“Shipping Out” was one of the most fun things I have read in a while that is related to any kind of vacation. Maybe it was because I had been on a cruise once before and felt the same vibes from the text, or maybe it was just entertaining to me. One thing that I’ll praise the author for is that he didn’t stick to one lane in terms of writing about the cruise. Going from his joys to people being depressed brings the tone from happy and joyful, to somber. Truthfully, I think that what he had said in most of his story was accurate since I had experienced it with other people when I had gone on a cruise (the only one I’ve ever been on).
“The universal topic of discussion is “Why Are You Here” Nobody uses the word “pamper” or “luxury.” The word that gets used over and over is “relax.” Everybody characterizes the upcoming week as either a long-put-off reward or a last-ditch effort to salvage sanity…”
This stood out because it had felt real when looking back at my trip, I felt that groups of people were there have fun and getaway, but you could tell who had been a regular traveler since they didn’t care too much for what was happening during the whole things. I had asked people how many cruises ships they have been on, and some were as low as their first time and as high as 6 times in a row. The ones who did not care could be compared to Mona in the text.
“Mona is eighteen. Her grandparents have been taking her on a Luxury Cruise every spring since she was five. Mona always sleeps through both breakfast and lunch and spends all night at the Scorpio Disco and in the Mayfair, Casino playing the slots…”
This brings me back to the question that Wallace had written which was, why are you here. It could be to relax; it could be that it is an occurrence and it then does not feel like a relaxing time. The people that do want to be there will be there for a fun time and take their time seriously. If not, it could lead to a few different outcomes that can make or break a vacation for some. I had talked about this topic with other friends and they too have seen the similarities to Wallace’s experience.
This article touched upon many different themes and topics that could be talked about, but I rather touch upon the concept of the “why”. Why do we go on trips or expeditions? The word relax is overused and is used to describe the week of salvation, when the trip or week could be nothing from salvation if you don’t consider your experience as a joyful experience. I end this off by asking, is this cruise ship experience something that is in our control, does the number of times we experience a trip make it less meaningful, or has capitalism and life blocked our ability to enjoy these kinds of trips?