A Travellerspoint blog

Now sushi me, now you don't

overcast 58 °F

I am aboard the MV Explorer right now on my way to Hong Kong. I apologize for the late blog, but I have been very busy with classes and traveling the world! This post is all about my time in Japan and the amazing time I had there. I had a completely different experience than my last voyage, not necessarily better, but less stressful.
It was 7am when we were pulling into Japan. We were running late because we hit a storm on our way there. Our captain is excellent though and he did a great job maneuvering the ship out of the worst of the storm. The swells were still huge and the ship was rocking pretty heavily, but not even close to what I experienced when I was going around the horn of Africa. The captain did say this was the worst he had been through in many years, however, this is a different captain than I had on my last voyage, so a lot of students don’t know what to expect.
Anyway, the sky was clear, sun shining bright, air crisp and the temperature freezing. As we pulled into Yokohama I could see Mt. Fuji in the distance, completely snowcapped, I don’t recall seeing it when I was in Japan the last time, but it was gorgeous and reminded me of home when I would wake up every morning as a child to Pikes Peak just miles away. The Japanese had a welcoming ceremony for us too, ships were spraying water high into the air, a band was playing at the dock, and many locals came to welcome us. I was eager to get off the ship because I finally felt like I was traveling again. When we finally cleared I couldn’t contain my excitement, explaining to the group I was with all of the sites I knew, how to get around, what to do while in port. I feel that they were very pleased to be with me so that they did not have to stress about the train systems or what to see. I didn’t do much the first day, mainly ate lots of food, drank some good beer, and checked into my hotel in Tokyo. Tokyo is only a half hour from Yokohama and very easy to get to. I checked into the hotel late because of all the walking around I was doing, but when we got there I think we had the most beautiful view of the city. It reminded me of Paris because the Tokyo Tower looks like the Eiffel Tower at night, glowing yellow for everyone to see. When I got to the hotel I was able to catch up with my parents and girlfriend which was fantastic. I went to sleep pretty late, but not before experiencing an earthquake, again! I had just gotten into bed when my friend asked what was going on with the glasses, they were shaking along with the pictures on the wall and the bed itself. I didn’t think much of it because it didn’t last long, but found out the next morning from the paper that we were indeed in a small earthquake. A similar earthquake was in Japan on my last voyage when we were there, but I noticed it less because I was on the ship. I am so thankful we left Japan when we did though because they had a much larger earthquake just a day after we left, and that would have been pretty scary to have been in.
The second day in Japan I explored Yokohama. I took a friend to the Landmark Tower and shopping malls where we got some amazing dinner and drinks. We had to be back on the ship that night though because we were sailing from Yokohama to Kobe instead of taking the Shinkansen (bullet train). It was a great two days at that port, I was very relaxed about my traveling and got to see a different side of Japan. I don’t remember liking it much last time, but my heart has been warming up to it. It is still the ugliest country architecturally in my opinion. Every building is a grey concrete color, and not unique at all. There is really nothing nice to look at when walking around until you get outside of the cities.
We docked in Kobe after a day of sailing and I had no plans. I decided to walk around the city since I saw very little on my last voyage. I discovered a completely new side to Kobe, the bar district! That night a group of us went out on the town and had some amazing fun. I had always wanted to go to a karaoke bar, and we found one almost right away that was safe and cheap. I am not the best singer, but that was definitely the highlight of Japan for me. Sitting three stories up in an open glass room, singing my heart out with everyone. I am pretty sure the Japanese were amused to see a bunch of white students acting like fools. The night ended somewhat early though because we had to catch the train back to the ship, which was fine with me because I like to be in control in a foreign country and still had one more day of exploring. The following morning I woke up early and a friend and I took the train to Kyoto to explore a few temples. When we got there we figured out the bus system and got our sightseeing faces on. I visited the same temple from my last voyage and it was amazing to see it when all of the trees were dead instead of having beautiful cherry blossoms. I definitely think that the cherry blossoms add an dramatic effect to what one experiences in Kyoto. We didn’t spend much time there before exploring a few more temples. We stumbled upon this one that had a giant gold Buddha inside. For the first time I was able to go inside a temple that required you to take your shoes off. It was amazing to be there by myself and meditate inside the temple. I felt very connected with Japan and the culture and was ready to have these types of experiences in other countries.
After leaving Japan I finally feel like this is real. I am traveling the world, having the time of my life, staying connected with my academics, and able to think more about what tourism is and how I can fit a career into the tourism industry. Japan was a great stepping stone for me to travel to these other countries. Look forward to my post on China and Hong Kong in a few days. Hope all is well at home.
Sending my love,
Mike

