Current Coordinates: Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale Florida, USA
They stood. Their faces pressed against the chain link fence. Grasping hand painted signs and windswept flags. Their cheers a dull roar encompassing the rest of the portside activity.
The crowd at the edge of the dock – the waiting gangway a few feet from my porthole framing the shot of parents and loved ones greeting us at the end of our journey.
With the crew securing both the bow and the stern lines and the dull vibration of the engine dying beneath our feet we were now officially docked – reaching US shores for the last time during our voyage.
The rest of the morning erupted into a whirlwind of activity throughout the ship. Last minute packing. Last minute apologies. Last minute salutations. Last minute regrets. Last minute congratulations. Last minute questions.
Looking down into the ship’s main gathering place: Tymitz Square – I could see a veritable sea of people flooding the debarkation area on deck five.
Joining the fray I felt compelled to constantly wave; sign scrapbooks; handout my email address; and share hugs. Regardless of how many time I said goodbye to the same people – I was constantly in fear that there would be that one person I would miss.
But soon my time had come.
Rolling down the gangway and crossing the threshold past the customs official with gargantuan duffle bags in hand – a wave of realization hit me:
The ride was over.
Sitting crossed-legged on the hard concrete sidewalk and absentmindedly completing the shipping form for my baggage I silently contemplated the past three months behind me….
The sheer size of the globe; so many borders traversed; so many time zones crossed; so many stories to tell.
Travel is about the journey as much as it is about the destinations.
A journey that offered so many opportunities for learning and exploration also created more questions than satisfying answers. Questions that led me to explore future possibilities of travel – sparking an innate desire to keep going.
An appetizer of exploration sparking an appetite for adventure.
To which I now ask myself: what else is out there? And when will I be going back?
Thanks to all those who read along at home. You have become an essential part of my travels as my camera, poncho, or… universal electrical adapter.
And while Florida is still a long way from home – I will save the stories spanning the distance from here to there for myself as this will be my last entry.
Thank you again.
Former: Living Learning Coordinator Involvement & Recreational Sports
Semester at Sea Fall 2011 Voyage around the World
This voyage by the numbers…
Nautical Miles Traveled: 28,345
Countries Visited: 12
Blog Posts: 127
Blog Views: 5,945
38% Male / 62% Female
13% Frosh / 53% Soph / 25% Junior / 9% Senior
5% International Students
85 Lifelong Learners
53 Family Members
20 Partial Voyagers
672 Total Participants
TL;DR parents and loved ones greeting the ship arriving this morning; the realization that we’re in the last port for the last time; a whirlwind of activity; kept saying goodbye to everyone; crossing the threshold of customs that this ride is over; the sheer magnitude of the voyage; countries, borders, time zones, distances; sparking a future appetite for travel; thanks for reading; this will be my last blog entry