Imagine your mid way through University & the campus has to close down due to Political Protests & you suddenly remember the large yachts you saw on a family holiday in Florida. What would you do? Sam decided to pack her bags & join the completely unknown world of yachting, all while learning English…

That’s just a small part of Sam’s story & today I am elated to be able to have her on the blog to share her story & passion. 

Hey Sam! Thank you so much for joining the Mermaid Monday Club! Can you share a little about yourself & how you started out on yachts?

Hi! My name is Samantha Mujica, I’m a former Language Student/Teacher from Caracas, Venezuela. I joined the industry in 2014 after deciding to change paths to seek a better, more independent future. I was introduced to yachting while on holiday in Florida back in 2013, I was invited to go for a cruise around Ft Lauderdale on a small boat with my mom and my mom’s friends. I remember seeing these huge, amazing looking boats and having no idea that I would end up working on one of them.

I went back home to continue my studies and forgot about this crazy idea… until early 2014 when my university shut down a couple of times due to political protests. I decided to take a leap of faith, leave everything behind and join the yachting industry. It was the best decision I’ve ever made!

I am always so fascinated by how stewardesses find this industry & your story is rather unique. It must have been a huge transition moving from Caracas to Fort Lauderdale! When you joined your first yacht, what surprised you the most?

There are so many things that have surprised me in this industry, especially during my first week working onboard a yacht. When I got my first job and walked around the boat I remember being surprised about EVERYTHING! Even being able to choose from a variety of snacks and sodas totally blew my mind!

I must say though, the thing that surprised me the most, was the waste. I’ve always felt that there should be better ways we can do things that would still allow us to get the job done and reduce the amount of waste that can be produce while working onboard a yacht. With time, more experience and more confidence I’ve been able to make changes in my lifestyle and also in my work environment that has allowed me to contribute to this issue. 

I’ve seen it far too often as yacht crew, we can become so used to seeing the amount of waste onboard that is becomes the ‘norm’! I can only imagine what it would have looked like to someone not used to overwhelming amount of garbage! 

In the past month or so, you have started an Instagram Account (@consciousstew) that offers tips on how to make wiser & greener choices, what inspired you to start this page?

I’ve always thought I was pretty ‘’eco-friendly’’ and then, a couple of years ago (2017-2018), I  really started to be more curious about what I ate, what I wore, what I bought, what I used and more importantly WHY I do all these things. So I did lots of research and I did not stop reading articles and facts until I made myself cry… literally. I had NO IDEA that all these things I was doing daily like: ‘’buying a healthy smoothie in a plastic cup with a plastic straw’’ we’re not only damaging the environment but also hurting the animals and even my own body! 

This new idea of putting my thoughts and ethical living tips on an Instagram page is just my way of taking action, committing myself to make a change and also invite people to do it and learn with me or from me. I don’t think there are enough people talking about the ‘’not so good stuff’’ and I think it’s important to do so, in order to have massive positive change in our industry and our lives.

You are so right! How often do we purchase items without a second thought of the local & global impact. I really admire you holding yourself accountable through your Instagram account & taking the time to share your thoughts with others.

I have often seen you post snaps of early morning yoga onboard – how do you maintain a healthy lifestyle while working on yachts?

I’ve always been very active and I love unconventional ways of working out. I am an Aerialist (a bit rusty now) but I used to practice pole fitness, Lyra hoop and aerial silks before yachts and a bit on and off during yachting. A couple years ago I got introduced to yoga and it’s been my Jam since then. It has healed me and helped me through the toughest moments of my life. (I am becoming a yoga teacher this year which has me super excited!!)

I eat Plant-based foods and try to eat mostly whole foods, which for me, works great. I’m also completely addicted to chocolate and almond butter, so I eat these two things pretty much every day!

Girl! I love chocolate more than I care to admit, so I can totally relate to a daily treat! 

I just have to ask because you offer so much knowledge online. If you had to choose 5 tips for Yacht Crew that are wanting to make more environmentally friendly decisions onboard, what would they be?

Love this question!

  • If you don’t have a water fountain or water filter onboard, suggest it to your captain! It might be a big expense but it is definitely an investment and it is so worthy, plus you only need to change the filter after 6mo to a year! Plastic water bottles are terrible for the environment and they contain BPA’s=POISON!
  • Reusable water bottles for crew. We purchased different coloured bottles onboard and we assigned a colour to each crew member. They keep your water cool for the whole day and everyone knows which bottle is theirs. (I’ve done the *sharpie your name* on your water bottle before… and there is always people that don’t do it and then leave their bottle half full somewhere around the boat, NOT COOL)
  • Reusable shopping bags and produce bags: If we get everyone onboard with this, we will make some HUGE CHANGES. As yacht stews we know how much we got to provision before upcoming trips. Imagine the amounts of plastic bags that get thrown in the garbage straight after unpacking our goodies. Amazon can be your best friend for this one!
  • Switch from plastic straws: There are many options out there like stainless steel, bamboo and glass. If not possible, paper straws might be an option too (not completely eco-friendly but definitely better than plastic)
  • Last but not least: RECYCLE! Learn about recycling in the area you are docked at and do what you can. We  go to the most beautiful destinations and the worst we can do is dirty these places during our visit. 

Brilliant tips and a lot of those are simple changes that can made immediately onboard. I used to be notorious for forgetting the reusable bags on provisioning days, so now I designate it. Before going shopping, I ensure I have the lists, money & directions while I have my second stewardess in charge of grabbing reusable bags & refilling our water bottles. It sounds SO simple and perhaps a little silly, but it worked! We never forgot bags after making it a specific job. 

Before we wrap this up, could you share what is one thing you have learned since working on yachts that you wish you knew when you started?

I Joined the yachting industry with ZERO knowledge of anything related to it, no friends and no previous service/housekeeping experience. (Not great for a CV, I have no idea how I got hired in the first place!) 

So obviously I wish I knew a lot of things, but that one thing I wish I had really practiced in advance was my ENGLISH (I studied French and Portuguese in my Uni days) but my English was very basic (some of my friends from my STCW are witnesses haha). I wish I practiced a bit more before joining a fully English speaking crew. Looking back to those days I remember how much I struggled and how little I could express myself with my crew members. 

Yachting is definitely been a rough journey for me and a challenging experience but I always managed to look forward and every time I did something wrong, I tried again. Today I am proud of the strong and confident woman I’ve become and I’m ready to continue growing, learning and working hard for my goals.

Sam, I really admire your strength & determination to help stewardesses make wiser & greener choices through your own experiences onboard. It’s quite obvious how hard you have had to work to get to where you are now, so thank you for taking time to share your story & inspire ladies around the world.

Be sure to follow Sam on Instagram!
@consciousstew

Want to be featured during a Mermaid Monday Post? Or know of an amazing lady that should be interviewed? Email me at [email protected] & we can chat!

Big hugs,

Gemma

Gemma Hulbert
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Gemma Hulbert

Hello! My name is Gemma, the girl behind The Yacht Stew. After 7 years of working on yachts, I wanted to create a platform where I could share my stories, travels & passions. I have been asked a million and one times “What do you actually do working on a yacht?” – hopefully this blog will give you a good insight. I’m so excited to share my travels & stories with you.
Gemma Hulbert
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