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December 17, 2019 36 mins

In an effort to instill some “self discipline,” into his daily routine, Hollywood producer and screenwriter Rob Long went to the extreme: He set out across the Pacific on a lonely container ship, surrounding himself with thousands of miles of ocean, just to get away from email, from Instagram, from the non-stop noise of digital life.

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Speaker 1 (00:13):
You've never experienced anything like a clear night looking up
at the sky, when there's no light pollution and you
see every star and you suddenly it all makes sense.
Welcome to A Way to Go, a production of I
Heart Radio and Fathom. I'm Jarlyn Gerba and I'm Pavio Rosatti.

Garlyn and I are thrilled to welcome our guest today,
Rob Long and entertainment industry multi hyphen it. Since two
thousand four, he's been the host of Martini Shot, a
weekly radio show about Hollywood and its many tentacles. He's
the author of several hilarious books, Conversations with My Agent,
set Up, Jokes, set Up, and most recently Bigley Donald

Trump in Verse. He sits on the board of My
Friend's Place, an agency for homeless kids in Las ang Angels,
and just finished a four year term as president of
the board of Southern Foodways Alliance. He also has a
Grand diploma from the Escopier School of French Cuisine in Parents,
I know No No, Gerlyn, I'm not done. He also

has day jobs, by the way as the founder of
the podcast network Ricochet, and he's an Emmy nominated twice
Emmy nominated writer and television producer who began his career
at a little show called Cheers. I'm done. Okay, Well,
all that is very great and impressive, Rob, thank you
so much. Obviously not at all what we're here to talk? Um.

Can you tell Pavia and I this is one of
my favorite stories. Can you tell us about the time
you decided that what you really needed to do was
leave your beautiful home in Venice Beach, California to hop
on a very bleak container ship and sail all the
way across the Pacific from Seattle to Shanghai. What were
you thinking? Well, in my defense, I didn't think it

was going to be that bleak. I thought it'd be
kind of cool. Um, and it kind of was cool.
And I didn't anticipate that the this is a while ago,
that the world economy would be so slow, that all
the shipping would be slow. And you know, you're a
passenger on these ships, like you just you're just you're
like a container, like you're not you know, I was
not in a container. I was in a room that

it's sort of like a pre fabby kind of room.
Like you go you go to a bad roadside hotel
and it's like it's it's nice, it's not dirty, but
it's not you know, fancy. It's much smaller than a container.
Also it's much more well. Yeah, and I just didn't
expect that the world economy's health would affect the schedule.
And what it's really fascinating how these things work, I mean,

container shipping. Everybody's listening to this and they're probably a
little smartphone and we think, oh, this is so modern,
you know, and the computers and all that great stuff.
But actually the twenty centuries brought to us by container shipping.
And container shipping started the fifties where some guy was
a shipping guy, a trucking guy. Uh, I own a
trucking company in North Carolina. His name is McClean something something,

Sam McLean or mc McLean. And he just didn't know
why hit truckers had to drive and wait three days
to unload at the dock and then load it back
because that was like cargo, nuts and stuff. And he said,
why can't I just take the back of my truck
and put it on the ship. And that was like
a light bulb moment for container shipping in that brought
us to twenty century because If you can do that,
then Walmart can send an email or send a message

to a factory in China and say we're gonna sell
twenty flat screen TVs next week in Little Rock. And
then those flat screen TVs will be made in China
and then be put on a container and the container
will end in Oakland on the back of a truck.
The truck will go and get too Little Rock will
lift it from the giant and then we'll put it

on top of the wheels. It's so genius, it's brilliant.
It's really it's a wonderful world to watch these things.
But so I didn't and I thought that just happens
naturally normally on a regular schedule. But it doesn't. If
the economy goes dead own, then the shipping owners who
are like in Hamburg for some reason there, you know,
think it's old. It's like all shipping happens like in
the North seas, right, that's where the boats are made,

that's where this is. This is being the case. Right.
So if you if you can go and see Hans Holbins,
one of his famous portraits is called a Hanseatic merchant,
and that was the shipping guy from Hamburg was so
the people in Hamburg said, well, we're not going to
pay a lot of money. We're sending empties back to
China anyway, so let's just slow down. And they usually
don't tell you they're gonna slow down. So I was

