Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Life at Sea

So what's it like living on a ship at sea? It's pretty cool. First of all, our ship the M/V Explorer is beautiful. It's hard to tell from pictures but the ship is much smaller than the cruise ships people normally sea in ports. When we're next to them the Explorer looks like a baby, but it feels quite big when we're sailing. The ship is 7 decks with two dining areas, a faculty/staff lounge, a pool area with snack bar and loads of classrooms and cabins. Second, life is also pretty structured when we're on the ship. Breakfast is at X time, Lunch is at Y. Classes are on a regular schedule and there are always activities in the evening including our mandatory pre-port meetings when we get information about the country and city we're going to visit next. Third, I get seasick at sea. Horribly, horribly seasick. I'm not the norm when it comes to that, so many people can handle the movement like a champ, however I am not in that group. To be fair, I get motion sick on treadmills, but I'm currently taking seasickness pills, wearing the Sea Band bracelets, keeping my stomach full and taking naps. I'm not sure which of those works, but I'm not as green as I was on the way to Portugal. It's the small things, right?

Saturday, June 14, 2014


London was pretty fantastic.
I got a lot of research done which included receiving a 3 year pass to the British Library.  I don't know about you, but that sets my little geeky heart all a'flutter.  I found what I needed and then some. 

On top of that I got to do some sightseeing. Not as much as I'd like, but I got to explore Shoreditch and Notting Hill thanks to the City Cycling London Guide.  The guide was small & I really liked the design so I picked it up despite my firmly pedestrian status. It's a great little guide. Probably a fantastic one if you were actually traveling around on a bike.

One day I want to return (I only have a day in London after the voyage because the Fall 2014 semester starts almost immediately after the voyage) and actually tour around London for an extended period of time.*

Now I'm in Southampton at a very lovely hotel going through orientation for our voyage. It's been great seeing lots of familiar faces and meeting new people too.  The ship comes to port tomorrow and we'll actually embark on the ship in the afternoon!

*Okay, what I really mean is I want to come back and see everything related to Harry Potter.

Monday, June 9, 2014

And Here We Go

I'm drafting this post on my flight from Boston to London. It's about a 6 hour flight which is just short enough to make sure that we'll all be horribly jetlagged & cranky when we arrive in London at 6:10am.

Despite my impending crankiness, I am very excited to see London again. I've only been to London once before on my backpacking trip 7 years ago. I have nothing but good memories of my time there (cool shop! Delicious tea! Free museums! Pubs!) so I'm excited to sneak away from my research for a few hours each day to really see the city.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Where are We Going

I leave for London in just a few days, which is both exciting and overwhelming. I have some dissertation research to do before the voyage so I'll be working in London for a couple days before heading to meet the ship in Southampton.

Summer voyages mean that the program focuses on a smaller area whereas the full semester voyages go around the world.  As you can see from the map above we're going to some pretty spectacular places this summer! I'm excited to visit some new places (Portugal, Scotland, Norway, Sweden & Poland), and of course I'm always excited to return to Saint Petersburg. 

The voyage is also going to be a little bittersweet since it's the last summer voyage for the MV Explorer.