Diversity Abroad – Blog

Next stop… Home!

I am extremely proud, but also very saddened to say that I have successfully made it through all 11 countries for the Fall 2015 voyage! Our last two ports couldn’t have been more perfect. After Brazil we made our way to Trinidad and Tobago, which might as well have been an island of paradise. After our quick stop there we made our way through the Panama Canal to Costa Rica!

Trinidad and Tobago was only a two-day port, but I definitely kept myself busy. On our first day (Which happened to be Thanksgiving Day!) I participated in Habitat for Humanity, a field program that was held by SAS. A group of students, and I traveled to a home that was in the process of being built for a family in need. Our task was to paint the house (inside and out) in preparation for the incoming family. It felt absolutely wonderful to finally have the chance to give back to one of the countries we were visiting. As a “tourist” it’s easy to forget that we are guests in these people’s countries. We come in and see all that there is to see, and take what we want. However, these people are inviting us into their homes and I think that it’s just as important to give back as it is to take away from these experiences.

Students participating in Habitat for Humanity.

Students participating in Habitat for Humanity.

Once we were all dripping with sweat, and our jeans were covered in paint the job was finished. From there I participated in another SAS program. Here, we were able to spend the evening dancing the night away to a popular steel drum group and enjoy some tasty local dishes. It was honestly one of the most exciting nights I’ve had on this trip so far!

Unfortunately we would have to leave the next day, but I spent every last minute of it on a beautiful beach would a group of students and staff. You honestly can’t go wrong with a beach day.

The beautiful landscapes of Trinidad.

The beautiful landscapes of Trinidad.

Once we said our goodbyes to Trinidad and Tobago we set sail for the next week. Here we would spend one of those days traveling through the Panama Canal. This was something that I didn’t think I would appreciate as much as I did. For those you don’t know, the Panama Canal consists of a series of locks that ships have to pass through one at a time. Each lock must fill/empty with water in order to pass through to the next one. Now our ship is pretty big, and to watch it pass through the canal was absolutely astounding.

A quick look into one of the canal locks.

A quick look into one of the canal locks.

Once we were through the canal we were on our way to Costa Rica! I don’t think I could have asked for a more perfect last port. Costa Rica was filled with so many adventures, laughs, and smiles. In the short time that I was there I managed to go on city tours to beautiful beaches, zip-lining over lush jungles, boat tours through crocodile infested waters, swimming in waterfalls and hot springs, and whitewater rafting through some intense rapids. To top it all off I even got to see a wild sloth! I can definitely say I got to do and see everything I wanted to get done. I may have killed myself in the process, but it was worth every minute.

I mean, I guess I'll go zip-lining in Costa Rica.

I mean, I guess I’ll go zip-lining in Costa Rica.

On our last day in port most of us did the usual. We hung around close to town getting last minute shopping done, and squeezing in those last couple second of beach time. Once we were ready to call it a day we started to make our way back to the ship. It was only then that it hit me that this would be the last time I would make my journey to my floating home. It would be the last time I would swipe my I.D card and make my way up the steps to the MV World Odyssey. It was definitely a bittersweet moment. The fact that this adventure of a lifetime is starting to come to an end is something that felt like it was years away. Now it feels like it’s just around the corner.

Action shots on our riverboat cruise!

Action shots on our riverboat cruise!

We only have one last stretch at sea before we will debark from the ship for the last time. We only have one port left before we say our goodbyes.

Next stop… home!

Costa Rica's sunsets were never a disappointment.

Costa Rica’s sunsets were never a disappointment.