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28-year-old buys cruise ship apartment because it's less than renting and he can see the world

An all-expenses-paid life for about $50,000 a year? Sounds like a deal.

cruise ship, austin wells, cruise for life

A cruise ship floating on azure waters.

Living the rest of your life on a cruise ship seems like the dream of the ultra-rich. You wake up every morning and have an all-you-can-eat breakfast. Spend the afternoon hanging out by the pool or touring a fantastic city such as Rome or Dubrovnik.

At night, have a drink in the lounge watching a comedian or a jazz band, then hit the sack and do it all over again the next day. Seems too good to be true for the average person, right? Think again.

Twenty-eight-year-old Austin Wells of San Diego told CNBC that he can make it happen because it’s cheaper than living onshore in Southern California and he gets to see the world. “The thing that most excites me is I don’t have to upend my daily routine, in order to go see the world,” Wells told CNBC.



“I’m going from this model where you want to go somewhere, you pack a bag, you get on a flight, you rent a room, to now my condo, my gym, my doctors and dentists, all of my grocery stores travel the world with me,” he added.

Wells purchased an apartment on the MV Narrative, which is currently being built in Croatia and sets sail in 2025.

The rough math for Wells' dream makes perfect sense. He purchased a 12-year lease on the ship for $300,000. That comes to about $2,100 a month if he didn’t have to take out a loan. By comparison, most apartments in San Diego cost more than $2,100 per month in rent.

The ship charges an additional $2,100 a month for all-inclusive services, which include food, drinks, alcohol, gym membership, routine healthcare check-ups, onboard entertainment and laundry.

So, it could cost Wells as little as $4,200 a month to live an all-expenses-paid life. Plus, there’s no need to pay for a car or waste time shopping for groceries or traveling anywhere. It’s all on the ship.

Wells can work from the ship because his job with Meta is fully remote.

"What I'm probably most excited about is going to places that ships can only uniquely go,” he told CNBC, adding that cruise ships can travel to “unique ecological parts of the world or beautiful dive spots that are a few miles off land or caves to dive through and the ship will do a number of overnight stays in those areas."

Wells isn’t the only person who’s decided to live on a permanent vacation. Upworthy spoke with a couple in their 50s earlier this year who live on cruise ships because it’s cheaper than their mortgage.

Richard Burk and his wife, Angelyn, are living their best life hopping from ship to ship for around $100 a night, depending on the cruise. "Cruise costs vary quite a bit, our goal is to average about $100 per night, for the couple, or less across an entire calendar year," Richard told Upworthy.

The Burks keep the costs of cruising down through loyalty memberships. “We love to travel and we were searching for a way to continuously travel in our retirement that made financial sense,” Angelyn told 7 News.

People like Wells and the Burks may be outliers in society. They’ve chosen to give up the comforts of home for the comfort of living a life being catered to 24/7. While most of us probably won’t opt to make the big leap and live life out at the sea, their stories are a wonderful reminder that with a little creative thinking, we can create the perfect lives for ourselves whether on land or at sea.

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.

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A teacher collcts "rent" from ger 3rd-grade students.

Financial literacy is one of the most essential life skills determining someone’s future success and mental and physical well-being. However, only 17% of American students must pass just one semester of a financial literacy-based class to graduate.

This development flies in the face of public opinion on the topic. A recent poll found that 88% of Americans wish they had been taught financial literacy in school. The same number said their state should require either a semester or year-long personal finance course for graduation.

A teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, has taken that problem to heart and is giving her 3rd-grade class rigorous, hands-on lessons on the importance of personal finance.

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Joy

A 9-yr-old cheerleader’s veteran dad couldn't help with her routine, so a high schooler ran to her side

Sensing something was wrong, he sprang to action with many witnessing his kind act.

Images from YouTube video.

Addie Rodriguez does her cheer.

Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

Elmo did a well-being check-in with everyone and unintentionally opened the floodgates

The response was massive, and Sesame Street's follow-up was perfection.

Elmo's check-in brought out thousands of emotional responses.

Few things evoke a visceral comfort response in people of all ages like the colorful characters of Sesame Street. Millions of us grew up with Elmo, Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, Grover, Oscar the Grouch and the rest, and have nothing but warm, positive memories associated with them.

