I had a similar path with one major difference; I started programming at the age of 16. When I was was 25, my mind was a mess and I needed a change so I.. wait for it... joined Carnival Cruise Lines as a photographer. The job and money were a disaster but I coud not have cared less since financial benefit wasn't the primarily reason for taking the job. Now in retrospect, I can say that being a photographer on CCL was an excellent experience and would recommend it to anyone in their 20s. You will see different cultures, toughen up and become more independent. My CCL story ended with something so unexpected that to this day I'm still perplexed about it. I met my wife while working on board CCL Triumph; at first we hated each other, were appalled by each other, but as time went by we sort of clicked and everything changed. Here's one funny one of me feeling sorry for myself 😂; programmer became a photographer, continued to becoming a pirate, and eventually went back to being a programmer.
My ship was Carnival Inspiration! :) I absolutely agree, it's a great life lesson especially in your twenties. The drills, the discipline, the lifestyle, and the adventures. For me it was a bit more dire though. I started as an assistant waiter - just one step above the galley stewards. It was army :D
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