Q&A: The truth about Semester at Sea
Send in your questions, too!
Hi Lindsay, I have just been accepted by SAS for the Spring 2011 voyage, and I randomly chanced upon your website. I am currently having a hard time trying to decide between a Semester at Sea program and a study abroad program in Berlin. I know they sound very different, but I think they appeal to different parts of me, which makes it even harder to decide. Hence, I have some questions about your experience if you don't mind answering:
When you were traveling around the ports, did you feel they were too touristy? I don't want to ...
Weird just happened – a unpredictable 2011 in retrospect
I’ve been horrible, saying I’m going to write and then rarely following through. And it’s not for lack of noteworthy developments; this was an unbelievably unpredictable and diverse 2011, with certain promise of continuation in 2012.
Upon returning to Indiana this holiday season, to a world so different from my working one, I managed to find only one word that adequately describes my baffled reflection on the year’s events: weird. How did I experience the myriad twists, obstacles, and accomplishments that plopped me into the role I'm in now? Did that all really just happen? And I didn't even really ...
Let’s Speak Haitian Creole!
My first language post arose from a desire to document and transmit the full experience of being in a relatively unknown culture: tribal Fiji. I didn't expect many people to find such a write-up relevant, but it dawned on me after hundreds of hits that lesser-known languages need some limelight, too.
One could travel to Haiti and speak French; there would be virtually no gap in communication. But, I didn't have the luxury of French and instead opted for downloading some free software to learn Haitian Creole. Because I've spent the last eleven years learning languages that pack very few superfluous ...
One meal inspires three months of memories in Thailand
Therapy in shopping and chopping
The fleshy innards of skinny and green eggplant made frequent protagonists on our plates at 6pm. Depending on who felt inspired (and hungry), Irene or I would sautée the slender tubes in bubbling coconut milk, soy sauce, and vinegar and cushion their final presentation with a pillow of noodles. Our meals didn't resemble the table art from our favorite reality cooking shows, but those plates held evidence of our dietary independence and resurfacing domestic skills.
Whenever I could squeeze my week out for a drop of free time, I would strap on my bike helmet, mount one ...
Attending my first opening night via the interwebs
Everything about my first photography exhibition was fitting.
It took place in my hometown.
It took place in the community center that could be credited for the start of my global knowledge and interest.
It was a digital display, the medium in which I create.
I displayed images in an order that reflected my life philosophy.
The images represented all the continents I've been fortunate enough to experience.
The gallery was named after my late grandfather.
I attended the opening night virtually.
My best friend did the technical support to help me experience the night from my apartment in Boston.
[caption id="attachment_10023" align="alignright" width="300"] Image courtesy of Amy Sullivan[/caption]
And then I became a teacher…
I don't just mean TOEFL.
From April to October in 2011, I went from contract work in production to holding a full blown post as a high school teacher at an international school. In that time period, I didn't become more skilled or capable of performing this task. In fact, all I did was trek a bit in China, take some actors' headshots, write some articles, and move to Ecuador. I accumulated no additional training; I only did frantic research and let my years of high school and university instruction resurface, willing cream to rise from freshly settled milk.
Like a good ...
Is it important to visit the places from which your family originates?
The thin line of text atop my computer screen reminded me of a birthday. It was a realization that went down like a horse pill.
Today, my grandfather would have been 92.
He passed away as I was frantically flying home from Thailand, my work trip cut short due to his declining health. As I was suspended above the South Pacific—poorly timing my first viewing of The Descendants—he received the rare opportunity to die at an old age, surrounded by family, with a smile on his face. I missed it, but that's okay. I've been saying cautious and thoughtful goodbyes since I ...
What Alain de Botton says about the anticipation of travel
My reading comprehension is atrocious, my tracking snail-like. The only thing I remember from high school reading is Holden Caulfield's half-gray hair and his famous line with middle fingers extended toward his despised boarding school. I love to read, and I always have; I'm just not very good at it. And just as I would rather visit a new country than repeat an old one, I try not to re-read books I've tackled in the past.
Though plots and anecdotes don't stick in my memory, my impression of the book always does. That's why I remember how much I loved Alain ...
