I grumble every time I get the bill for The Economist – it’s the most expensive magazine I read regularly. It’s also the one I clip from most regularly for my classes, but I still grumble. Or at least I used to. I doubt if I will ever do so again.
A month ago, I was reading through a just-arrived Economist and saw a side box poking fun at the name (but applauding the idea) of a consortium of Universities putting together a floating University called The Scholar Ship, which had set out on its maiden voyage two months earlier. I said, “Wouldn’t that be great!”, and wandered upstairs to google the name. The website was a bit of a mish-mash, but I not only found it, I found blogs, videos and articles which made it sound even better than the article. As I wandered around the site, I stumbled on jobs>on board faculty>apply here and found myself filling out an application as I sat there. Less than a month later, after a frantic search for old transcripts, references, a series of telephone interviews, and a rapid reshuffling of my schedule – I have been appointed to the faculty and will be teaching on the second cruise of The Scholar Ship. The courses sound very much like what I have been teaching for years (but with new texts and a syllabus written by someone else – so we’ll see), and we couldn’t get Elizabeth a job on board, but the two of us are off on Christmas Day to Hong Kong, and we’ll finally dock at Amsterdam 4 1/2 months later. If I don’t go crazy with students in my life 24 hrs a day (or vice versa), we expect to enjoy ourselves thoroughly – we’ve spent time in about 1/2 of the ports we will visit, and have wanted to visit the other half. If this works out as we hope, it may even become a regular thing – one semester a year. In any event, this will be our first trip-around-the world, since we’ll go East from San Francisco, sail East to Amsterdam, then fly East to San Francisco from wherever we decide to leave Europe from.
All this assumes we’ll manage to get ready, but preparations seem to keep falling into place. We’ve already got our Chinese visas; our passports are at the Indian Consulate for visas, and everyplace else is visa-not-required or available in port. I’ve had my medicals, bought a new suitcase, we have our plane tickets, I know which courses I’ll be teaching (though I haven’t yet seen the books) and we’ve started to pack. Christmas will be a bit hectic and compressed, but all the family will be here and we’ll have Xmas eve, Midnight Mass & Xmas breakfast before the caravan to get us and much too much luggage to the airport. (What do you pack for 5months+?) At least we will miss Winter this year.
If you want to follow our adventures, keep coming back to this site – we’ll have notes and pictures and excitement. Yippeeee!!