When I first found out about Semester at Sea, there was not just one place on the itinerary that convinced me to sign up. What appealed to me the most about the trip was the fact that there wasn’t any one place to go. I didn’t have to choose. I could have a little bit of everything. I want to ABSORB as much of the world as possible.
Yes, I’m dying to taste the food: the tapas, the curries, the street markets, the strange and unusual… I want to TASTE the cultures I visit, taking my palate on an incredible edible journey through the world, to get a sampler platter of the earth.
I want to CONNECT with the cultures I visit. I want to find someone, something that is completely different from who I am and what I know, to see the similarities in the vastly different, to reach out and sympathize, empathize with the endless forms of the human condition that reside on this earth.
I can’t wait to take my mind on this worldwide roller coaster. I want more questions to ask. I want tools to answer the questions that I already have. I want to STRETCH my mentality and my heart to its fullest capacity. I want to be overwhelmed and confused and uncomfortable, to have my breath taken away a hundred times over.
I want to HUMBLE myself. I want the chaos and confusion of this journey to lift my ego out from under me, (no matter how hard I grip it) and let it dissipate into the air far above the earth, leaving me no choice but to see what remains: something bigger than me, the collective whole of this beautifully elegant and complex world.
And at the end of it all, when I carry the fruits and carnage of my pilgrimage home with me, I want to EXPERIENCE the lingering AWE that can only be resolved by action, initiation, determination, and the need to go back for more. I want to be inspired to create change: to act, to speak, to write something great, and to inspire others to do the same.
In these experiences, I hope to find the person I was meant to be. I sometimes think I see glimpses of her in the mirror. She is waiting for me to come forward into the unknown, and grow into my true skin. Her reassuring eyes will be my beacons through my cloudy, chaotic voyage. I feel her there within me. I just have to SEARCH across the seas, through the world, and through my inner core to find her.
This is why I signed up for this voyage. This is why I am here. Not just one place on the itinerary intrigued me, but all places: mental, emotional, spiritual, and yes, geographical. I simply want to cover as much charted territory of the world as possible in a profound hope to DISCOVER the uncharted territory within myself.
– Erica Johnson