Broadening Horizons, Missing Home: In the Hot Seat with Stephanie

Broadening Horizons, Missing Home: In the Hot Seat with Stephanie

Part 2 of 2 

Not everyone spends their COVID-19 lockdown 5,000 miles away from home, working aboard a Superyacht, but Stephanie van de Riet is not just anyone. Born in Suriname but raised most of her life in St. Maarten, Stephanie is now travelling the world – as her dream has always been to do. Another part of the dream life? Being a mermaid.

Through her work aboard a Superyacht and now cruising the Mediterranean, she ended up spending nearly eight weeks of lockdown on board the ship, docked in her newly beloved Greece.

In the last edition of The Weekender, Stephanie shared her story of becoming a crewmember, the lockdown experience, and destination Greece. Here she shares a little more about her experiences abroad (and aboard).

What do you like the most about your job?

I like the places my job takes me to. Everybody loves travelling. My job makes it possible for me to visit so many places I wouldn’t otherwise have access to so easily. In the past nine months, I have been to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Greece and the USA. 

Best life-lesson gained from travelling and working abroad?

That there is a world outside of your comfort zone and you have so much to gain if you just take a leap of faith. I have had the best times of my life doing this job, but have also had many dramatic breakdowns thinking I have made the biggest mistake of my life leaving St. Maarten and my family.

I’m giving you a three-week, all expenses paid vacation – where will you spend it, and what will you do?

Thailand or Bali! I am very passionate about scuba diving (specifically turtle conservation) and both of these places have long been on my bucket list of places to dive.

Other than spending my days diving and being a mermaid, I want to go to the night markets and eat lots of street food and visit the temples. My grandmother is of Indonesian descent and I would love to immerse myself deeper into her culture.

What do you miss or appreciate the most about St. Maarten/St. Martin and/or Suriname?

I miss Caribbean people. I used to roll my eyes when tourists used to gush about our beaches in SXM - and now I totally understand why. The beaches here in Europe are rocky and cold and just not as welcoming as our turquoise sandy beaches.

I miss simple beach days – and from Suriname, I miss the FOOD. When you are the only Caribbean/Suri mutt on board, it’s hard sometimes when you don’t have access to the comforts of home. Our chef on board tried to make Johnny cakes to make me feel better. You don’t really appreciate the small island things until you can’t have the small island things.

I keep SXM and Suriname in my heart at all times, but since being abroad, I appreciate them so much more.