Comments: 72 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

ablitsm15 karma

I have been following your adventures on facebook for a while now. It's been asked again and again for sure but could you perhaps share some tips on talking with strangers while traveling ? Do you ever get negative reactions ? It always seems like you immediately run into the greatest new friends ever. Perhaps because everyone can get behind your cause ?

onceuponasaga21 karma

Thank you. That a good question and something of a compliment.

I hardly ever get any negative reactions. Although it does happen that some people confront me face to face with the project. Recently a (drunk) french woman looked at me and within the first 2 minutes of meeting her she proclaimed: IT'S A STUPID PROJECT!! :)

I however ended up becoming friends with her and her 2 friends over the next few days.

I guess not having to battle with the language barrier can make it easier. You speak the language then you can communicate easier and make a connection. But sometimes I run into people who become friends even though we hardly exchange any words.

I stick to that "a stranger is a friend you've never met before". It's a mindset and basically means that it is up to you how you wish to approach a stranger.

I avoid hard topics (to begin with) like religion and politics. It's easy to talk about food, sports, music, family and the weather. Often the subject naturally lands on travel.

Finally, given that I limit the posts I create on social media I can naturally also choose what you get to see. So if I have been walking around for a full day and I have met hundreds of people then the majority might have been kind, but I have perhaps only met 1 new friend. And that is then what I post. This, like the media, shows you an altered picture of reality. But I don't think it's false.

In my experience most people are good well meaning people with good intentions - and often a hint of curiosity :)

PS: I tend to smile a lot and find it easy to laugh :)

Sexymcsexalot10 karma

Seen any pirates?

onceuponasaga3 karma

Nope, but! I was on the bridge and noticed a printout with the latest piracy reports. And I was surprised to see how many there were in this region. I though most piracy was in and around Somalia on the other coast.

But these pirate attract most often happen near the port in the nighttime. It isn't "captain Phillips style".

ultrafil9 karma

What are the risks of piracy on your particular class/size of boat, considering the cargo it's carrying?

Also: is there a protocol to follow in case pirates are spotted?

onceuponasaga4 karma

Hi, There is a protocol for EVERYTHING onboard these ships. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a protocol for Alain spaceships crashing into us. There certainly is a protocol for piracy attacks and even subgroups depending on the type of attack.

There is a low risk for this ship. Not because of the cargo but because of the area we are in. Some pirates go straight for the crew and demand ransom.

J0EYGREC08 karma

I am waiting for my car to be shipped to Italy. Is my car on your boat? Please make my car get here faster.

onceuponasaga6 karma

Wow, sounds great. You really have something to look forward too then. This ship has a capacity of around 1,235 x 20' containers. I'll check them and get back to you.

Jiyaku8 karma

Have pirates ever been an issue?

onceuponasaga3 karma

Not yet, but it was a consideration as we planed the route before I left home. Mainly Somalia.

However I recently (yesterday) discovered that piracy is also an issue here in West Africa. However I much smaller issue.

treblekill8 karma

How do you get a ticket to travel as a passenger aboard a container ship? Do you have to participate in any work aboard?

onceuponasaga11 karma

There are container ships, like Grimaldi Lines, which take on passengers during certain months of the year. For this you will need to contact the agency and buy a ticket.

My advise is never to contact the captain of a ship unless he happens to be the owner. It is much more respectful. Once you know the name of the ship you can do an Internet search and find the owner. There is normally a fleet manager or a PR department you can contact. Then you just need a good reason for why they should take you onboard.

I'm on a large scale project and representing the Danish Red Cross so I have an advantage. And this container line (Maersk) doesn't ordinarily take passengers. So I'm privileged to be onboard and I am not required to do any work.

You should check out Niall Doherty who runs a project called "Disrupting the rabblement" He wrote a book called "the containership diaries". He might know a thing or two :)

TotenSieWisp8 karma

Why do you ride container ships? Is it hitchhiking for you? What are the costs/fees, if any?

onceuponasaga4 karma

I guess it's a kind of scheduled hitchhiking. Obviously I can't just go to the port and stick my thumb out like hitchhikers at a road :) That would be pretty cool though.

