Leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.
When I was planning out how I wanted to organize my blog to correlate with my travels, I initially wanted to write from country to country, sharing my experiences, what beautiful places, people and objects I got to see and giving a quick recap on how I spent my time in each port. However, I have realized that, although the majority of individuals know where I am going over the next few months, I have not shared exactly what I am doing in these countries. I have also perceived that so many of you who read my blog posts, my Facebook updates and have reached out to me by email, are individuals who have insight about the best things to do, best places to see and have incredible before-you-go advice for a handful of the places I am going to (shoutout to my Aunt Nicole and sorority sister, Savanna for the amazing Barcelona itineraries!) and I want you all to have the opportunity to travel along with me as I see the world.
With that said, I have finished up my time in Barcelona and I am currently on a quick train ride over to Valencia until tomorrow night. My time in Spain was beautiful, as I got to visit the Arc de Triomf, La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and the Casa Batlló all within just two days. On top of all that, I spent time in Las Ramblas, visited the fresh food market and ate plenty of paella and freshly made churros. As I travel to Valencia, I am looking forward to visiting the beaches of Valencia and walking around another beautiful European country.
Tomorrow night, the MV World Odyssey sets sail once again and heads to the Gulf of Guinea where we will port in Ghana, Africa for another short, four days. In Ghana, I will have the opportunity to spend the day at the City of Refuge Children’s Village, a grassroots organization that cares for children who have been victims of trafficking, have been orphaned or abandoned. On September 30, we will then sail down through the Cape of Good Hope and port ourselves in Cape Town, South Africa, a place that I have been dreaming to go to for years. Here is where I will push the education aside and bring out my more… let’s say, adventurous side. I will be traveling with Adventure Cape Town to the world’s highest bungee jump over the Bloukrans Bridge. I will then take a bus eight hours where I will continue the adrenaline rush with skydiving, great-white shark cage diving and a safari before heading to an Airbnb that overlooks Table Mountain in the Adirondack Park.
Leaving South Africa, Mauritius will be the next stop on our list; however, we are only ported there for a short twelve hours, but still provides plenty of time to experience an incredibly underrated country. Towards the end of October, the MV World Odyssey will dock in Cochin, India where I will fly to Delhi to visit the All Creatures Great and Small Center (ACGS), which is a compassionate sanctuary for old, sick and abandoned animals. After spending my day loving on some elephants from ACGS and the Elephant Conservation Center, the next morning I will wake up before sunrise to greet the incredible Taj Mahal.
From India, we head right on over to Myanmar where I will catch an early morning flight to Bagan and head to the Shwezigone Pagoda with many other succeeding Myanmar pagodas. The next morning, my friends and I will watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon ride, getting eye level and higher with these beautiful pagodas. After our time in Myanmar, we will sail to Viet Nam where I will spend my time there doing independent travel to Ha Long Bay and take a guided boat tour to capture the beautiful sights. With two short stops in Myanmar and Viet Nam, the MV World Odyssey will sail 1,997 nautical miles to Shangai, China where I will take a flight to Guilin and explore the Reed Flute Cave, which is colorfully illuminated and has a vast array of stalactites and stalagmites to ornate a cathedral hall. Over the next few days traveling to Beijing, I will visit Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. After a lunch of traditional dumplings hosted by a local family, I will have the opportunity to hike along the Great Wall of China while finishing the day off with a cable car ride to the top.
In our last stop before crossing back into the United States, we will sail to Kobe, Japan where I will travel to a secluded temple town in Koyasan where I will visit the head temple of Shingon Buddhism. That night, I will stay at a shukubo, a Buddhist temple lodge and participate in a zen meditation session with the monks and awake the next morning to observe the monks’ daily prayer.
After our time in Asia, the MV World Odyssey will begin its home stretch to Honolulu, Hawaii. Within this time of traveling over 3,500 nautical miles, we will cross the International Date Line which will actually allow me to live the day of December 12, 2018… twice. Once we port in Honolulu, Hawaii for a quick fuel fill-up, I will be spending my day with Food Network’s, The Great Food Truck Race, winner, Lanai Tabura. Here, I will embrace my inner-foodie and get to explore all the flavors of Hawaii from fried rice, fresh poke and warm malasada.
The short distance from Honolulu, Hawaii to our disembarkation in San Diego, California will allow me to have time to reflect on all of these incredible, life changing opportunities and experiences that I have listed above and dwell in all of the memories that I am able to make in between.
I truly hope this was beneficial for you all to understand what in the world (literally) I am doing this semester. And again, if you have been to any of these phenomenal places, have any bucket list items you want to share or any questions, suggestions or thoughts, please feel free to email my ship-board account: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Here’s to the next 97 days —