At the moment, no one really knows for sure when cruising will properly start again.
Because of that, it’s very hard to know if businesses and lovely places I write about around the world will be the same – or even open then. That’s why I’m not writing about them until we know more.
So, instead, I thought I’d share some happy news. A good shipmate of mine is releasing some songs about travel to get us all in the mood to return to sea when we can.
She is a new pop singer-songwriter on the Spotify block, but she’s not new to the world of entertaining on cruise ships.
My friend Shelly
I’ve known Shelly Page since we first worked together on the HAL Ryndam back in 2013.
She worked on Royal Caribbean in 2006 singing in the party band and got the cruise bug. After some health issues, she came back to sea as Solo Guitarist, singing and playing guitar, providing the entertainment for one of the ship’s lounges. She worked on Norwegian Cruise Line in 2009, then Holland America from 2010 to 2011. She loved her job performing for cruise ship guests and getting to travel the world while doing it.
Then in 2011, tragedy struck.
She developed a blister on her vocal cords and needed surgery.
Doctors advised Shelly that she would have to stop singing for at least a year or she’d never sing again.
She was heartbroken.
Shelly had the surgery, it worked, and she started the long process of resting her voice from singing, so it could heal.
But, never one to be down for long, and still wanting to travel, Shelly switched jobs to be a Youth Program Coordinator, running the program of activities for the children onboard, which she did from 2013 to 2016.
By then her nodes had fully healed and she happily returned to sing at sea.
She went back to Royal Caribbean in 2017 as pub singer and did that until the end of 2019, planning to work on her original music and play at festivals. But then covid-19 hit, so now she’d be happy with any live performing work – on land or at sea – once things start back again.
On cruise ships, Shelly almost always sang cover songs, as people like to sing along with songs they know on vacation. But on land, song writing is one of her main passions.
Shelly’s favorite thing is combining her two loves of travel and music by writing songs about places she’s been that she felt a deep connection with.
In 2021, she’s releasing a series of singles about different places around the world. The first one is called Amsterdam.
The lyrics in Amsterdam hint at some of the issues many travelers wrestle with:
Starin’ at a dress. It’s black lace and fitted
I close my eyes and I picture myself in it
I would look so pretty but no one ever knows
‘Cause I’m walkin’ around in my second-hand clothes
The pull of travel is stronger than the desire for material goods – this verse resonates with many travelers.
Shelly, like me, thinks of money in terms of “how far will that get me a plane ticket to?” Rather than thinking of spending it on material items like fancy dresses and designer shoes.
Another verse resonates too:
I’m lonely as I go
But I’ve got a wanderin’ soul
Cobblestones, lead me home
I’ll return here somewhere down the road
This feeling of being drawn to see more places being stronger than the need to stay put and build traditional ties is something I’ve felt for years too, as have many of the traveler friends I have.
While it may seem a little melancholy, it never reaches sad. The line “I’ll return here, somewhere down the road” gives a little sign of hope, that places themselves almost become friends. And like good friends, we’ll always make a point to see them again when they mean something to us.
A love song of hope
‘Amsterdam’ give us little clues about a love Shelly had in the city, but she keeps fairly tight-lipped when I ask her about it, saying that she’d prefer people to “Take what they want from the hints of the love story”, rather than outright discuss it. This way I think means that anyone can relate to it.
The reason is, that the song is more a love song to the city of Amsterdam than to any person in it.
This is something that many ship crew know – the ofttimes exhilaration and sometimes heartbreak, of choosing adventure over love.
Shelly’s intent in writing these stories about travel now isn’t to make anyone sad that we can’t travel like normal yet, it is the opposite. Her goal is to share these little stories of travel to help keep us sane while we wait.
I for one, am looking forward to hearing each song as they conjure up memories and feelings of being back in the places she sings about and daydreaming about going back soon.
Check her out at www.shellypagemusic.com