Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Return to the Blue MV Explorer

This is kind of how I pictured it happening.

During my first voyage around the world in the Fall of 2005, I daydreamed life would play out something like this: Every couple of years, I would return to be the ship's AV coordinator. My first trip back would be another solo voyage, followed a few years later by a return with my significant other, culminating with a lifetime where my future kids would grow up with memories of traveling the world at different stages of their childhoods.

I didn't think it would take five years, and I certainly didn't think my first voyage back to Semester at Sea would include a wonderful wife and a hilarious chatterbox of a 2-year-old. But it did, and we're reboarding the MV Explorer for the Summer 2010 voyage, getting ready to cross the Atlantic twice for another 10 weeks at sea.

And it makes me so happy. My first voyage came at such a wonderful period in my life, and left such a mark on who I am today, that of course I would want to share it with the most important people of my life. There's just something about a shipboard community, disconnected from cell phones and other pressures of day-to-day life, that clears your head and cleans your soul.

I mean, this trip was surely meant to be: our Academic Dean, LeVahn Hoh, is a circus historian. I bet he balanced his kids too.

My biggest concern over doing another voyage has always been my job, and it is specially hard to take time off when work has never been better in the twelve years I've been with Transvideo Studios. The staff is such an amazing bunch who believe in what we do, and work so hard to build a company everyone wants to work for, and I hope to continue to provide all the support I can to continue in that direction while overseas.

But there's just so much to be excited about. I'm excited about the amazing itinerary, the sunsets at sea, the 360 degrees of uninterrupted horizon. I'm excited about meeting some wonderful new people, many surely to be friends for life. I'm excited about unplugging, and being in an academic environment. I'm excited to see Istanbul when it's not sleeting outside, and for Elise to bring her sand toys to the pyramids. I'm excited that she'll sleep like a baby every night, because that's what happens to everybody who's ever had the privilege to rock to sleep on a ship.

Of course there are a few unknowns. How Elise will handle being at sea for as many as 10 days at a time (and Monika, for that matter)? Will Elise understand what's going on? Will she make it her home? How will she handle not seeing Mimi and Baba until they come meet us in Italy?

I don't know. But I do think that will have a tremendous impact in shaping the wonderful little character that she already is, even if she won't remember a single thing about this voyage (which blows my mind, by the way). I know what living in close proximity with 800 people did to me the first time around, and I can only hope that she grows comfortable in large communities, learns to do so much with so little, and enjoys the uninterrupted family bonding time we'll be having for those weeks.

So if you want to see what we're up to, I'm dusting off the same old Cobosce blog I used for the first time around for this trip. I haven't written anything outside of work since the last voyage (I feel rusty just typing this little blurb out) but we look forward to immerse ourselves in writing and keep you updated as much as we can.

Here's the itinerary:

June 10 - Depart Ft. Lauderdale, FL for staff training in route to picking up the students in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
June 15 - Depart Halifax and cross the Atlantic
June 24-27 - Barcelona, Spain
June 29-July 05 - Meet Mimi and Baba in Civitavecchia and reboard the ship in Naples, Italy
July 08-11 - Meet Mimi and Baba in Dubrovnik, Croatia
July 14-18 - Piraeus (Athens), Greece
July 20-24 - Istanbul, Turkey (Elise calls it "Chicken", which is one of my favorite things ever).
July 27-31 - Alexandria, Egypt. We'll take a 3-hour bus ride to Cairo to see the pyramids
August 7-10 - Casablanca, Morocco
August 21 - Arrive Norfork, Virginia, USA!