Posted by MVVincent 04:02 Archived in Japan Comments (4)

Aloha!

sunny 80 °F

It is day 12 of an epic voyage around the world. How do I feel? My emotions are mixed; I feel loved, hated, excited, anxious, happy, angry, sleepy, but most of all grateful. These feelings are no different than what I experience at home, except that I am even more grateful and privileged to be seeing and learning so many things while traveling the world. I am grateful for my friends and family back at home giving me support, grateful for the friends I have made on this voyage, the amount of involvement, the young and eager minds that surround me, to have food, water and shelter, every day. There are so many things that I am grateful for, and even more so because I have witnessed peoples around the world that do not have what I do. This is my goal in life though. How can I help to provide these basic needs for everyone I encounter? This voyage will be an immense learning experience for me, and hopefully, another great opportunity for me to form ideas, with the help from my peers, to form an organization with a main goal of helping others help themselves, help the environment, and help the economy. I seem to be very anti-Capitalist, however, to live in this world, one does need money. That is just how the world operates now, and I fear there is no turning back. So instead of hating the economic policies of other countries or our own, I want to embrace what we do have and help change the policies so that things are, in my mind, more fair and equal. This not only applies to economics, but needs to apply to the people, environment, and the industry. Because of a class that I took last semester at Colorado State, as well as those on my last SAS voyage, it is hard for me to not look at everything in terms of these four aspects, especially in regard to tourism. As I travel the world this time, I know to go in with an open-mind, be respectful, and save my judgments for later. When I think about this organization and career for my future, I will be thinking about the industry, economy, people(culture), and the environment.
On that note, we have left Hawaii! It was a great first port for this incredible journey. I was worried that because I am traveling the opposite way, from modern to developing countries, that it would be hard for me and the other students to understand what we are witnessing. This is not the case, instead, it only reinforces my ideas and helps bring in new ones. This time around we stayed the night in Hilo, therefore, I was able to experience a lot more and see a completely different part of the island. To keep it short about the travels, since we were only there for two days, I ate great food from the farmer’s market, hiked to Rainbow Falls, shopped for snacks while on the ship, met with my friend Kadian from the last voyage, and got to show around my new friends Shelley, Andrew, Lauren and Jillian. They are all great kids, and very willing to experience new things, just the type of people I like to travel with! My favorite part of the stay there though was when I walked by myself to Coconut Island and the Japanese gardens. I finally got the time I needed to myself. There was this beautiful area with boulders where I sat and meditated for a couple hours. It was just what I needed, peace, serene landscape, and an opportunity to relieve myself from the stress of travel. As I sat there drinking one of my favorite beers, Big Wave Golden Ale by Kona Brewing Co., I thought about what this voyage has in store for me, and most importantly how different I am going to be when it ends and I return home.
One of the most drastic changes in my life occurred on my SAS voyage last spring. I recall the fear of leaving home, really for the first time, alone. It was terrifying to me, but of course, it was all for the better. I essentially look at me back then, how angry I was, how judgmental, ignorant, unappreciative, and uncaring I must have been. Then I met some of the best friends in this entire voyage. All of those barriers were broken down, and although I will never truly get rid of my past, I can learn from it. That is why I came into this voyage with a huge smile, not scared, but confident. I will always be ignorant, we all are to one thing or another, it is an inevitable part of being a human. Not a single person on this Earth is perfect and knows it all, and if you disagree with me, I would love to have a conversation about it when I return home. I believe it is because my barriers were broken that I am enjoying this voyage so much, and in my opinion, has completely blown the other out of the water. It seems to me that all of the students on this voyage are exceptionally nice and awesome. Cliques have not formed, everyone smiles and says hello to each other, and rumors are not spreading like wildfire. With the exception of a few students, this trip is AMAZING!
At times I have been irritated because of the lack of understanding from other students while we are traveling. I have to pull myself back though, and remember, I was in their shoes only a year ago. It helps bring everything back to perspective and makes me feel so happy to see just how curious, stressed, anxious, and scared the students are as we talk about the ports we will be exploring. There is so much I want to tell them, but this voyage is a learning experience, and if it does not deal with their safety, I would rather them find out for themselves what is out there on this glorious planet. My frustration only comes through when we all get on the topic of alcohol. This is something very serious to me. When students tell me that all they want to do is party and drink in the ports, I get worried. I have witnessed first-hand the consequences of making bad choices, all because someone was under the influence. My best wish is that these students will not have to go through traumatic experiences as did with my best friend. I found out that while we were in Hilo, many students went to this hotel and completely trashed it, and then went to a local nightclub and had ID’s taken away because of underage drinking. There were so many arguments about the incident. Students were trying to defend themselves, in one way or another. Well, when we had a harsh lecture by our Executive Dean, I believe the message got across. The students do not realize how lucky they were that they were not arrested, and that this voyage would have been over for them. $22+ thousand, simply down the drain. These students were on surveillance, and the Deans on the ship, know exactly who was involved. Lucky for these students, the manager did not ask for the police to arrest on site. They were underage, it does not matter where you are, but you absolutely must obey the laws, especially when we are visiting other countries whose policies are much stricter for the laws broken and behavior that was witnessed. I feel the worst outcome of all of this is that the locals in Hilo now have a horrible perception of Semester at Sea. It is sad that the actions of a few will, and do, speak for the entire community. Had this happened anywhere else, the voyage would have been over for well over 60 students and Semester at Sea would have time building a good reputation. This really is the most incredible journey, and for most, once in a lifetime. Why would you want to fuck it up? I have no idea. As we go into these other ports, the Dean has made it clear that he has called the hotels where students have already planned parties, and told the managers, “arrest at your leisure.” Maybe in a few weeks I will be writing about friends I have lost because of the poor choices they made….
On a lighter note, I am still meeting many new friends, learning something new everyday, and growing immensely. All I want to talk about is what is racing through my mind, but I promise for posts following it will be more about what I experience in these ports, and less on what others are doing. We have an 8 day stretch to Japan, I will arrive on January 27th, so I look forward to writing to this amazing audience then. I am sending my love and peace. May everything at home be wonderful, and I encourage you to keep your mind open, attempt to learn something new. Life is precious and don’t let anything be wasted.
-M

