A Retired Couple Inspired Me To Take My First Cruise

Photo by Javier Camacho

When I started my travel journey in 2019, I wasn’t expecting much. I didn’t think about making friends, spending money, or talking to people. I was trying to relax and forget about my life back home. But despite plans, life throws you some surprises. 

I don’t know what it is about Danish people, but I feel at home with them. They are very friendly, and I love their culture, simplicity, and desserts. 
After some sightseeing, my friend and I weren’t ready to return to the hotel and decided to go to a bar. 

The closest bar was an upscale place, but somehow one of us talked the other into throwing caution to the wind and spending the money. It might have been me because I was feeling spontaneous after eating the most amazing pastry. (I wish I remembered what it was called.)

When I say it was the best bar I had ever been to, I mean it, though honestly, I don’t have too much experience with wine bars. But I have spent some time at a few California vineyards. That counts right? Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the bar. It’s not like I ever thought I’d be a blogger sharing my travel stories. But I at least remember the experience.

Picture this: Two black girls walk into a very classy bar. We are nervous since we are strangers and look around to find a little table away from the crowd. The place is lively, and everyone is smiling but its full and the only available spots are two seats at the bar. We must walk through a sea of people, something that always makes me nervous as an introvert. 

My friend asks if I want to find another bar. But because I’m tired and want to sit, I swallow my fear and decide to walk through the crowd to the seats. My eyes are glued to my target while my friend is making note of all the Danish faces watching our every move. Finally, we make it to our seats. Then everything changes.

Their names were Gunther and Emma. They were a retired couple born during WWII. Though life had dealt them some bad hands, they found each other, married, built a fortune and family, and were now traveling the world.

They were simple people and casually dressed. You wouldn’t think they were anyone special if you passed them on the street. Many wealthy people don’t boast about their fortune, and Gunther and Emma carried themselves with humility. They were truly hidden gems.

Not only were they regulars at the bar, but they were also popular in the community. All the regulars stopped to say hi to Gunther and Emma. Can you imagine being so popular that back-to-back people go out of their way to come up and greet you? I can’t. With the amount of people that craved their attention, I should have asked if they were part of the nobility. But it was most likely their calm and inviting aura that drew people closer.

When they talked, they included everyone. Not only were they both intelligent, but they were also familiar with many cultures and had several amazing travel stories. My friend and I were introduced to many lovely people, laughed at Gunther’s jokes, listened to Emma’s wisdom, drank amazing wines, and for the first time ever, neither of us were worried about anything, including our tab.

When they weren’t in town, Gunther and Emma were cruising. They had a travel agent who booked all their trips. For most of the year, they were on cruise ships. I didn’t know much about cruises, but people in California were always talking about the cruise going to Ensenada, Mexico and how lovely the views were. 

Gunther was confident that I should go on a cruise since I told him how I was committing to a year of travel. At first, a part of me was skeptical because I didn’t know if I could afford a cruise on top of all the other destinations I had already booked. But I chose to remain positive and try. Perhaps it was the wine or Gunther’s charismatic nature. Either way, I’m glad I kept an open mind. 

By the time we got back to the hotel, I was the happiest I had been in a while. I slept very peacefully that night, and by the next day, I was excited to continue exploring more with the Danes. 

You never know who you are going to meet when you walk out your front door and how they may impact you. Meeting Gunther and Emma made me realize how glad I was to be in the present and how despite obstacles I wanted to keep my dream of traveling alive and a reality. 

I’m glad that I took a chance on the cruise. It showed me how much I love the ocean. (Many of my travels after were beach destinations.) 

The wonderful thing about cruising is that everything is in one place. The views are spectacular, people are lively, especially at night, the sea is calm, and if you’re lucky like I was, you’ll see a whale and a few dolphins. 

What do you all think about cruising? Have you tried it? Would you try it? If so, don’t forget I’m a travel agent now. I specialize in luxury trips, but I still know how to dig up a great cruise package or two. Send me a message or visit my website and let’s talk more

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