kind of climbed up this giant gangway was huge, like
there's like eight stories, this rickety thing. And I get
down my little bag and I'm in the thing. And
the first thing you do this or your room and
go to the room. And I said, and you talked
to you hang out with the officers and the captain
and the skipper. They called him the the Boss. Let's
he had some other name for it, um the Master.
He's the Master. And then the Master says, would you

like to come and see us? See the pilot pull
us out of the port, and Shank in Seattle is
like sure. So as we're moving away from the port,
like it's ten feet twelve feet, he turns and says,
they told you about the schedule change, right, and now
it's fifteen feet would be like no, he says, Oh,
it's gonna take an extra two and a half weeks
anymore because of the storms, and we have to go

all the way up and around storms and now it's
like thirty feet and then you realize that I can't
even jump out in an hour, Like you're just you're
you're you're out of touch. You can't there's nothing you
can't So you couldn't even tell anybody. Sorry, I'm not
going to be home for that meeting. I'm I have
another two and a half. You can sign up for
get a little satellite phone email address and then you

don't have until you sign up on boat so that
then you can see email at various people, but you
can't Like I couldn't go to the Flying Blue whatever
air miles used I used to for my flight back
from Shanghai. I couldn't go there and change it, right.
I just was like others do it and they're like, yeah,
that's how, and we think that's when, but we don't know, right, Sorry,

why did it something? Why was it going to take
two and a half more? Because because you don't burn
any more fuel than you need to. So they're just
gonna hang out and wait until they get some some
orders so that they know we have It's like they
have the rule from Hamburg is don't go over you
know twelve knote way as you walk across the Pacific,
tell us why you decided to travel this way and

then back to the and then after we also, of
course I want to know how you set it up.
Oh so why, I think because it sounded really cool.
How did you even hear about this? I mean, you
are a brilliant man who knows about everything at all times.
I didn't know about this. I guess it's right. It's
always something you don't know. And I think I read
about it somewhere and it sounded I don't know how
I was. Also, it sounded too like elder hostily for me,

like you know, people in birkenstocks and like you know,
beards going and say we're gonna you know, we don't.
I don't want that. But a friend of mine and
I we've had writing projects to do, and this is
like you when you're on a boat, like that's it,
like you you can't. Oh, I procrastinated. But on Instagram. No,
there's no Instagram. There's nothing. There's just you and then
the ocean and the Pacific, the mighty Pacific. Yes, well,
well mobic right, treat that's what he goes over the

Pacific they try. They circumnavigate the world, the whalers, and
what you discover is they tell you, oh, there aren't
any whales. There are tons of whales. Trust me, I
saw them all. There's so many whales, there's no shortage,
there's whale setting. You're like, I don't even Jimmy, I
saw him yesterday. And it's huge specific oceans huge also

what you forget and like you get on the boat
and you you walk up the gang cland this is
a huge continuership. It's giant. Do you even feel like
you're moving on the ocean or that you do when
you when you get on it. It's the largest thing
you've ever been on in your life? Is it? I'm
imagining like an airplane carrier. It's like a like a
naval carrier. Huge. And then you wake up the next
morning and you're in the middle of the Pacific and
you're the smallest thing you've ever seen, right, You're tiny.

It's a tiny little boat bobbing up and down. Are
you in a twin bed? Do you have nice big
heavenly bed mattress and big fluffy down and no meant
no no turndown service, no house keep being none of that,
and there's none of that. As the master. You have
to respects the master from you have to respect, and
you have to be careful what you say, because he

was very nice guy. They're all nice, but like at
a certain point and he says, well, Hamburg tells us
where where Hamburg came and gave us a new route Hamburg,
you know, the computer in Hamburg and this like TMT
guys in the computer and they just sent him by satellite.
His his his, you know, and you realize these container
ships used to have much bigger crew. They don't need it.
They don't need a be crew anymore, and they really
don't even need a master. And so then I made