So when Elmo asked all the grownups on X to how they were doing, it triggered a deluge that spoke to people's need to share their mental and emotional struggles as well as the safe place Sesame Street has been for generations.

It all began with a simple question: "Elmo is just checking in! How is everybody doing?"

Elmo surely did not expect thousands upon thousands of people to dump their emotional loads on him like they were in a therapy session, but that's exactly what happened.

Not only did people respond that they were tired—a common refrain—but they also shared about the deaths of loved ones, their relationship struggles, jobs they'd been laid off from, their feelings of despair and depression. Clearly, some people needed a place to put their woes, and who better to receive them than a beloved childhood character who we know understands and accepts us unconditionally?

To Sesame Street's credit, they handled the trauma dump as best a fictional world filled with fictional characters possibly could. After the initial post's impact, Elmo posted, "Wow! Elmo is glad he asked! Elmo learned that it is important to ask a friend how they are doing. Elmo will check in again soon, friends! Elmo loves you." Elmo added the hashtag #EmotionalWellBeing.

And then the other Sesame Street characters started chiming in.

One by one, all perfectly in character, the Sesame Street crew showed up on their respective accounts to offer their support, all using the #EmotionalWellBeing hashtag.

"I'm here if you ever need a shoulder to lean on. I'll make us both a warm cup of tea," wrote Bert.

"If you need some cheering up, let me know! I love making others smile," wrote Ernie.

"Me here to talk it out whenever you want. Me will also supply cookies," wrote Cookie Monster.

"I, Grover, am here to be a good listener whenever you need it," wrote Grover.

Even Oscar the Grouch weighed in with some honesty and support. "I'm not great at listening to other share their big feelings, but my worm Slimey is. You should talk with him if you ever need to chat."

Yes, it's silly. But it's also not, because Sesame Street truly has been a lifeline for countless kids who found solace, support and celebration of themselves in those beloved characters, sometimes even more than they found at home.

The main Sesame Street account also shared a link to mental health resources.

But the wave of support and words of kindness and understanding didn't stay confined to Sesame Street. All kinds of big accounts, from NASA and the United Nations to Xbox and Verizon—even the President of the United States himself—weighed in with gratitude for Elmo checking in and reminders that we're all making our way through this life together.

Does it get more wholesome than NASA reminding us we're made of stardust?

The entire phenomenon was a testament to the enduring influence of Sesame Street, but also a good reminder to check in with people once in a while. You never know who might need to offload some emotional weight, and as cathartic as it might feel to drop it all on a beloved icon like Elmo, nothing compares to a real-life friend who offers a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Thank you for the inspiration, Sesame Street creators. Still managing to nurture the children within us, all these years later.

Four cousins hanging out in the yard.

The birth rate in the U.S. has steadily declined since the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2023, it has decreased by nearly 23%. In 1950, the average American woman had 3 children. Now, she has only 1.6, which is drastically lower than the replacement rate of 2.1.

The dropping birthrate has many worried that it will upend government programs because there won’t be enough young people to work and pay taxes to support older people on Social Security and Medicare.

Faith Hill from The Atlantic recently illustrated another problem with the declining birthrate in the U.S. and Europe that no one talks about: the decline of cousins.

“If everyone hypothetically went from having five kids to having four kids, that would mean one less sibling for each child,” Hill wrote, quoting demographer Sha Jiang. “But it would yield a much bigger decrease in first cousins: Instead of a child having four aunts or uncles who each have five kids—20 cousins—they would have three aunts or uncles who each have four kids, for a total of 12.”

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Jodie Foster names two movies 'everybody should see' and one of them may surprise you

Who knew the award-winning actress was a "Team America" fan?

George Biard/Wikipedia,Paramount Pictures/Wikipedia

Jodie Foster recently said that everyone should see "Team America" at lest once?

With a lengthy list of credits in critically acclaimed films like “Taxi Driver” and “Silence of the Lambs,” not to mention being a highly successful director for decades, you can probably trust any movie recommendations Jodie Foster gives you.

Recently Foster was asked in Interview magazine to pick one movie she thought everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

Pulling a pretty badass move, the legendary filmmaker gave not one, but two movies. And one of her recommendations might come as a surprise.

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