Prior to sailing on the MV Explorer, I had more than a swarm of questions buzzing through my mind. What is Doxycycline – is that an ingredient in my shampoo? What can I bring on the ship? What is the food like? The good news is that a lot of logistical questions can be answered simply by visiting the Semester at Sea website or by contacting ISE headquarters in Virginia. Now, mentally preparing for a voyage is a whole different story. The mindset you enter your journey with can affect your entire experience. Some things to keep in mind as you board…
1. Allow yourself to be open to new people, new experiences, and new opportunities: get out of your comfort zone, try different things, and seek out adventure. The MV Explorer is full of passionate, and brilliant individuals who will greatly enhance your experience. Take the time to grab a meal with new people as often as you can, because you may learn something new about a country, your fellow voyagers, or even yourself.
2. This experience WILL change you. When I was first told this, I thought it was rather cliché. However, in the end I realized that it is 100% true. You are going to see and experience so many new things. Some may have an even greater effect on you than you might imagine while you are in the moment.
3. It is important that you make this experience YOURS. Be cautious of living through someone else. While advice from past voyagers can be helpful, it is especially important to not make their experiences yours. Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, offered one of my favorite quotes: “A good traveler has no fixed plans and no intent of arriving.” Just keep this in mind as you worry about finding the right travel buddies and the “perfect” place to visit at each port.