the mistake of say, so, wait a minute, so if
Hamburg does all this, and remember a pilot, a local
pilot brings you in and out of port. So it's
never the master of the of the container ship doesn't
actually dock in Seattle or in Shanghai or pull out
of Shanghai or Oakland or Long Beach in his places.
A local pilot always does that. So and they say

they chopped at the pilot on sometimes when they come outside. Yeah,
it's like always a local pilot, so you don't really
need a master, which I then suggested, like when are
they going to figure out? And I stopped saying, and
he said that they don't need me. I hope not
to tell ill. He's German. I would not tell mad
for the next day. Beat But twenty days left. Business
brain is working. He's inventing driverlessless sales across the sea.

Is going to get on that in a nice room,
I could like anyway. So the reason I did it
was to be undistracted, because I thought that what, what's this?
What could possibly be distracting? About the Pacific Ocean and
snowing on the Pacific and whales. So all that you

saw was blue, gray gray. It was cold because of
December December, and you started in Seattle and you had
to change the roots. So where did you go? North?
So you kind of go close to this Arctic circle,
so you're kind of going in the bigger arc or
nearly are you hugging the coast of Alaska? As it
really you can see it. You can see it. You
can see these giants, ice mountains, and some of them

are ice volcanoes, old ice volcanoes. I think it's kind
of cool. It's really cool. And I think that's when
these are ice volcanoes, And I thought, wait a minute,
isn't that that's our scientology, right, they believe that lives
in an ice volcano. We should just go up there
and see, you know, anyway you can tell you from
l A but you know that's right. Well, I'm in

a pantheist um. So you go across and then yeah,
so we're we're north and you could kind of see
the storm. You can see it because it's there's nothing
in between you and that, and you could see the storm.
And then every now and then there'll be a clearer
day and a clear night. And you've never experienced anything
like a clear night looking up at the sky when
there's no light pollution and you see every star and

you suddenly it all makes sense because you know, people
would look at the stars for ever, and we tend
to think that's strange because we look at the sky
we see four stars, and they would look at the
sky in the ancient world and see them all and
it must have been just impossible to ignore. I mean,

how could you not believe the gods were powerful or
God was powerful or looking at you or there were
these these things had forces. When you look up at
the sky and all you see is this incredible canopy
is insane. It was just really amazing and a blanket
of just thick stars. Yeah, that's what we have up there,
I know, but I just don't see it, right, well,
I know we don't see it. Every time I think
about that, I'm like, how did they know? How do

they navigate by them? It's just such a different way
that a brain works, But there's more navigation. I mean,
how do you walk around the city? Right? You know
the building? I know, I get not not that well.
I mean, I know that I've crossed fifteenth Street, but
it's not as though I recognize the building on the
corner and eighth from the one on the corner of eight.
You might be deep in your subconscious And on the

point is like if they're there, they're so loud, they're
so you have to start paying attention to shooting stars
all the time, saddle student stars. You know, you look up,
you wait fifteen minutes. The earth is being bombarded all
the time by these things. Apparently. I mean I'm acting like,
I like, I'm really kind of interested in this stuff,
but really you had no intention. Is the star as

a sun? Did you know that star is a sun? Yes?
And the sun is a star. I don't believe that.
But were you going to bed early? Because well that's
there's no television. That's the weird too. You had to
be really bring your own. You had to bring your
own liquor. Okay, number one, if you're honest, If you're
going on a shipping container, bring your liquor, pack your

and liquor. Also pack extra because if you're going on
a ship, like if I brought enough wine to get
me through the two weeks to cross the ocean and
suddenly I had to space it out over a month.
Oh that's funny, pa, I thought you meant to share
with the master, but you just meant to drink it
all yourself. Listen, I'm just saying that I would have
needed another case to get me through that. Yeah, I

would recommend if you told me that, I wouldn't. I
know you well enough to say you double up on
the open. Yeah, I'm putting double up on the line,
so you ring. So. So there are two kinds of
people right there. Kind of people go on a container
ship because they like the isolation and they really need
some work done. And they're kind of people like me
who would go into a Canadian ship because they want
to be the isolated, they want to get some work done.
And they get on the container ship, they're like, I'm
not I'm not I'm not even gonna do it here,

