The real slow boat to China
When I was 22 years old and had just finished my bachelor's degree, I decided that I needed a new goal to set my sights on. Without much thought I decided that I would travel to every continent by the time I reached the age of 30. While I've been successful in travelling to over twenty countries so far, I missed this goal several years ago and by several continents. When I was looking into achieving this, I ran into the interesting concept of freighter travel. In this mode of transit you literally traverse the oceans as a passenger on a cargo ship as it makes visits to all of the ports of call. While this method can be slower than an airplane or other traditional modes of transit, but I think the amount of introspective time and solitude could be quite soothing.
These freighers usually follow normal trade routes around the world and have ports of call in places such as Northern Europe, India, The Mediterranean, Central America, South America, The Carribbean, The Pacific Rim, Austrailia and New Zealand. Depending on the size of the ship and the country of registry, the accomodations on ships can vary.
While searching the internet, I found three such travel providers that cater to English speaking clientelle.
- Freighter Travel with Freighter World Cruises, Inc.
- Freighter Cruise and Travel Club Int'l
- Freighter Cruise & Travel Association
I think that in some ways, this is almost like the working man's cruise ship condominium that people have been talking about. I'm sure that you would be seeing the world from a much more realistic perspective as well. While my current life situation and worldly obligations precludes me from taking such a voyage, I think at some point in my life I would love to do this type of trip. While I'd never get to Antarctica on a freighter, I think I've already decided that I'm going to do a Lindblad expedition to the bottom of the world when I get into a financial situation where I can can drop 20 grand without sweating.