I’m finally back home, and all I can think about is how bittersweet it is. Of course, I missed my family greatly, and I am so excited to not have to figure out what time I can call my mom based on our 8-12-hour time zone differences. Sleeping in my own bed is a blessing, and it’s nice to be able to drive again. However, it’s hard being away from the people I spent every day for the past 4 months with. I developed such strong friendships with people who truly changed my life, and saying goodbye was by far the most difficult part of this experience. I wouldn’t change a thing though, because now I have friendships that will last a lifetime, and it makes seeing them again that much more special.

On the ship, I started new habits that I have been continuing since being home. One of these is going outside more and appreciating nature. While abroad, every day I stepped outside to see the beautiful ocean or a new country. I wanted to continue seeing the beauty that each day had to offer, so I made it a goal to spend at least 10 minutes outside every day. Since the ship didn’t have internet, I got used to not using social media. It freed up a lot of time, and it helped me to lessen comparing myself to others and focus more on my relationships with others.

My Semester at Sea experience has transformed me into a more knowledgeable person by enlightening my perspective on life and the world. Although my voyage has ended, my journey has only just begun. The best advice I can give for any journey a person may go on is this: always be intentional. No matter where you are or what you are doing, be fully engaged and present in the moment. Make thoughtful decisions and find joy and value in everything. Life has so much to offer, but we must be the ones who seek it.