Our vacation started just a month ago as I was scanning through my e-mail. I’d been nagging my hubby for months to take a vacation. His standard answer was that we couldn’t afford it. On this particular day, Princess Cruises sent me an offer I couldn’t refuse for fourteen days in Alaska. “Look honey! We can’t stay home for that much.”
He grumbled some more about tips, port fees and other hidden costs. I showed him that we did indeed have sufficient funds in our savings account. Eventually, he not only consented to take a cruise to Alaska he got quite excited about the whole adventure. Thus, we set sail from chilly Vancouver BC for Alaska via the inside passage.
Our first adventure began our first night at dinner when our tablemates were seated. People who prefer open or anytime seating have no idea of what they are missing by passing up the opportunity to dine with several complete strangers every night for a week. This has got to be one of my favorite parts of taking a cruise. This week’s tablemates did not disappoint. We had two sisters traveling without their husbands. They were delightful. The other three people soared above and beyond a writer’s dreams for random people to meet on vacation.
We were seated with two single men and one single woman, all three, attractive adults traveling alone. I instantly recognized the potential for a romance writer. My dinner companions met and exceeded my wildest dreams.
Yes, both men instantly started striving to attract the young woman’s attention. She commented that she might attend a certain party after dinner. They both agreed they wanted nothing more than to attend the party. She laughed at their jokes. They were inspired to greater heights of comic wit. She laughed all through dinner. Her interests were their passions.
When we went down to dinner on the third evening, the waiter seated me next to the young woman. I recognized that it would be cramping her style to be seated next to me, the writer. She solved the problem by getting up and changing chairs. I thought she was a little weak as a romantic heroine if she couldn’t flirt with two men at the same time when an older woman was seated between her and the objects of her delight.
One afternoon when we met one of the men following her off to line dancing, I suspected that he had succeeded in capturing her affections exclusively for himself. Sure enough that evening, the victor proudly sat next to the young woman at dinner, whispering and giggling in her ear. Alas, the vanquished sat next to me and carried on a discussion of the role shifting cultural norms have on the style in which stories are told. I had to wonder if our romantic heroine was absolutely certain she’d made the best choice.
I was sad to part company with our young friends when they left the ship for inland adventures. They inspired me to focus my writing on a series of short stories about people I meet while traveling. I would have to travel more than once every three for four years for that to be viable—such are the sacrifices of the writer pursuing the muse.