Like I'm not even here, Like I couldn't be more.
I don't know what else I can do. So like
for two days, I was just like I just was depressed.
First of all, it gets dark early, and I'm like,
I'm not even doing it, Like what's wrong with me?
And then day three or day four, I was like, well,
you know today we're gonna be o this thing for
other two weeks, so I'm gonna just sit and just

look out at the ocean. And then the next day
you do that, and then you're like I could just
do this for two weeks. And then I wrote something,
but I first had to get over the panic and
oh my god, I'm not doing it. I'm not doing it,
and then say, well, wait a minute, this is kind
of cool. You're looking at this, looking at that, You're
on the Pacific, You'll go to the stars. All that's
all that stuff off. That was it, and there was

rough seas for three or four days where really it's
like a comedy where you're at the table and the
ship and your back from the table, and then it
comes back and you come to a club, back to
the table and you're like wait, like you do that
you're able the fork of food and then you go,
you know, and that's funny, right, But you also I
woke up on the floor humps because they you know,
this is amazing though that these ships are this big.

So sometimes it happens that container ships get lost at
sea because they just because the waves are so rough,
they just topple over, yeah, or they smash open or stuff. Like,
I'm not exactly a great endorsement for taking continuous. I
think it's ultimately very sick. But but the the other
thing is like you just realize, oh, they just put

your stuff in a box. They just put your stuff
in a box. And then they put the box in
a big metal box and the side it's not they're
not inside kind of rains and snows and stuff and
like held fastened down with bungee courts the corners of
each one. So that we have now we call forty
ft equivalent containers and they originally sort of the twenty

foot You can still see the twenty foot driving around
like they're a little one. They're like, oh, let's that
little truck. That's the twenty ft equivalent. And on the
corners you can see their little bolts, little bolt holes,
like little gromuts almost, and those are what they and
they have like this giant stacks of them, and they
had little little bolts that hold them together and kind
of like lego pieces, they fit into each other, they
right and uh. And so the crew goes and undoes them,

and then the crane operator lifts them and moves them.
And basically so when we were in Buzan in no,
actually when we're in Tianshan, which is in Hong Kong,
I just didn't do anything, he said. I got a
folding chair and sat on the top of the deck
and watched the whole thing. And they just they take
all the containers out and they sort of arranged them

by the crane and they put them all back in
with new ones, and they pack and repack the thing
according to you know where this container is going, and
it's all organized. You get your flat screen like you
get whatever you're looking for from where. It's kind of
remarkable when you see it happening like that. Okay, So
so you decide to take this container ship for a
few weeks because you have to get this deadline going,

and and there's a room prepared for you, kind of
miraculously because who would think to put people on this
ship with these other things? So so you got this
idea you heard about it? Is this something that writers do?
Is this something that there's a history or a legacy?
Here's what here's now. Alex Haley, who was the author
author of Roots, wrote his second book. Okay, so there's

some romanticism to it, sales. No, I think it's like
Roots to actually or something like maybe. I don't know,
but he went he went the Atlantic route, which is
the next thing I want to do from Savannah to
Barcelona or something. It sounds really cool, but I really
would just go Barcelona down through the Suez Canal, Barcelona
down through the Suez Canal, and then end up where

I think they'd up like any singer. But you don't
have to go to Singapore. You can just get off
and I'm imagining this is a very affordable way to
travel it's cheap, but it's not that cheap. I mean
it's cheaper to fly, yeah, it's and it's it's cheaper
to but but it's over the course of the couple
of weeks and you get room and board. Yeah, you
get you get room and board. The board part, I

don't know. I don't think it's really going to hit
the on a scale of you know, zero to tavia
it's a two, right, So it's good for people who
maybe like drinking soilent or something like that. Yeah, I
mean it's not bad. Did you go into the kitchen
and say, we'll let me show you what an chew here?
The interesting thing is you discovered this is a class
distinction on these ships, actually on cruise ships too, but

