09.01.2013 - 12.01.2013
The time has come to write another blog post. I was going back through my posts from my last voyage with Semester at Sea and was astonished that I put so much detail into each one. That will help me out later when I go back to remember what I did, how I grew, and what I learned. This time around I will not be writing as long of entries because I want to make it as enjoyable and interesting to my readers as I possibly can.
Semester at Sea is the absolute most exciting and life-changing program I have ever been a part of. It has inspired me to do so much more than I imagined, and one day I would like to be the Dean on one of the voyages. It is hard to explain what an amazing experience it is when I don’t have my peers and family right there experiencing the many different cultures and environments I have and will witness. I have a new understanding of what it means to be a global citizen and I hope that by the end of this voyage I will have better skills to help others understand their role in this wonderful world.
I am so privileged to have gone around the world once, and to be doing it for the second time is almost unheard of. I cannot thank my parents, family, and friends enough for the support that I have been given to be a part of such an amazing opportunity. Growing up I have always been motivated to be the best, almost to a downfall. I felt for many years that I had to impress my parents and family. My motivation was to be successful so that one day I could provide what they have for me. As I am sailing on another voyage, that motivation is still there, but it is more focused on expanding who I am as an individual, and to not just provide for my family, but for my friends and every person on this planet, especially those who are less fortunate than I. I have had many role models in my life, but my brother, Nich, has been the most prominent. He was the one who cracked the eggshell, my mind, to being open, caring, and understanding. One thing that he taught me is that intelligence is not through how much one knows, but rather, through understanding, empathy. It seems easy for me to empathize with others, but I do not feel that it is reciprocated. I believe this is because I have a hard time letting people understand what I have gone through, experienced, and what I know. One of my biggest struggles is how to get that understanding through outlets to others, something I am sure I will struggle with for my entire life.
When I returned home from my previous voyage, I could not get SAS out of my mind, the people I met, the friends I made, and the places I traveled to. Part of the reason I am back on the MV Explorer is because SAS impacted my life so much that I was severely depressed for six months. It seemed that I had no one to talk to, everyone was moving forward, and I was at a standstill. Time did heal those wounds, and eventually I found my niche back in Fort Collins, where I go to college at Colorado State University. There was also a very special person who entered my life at that time. It was all by coincidence. I remember the first time I met her; she was gorgeous and so interested in what I had to say about Semester at Sea and my major, Global Tourism. I remember leaving that night wishing I had gotten her number. It turns out that I actually had given her my number and the following morning she sent me a text. I was thrilled. We set up to meet for a date a few days later. That night was so amazing, we were connecting right off the bat, and somewhere inside me I knew I would be seeing her again. Well, that date turned into more, and then on October 13th/14th I asked her to be my girlfriend. She accepted and in two days we will be celebrating our three months together. Unfortunately I will not be there for it, I will have to Skype her when I visit my first port, Hilo, Hawaii, the day after as a way of celebrating. It was not long into our relationship that I fell in love with her. The first time I told her was actually in my sleep. I have a tendency to sleep talk/walk/yell/who knows what else. But I was dreaming of her and I said “I love you.” Well she woke up and heard me, but I thought it was all still a dream. Before I left on this voyage I asked her about that and she still remembers. I told her officially, and awake, that I love her, and my passion has only grown since I have started this voyage and taken steps in my career of travel. Kaylyn, you are amazing and I love you more each and every day. Never forget.
Anyway, she was there to help me transition back home, but even more impressive is that she supports me, along with my family and friends, 1000% in making the decision to go on this voyage. It means the world to me to have that support, and it gives me motivation to continue with my passions and love of travel.
So, on January 9th I said goodbye to my mom at the Hilton Bayfront Inn, called my dad, grandma, girlfriend, brothers, and friends to say goodbye. I was not as sad as the last time because I know that I will be home before they know it, and everything has a way of working itself out. This does not mean I will not miss them, I miss them a lot already, but I am focusing on my future, and, in a way am distracted because of how much fun I am having and how important this voyage is to me. On my last voyage we departed from the Bahamas and sailed the world to San Diego. This time around I left from San Diego, was bused down to Ensenada, Mexico, and boarded the MV Explorer. When we got there and was back on the ship, it was like I had never left. Much of the crew remembered me by name and almost all of the students were enamored with the fact that I had sailed before!
From day one I have been busier than I ever could have imagined. I have met so many students and faculty and feel that I have really made an impression as a returning voyager. My roommate on this voyage is from Nebraska and he seems really awesome. I have kept my guard up with him though because he reminds me of my old roommate, and I was hurt pretty bad during and after the voyage because of him. I guess I am just preventing that from happening this time around. I highly doubt that I will encounter any of those problems, but better prepared than to be hurt again I suppose. There is no particular group of people that I have been hanging around this time around either. I try to always smile and greet anyone I walk by, therefore building an even larger community than my last voyage. I made some of the best friends that I have ever had on that last voyage, and when I travelled to meet them for my birthday, I was ensured that we will be friends for life. I am excited for this voyage because I have already buddied up with the Deans, met a lot of friends to travel with, and joined a lot of clubs and organizations. I was also elected to be the representative for my sea, which is basically a dorm hall. This voyage is proving to be completely different from the last one, and it is actually really hard for me to compare the two, something I was really worrying about.
We will be in Hawaii in two days and I am so excited because I will be meeting with a voyager from Spring 2012 that lives in Hilo. One of the best things Semester at Sea offers is networking and having those connections in other countries/states when you travel. I feel like I always have a home no matter where I am in the world. On my Reunion Voyage I even made a connection for a possible internship this summer in Colorado!
I will keep this entry short for now, but be prepared for excitement as the voyage goes on. Please feel free to email me at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org because I love knowing what is going on back home and still feeling connected to The States as I travel the world.