Jean-Pol GRANDMONT, Ajaccio, Corsica

Why Not Stay?

Monday Mantra

Why Not Stay?

Home is where we drop anchor. (Some day….) 

I want to move here…I want to move here…I want to move here…

Whenever I think about ditching the crowds and chaos of New York City and relocating, I can never decide on a destination. Florida is too hot, upstate New York is too cold, Charleston is too Southern, and California is too far.

Yet lead me down the gangway into an exotic port and I’m ready to rip up my roots and transplant them somewhere that I just discovered a couple of hours ago.

Like Ajaccio, Corsica.

Now, if I’m to be honest, my desire to relocate to Napoleon’s birthplace was based about 50 percent on an immediate attraction to the pristine beaches, quaint streets, chic shopping, and spicy aromas that wafted from the restaurants of this little southern Corsican city and 50 percent on the fact that my friend Mary and I were on our fifth Kronenbourg 1664 when the idea hit us.

Sitting at that charming harbor-side café, we came frighteningly close to calling our offices and quitting our jobs over the phone, convinced that we could stay in Corsica, purchase nets and a little wooden rowboat, and become successful fishermen. Had it not been for me remembering — oh yeah! — that I was married and my husband, Michael, would likely object to the idea, I might be floating around the Bay of Ajaccio right now, speaking French and catching sardines.

What’s so ironic about the whole thing is that if anyone could relate to someone falling in love with a place and uprooting themselves to move there, it should be Michael. He fell in love with Bermuda during his first cruise aboard SS Oceanic in the ’70s and spent the next two decades sailing back to badger local business owners with his résumé until one of them finally caved and hired him. The offer came just a few months after we met on the inaugural sailing of Holland America Line’s Statendam, and he moved there in November 1993.

Michael lived in Bermuda for a year and returned, he claims, because of me, though I suspect the island’s high cost of living and our frequent long distance phone calls convinced him that it would be a lot cheaper to come home, get married, and assume a mortgage than to stay there.

So here we are. I may not be in Ajaccio and Michael may not be in Bermuda, but we’re still cruising. And I’d bet anything that one of these days the two of us will stroll down a gangway and into a place that neither of will ever want to leave. And we won’t.


— Judi Cuervo

Photo credit: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.