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kottke.org posts about Mario Salcedo

The Happiest Guy in the World?

posted by Jason Kottke   May 09, 2018

Meet Mario Salcedo, who has spent the last 20 years as a full-time resident of Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

For nearly two decades, Mario had been living out of his suitcase, traveling extensively for his corporate job as the director of international finance at a multinational corporation. He spent more time in and out of hotel rooms scattered across Latin America than he did at his home in Miami. After working nonstop for nearly 21 years, Mario — burned out — decided it was time to pursue a lifelong goal: to travel around the world, without leaving home. In 1997, he quit his job, packed an even bigger suitcase and quietly disappeared from the lives of his friends and family to pursue a new life on the open water.

You wouldn’t think that watching a video about “The Happiest Guy in the World” would be so depressing. Maybe he’s happy but observing him through filmmaker Lance Oppenheim’s lens sure didn’t make me happy. I don’t know quite why, but this reminded me of the writing room for The Onion, where none of the writers laugh at any of the jokes that make it into the paper or onto the website.

Update: 94-year-old Morton Jablin has been living on the same cruise ship for the past 13 years since his wife died. It’s basically a floating assisted living facility for him.

Seven Seas Navigator is an all-suite luxury ship. The cruise line has made minor stateroom accommodations to make things easier for the Captain, one of their most loyal passengers. “They’ve installed brighter lights in my cabin, handrails in the bathroom and a special shaving mirror,” he says.

To stay fit, he exercises regularly. He knows his way around the ship and walks about two hours daily, usually on Deck 7 where the shops are located. “I’m intelligent enough not to walk where I’d have a problem. Nobody is on that deck during the day and as an ex-Navy man, I have my sea legs,” he says.