fairy tale books we read as kids.

I thought happiness meant you had to have a man. On girls night out, it was hard to enjoy myself because all I ever wanted to do was find a man, get married and have his babies!!!!

I think if I had a daughter, she would be reading books on how to be her own boss, make money and travel the world. The ones that say to wait around for a Prince are sweet, but there needs to be variety.

Plus they painted a picture that seemed so easy to achieve. Society and family pressure didn’t help either. Up until the last few years, it was strange if you weren’t married by 25 and by 30, you were almost considered too old to marry. 

When I was young, it seemed instead of traveling the world, discovering themselves or dating a bit to see what kind of person was right for them, adults did as they were told. They married young, bought a house, had children and got a job. That was my plan too, but the keeper of my destiny had a different plan. 

And then, out of the blue, he called, my ‘older man, the one I swore off because he was already taken. The man who taught me about fine wines, girly clothes and elegant dinners. I knew it was wrong to talk to him, but when all you see are dark clouds and broken dreams, you do things you normally wouldn’t do, so I answered the phone…

 

It was 1995, I was in love, had a great job and then everything changed…

Now that I had a good job, Augusta was starting to grow on me.  I soon met a local boy named Tony who captured my heart. When I told my ‘Sugar Daddy’ in California that it was over, he wished me well, chuckled and said,’I’ll see you soon’. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but it was about to become very clear.

Knowing that there was no other way out of small town Georgia, Tony joined the Navy and was stationed in Orlando. I was going on 9 months with AT&T when they informed us of the layoffs. Luckily for me, there was an office in Orlando looking to hire a File Room Clerk for $400 a week…I was elated! Not only was it my ticket out of Augusta, but it was a way for Tony and I to be together.

The week before my big move, the famous ‘Masters’ golf tournament was taking place and one of the local bars needed a beer tub girl. The city was flooded with people from all over and in 3 days time, I made $2000 cash. In my 25 years, I had never seen that much money, and it was all mine. Everything was working out perfectly, except for 2 tiny issues, my DUI and my lease.

A month before accepting the job in Orlando, I had moved into a nicer place and signed a year lease with a girlfriend of mine. Now If you know me, you know that I am loyal, and when I give my word, I will do whatever it takes to keep it. So I promised I would pay my half until she found a replacement. Basically between the rent in Orlando and the rent in Georgia, half my pay was already spent. Not having any money was normal for me though and like always, I would figure it out, but the DUI and weekly mandatory visits with my probation officer…..well that was another story???

My 1988 Chevy Cavalier was packed, Travis the beagle was chillen in the front seat and I was on my way. The 3 bedroom apartment was already furnished and my new roommates were eagerly waiting my arrival. At the time, cell phones were fairly new, expensive and impossible to get. Tony would have to call my home phone from a payphone in order to talk and it had been a week or so since I’d heard from him. I was getting suspicious, but remember, I was also the crazy, psycho, jealous girl, so I was always suspicious.

Once I settled in, it was time begin the hunt. My boyfriend had no way of getting a hold of me so I went to the Navy base to track him down. It wasn’t easy getting past the guard gate, but with a few flips of the hair, some fake giggles and a lot of flirting…..I was in! After interrogating several of his Navy buddies, they informed me that he was at a super popular beach bar with some friends. I was feeling quite proud of my investigation that day and with a big smile and happy heart, I was off to surprise the man I loved, the man who swore to me that we would be together forever…

College, ugh, not sure I want to tell you about those years……

Back in my day, we didn’t have the internet to look up all of the fascinating things you can do in bed! Sex was a mystery only to be solved by trial and error and error and error. Some parents were good with that conversation and some avoided it all together. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I was clueless and would hear things like…..’tease’, ‘just the tip’ and ‘but I really, really like you’.

You might be blushing, because I know I am, but I would bet a
million dollars that most of the men reading this are thinking…..’haha, yep, worked for me’, and many of the women are thinking….’you fell for that too?’ lol

Now in High School, my experience with sex and drinking was very limited, but during my first year of college, I was like a circus lion who’d been set free. There were parties and boys everywhere! I didn’t have much money but that wasn’t an issue because we had Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, 750 ml of cheap deliciousness.

We all know (now) that being insecure and dating do not go well together. I will shamelessly admit that I was a bit of a stalker slash crazy person once I gave it up. To me, having sex meant we were a couple, even if I’d never heard from you again. For whatever reason, I was obsessed with trying to catch someone cheating. Enjoying the relationship was foreign to me and in 1991, cell phones were a rumor. When you wanted to get a hold of someone, you would call their house and leave a message on the answering machine. It worked like a tape recorder and I was a pro at figuring out the password. That was mild compared to being caught peeking into their bedroom window trying to catch him with another girl. I was a scraper too, fighting with my siblings and the bullies in high school turned me into a mean girl. Drinking only made it worse, always causing me to provoke violence.

Fortunately, my Sophomore year, I met a Junior from the private college down the road, which settled me down a bit. He had no idea who he was about to date. Drinking and fighting became a normal part of our relationship. It didn’t matter who was around, as soon as the alcohol kicked in, ‘Crazy Carrie’ would show up and cause a huge scene. But he continued to date me, even after he graduated and took a job in the next state.

The summer before my senior year, I turned 21 and qualified for an internship in Florida, a place I had only heard about. It was a dream job, one of the best summers of my life and I was determined to return. Heading back to Indiana and college was like leaving colorful, sunny OZ and living back in black and white Kansas. Plus, I had been kicked out of my sorority the semester before for entering a wet t-shirt contest on Spring Break. All of the sorority ‘friends’ I had made shunned me, so after a few weeks, with my tail between my legs, I moved back home to Merrillville and attended Indiana University NW. It wasn’t all bad though, my boyfriend was only an hours drive away and I had my childhood friends to hang around.  And then, out of the blue, my life in Indiana was about to change forever. The boyfriend was offered a job in Augusta Georgia and for whatever reason, he invited me to go. This was the first of many events in my life that would lead me to where I am now…….