From Ship to Shore

From Ship to Shore November1

Every month I interview someone who has made the transition from working and living on a yacht to a land-based life. This month I spoke with Abby Sansgster, who now runs a beauty salon in New Zealand.

Having worked on Cruise Ships for 2 years as a Beauty Therapist, it was a growing curiosity of seeing these magnificent private yachts in port, and a nudge from fellow yachtie friends, that led me to working as a Stewardess/Masseuse/Makeup Artist/hair stylist for five and a half years onboard both Motor and Sailing yachts.

I was very fortunate to travel with the owners to their private villas, fly in their private jets as well as working onboard doing what I love providing pampering treatments to the rich and famous.

I had moments of pinching myself thinking, “ how did this little Kiwi girl come to chase the summer in exotic locations giving treatments to the world’s elite?” This was quickly put back into perspective when I was back on housekeeping in between giving treatments – opening the master cabin to find the room turned upside down, foreign objects in the sheets, both showers and a bath to clean and that’s just the first of 5 cabins to be turned around in a short period of time! I also remember running on a few hours of sleep after an all-night party the night before on the boat for the Monaco Grand Prix. The highs and lows of life as a stewardess!

I knew it was time for me to head to land when living with 18 crazy crewmembers doing small silly things I used to find funny, just annoyed me and I was grumpy more often than not. I became frustrated with the lack of ability to make plans. As much as I loved the fact we didn’t know where we would be heading to next, I just longed for a guaranteed weekend, Christmas with my family and a large walk-in wardrobe!!

Most difficult thing about the transition to land was the decrease in salary and tips and the increase of bills. I had years of living fancy free, only worrying about where was the next shopping spree, magnum of Rosé or lavish vacation would be! I now own a 5-acre lifestyle block and home with my fiancé Matty who is a Chief Engineer who I met onboard 4 years ago and will become his wife in January.

The best thing about the transition to land is making plans. Knowing if you can attend a wedding one year in advance; having a big bed that doesn’t try to throw you out of it in the middle of the night due to bad weather; and a massive walk-in wardrobe! I love having animals…I missed animals soooo much! If I had my way, I would have a zoo at our place. We have horses, sheep, cows and chickens that lay us delicious eggs every day.

I miss the extravagance, having had a little taste of how ‘the other half’ live. I miss the travel, the constant tan, the shopping, the disposable income, and most of all the amazing crew, crazy times and drinking Rosé in the South of France and espresso martinis at Skulduggeries’ in Antigua!!

Having my eyes opened to many amazing things and being so fortunate to travel has made me a better person and very happy with my new life on land. I have my own business, a successful and busy Beauty Salon called Flossie and I am a tutor part-time teaching Beauty Therapy students. We own a beautiful home with land and animals and I have never felt so content.

The best advice I can give yachties planning to the big move to land is…make sure you are 100% ready…not too soon…or not too late! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – it’s a huge adjustment. Have a plan and keep some savings – it takes time to curb that spending. And last but not least, cherish your time and memories onboard, think of the stories for your child…slightly censored of course! Life is short, enjoy every moment onboard and on land!

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