If you’re a traveler you likely know that there are many hoops to jump these days. COVID has changed everything, including the way we travel. There are tests to take, vax cards, masks, hand sanitizer, and oh yeah, all the anxiety. Travel by air is a special kind of treat right now.
At present I prefer to travel by car, or in my case, by truck. I love road trips. I enjoy going places I’ve never been, seeing things I’ve never seen. I love truck stops, eyeing the trucker paraphernalia, exquisite kitsch, pork rinds and other questionable food that spins between heated rollers.
I travel for work too, which requires it’s own set if hoops to jump. For the last month I’ve been coordinating with three agencies and an many as four health providers to provide everything required to work on American flagged vessels. I’ve been drug tested, vaccinated, performed mobile ability and checked for color blindness.
Qualification physicals are stressful when you’re older. I’ve been in better shape, thinner, more agile. I require reading glasses now. Getting off the floor requires a strategy. And I’ve become very fond of slip on shoes.
I also provided documents, took an oath and earned a ServeSafe certificate; all this so I can go to the school that will qualify me for my new job. I guess sometimes you really gotta work for it.
Some would think anything more than two interviews is excessive. And many see a drug test as intrusive. But working on boats is different. There are different requirements and different rules one must live by.
One might think that when you travel for work, that there’s this sense of freedom. But that kind of freedom is relative. A ship can be confining, but the the water is transforming.
Working on a vessel, you really have to want to be there. But, that could be said for any job. Everything else you put up with is bearable if you really want to be there to begin with. Drudgery is unavoidable for many. Escaping it is a rare prize.