Posted by MVVincent 00:04 Archived in USA Comments (3)

Travel the World Again? Let's do This!!

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.vincent.sp13@semesteratsea.org because I love knowing what is going on back home and still feeling connected to The States as I travel the world.
Sending Love,
Mike

Posted by MVVincent 21:55 Archived in USA Comments (4)

Life Goes On

It has been exactly one month since the MV Explorer docked in San Diego and I had to say farewell to a home that I had grown so attached to. It has taken me five times to try and write this blog, but I think I finally have what I want to say, it has only taken me one month. The most important thing I am going to stress in this post is just how difficult it is to adjust back to this life that I once lived for over twenty years.
I totally underestimated the re-entry process. I thought it would be simple to go back home and be with my brothers and friends and things would be just as they were when I left. Part of that is true. Nothing really happened in Colorado while I was gone abroad. My brothers were still in school, my friends were still partying, and my cat was still tearing up my apartment. But I was/am not as I was when I left that ship. This trip has transformed me in so many ways, sometimes in ways that I don’t even realize until later. I take nothing for granted anymore. I seem to be more conscious of my surroundings, what I eat, who I interact with, and what I do day-to-day. I am not as reliant on technology although it is almost impossible not to be when you are living in the States. I am also looking at everything I do with an open mind and think so much about those that I met along the way on my trip. I think about that man I talked with in South Africa on the train, the men who haggled me into buying shoelaces for $12, the young student in Vietnam who loved American music, the two students in China that showed me their art, and that conversation I had with the couple in Mauritius. I think of all the people in the world who have nothing and am so thankful that I am privileged with things such as electricity and clean water, things many of us do not think about. I no longer think about the poor in America, because the underprivileged here have so much more than those in Ghana or South Africa or many other parts of the world. That is one think I am so thankful for about this trip, the opportunity to free one’s ignorance and experience different lives. I think traveling really is a key to learning because there is so much more to learn from personal experiences than from a textbook in a classroom. That is why I am so happy with my major in Global Tourism and I can now see what I will be doing with my life when I graduate. I am also thankful to have had the absolute best professors in my entire education. Those four mentors were a hundred times better than any I have ever had at Colorado State. They taught me so much, but what I will take away from them the most is to be engaged with my learning. This was the first semester that I was actually excited to learn and go to class, much different than my classes at CSU. I am expecting to do the same when I take classes again this Fall, and I may find that my CSU professors are actually worth learning from, instead of falling asleep in class or not even going. I am actually pretty excited to start another semester to see what other things I will utilized that I learned from my trip.
The absolute hardest part to this adjustment is not being surrounded by some of the best friends that I have had. I have my great friends in Colorado, but they cannot connect with me when I want to talk about my voyage because they were not there to experience that with me. I love them to death but honestly wish that my SAS friends were there right by my side to help me through this adjustment because they know exactly what I am going through. I can only text, message, or email those SAS friends, and sometimes I find myself making loops and saying the same things over and over again. I feel bad for them because they have to hear so much about my problems when I am sure they are having very similar problems and would rather focus on them rather than me. What makes it even harder is that a