So far I haven't been charged apart from on one ship. They wanted $60 for insurance and $15/day for food and accommodation. I think that was just symbolic. In addition they asked me to write a story snout life onboard a containership.

Vannier1 karma

Do you actually plan to write a book about this adventure? Since you must have time to read, I recommend you try to find and read "L'usage du Monde" from Nicolas Bouvier and "Vol de Nuit" from Antoine de Saint-Exupery. You'll probably find them in English!

onceuponasaga1 karma

It's up and down. I have been offered to write a book by a big Danish publisher who believes that it could make for an interesting book. But I have never written a book before and my ego is looking for the kind of "Harry Potter" success rate :) (Which won't happen).

Ah, who knows. Yeah, probably I will try and write a book.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery sounds really interesting. I'll look into that. Thank you! :)

TotenSieWisp1 karma

How is the safety onboard these ships? Since these ships are probably all foreign ships sailing international ships, it seems like it would be easy for the ship crew to do ghastly things to you.

Like maybe kidnapping, forced labour, sex slaves etc. Afterall, there is no real law in open seas.

How do you evaluate the trust worthiness of these ships?

onceuponasaga1 karma

Well now, I guess there is no way I could know for sure if the ship would turn into a horror show. A scenario that Hollywood would later make a movie out of.

But then again...the crew can't be sure that I haven't packed an axe and a hockey mask in my bag.

It must be one of those trust things :) Actually they did a small background check on my before accepting that I could go onboard. And I have known the container line for many years.

defeatedbycables1 karma

Wow, so funny. I spoke with Niall a few times at basketball games and always wondered what happened to him and his basketball writing.

Really neat!

onceuponasaga0 karma

It's a small world...in a kind of big way :)

1984today7 karma

This sounds incredible. Will you have any chance to get into Sierra Leone at all? What made you embark on this journey?

onceuponasaga6 karma

I would have to say that the main reason for embarking on this journey would have been opportunity. I do not have a dog, 6 children, a Volvo and a piano (yet). So once I realized that I could make the decision...then I did.

I will enter Sierra Leone by land in a few weeks. The ship has a high level of security for protecting its crew from contracting Ebola. So it would be more difficult (though not impossible) to disembark here.

nonchalantnigga6 karma

How has travelling around the world improved you as a person? (Spiritually, mentally, physically etc.) Traveling the world has always been a dream of mine, and I hope the degree I attain allows me to do so.

onceuponasaga5 karma

I too hope you get your chance to get out here. Why not?

Physically I'm deteriorating a little. I have pain in my left shoulder which I have had for a while. And I feel that I have lost weight. But I'm also 36 now so age could have some impact. But I remember that I couldn't walk very far with my backpack in the beginning. Although I don't look any bigger I can carry my luggage really far now :)

Mentally, getting close to my home country without going in was tough. There was something about that self enforced rule that made it really hard to continue for a while. But the further I got away from home the better I felt again. This project is a lot of work and I often wonder if it's worth it or if I should make it easier for me and just travel. Interviews, do social media, meetings, the blog, finding interesting things to tell about etc...but you can't complain. Because the second you complain people generally think that you are ungrateful. That you are "living the dream" and that you are constantly on holiday. And it really has its moments! It certainly does. But it can be quite demanding sometimes too.

Spiritually, I think I have learned a lot about myself, about how the media works and about human mentality. I used to perceive myself as extrovert but I'm most likely introvert. I gain my energy from being alone and spend it on being social.

I do a lot of thinking. The world is far from perfect and I want to portray it in the best way possible. But what is that? Sometimes I go overly positive in my descriptions of a country. But I do it to balance out the negativity that dominates the world news. But often I find that I'm pretty spot on my descriptions. Do I have what it takes to represent a country in front of thousands of people who might never go there?

Why do I travel to every country in the world? Why not pick 100 countries that interest me? I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone to go to every country - why would you?

