Each voyage touches and shapes every student differently, but for Ari Gootnick, the Fall 2015 voyage was particularly life changing. His experience inspired him to document how the voyage has changed the lives of others within the community onboard, and the product is one many Semester at Sea alumni can relate to.¬†
JustBeAtSea was created via Tumblr by Gootnick at the end of his voyage as a way to honor his experience and the experiences of others he sailed with. Throughout the last month of the voyage, Gootnick wandered around the ship and found students, faculty, staff and crew to ask them one question: ‚ÄúHow has traveling around the world changed the person you are today?‚Äù Each response is accompanied by a distorted portrait of the person responding, with a facial expression of their choice. Ultimately, these responses show a diverse range of growth that takes place on Semester at Sea.
‚ÄúThis is a huge project that means a lot to me,‚Äù Gootnick said. ‚ÄúThe changes people went through are remarkable. People are more confident and see the world differently.‚Äù
Coming from the University of Texas at Austin, Gootnick had only been outside of the United States a handful of times before sailing. He heard about Semester at Sea from a friend and immediately decided to apply. His time on the voyage fed his desire to travel as well as fostered his long time passion for film and photography.
‚ÄúSemester at Sea was a great opportunity because not only was it great to travel, but I was able to express and take advantage of my passion,‚Äù Gootnick said.
Gootnick expressed that for him, Semester at Sea affected him deeply because he learned to ‚Äújust be”. Before embarking, he didn‚Äôt know anyone on the ship and not having access to internet helped him really understand and get to know others around him.
‚ÄúJust learning to let go and know that everything works out the way it‚Äôs supposed to, that was very powerful to me,‚Äù said Gootnick.
Gootnick explains that the people he met on the ship and in port ultimately have had a profound impact on his life then and now, and JustBeAtSea is one of the ways he wishes to convey that.
‚ÄúI wasn‚Äôt doing it for myself, I was doing it for the community,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúIn the end, it‚Äôs not about where you travel, it‚Äôs about who you travel with.‚Äù
See Ari‚Äôs full blog here.