Andrew Zimmern and the Transformative Power of Travel
I've been a big time fan of Big Tony B. since the No Reservations series began in 2005. His approach to travel television and subjective, experiential authenticity abroad felt so relevant amidst a sea of market-y documentation. His conceptual thread continues to be pretty darn obvious, which makes it easy to instantly jump on the Bourdain train. But for his fellow Travel Channel host (and our Creative Council member), Andrew Zimmern, I had a harder time identifying what truly made him tick and drove him to produce what he does. Thankfully, I had a recent opportunity to hear Zimmern clarify ...
The irony of my lifestyle, part 5
Allow me to perplex you with a seemingly disjointed introduction to a post about travel and home.
These wet rocks where the tide has been,
Barnacled white and weeded brown
And slimed beneath to a beautiful green,
These wet rocks where the tide went down
Will show again when the tide is high
Faint and perilous, far from shore,
No place to dream, but a place to die,–
The bottom of the sea once more.
There was a child that wandered through
A giant’s empty house all day,–
House full of wonderful things and new,
But no fit place for a child to play.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1921
Born a landlocked being, ...
Photoblog: a gray day in the Swedish village of Landsort
After the Berlin trimester ended, I flew to Copenhagen to begin a wee Scandinavian tour. The best part of this week was being with friendly residents and visiting their homes. Yes, homes. Not houses, accommodations, hotels, hostels, or dorms. In both Copenhagen and Stockholm, I stayed in city homes and then visited vacation homes by the water. Both cities are impressive and relatively unknown to me, but I valued most those moments where I was experiencing someone's place of hat-hanging. Rarely did I want to venture away.
(click on the images to see in a lightbox)
Landsort is a village on the ...
How an e-mail scored me another travel gig
I've been vague for months about what I do now. This is the long-alluded-to explanation of my new employment and how I got it.
In this evolving career of mine, I've taken many different tactics to attracting and pursuing jobs. I've 'dressed for the job I wanted' by creating the content I like to make, hoping those who need that work get wind of mine. Years of shooting resumes and cover letters into the online abyss that is an HR email account has never wielded the results most Baby Boomers seem to believe in adamantly. That act feels like tweeting to ...
Closing a chapter of this fragmented life in Buenos Aires
Fallen Jacaranda blossoms squish to the sidewalk of tilting tiles,
caulked daily by the wake of a dog-walking brigade.
Golden, kaleidoscopic light treats the top of the hotel
like it's deserving, like the whole street is.
Every day absorbed here, I felt like I wasn't, but
I still had a door to the rare urban nature and solitude
afforded the eccentric and prosperous.
I return to the USA tonight in a metal tube that
fails to desensitize about its capabilities of magic.
Leaving one big set of kids to a pocket-sized one,
I will unravel my scheduled ways and fall Jello-like
to the ebb and flow of my family, the weather, ...
A little valentine for my dear, sweet Buenos Aires
Not only was this the longest time I've lived in an international city, it also happened to be a culture I fully embraced. Our impending departure pricked me in the last week, drawing up thick sentiment I could only process through creation. What could I make that would facilitate a meditation on a city that showed me a wonderful time?
Prior to our first and only asado, I splayed out on my bed in a square of warm light and began a graphic design project, one that mimicked the Ork-style posters that fit neighborhood names into their map locations. My idea ...
This is what the last four months in Argentina looked like
This term at TGS was the longest in duration, compared to the three months each spent in Ecuador, Thailand, and Germany.
While I've previously written about the three-month mind cycle that makes for a great trip length, because of the adjustment and pack-up periods at TGS, that duration barely allowed for local absorption of any authentic kind. Instead, four months in Buenos Aires created a different expectation for assimilation and encouraged the development of friendships with porteños that would be a little stronger than surface level.
On top of having a beautiful apartment in a central location, I lived with an hilarious ...
Assume the world wants you to take risks, keep learning, and do what you love
My work life and personal life don't just run in parallel; they are the same. It is as though my tree of personal life once swayed in a wind that carried with it a seed. That seed became a vine that began to wrap and envelope my tree, not in a parasitic way but in a mutually symbiotic relationship. The vine became one with my tree; they grew together and now cannot be separated without killing both.
The wind was Semester at Sea.
The seed was a love of travel.
The vine is now a career path stemming from travel (pun intended).
Oddly enough, ...