majority of my closest friends live in Boulder, but most of them are too busy moving on with their lives that they don’t have time to go back to SAS, sometimes not even wanting to think about it because it brings back so many good memories that it makes it hard for them to continue moving on. I feel that I am missing out on something. I should have a steady job, going abroad, a girlfriend, money, a car, etc. But then I think of how lucky I am to have free time, brothers and friends that are always over playing games, and a mentality like no other. I guess I have a constant battle in my mind on being jealous and being selfish making it hard to find a middle ground. Also, the more I don’t think about SAS the more my memories slip away. I find myself reading my previous posts and remembering that I did this or that, which makes me sad because every moment on that ship should have been cherished. Although whenever anyone asks me questions about the trip those memories come right back and I cannot stop talking about all the amazing things I did. I did so many things on this voyage that more than half of the nation only dreams about, and here I am upset that I am not still going around the world. Should I be? I feel gracious to have had that opportunity, and yet there is this selfish part of me that wants to stay on the ship forever, although with the same people I traveled with. Another hard part for me on this adjustment has been the constant dreams of still being on the ship, with two weeks left, plenty of time to say goodbye to everyone. There are so many people that I either did not say goodbye to or did not get the farewell I was looking for. I feel so guilty and ashamed for not embracing those last days and treating them as such. I was so ready to be off the ship that I did not realize how much it would haunt me for the way I acted. I should have been up there staying up all night with everyone else, sharing many hugs, cries, laughs, and contacts. There is no changing the past though, and I can only move forward from this. There are specific people I feel I should have been with longer to say goodbye because now I it feels that I need conclusion. There is a void in my life without this and I am determined to try and meet up with each of them at least one more time, treating that moment like it would be the last time I would see them. Maybe I was naïve in thinking that we would all see each other again at some point, even if we are living close to each other. It is unrealistic when we all are starting a new journey, getting jobs, taking classes, or simply being occupied with their personal life. The most I can hope for is that I will be able to travel to all of them and be with them at least one more time to fill that void. So I want to apologize to Eleni, Jessica, Sophie, Kimmy, Brynn, Meg, and James for not being there to say farewell because you are the ones that made such a huge impact in my life, probably not even realizing it.
I guess it is really time to move on though. Yes, I had the absolute best experience of my lifetime and it will be very hard for anything to top this, but all great things come to an end, and eventually we all move on. What I have now are those fading memories, my blogs, and those few individuals that I will remain in contact with for a long time. Soon, I will be looking back on this moment and questioning why it was so hard to leave that ship and those friends. My life will have many adventures and with the career that I want to pursue it can be almost guaranteed I will be traveling the world again. For now, I am trying not to focus on the trip and trying instead to focus on what I have and who I am with. The more I do that the better I will be. This will be a long summer but I wish the best to all of you that I met throughout my amazing journey and although we may not always be in contact with each other, know that I will always have a special place in my heart and mind for you.
I leave with a final farewell to the Spring 2012 Semester at Sea voyage, thank you for the most incredible experience anyone can have.
-Mike

Posted by MVVincent 20:16 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Aloha Hawaii

overcast 70 °F
View Semester at Sea on MVVincent's travel map.

