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Student Perspective: Living in the Now

There are many benefits to traveling the world. You get to learn about new cultures and languages, and you see how other countries are vastly different or similar to your own, all the while broadening your global perspective.  Traveling by sea is an even more amazing experience. Within days you build a community with people you’ve never met with the serenity of the sea surrounding you. But with all this greatness comes a price: a limit on technology.

Having limited internet sounds bad, and for the first week or so it was. I still wanted to check my phone every five minutes, although I couldn‚Äôt use it to feed my addiction to Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. But now a month later, it isn’t so bad. The other day I was on the subway in Hong Kong when I looked over and noticed my neighbor was on Facebook. I suddenly realized that I hadn‚Äôt been on Facebook in a month, and I actually didn‚Äôt miss it.

On board the ship and in port I actually talk to people to find out what is going on in their lives. I am getting to know people by asking questions rather than stalking their profiles on a page. If I want to see someone, I walk over and knock on their door, and if I want to talk to them I do it face to face. My conversations with people don’t consist of what happened on Pretty Little Liars the night before, but of what we did in China and what we plan to do in the coming countries.

You can learn a lot about people by actually being in their presence. Playing Cards Against Humanity or Never Have I Ever is a great way to meet new people and learn more about them. I myself have made a great deal of new friends over nightly games of Phase 10. With so many diverse people on board, it’s interesting what you can discover about them and the places they’re from just by taking the time to listen.

One of the best things I‚Äôve learned so far is how to live in the now. Instead of checking up on Dale Jr. to see whether or not he has a shot of winning this year, I‚Äôm planning a trip to The Great Wall and Robben Island, and visiting children in orphanages who were saved from the beggars’ mafia in India.

But it doesn’t end here. When I get off the ship, I hope to continue making a change in the world. Upon my return home I want to end my daily habits of checking Facebook or Twitter. Rather than wondering about what color Demi Lovato’s hair will be next, I want to help out at my local soup kitchen and investigate where else I can be of service. What I originally saw as a curse I now realize is a blessing, and genuinely interacting with people rather than checking their social media accounts feels almost liberating.

It may feel a bit 90’s with the landlines, email, and letter writing as our main modes of communications, but I think the 90’s are coming back anyway. We’re just ahead of the eight-ball.





  • Life on Land

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