Category Archives: Semester @ Sea

Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.: Are Those Gold Teeth?

I feel like I’ve been saying goodbye for weeks now. The “Bon Voyage” party that one of my client’s threw for me was hilarious and touching. We had everything from moosemeat eggrolls (really, I’m not making that up) to the lovely cake (pictured) made by one of my colleagues. People keep asking me if I’m excited and the answer is yes, but I haven’t had any time to really process what I’m about to do.

My parents have been fantastic, letting me spread everything all over their house the last week and never complaining at my odd hours or frequent requests for coffee. I worked right down to the wire on Saturday. I had a 4:20pm train to catch and I didn’t take a shower and zip up my bags until 3:20pm (really, I’m not making that up either!). Fortunately my Mom drives like a bat-out-of-hell, a carryover from her years of driving on Germany’s autobahn. We made it to the station at 4:16pm and I could only laugh as I watched my Mom jog next to the train doing her “princess” wave, while my Dad and nephew took pictures and shook their heads.

Unfortunately I couldn’t catch up with friends in NC and GA, but I made it to Tampa and was a bit startled at how chilly it was. I was also startled by the toddler that cried for 45 minutes (hurray for earplugs!) and the Jamaican senior citizen who screamed into his cell phone for an hour. I was totally entranced by the caucasian teenagers with a mouthful of gold teeth, and the only starbucks on the planet that isn’t a wi-fi hotspot (suck it!)

I needed to see my brother before I left on this trip, to hug him hard before he gets married this weekend in Jamaica. It hit me that I’m actually going to miss my baby brother’s wedding, and he is still happy for me, as I am for him. My whole family is crazy about his wife-to-be. They welcomed me to their home with caviar and martinis! They demonstrated their love and affection with some dance moves, and some wrestling moves. Yeah, this union is a match made in heaven.

I finally had a chance to think during the 4 hour drive to Ft. Lauderdale. I have to admit that I’m nervous, a bit anxious, and yes, very excited. This trip is unlike any other I’ve taken, I’ll be working for one, and I am a bit of a workaholic already, will I be able to balance work and still have a transformative experience? I have a deep fear of open water and a fear of heights and a vessel of this size combines the worst of the two! How will I deal with the 8 day voyage with no land in sight, no escape from the ship – from Salvador, Brazil to Cape Town, So. Africa?

I’m also not sure how I’ll feel about traveling fast and shallow versus slow and deep. During my 3.5 months in Mexico I got into the culture, hung out with the locals, sought out the food, music, arts and entertainment native to the cities/towns I was visiting, but on this voyage I’ll see so much more of the world, but with the constraints of someone else’s timetable. We are traveling with almost 900 people, 700 of which are students and things happen. I wonder if we’ll all return together, if we’ll all return alive (people have perished). Because I’m a dork, I also wonder about things like: did I pack enough Orbit gum? Will I be able to download new episodes of 30 Rock? Will Desmond Tutu become my new best friend? So I guess it all balances out.

I can’t believe I’m actually traveling again, the sensation of movement away from and towards feels so good.

Pre-Trip Planning: Reads for the Road

Uh, is it a problem if I have a whole ‘nother bag for my books? is in lurve with me right about now. Where I’m going to put all of these remains a mystery. Maybe I don’t need 14 pair of underwear…..

Top to bottom:

love walked in
the secret history**
girl’s guide to absolutely everything***
like life****
the power of one******
the digital photography book******
around the bloc
love & romance
why are all the black kids sitting together
what every american should know about the rest of the world**
the living bible (this is my favorite of my 4 bibles)
lisey’s story*

the world is flat
what every american should know about who’s really running world
the hidden cost of being african american
woman, an intimate geography*****
faces at the bottom of the well: on racism
frida: a biography
a short history of nearly everything
the kindness of strangers

*My Parents gift me a new Stephen King book every xmas/kwanzaa

**Personal Favorite

***Written by fellow Wahoo Melissa K

****Recommended by Melissa K

*****Recommended by Erica

******Recommended by Josh

T-minus: 4 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

Check us out over at Gadling for more gooey travel goodness!

Pre-Trip Planning: Travel Gear Faves

*Note: If you click on the photo it will take you to flickr where you can see my notes on each item*

So what do you take on a RTW (round the world) trip? I have no idea so I’m taking my favorite stuff.

Things I Cannot Live Without:

-Aquafresh Toothpaste
-Lady Speedstick
-Various odd-a$$ sized batteries
-Orbit Gum
-Goody’s Headache Powder
-Gillette Venus Razor
-Ultra Mentha Lip Shine
-Tazo Tea & Splenda
-Ralph Lauren Sunglasses
-Camera (Nikon D50 & Coolpix S6)
-Women’s Ultra Mega Vitamins (GNC)
-Travel Alarm Clock
-Swiss army tool w/ penlight
-Hip Hop; R&B; Jazz Tunes
-Barnes & Noble Spiral Journals & Uniball Pens
-Toothbrush & Mouthwash
-Cold, Hard, Cash (US $ and Indian Rupees pictured)

What else should I take? What can’t you live without when you travel?

T-minus: 6 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

Check me out over at Gadling.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.

Pre-Trip Planning: Gear & Gadgets


[1] As a gift to myself for working like a dog, completing my grad school applications, and surviving the weather here at Dartmouth College, I bought myself that Nikon I had been lusting after. I agonize over these types of expenditures and excuse me while I go puke thinking about my credit card bill. Oh, and did I mention that I’m getting my next to last paycheck today? Double puke!