it's harder to notice. Officers are always sort of Germanic
issues more than European, and the crew is from the Philippines.
They're all Malaysian Philippine Malay. And dinner is like a
beef stew and stuff like that. It's not good, but
it's like it's like a bad boarding school. The crew
eats really cool pork stuff that's all crunchy and delicious

and like spicy. This adobo and all that. You don't
you run out of fresh everything in two weeks a
week and a half, so everything else is sort of
like there's nothing crunchy or fresh there, but um, their
food is much better. And then at night they drink
you know, lousy you know, safe Way vodka and do karaoke,
the worst karaoke ever, insanely bad karaoke, and to get

karaoke into golic so it's like you can't even join in.
It's just and it's like onto a video screen of
like you know, Filipino couples walking around them all right,
was there with the passengers on board? I went with
a friend of mine, Mike Murphy, and he you know,
how did you convince him to do that? I think

it was more like mutually, one of those things where
I'll do it, well, i'll do it, well, are you
really going to do it? I'll do it now, Yeah,
I think you wouldn't, like what are you talking? I'll
you know, we just basically, But of course the with
being with somebody like that is that he actually wrote something,
but he then sold HBO. Meanwhile I'm sort of smoking

a cigar and staring at the whales. Yeah, but then
you settled down to work once I got out of
your head. I did, yeah, but you know there was
no sale afterwards. That's mostly this. It's just a really
cool experience. Yeah, I mean cool enough that you said
you'd do it again again more, I think more. Now
I need it. Would you do it because of because

you have work that you want to get done, or
you want to do it just to be alone and
stare at whales, or to say that you've done it.
I don't see the stars. I think that I will
do it because I think I'm not. I haven't grown
emotionally enough to be able to say no, I'm just
gonna do it because I like the experience. Instead, I'll
say I'm going to do it because I'm gonna This
is gonna be a work product at the end of this,

and um, and then I won't do that work product
and I'll feel really bad. So it's spent three days thinking,
oh my god, I'm just I'm such a Why am
I not doing? What's wrong with me? And then I'm
just like, oh, well that's pretty sunset And then I'm
then where you don't, I'll be in Barcelona. So okay,
So if I wanted to take this trip. I want
to know how I would how could I book passage?
And then your checklist of things to bring with you.

There used to be a place called travel Tips. It's
still a website, still website, and they it's travel of
America dot com slash t R A V L T
I P s Okay, So they think they helped set
either this help set us our thing up or it
was another company like that. And you just have to
be super flexible because you don't you are not important,

and you don't know where you're leaving, right, It depends
when the ship is leaving, right, it keeps to a
certain schedule, but you just don't know exactly when, and
you don't know when you're gonna get there. Um, and
you just that's it. You're just not important. So this
is great for the game for the unemployed or people
who are the masters of their own destiny. Right. This
isn't for somebody who's like my boss, I have to
get I have to, you know, fill out the form

where I have one week of vacation or I have
a child at home right at some point, yeah, I
mean it is if you have to keep a schedule
or you have to be day to day connected. Right,
it's not for you. But if you can go seven
days eight days without being connected, so cool? Is that
part of the drill that there's no internet access. I

mean I've when I've sailed people like we have Wi
Fi and it's like, no, there's one tiny router and
like you can get on it for maybe thirty seconds,
but it's almost impossible. Well, you're not streaming any videos
or anything that there's no there was no wifan you
went to a terminal and the terminal is connected to
the satellite phone and you paid a dollar and a
half or two dollars for every bit or bite. It

was offensive, but you could be a good disincentive if
you don't want to have to deal with it. Right,
you were not connected to the web. You got a
special temporary email address. Did you use it? Yeah? I
mean I had an assistant in l A and I
was like, to help me do this. You need to
go and close there's a moment you need to get
me a passage back to It's one of those where

I like, so you go, you're you're in the middle
of nowhere, and then I fall asleep and am I
using my phone as an alarm clock, and then suddenly
at three four in the morning, it just explodes and
like all the rings, ringing, everything, ringing, wistmail, text, not
all the all the all the ring tones are going.

