In 1925, Walter Benjamin travelled on a freighter from Hamburg to ports in the Mediterranean. In their Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life, Howard Eiland and Michael Jennings recount the trip (pp. 240-241):
“On August 19 the ship [a freighter] sailed from Hamburg, with Benjamin in unusually high spirits. Although he was worried about the possible lack of comfort afforded by this least expensive mode of travel, he was soon not just reassured by delighted: ‘This journey with the so-called freighter is one long aria of the most comfortable situations in life. In every foreign town you bring along your own room, indeed, your own little… vagabond household –; you have nothing to do with hotels, rooms, and fellow guests. Now I am lying on the deck, the evening in Genoa before me, and the sounds of unloading freighters all around me as the modernized “music of the world”’ [Gessamelte Briefe, 3:81]
He enjoyed traveling by freighter so much that he did it again in 1932 (p. 370):
As Marcus Rediker says, it is amazing to realise that the conversations Benjamin had with seafarers inspired his luminous “The Storyteller”.