Sunday, August 24, 2014


The MV Explorer, a floating university, & my home for the next three & a half months.

We are docked in Southampton for the next few hours, setting sail at 1700 hours (5:00 pm), Sunday, August 24th, for St. Petersburg, our first port. We'll travel to fourteen countries.

I'm writing this at a coffee shop facing a pedestrian street with food stands-- my last minutes on dry land for the next week or so.

I've had a couple of days to explore a bit of Southampton, & I particularly enjoyed the Old Town near the harbor. Apparently both the Mayflower & the Titanic sailed from here. Hmmm....
Hope our voyage will be a safe one in all respects.

I was fascinated by the many mentions of Jane Austen, little plaques announcing that she went to her first dance at this hotel, or spent time with her family at another spot... kind of like "George Washington slept here."

Anyway we have all boarded the ship-- that's 620 students from all over the world, 45 faculty & staff, 14 Lifelong Learners, & 330 crew members. That's a full house, my friends. Tomorrow morning, classes begin, & just to give you a sense of shipboard schedules: while at sea, classes follow an A Day, B Day schedule. No weekends, no days off. I'll be teaching 3 courses: 2 sections of Travel Writing, & 1 of Creative Writing: Fiction.

I spent a day in London before coming to Southampton, & while there, got inspired & developed an idea about how I want to structure my first-ever travel blog. More about that in my next post.

Meanwhile it's been all about adjusting to life on the ship again. This is my third voyage, but each one is different-- the voyagers, the itinerary, your own goals & desires during the trip.

 Coming down the gangway for the first time in Southampton.

I look forward to meeting new people, forming new connections all over the world, making new friends & seeing life & our world from different perspectives. Travel is learning about yourself while you are learning about the world. And traveling by sea-- well, there's something about facing that view-- the sea & sky-- that gives you space to dream & imagine new realities & possibilities.

So ... here's to possibilities! I hope you'll travel along with me, & let me know if there's anything you'd like me to write about or anything you'd like to know! Till next time ....


Alexandra said...

Have a wonderful time, Ruth! I know your students will.

Ruth Setton said...

Thank you, Alexandra!

vee said...

What a fantastic opportunity for you and for your students! I look forward to reading about your ups and downs and adventures at sea and on land! Bon Vogage!

Mark Harris said...

Looking good, Ruth! Have a great trip.