And I look out the window and we're between Hokkaido
and the mainland of Japan. And so my phone has
connected and it's updating two and a half week's worth
of messages, one of them one from my neighbors. And
you know, your back gates open. Oh my god, when
was that? And so I had a furiously you know, text,
somebody please go and close to that gates another place.
And then well, here's what you bring. You bring a camera.

I recommend actually not line because how how are you
going to store it? This is where I'm gonna have
to start drinking whiskey. Something that you could drink meat, yea, yeah,
you drink meat or like a splash of water. You're
gonna have no problem. Whiskey, drinker kind bars maybe you know,
something like that. They feed you, but every not. And
then you're in a little snack, little snack. I would
bring something you may not be getting depending on the weather.

How about like a diptyque candle or something like that.
That's a really good idea. I just upgraded the experience.
Now this is luxury container ship. What about a down
pillow that you can compression pillow? Listen, Oh, calm on, listen.
It depends if I can sleep in a lot of conditions.
I don't mind if it's a scratchy sheet, but I

need a pillow that I can sleep on and I
need it not Yeah, if I can't, I'm a great sleeper.
You know, I can absolutely do this trip. You could
totally do I could totally do this trip as long
as I'm not cold when I'm sleeping. So that's just
about you know, wearing socks and layers whatever. Cot water
bottle you're you're a hot water bottle person. Because luggage

do you guys carry? No? Just carry on very little. Also,
I'm a big believer in compression bags. So you could
get a pillow down to nothing and then it makes
a huge difference. Don't ever carry a pillow through the
airport because that is disgusted, disgusting would why would you
do that? And I've seen people doing that all the time,
Like what are you doing with that pillow? Yeah? But
they're like in eighth grade. This discussion, I would say

the diptyque candle. A friend of mine gave me a
candle when I was traveling through Central Asia and she said,
you don't need this. I was like, I'm not carrying
freaking candle from you know, and did woolm She too
is samable. Now. I left in Hong Kong thinking so
dumb Day four. I was in India for a month
before that, But like Day four, like I wish I

had that camera right I wish I had that camera
right now. For there are other guests in addition to
you and Mike on this trip, just us. So you
guys in the crew, how many guests could be on
this trip? It depends on the cargo because a lot
of times you have like there's a there's a passenger,
there's a The cabins are like owner's cabin. They call

it um and that means the ship owner, not necessarily
ship um some managing ship and the ship owner. It's
like it's complicated because like the Mr Shipping Company is
different from the people in Hamburg who run it, and
the shipping company were on hand engine, which is a
Korean um. I think it's a Korean company h and
they either own the ship or they don't, or they

own the shipping line and they they lay licensed the
ship from RS in Green, so they they always have
a cabin. And there's what they call supercargo, which which
is a cargo supervisor. So sometimes there this cargo that
that that the people shipping at want somebody on that
boat keeping on that cargo, and then there's a passenger
and there maybe one or two other passengers. It's like
an eight story small superstructure on top of the So

when you're looking at a container ship, you're like you're
on the beach as I was this weekend, and you
look at and the's a container ship going by, and
it's like a flat level of all the ships, and
then something sticks up that's where the rooms. Caroline, I
think that I could do this trip, and I think
it sounds really nice. What I like best about this
trip and what's most appealing to me is not being
on my phone though. I'm really interested in places where
you can where you're forced to unplug because because like you,

I haven't. You didn't mention bringing reading material, but that
to me and that feels like an incredible luxury So
if I had to, if you had some kind of
research to do, or maybe you don't have research to do,
and you could just read for fun for wanting incredible
both fashioned trunk and fill it with books. Well, there's
always books that you want that you didn't read. You know,

you're embarrassed you didn't read. Yeah, I'm trying to read
Little Women right now. Yeah, that's perfect, and you're like
the brothers karamats Off. That's what I would bring perfect
because it's good. Perfect, right, that would be a really
good because you're you're going to get into it and
you're gonna really love it. And then at night, I mean,
there's this insane star show that you've never seen before

that you that actually is the ancient world right there.
So you'd want to bring some Edith Hamilton's you'd want
to bring to bring the Odyssey you're reading. My fantasy
of the Odyssey is I want to I might do
this try this next year. Is like you get a
charter boat in Greece, some but skipper and a cook
and you go with a bunch of people and everyone

and at night you sail and swim and you eat
and you have your grill fish and your salad, and
then and you're sart wine and then everyone reads a
book out loud of the Odyssey every night as you're
sailing through the islands. That's my dream. That's a nice one.
That's really nice. Have you read it recently? I read
it last year, have read high school. It's so great.

