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P.F. Kluge challenges Fall 2017 to travel thoughtfully

P.F. Kluge and Student
P.F. Kluge talks with a student during the Spring 2011 Voyage

Fall 2017 faculty member P.F. Kluge has a lifetime of travel experience, and almost every place he’s been, he’s written about.

“I’ve traveled a lot. I was a longtime contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler, I’ve been on previous [Semester at Sea] voyages, my wife (Pamela Hollie, an accomplished writer in her own right and also a faculty member onboard the Fall 2017 Voyage) was a correspondent for the New York Times in Manila,” said Kluge, who has written nine novels and contributed to Rolling Stone, GEO, and Smithsonian, among others.

With all of those accumulated adventures behind him, Kluge has a challenge for Fall 2017 Voyagers who may be traveling internationally for the first time.

‚ÄúYou should think of it as the beginning of something. Don‚Äôt think of it… as your last and only shot. ‚Äù

Kluge, who teaches and serves as Writer-in-Residence at Kenyon College in Ohio, will teach two courses during the Fall 2017 Voyage: Writing in Specialized Magazines and Reading Without Borders. In Reading Without Borders, students will read novels by in-country experts and authors from the countries on the Fall 2017 itinerary. According to Kluge, the course will allow voyagers to, “compare their reactions, what they’ve run into, what they see, what they smell, what they eat, with what is described in the books.”

In a similar manner, Kluge will provide examples of his own travel writing to his Journalism students, who will use what they learn in the classroom to write about exploring the world aboard the MV World Odyssey.  

“It starts with small things: your impression of the ship at different times of day, your reactions to the sea, to the pattern of life on the ship, first acquaintances, second acquaintances, and encounters with this community, a closed community, which will exist for three months,” Kluge said. “And then finally, the pieces get longer and more thoughtful, until the end they’re talking about travel in a large way.”

Both courses are designed to slow students down, especially in port. During a Semester at Sea Voyage, it’s impossible to see everything in each country, as much as voyagers would love to try. Instead of jetting off to the nearest big tourist destination, Kluge encourages voyagers to spend more time breathing in what is around them, striking up conversation with locals, and discovering and forming a personal bond with each port on the voyage.

By the end of the journey¬†every voyager will assuredly have their favorite port, or country, or excursion; Kluge’s courses, with an emphasis on reflection, will center on students digging deeper into what inspired¬†their new-found favorite place in the world.

“They [students] will make mistakes, and they will correct them in many cases, and they will have a opinions and they will revise opinions and they will have new opinions, and that‚Äôs great to be part of,” Kluge said. “Some of the places will sink a hook and you will want to see them again. Why?”

That is the question Fall 2017 Voyagers will be challenged to think about.

  • Culture
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