What is the value of money? If I can travel on $20/day and find myself living with the poorest and the wealthiest people on this planet (which I have during this journey), then it certainly wasn't the money that placed me where I went. It was something else...but what?

Traveling makes you speechless, and then turns you into a storyteller - Ibn Battuta

You posed some good questions ;)

iolithblue4 karma

Hey Thor! Safe travels! How's the food onboard?

onceuponasaga5 karma

Hi there, The food is great and I feel myself gaining weight. Today is Sunday which means bacon!! :)

iolithblue3 karma

Is there a gym, or can you go for a run on the deck?

onceuponasaga4 karma

Yes! There is a gym and it has a treadmill among other things. Running on deck is not advisable since you could trip and have a bad accident. But technically you could do laps. I do walk around the ship on deck when I feel like it.

frankoo1233 karma

Hey, been following you for a while now, will you ever visit Taiwan?

onceuponasaga3 karma

Hey there, thank you. Sure I will visit Taiwan. But it will be a while. I still have many countries to visit in Africa before I move on to the Middle East which will be followed by the rest of Asia. I'm looking forward to it!

adriyann3 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA! DO you ever get homesick, and if so, how do you deal with it?

onceuponasaga3 karma

You are welcome :)

No, not homesick. I have seen homesick people before and it looks terrible. I have never had such an intense emotion about returning home.

But I do miss my country sometimes. My friends, the easiness of being where you know how everything works. My girlfriend comes out yo visit me once in a while which is great. And not long ago a group of friends and family showed up in Hamburg, Germany, to see me. That was amazing too.

AlienwareSLO3 karma

Is there a (point-to-point) map of your route? Anyway, greetings from Slovenia, I really enjoy your facebook updates and wish you a good luck.

onceuponasaga5 karma

Hello Slovenia, A map showing everything in detail would be to complicated for most. So we created a map showing the journey in regions. Below the map you can see the countries listed one by one: http://www.onceuponasaga.dk/journey

DrMiraculous2 karma

Hi there, its great to travel, such wonderful experiences out there - what places are you looking forward to seeing on your current trip?
Thanks so much!

onceuponasaga4 karma

I'm really curious about Mali because a good friend has made the connection between some of her friends and me. And it will be fun to meet them. And also Ghana were my friend is living.

Eritrea will be an interesting revisit since I was there 15 years ago...so I'm curious about that too.

The Middle East will be intriguing, seeing many of the former Soviet countries will be good, revisiting Iran should be great, Japan has me curious...oh man...so many places :)

Yes, traveling is great! I agree :)

marbles252 karma

Is this an American Flagged Maersk ship or foreign flagged? Have you gotten to any ports worth getting off the ship?

onceuponasaga2 karma

This one is Danish. Apparently you can tell from the name. This one is called "Clara Maersk". If it had been "Maersk Clara" then it would be American.

I embarked at Cape Verde and we went straight for Freeport in Sierra Leone. The next port will be in Guinea-Bissau where I'm disembarking. So no, not really. Although I will be returning to Freeport in a few weeks.

ZummerzetZider2 karma

How do I get a job on a container ship?

onceuponasaga2 karma

It depends on what you want to do on the ship? If you want to become an officer then you need a certain level of school before you can enlist as a ships cadet.

If you are looking at becoming a deck hand then you can enroll in seamans school which is 3-4 years.

gkiltz2 karma

Why a container ship> Isn't there a passenger ship available?

onceuponasaga2 karma

I was in Cape Verde and there are no ferry connections from there. I arrived on a small sailboat.

I aim to take public transportation whenever possible. But if there isn't any public transportation (apart from flying which I don't do on this project) then I need to get creative.

It frequently happens on islands. And then I start looking for sailboats, fishing boats, banana boats, freighters...you name it :)

MrPink72 karma

Hey Thor now that you are in Africa , are you taking any precautions about ebola? I known some people who had to evacuate from their project in Sierra Leone.