Enough with the puking already. This blog is so classy!

[2] I decided on the D50 over the D80 after listening to some photographers whose work I like. The D80 is $600 more than the D50 and that doesn’t include anything except the “body” of the camera. I also had a great offer for a 55-200mm lens, but it was another $700 and I was l like wait, last.paycheck.for.months and Blindian called and talked me off the $700 cliff. I went with the baby lens and used a very generous gift certificate that I received for Christmas. I am very happy. But still slightly puketastic.

[3] It has warmed up to 2 degrees here in New Hampshire-its a heatwave!

[4] Come check us out over at for more hilarious travel news.

T-minus: 11 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.

Pre-Trip Planning: But Kind of Not


[1] Do you think Gadling knew what they got themselves into when they asked me to write for them? I don’t think so either. Check out my initial blog post and my official introduction, then stick around and take a spin through the archives. The site is hella fun, chock-full of info for all things travel, and we don’t mind if you leave us comments (Thanks Blindian! You know who you are!).

[2] PhD application status: 5 down, 1 to go. After all the blood, sweat and tears I have put into this journey, if somebody doesn’t let me up into those ivory towers, I’m gonna burn ’em down. But don’t tell them I said that because I think that’s “pre-meditated” and right now I’m just “under-medicated.”

[3] Remember my nephew? The one who is 10 going on 50? I forgot to mention that this fool is in a BOWLING LEAGUE! I swear he’s got a smoking jacket and tobacco pipe hidden somewhere. I asked him what he’d do if he had a million dollars. He said: “Probably exacly what I’m doing now!” and proceeded to make himself a PB&J – so I guess that is evidence of a well lived life, even at 10 years old.

[4] Travel update: I’m burried under paperwork right now, invoicing clients, updating travel insurance, the whole nine. I have to wrap up my project here at Dartmouth and figure out how to get my shots without paying a damn fortune. Nothing sexy going on over here…but stay tuned.

T-minus: 19 days and counting to Semester at Sea.

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.

Pre-Trip Planning: Paging Dr. McSteamy


The Funchilde International Base Camp (FIB-C) is rather a mess these days. And by mess I mean I have commandeered my parent’s dining room with my paperwork, printer, files and various electronics. This week I will concentrate on finalizing my vaccinations (International Yellow Card pictured) and avoiding filling my anti-malarial prescription (if you’ve ever taken anti-malarials you’ll sympathize).

If you’re planning your own adventures outside of the US, check out the State Department’s updated travel/health advisory(ies).

T-minus: 22 days and counting to

First stop: Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Nassau, Bahamas.


Pre-Trip Planning: Carnival…Here I Come!


My passport arrived with the Brazilian, Chinese and Indian visa pages/stamps. And in typical girl fashion my first thought was: “ooh, look at the pretty colors!” But the Brazilian stamp has my first name as Brian (not my first name), so we shall see what hilarity ensues as I try to get my Carnival on! Anybody want to contribute to my “ the Br.azi.lian po.lice” fund?

I signed up for 3 nights of Carnival parade in Salvador. A bunch of people are going to fly from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro, but it was over $1200US and that wasn’t all expenses included! I had to drop close to $600US to sign up to march with three of the troops (a different group each night), but I think it will be once in a lifetime opportunity, and I can always go sit myself down somewhere if things get out of hand. I don’t do well in large crowds so we shall see how this goes, Carnival in Salvador is billed as the largest street party on earth, so you can see why I’m all over that yet a little wary. I figure if I can lean out of a small boat and pet a 16 meter whale, I can ease on down the road with a feather boa and a mardis gras mask on. Plus I was inspired by Adrienne’s pics from her trip to Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival (where she met up with Karen of!

So, travel blogging has resumed…more Pre-Trip Planning & gear pics to follow. I’m sure those of you who have been tolerating my general blogging in hopes that I’d get back to the foolishness I seem to get into on the road are breathing a sigh of relief. Thanks for sticking around. Having yall with me is half the fun.

T-minus: 24 days and counting to


Pre-Trip Planning: 100..99..98..things left to do


*I luv this pic so much*

The countdown begins. 60 days until we set sail for 100 days around the world with semester at sea. While I’m:

1. applying for travel visas to India, China and Brazil
2. pee-ing in a cup to pass drug and health tests
3. figuring out what nasty diseases i should get innoculations for
4. figuring out what to pack
5. trying not to buy this

…go check out, Sol’s back on the road with amazing photos and video. I’m looking forward to traveling with yall again.

The Love (travel) Boat


600 students
100 days
50 staff
13 ports
10 countries
1 Archbishop
1 large boat

I’m so excited, humbled and busy that I don’t even know how to process the news. I was selected to join the Semester at Sea staff and we set sail January 29, 2007 for 100 days around the world. I’m going to miss my baby brother and future sister-in-law’s wedding, but I’ll just send them a really nice gift. Plus, she just got back from covering a story in South Africa, so I don’t feel so bad.

This year has been magical, both in the memories I’ve created and the misstakes I’ve made, and new ones are literally on the horizon. I wish I could take all of you with me, but I’m sure yall can’t get off work, and you won’t fit in my bag (and I’m notoriously cranky if I have to share a room). I have already had offers from people offering to be my: husband, wife, domestic partner, sherpa and “cabin boy.”  

So, what shall I pack? I’m thinking: 15 pairs of underwear, my camera and some breath mints. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Take a peek at the itinerary and tell us which places you’d be most excited about.