As a professor of business with an emphasis on social, cultural and environmental aspects of global tourism, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for Spring 2017 Semester at Sea which is a journey to 11 countries on four continents in 105 days. Not only is it an opportunity to experience some of the wonders of the world, but also an opportunity to learn first-had about some of social cultural and environmental issues facing tourism destinations around the world.
Little did I know that as an elementary school student who loved to learn about each state in the United States by writing to the respective Chambers of Commerce and requesting information would lead to my passion for tourism. The realization of this passion began in 1999 when a colleague in International Studies at Pace University happened by my office and asked “ How would you like to take students to Brazil next spring for an International Field Study?” My quick “sure” response to his question was impacted by the fact that only a few months before, I had taken a huge risk, sold most of my earthly belongings and moved to an apartment in the East Village of New York City. That radical decision was based on a birthday card that my adult son who had completed a semester abroad in Japan, two years of Peace Corp in Cameroon, Africa and lived in Canada. The card he gave me had the quote “What are you doing with your one precious life?” There it all began….
After 16 consecutive years of leading a total of over 500 students to study about sustainability in all parts of Brazil from the Atlantic Rainforest to the Amazon, I knew that I had been bitten by the bug to explore, learn and take risks. In addition, I made another 14 trips to Brazil on my own to discover more of the culture and society in some of the lesser known parts of the country. With all of this experience, I applied and was granted the honor of being a Fulbright Specialist in both Brazil and Cambodia as well as a Faculty Fellow for the Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University and the opportunity to be a professor at Semester at Sea, Spring 2017!
What good is knowledge if it is not shared? So- not only am I hosting this website of our travel experiences in food and culture, social entrepreneurship, and international issues in tourism as we travel, but I have also adopted a group of little travelers in a Montessori pre-school in Austin, Texas who will follow the journey using the wonders of social media platforms and global connections.
So we are off to the first destination – Hawaii on January 5, 2017 which will be followed by destinations in Asia, India and Africa. Follow these travels and give us some tips that you might have to share and we embark on a journey of discovery, adventure and enlightenment!!