This is my last blog on a port! Don’t be sad though, I will post another blog with my reflection of the trip because I know how much you all love reading my long posts  I am a bit sad that I am now officially on the last leg of my voyage. I only have 5 days until I am in San Diego and then six days before my return to Colorado. A lot of you have been asking when I will be home, and unfortunately a lot of you will not be able to see me until Friday because I will not get into Denver until midnight between Thursday and Friday and I am sure that a lot of you have finals and your last classes to attend. Good news is that I will have a movie/picture viewing night on Friday and then I have my welcome home BBQ on Saturday which would be fantastic to see all of you there! I look forward to see everyone’s smiling face, and be prepared for a long, giant hug from me.
So my last port that was on this voyage was Hilo, Hawaii. We only had ten hours in the port so it is not going to be a really long post. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii and am glad I finally got the chance to with this voyage. Although I was not there for a long time I find it a benefit to say “Yeah, I just stopped by Hawaii, no big deal.” When we were cleared from the ship my roommate James and I left to catch the shuttle that would take us to downtown Hilo. It was a packed van and was free because the company running it was hoping to sell tours to us. James and I really did not have any plans for the day other than eating and having fun, so we did not take the tour. When we got off the shuttle we were right in the middle of the farmer’s market. It was just like any other that I had been to, but there really was no haggling to be done because we were now back in the United States. They had a lot of interesting things, food, and of course macadamia nuts. I did not have that much money though and unfortunately did not buy any to bring back home. James and I walked around the market for a little while, but neither of us had breakfast so we went in search of a restaurant where we could get some. We walked downtown for a while until we came across a café that looked really good. I got a breakfast burrito with avocado in it which was really good and then got an iced chai latte, something I haven’t had in about three months. They were both delicious but I could not finish it all so I gave the rest to James. After breakfast we left and found another restaurant/bar where we got some drinks. We are both 21 and were just looking for a place that had mimosas but that turned out to be more difficult than anticipated. Instead, I bought us some fries, each a mai tai and a shot of tequila to celebrate friendship and the end of our epic voyage. It was great just talking while we were there but we still wanted to do more than just drink so we left there to just browse around Hilo. It started to rain on us but it was expected because Hilo is supposedly rainy a lot during the year. We stumbled across some friends and student from SAS that were getting tattoos so we went in to see what they were getting. When we got inside I had an overwhelming sensation to add something to my body, I am not going to tell you what I got, but James got a lot of pictures and I will surprise you with it when I get home. No hints this time. After getting my new addition we left the tattoo parlor, which was really clean and great, and then ran into some more friends at a burrito shop. We went inside and saw that they were drinking some Kona beer and they told us they got it from a local grocery store that was nearby. James and I left there because we needed to go to the grocery anyway and wanted to still drink. When we got to the grocery store we bought some local brews, specifically because I wanted labels since I have been collecting them all around the world, one of the only things I have gotten from each country. I also got some thank you cards for my professors and one of our waiters because I think they have all been really fantastic. After leaving the grocery store we went back to the burrito shop and hung out with our friends. We talked about a lot of things and had a really good time there. When we were all growing tired of that place we left and went to a sports bar so we could watch the hockey game that was on. I ordered a couple more drinks and bought another round of shots for my friends and me to celebrate what we were all sharing. After the sports bar we left to another bar where I got to talk with even more students about the voyage and what they had learned. The main thing I asked them to do was sum up in one word what they thought this voyage represented to them. “Epic, adventurous, educating, life-changing, amazing, and maturity,” were all words that I got. The one word that I would sum up this trip in is love; love for people, friends, the world, nations, cultures, learning, really love for any and everything. I had a great time at the bars and spending time with my friends, especially with James because of how interesting our relationship has been throughout the course of this voyage. We left the bars and returned to the ship for a BBQ and then I went to bed because I was exhausted from the previous nights of studying.
I had an amazing time in Hawaii and really cannot wait until I am able to return. I have had an amazing time on this voyage with all of my friends and think I am really lucky that a lot of them will be there in Colorado when I get back and throughout the summer. I hope that you all will have an opportunity to meet them and maybe share some new experiences. I have a lot of studying to do for my finals and then packing because my voyage is coming to an end. I am absolutely thankful that I got to experience this voyage because it has been the best one in my life thus far. I will see you all really soon!
Lots of Love,
Mike

Posted by MVVincent 23:52 Archived in USA Comments (2)

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