It is so great. The story is so great, it's
so moving, it's incredible. And I finished it last year
right around now, and I was in um. I was
an escellent in big sir, the only other place where
you really like, oh my God, with all those stars,
like because there's no light around, and it was pretty amazing. Yeah.
I like this kind of trip too, because it's it's
incredibly low pressure. You don't have to plan an itinerary.

You don't have to feel bad about missing out on
skipping out on the temples. After seeing just a few
of the temples reservations about you, you and but you're
still in nature on this in this weird on this
weird moving vehicle. But you can really focus on kind
of the the art of travel, or just think about,

you know, moving from one place to the other very
very slowly. Just think about yourself and think, well, but
I mean to a certain extent, there's a meditative quality
to a trip like this. You went with your friend, Mike.
But if you don't go with your friend, if you
just go on your own, you could kind of turn
it into a silent retreat because at a certain point,
how much more are you going to say to the captain?
You don't know? And there's something totally romantic about it

in a way if you are, let's say you are
kind of a moody, artistic type. I mean, it sounds
really great. Yeah, it's insane. Yeah, I mean it's perfect
for that. I mean also I think it gets you
out of that. I mean, I don't know, but you
I mean, I always have the problem when I'm going
to go somewhere um or or someone's going somewhere I've been,
and they ask for tips, and then there's a strange
like like a checklist now and now I feel like, well,

you know, she said this was a really good We
have to go to this restaurant because she said it
was this has also been recommended. I have to go here,
especially like some type a New Yorker type, you like, well,
I don't want to come back from this trip and
then tell my friend I didn't go to that place,
because then they were going to say, oh, then why
did you go in the first place, Because you didn't
go there, you missed a big thing, right, So you

don't miss anything on a container ship at all. It's
like there's only one restaurant and it's not good, and
you're I'm like, that's it. So and every trip is
slightly subtly different, contending on the weather and you know,
the type of year and all that stuff. So it
is a really good way to break the habit of
either being super bossy with people when they ask you, Hey,

where should I go eating, like then telling no, you
can't go there, you have to go here, which is stupid,
and then also the weird feeling that I and this
I have where I'm like, I have to live up
to this strange expectation that I've been set for me
about this trip. There's no expectation. You just sit there
on your butt, you look at the ocean, and you
smoke a cigar and you break what whiskey and you're done, Wow,
what a vaca? I'm salt, that's so good, And I'm

seriously so your next ones, your next container ships voyages
will take you across the Atlantic. Well, that's one across
the Atlantic. I'd like to do, just because it's weirdly
symmetrical across Pacific across the Atlantic. And how do you
find out about these this route these alternate Here's the
other things, Like if you're a modern person in like

in the world, you have no idea how anything gets there. Like,
you have no idea. You think everything is just zipped
through the yeah, and it's like vision and you're really
surprised that anyone figured it out, Like you. I sat
there on the deck in Tien Sean. I thought this
is amazing, like like and kind of like the little

subtle things, like I thought I was smart. I mean,
I know I'm smarter than you guys, but like you
managed to do this amazing thing. And they're all like, yeah,
we figured this out a while ago when you were
reading Bodelaire or whatever it is. You're wasting your time.
Like people drive around the coast and then they pass
these ports and they're like, that's the port and they
don't even think about what it is, Like it's a
giant port where giant chips come in with boxes filled

with stuff and these guys all your stuff and you're
you know, if you were driving across the country or
you're in the middle. So I saw this when I
was in last two two weeks ago in Alabama and
you're driving and there's a big container on the side
road the word hand gin on it. That is a
container from the hand engine Chipping company that got there
on the back of a truck or a train, because

