My first night on the MV Explorer was rough.¬† Waking up in a cold sweat, I instinctively extended my hand toward the bedside table, reaching for something that I knew would not be there.¬† No, I wasn‚Äôt seasick.¬† And I certainly wasn‚Äôt homesick.¬† I was experiencing my first case of withdrawal ‚Ä¶ from technology.
As it turns out, the middle of the ocean doesn‚Äôt exactly present ample opportunities to contact the outside world.¬† Farewell, Mom and Dad, for Skype will be out of the question (I really only wanted to say hi to Biscuit, our dog, anyway).¬† Sayonara, friends, you won‚Äôt hear from me until I reach the shores of Japan.¬† Adios, America. I‚Äôll see you in May.
While my initial impression of life sans texting, cell phone service, and the Internet conjured up frightening images from a more primitive age, I have come to appreciate the restricted communication outlets on Semester at Sea.¬† Whether it‚Äôs the stunning sunrise saluting me at breakfast, the daily Insanity workouts on deck seven, or the nightly rounds of Catchphrase and Cards Against Humanity, I‚Äôve found plenty of ways to entertain myself.¬† Plus, out of the 962 participants on this ship I‚Äôve only met about 150, or 15 percent, thus far.
But how will I know when I‚Äôve reached my 400th follower on Instagram? I knew you were wondering.¬† The answer is:¬† I don‚Äôt care anymore.¬† I‚Äôm too busy reading about China as I sit on the 7th deck.¬† I‚Äôm too busy having dinner with my shipboard family:¬† a married couple and their five children that they boldly dragged along with them.¬† I‚Äôm too busy experiencing the world to waste time mindlessly scrolling through my news feed.
Call me old-fashioned, but there‚Äôs something about relying on my cabin‚Äôs phone as the main method of communication that reminds me of the solitude of my youth, especially when I catch myself twirling its black cord between my fingers.
Most notably, this trip has already allowed me to connect with people in ways Facebook never could. It has brought me back to a period unencumbered by the incessant interruption of calls, texts, hashtags, and likes. For the next four months I‚Äôll be trading in wall posts for post-it notes, FaceTime for face time, and Wi-Fi for the world. And I couldn‚Äôt feel more fortunate.
Until Barcelona:¬† ttyl Twitter, I‚Äôll #brb.
By Alyssa Fishman,