Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Living in post-Semester at Sea mode has been less jarring than expected, but I can still say that my fall traveling experience changed me in ways I never knew possible. To keep the memories alive, I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in contact with close friends from the ship. For two dinners this past spring, I met up with a few Semester at Sea students and lifelong learners who live or go to school in Ithaca. I was even able to meet up with some of my absolute best friends from the ship — Maria (from Venezuela), Anjali and Aman (from Mumbai) in Boston over a weekend in May. My roommate Leah and I constantly reminisce about our travels around the world and I can honestly say, I’m so glad we were able to take the Semester at Sea journey together.
While I’ve enjoyed a semi-normal student routine since December, I have to admit I’ve been aching to travel again. I figured my budget probably couldn’t handle another plane ticket with an international itinerary, but I’ve learned the travel-hungry student gets creative.
So, here’s my status:
I’m currently finagling my college plans to try and graduate a semester early, in December, to save money. I just need to complete a photography class this summer to stay on track with my still-photography minor. Incredibly, my spring History of Photography class professor Nicholas Muellner is teaching a class in Rome from June 2 to July 3. I was offered a scholarship. My travel bug has latched. I’m signed up to leave Thursday.
I’ll be armed with my camera and will most definitely be blogging as much as possible. Talk to you soon from Italy.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Christmas break: Top, my parents with a snowman we all created at my house. Below, my boyfriend and I at Longwood Gardens in PA.
It's been two months since I walked off the MV Explorer in California, headed back to New Freedom, PA and ultimately, back to college in Ithaca, NY.
When I first arrived home, I felt extremely disconnected from things I once associated myself with and I still feel a sense of isolation, carrying my experience like a secret that I wish I could explain, but can't.
Saying "I traveled the world last semester" hasn't gotten as many questions as it has been my answer to why I don't know the progress of the new Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center on campus or the lyrics to "Whip My Hair" or the new restaurants downtown or why I've missed the deadlines to internship applications I should have completed.
Of course, a lot of people have been genuinely interested in the Semester at Sea program and my voyage last fall. Several people have asked me "What is your favorite place?" or "Was the program awesome?" or "Did you love it?" ... still, these questions have been difficult for me to answer. If I start talking about some of the raw realities I faced like the poverty, I feel like I'm letting people's expectations down. But, if I talk about the luxurious aspects of the voyage, I'm really not explaining the meaning behind the voyage. I've learned that the simpliest answers are usually the best in passing conversation. And, if people really want to know about the voyage, they'll sit down and talk with me about it. After all, it's hard to explain in a sentence.
Has the trip affected the way I live now? Yes and no. I'd like to think that I am often reminded of my trip through daily activities — like running the water to brush my teeth sometimes causes me to think of the townships in Africa that don't have anything close to this privilege. The trip has also given me a lot to think about in terms of how I should live my life, how to weigh what's really important and how to be thankful for the luxuries I frequently overlook.
Semester at Sea ignites a passion in students, like myself, to radically make a change, a difference in the world. But, when I moved back on campus, started going to classes, and got back into a schedule I've known for three years now, radically changing the world seemed and still seems like a bit of an unorganized dream.
The American bubble seems so far away from Ghana, South Africa, Vietnam, India and many of the cultures I encountered. I'm still searching for a genuine way to connect my life here to my goals last semester.
In a way, it's frustrating that I still haven't figured everything out — that I haven't solved world hunger, stopped the sex-trade or provided an education for all children worldwide. But, maybe it's not about understanding everything right now ... maybe it's just about keeping the conversation alive and staying dedicated to finding the answer one day soon.