As our voyage continues, I confess that there are moments when the uncomfortableness of our small shared living space borders on the unbearable. It is not always comfortable living with thirty-nine others on a boat with no contact to our respective loved ones. The humidity makes us and our beds wet and sticky, the unrelenting watch cycle challenges our sleep schedules, and although we are surrounded by others offering helping hands and moral support, feelings of loneliness arise in ways that many of us have never experienced before. It is an intense trip, with real emotional and physical strain.
Silly Skittles: Paloma, Parker, Kris, and Diego playing the game pterodactyl
Although it is easy for my peers and me to complain about the hardships of this trip, we are starting to understand why this uncomfortableness is so valuable and why we sought it out in the first place. Struggle builds resilience. The day to day fatigue and mental exhaustion is small price to pay for what SEA is allowing us access to; the foundational building blocks of being an academic, a sailor, a leader, or whatever individual we desire to be. All of this offered and obtained in an environment that is like no other, the open ocean. For that we are all beyond grateful.
In small moments throughout the day I see the longevity of the skills we are building. Most days I feel like a sponge trying to soak in as much of the information that is being poured over me. Our experiences here, positive or negative push us to rise to the next potentially challenging moment. The ecstasy of achievement and frustration of failure is felt by all, daily and it’s exhausting. Put simply, the perseverance we are exhibiting is beyond significant and our struggles hold a purpose that will stay with us beyond this voyage’s destination.
While the struggles and the lessons we are learning from them are important, they are not constant. Camaraderie and community flow through the veins of this ship and there is rarely a moment with nothing to do. Daily classes and meals bring us together to share food, dances, stories, and laughs. Even though there are so many people aboard there is a surprising amount of alone time I find myself with. On a nice sunny day you find me atop the lab deckhouse playing chess with Vero, Paul, or Marshall. On days where the weather is not so favorable, you’ll find me below deck reading or journaling. Life aboard the Robert C Seamans is nothing short of spectacular.
To my family:
AJ, Joser, Stacy, Zack, Benny, Anise, and Uncle Alex – I miss you all so much and want to let you know I am having a fantastic time at sea. I feel I have reconnected with the crucial drive to learn. The past few years I have not dealt with the frustrations and challenges that come with learning (especially in my academic settings) and I am relieved that I am dealing with them so well here. It feels like the start of a new beginning.
On this ship the knowledge of sailing, oceanography, machinery, maritime history and nautical science often feels endless and I am trying to soak up as much information as I can. I think of you all every day and can’t wait to see you. I wish I could share many of these moments I am experiencing here with you all and look forward to the memories that lie in our future. I am so incredibly grateful to you all for supporting me through such an awkward transition into adulthood, I know this has been difficult and unexpected. I am so happy to have a family that pushes me to achieve great things and become the best me I can be. I just want to say thank you all each individually. You all support me in different and equally important ways.
This momentary separation from my support system (that’s you guys!) is not easy but its necessity and I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job. So to you all thank you.
I’m thinking about Nini and Big Pop and Susan, Mikey and Pop Pop. Hoping they are all in good health and sending lots of love. Please relay my gratitude and well wishes to them.