Safe Travels !

onceuponasaga2 karma

Hey, yes. I have studied intensively on the subject of Ebola yo have an idea about what I'm dealing with. My girlfriend is a doctor and at this point I know far more than her :)

I will be more reluctant to shaking hands on the street. I will use hand sanitizer more frequently. I will wash my hands more frequently and avoid people who are obviously sick.

But it's important to remember that the likelihood of contracting Ebola is minuscule. Only a small portion of the countries population has Ebola. And you are at far greater risk when working as a healthcare worker or attending a funeral of someone who died of Ebola. Ebola doesn't transmit through the air or from people who are not obviously sick. So there is no great worry. But it is still to be taken seriously.

L00kingFerFriends1 karma

How do you feel about posting Facebook, Instagram, twitter and proof?

onceuponasaga1 karma

Pretty good? It's in compliance with the regulations of Reddit to add links to social media which you control if you have already added to the social media that you are doing an AMA session. FB and Twitter have that exact information.

Instagram has a picture with me and the entire crew.

All good mate. Have a great day.

brechdandyn-1 karma


onceuponasaga6 karma

Yes sir, sorry sir, right away sir! :)

Nothing serious apart from a year ago when I was heading from Iceland to Canada. The ships transit time was nominated for 8 days but we were delayed by 4 days because the waves were to big. So we had to slow down. The propeller kept lifting out of the water otherwise.

I remember buying on the bridge whole looking at waves crashing in over the ship. I turned my head to the captain and said: "is this normal?!" Everyone on the bridge laughed at me and said: "this is nothing" :)

qwertward-3 karma


onceuponasaga2 karma

Haha :) Last night I was listening to the Jason Bourne theme by Moby while I was brushing my teeth. So I'm going to say...no...not really :)

TalkingBackAgain-5 karma






shouting because it's a long way away on a boat!

onceuponasaga3 karma

OHOY!!! (Still laughing)

I will disembark this ship in Guinea-Bissau.

I'm onboard as a guest so I am not paying anything. But my overall travel budget is $20/day for about 4 years.

The cook just got a haircut. But...hmmm...naah. Still not my type. Everyone onboard is male.

This ship is Danish and the Danish Red Cross has good relations with the owners. I'm acting as goodwill ambassador for the Danish Red Cross so that's how that worked out.

I learned about the ship in Cape Verdes capital (Praia). I did so by speaking with the immigration police who informed that the ship would arrive the very next day. So I had to act swiftly.

onceuponasaga3 karma

Oh, and the good is great. We are having steak, potatoes, bacon, soup, corn, salad, fish and so on. Everything basically. I think tonight is hamburger night.

spectre89-14 karma

Do you agree that you're really milking this world tour for attention? How many reddit AMA's have you done now? Five? Six?

onceuponasaga13 karma

Yes and know. But it's a really relevant question! Thank you.

The social media of this project is useless and definitely not time well spent without any attention. I hope to show a broad selection of people that the world is not what the media often portrays it to be. There is much more to our world than earthquakes, ebola, ISIS, poverty, death and a long list of other things that are commonly portrayed when you turn on the tv or look at the front page news.

While the above is certainly a part of our world then it should in my opinion be balanced out. There should be much more attention on the good well meaning people of which there are most.

Sierra Leone is a great example. Most people who have heard about the country only know it for blood diamonds and Ebola. However it is among other things a country with families, culture and beautiful long white beaches.

If I did travel, simply for travels sake, then I wouldn't spend so much time on the social media. And then I would have more time for me. All the social media, is for everyone who chooses to follow it.

Attention? Yes! But not for me. For the project. And if enough people follow then we could have a little impact on how we perceive our world.

"It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world" - Chaos Theory

This AMA is however not meant for promoting the journey. I wanted to give those who have an interest about what it is like to travel on a containership - too ask their questions. I think it's pretty unique for Reddit to have someone answering questions live from a containership.

Anyone else can move on to the other topics.

Think about it. If this promoted me...then who am I? What's my name, how old am I, what did I do before, where am I from? Nope, it's about the project ;)

Thanks again for asking.