of course it's that's the other brilliant part of this
stuff is that it also fits onto trains and it
probably came You got to come somewhere in these either
in New Orleans, which is bigport, or Savannah, which is
a big port, and we drive by these sports all
the time, like also Elizabeth also right outside New York City.
Over here you can sometimes see the cranes going up

and down. And also famously Baltimore, which we all learned
about from this season of The Wire about the correction
and the theft that happened. That's how you know, like
you know that you can go from from Savannah to Barcelona,
because you're ever to Savanna and there's like a lot
of ship they come from somewhere and the best, the
best think about the more you want to leave from Barcelona.

Barcelona would be a great port to end up in. Yeah,
oh yes, And then you can make up for all
the bad meals that you didn't eat for a few
weeks we have by eating eating things out a tiny
tinny entertainers like um, like sardines, little clamsy because this
canned food and like, oh he ate was canned food
for two weeks in our crossing. And then you go
to like Morafi in in in Barcelona and you're eating

little lancho VI's out of a can. I love it.
I really like it. I've often when I've seen these
container ships that do have the clearly are coming from,
like Scanda is run of the other words, right, there's
a massive port in Cartagena also that I was faculated
by when I was sailing around there. But I've often
looked at decent thought it would be so cool if
one of these shipping containers had a passport. And it's

like I went through Trent to New Jersey and I've
been to Portugal and I've been all over like like
there was a day of like a stamp for every
so kind of like luggage, you know, if people used
to put stickers in the place that they've been to.
I mean, this would be very messy, and I like this,
but I just think that would be funny if you
could track a single shipping container. Can't You can't by
looking at it, but you can because they are all barcoded.

They all barcoded, so at any given moment, you know
exactly where the container is. You just know how to
you know, if you have a zapper, which they all
do on everybody, on every everywhere. This will call them
Steven doors, I think. But if they end up in Brooklyn,
then they turn them into a boutique. Yeah for recyclable
goods and you kind of like sustainable living, Yeah for
upcycled lit And so they turned them into really cool

shops like that are stacked up on top of each other.
The wonderful wonders of the container ship. It is of
the container, unappreciated, underappreciated, a massive change in the way
we live. And it's a real building block of commerce,
of goods, of movement, and apparently a really cool way
to travel to apparently a cool way to travel. Yeah, okay,

we're coming with you on the next one. Okay, wouldn't
well know but then we'd have to talk to each
other and it wouldn't be so I promised to talk
to you after four days, no more talking you and
your starboard. Yeah, and im not to make fun of
your pillow. You won't have to make fun of my pillow. Rob,
tell the nice people where they can find you. In
addition to adding Martini Shot to their podcast list, which

is one of my favorite podcasts. I don't think I've
missed a single episode in a hundred years. That's where
you can find me. You can find me there, or
you can find me uh at our cbl on all
the various social media. And we should let our listeners
know that there's a great story Rob wrote for us
about this shipping container experience on Fathom. And we'll also
put some extra notes in the show notes so that

people can start planning their own trips. Yeah. Yeah, I mean,
it just should be a thing. It should be a thing. Yeah,
thank you so much for joining us today. Thanks, it's
always so great to be Yeah, I'm surprised, not surprised,
but I'm not surprise. Very good. Time should say downward
and that's our show. Thanks for listening. If you like

what you heard, please subscribe and you know, leave us
a five store review. Oh Wait Ago is a production
of I Heart Radio and Fathom. You can find the
details we talked about in the show notes and on
our website fathom away dot com. Don't forget to sign
up for our newsletter. When you're there. You can get
in touch with us anytime at podcast at fathom away
dot com and follow us on all social media at

at fathom Way to Go. Please tag your best travel
photos hashtag travel with Fathom. If you want to really
go deep on the travel inspiration, pick up a copy
of our book, Travel Anywhere and avoid being a tourist.
I'm Jarrelyn Gerba and I'm Pavio Rosatti, and we'd like
to thank our producer, editor and mixer Marcy to Peanut
and our executive producer, Christopher Hasiotis. For more podcasts from

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