R is for Return to Semester at Sea
Written by
Kari Redmond
April 2015
Written by
Kari Redmond
April 2015

Pretty much since the moment I stepped off ‘The Great White Mother’ as the SS Universe Explorer was affectionately called by its 600 plus voyagers, in December 1999, I was plotting my return.  Never has an experience changed and formed my life path more then that of the voyage around the world Semester at Sea took me on in the fall of 1999. Quite frankly, Semester at Sea ruined me. I would never again live a simple, easy life. I would always be seeking new worlds, new cultures, people, food and experiences.

It was on the ship, in the early get to know you days on the Bali deck where my cabin was located that I formed my first seemingly unattainable goal to visit all seven continents.  Semester at Sea had brought me to Africa, my fifth continent. It was five years later that I stepped foot on the continent of Antarctica (#7) having sailed from Ushuaia, Argentina (#6).

I became an ESL teacher as a result of having seen the world through Semester at Sea. It was the best way I knew to travel and see the world while actually making money. I taught and lived in Chile and Honduras and traveled extensively from both.  I simply could not shake the wanderlust that Semester at Sea had planted in me. And truthfully, I didn’t want to.

Upon returning to the states, the dream to return to Semester at Sea was still there.  I researched several ways to return to the ship (now a new ship called the MV Explorer.)  I could return as a travel agent for the various field excursions in port, or as the shipboard store clerk or any of the various jobs needed on essentially a cruise ship. I was open to anything that would get me back and traveling around the world again.

But the one job I had become particularly fond of, especially now that I was a teacher, was that of professor. I felt it was the most prestigious for sure, and as such, also the hardest to get. When I got my current job teaching ESL at Colorado State University, I felt a little closer to that goal.  Not that Semester at Sea is looking for ESL teachers, but I felt I had my foot in the door a little bit more now that I was teaching at a university. I envision teaching creative writing and literature onboard, just like the teachers I had while sailing around the world.  

I am not sure how I will eventually get back on the ship that ruined my life and set me on a path of adventure and discovery, but I know that one day the recurring dreams I have of being back on the ship will come true.

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