Posted by Emily Block | 1 comments

Introspection Binge

In just over two weeks I will be on my way to the Bahamas!  I've been thinking about this trip for years and it just seems so surreal that it is so close now.  I have a feeling that the whole first week on the ship I'm going to keep asking myself, "Is this really happening!?!"

I'm not one to get really into posting quotes usually, but I found some good ones to keep in mind during my trip that I wanted to share.

So you doin'?

Hot to live life 101

More wisdom from Doctor Who

Whitman, I love you.

Be doing that a lot on this trip.

      As I was putting together this collection of quotes, I started on an introspection binge about where I am in life now and what I'm expecting from the months ahead.  I am quite sure that this trip will change me in many ways and that is a rather large thing to think about.
     If you know me, you probably know that I love collecting things.  Sometimes it's physical things like items for my "collection of strange things" (think things that would belong on the Island of Misfit Toys), but most often it is more in the form of ideas, pictures, and thoughts.  Right now I am setting out to collect pieces of my current self so I can look back after the trip is over.  I guess it's kind of like a time capsule, but not nearly as structured.  I also want to explore my goals for this trip and get myself in the right frame of mind before I begin.  To do this, I have come up with a list of questions I want to write about in the next two weeks before I leave.  This will be fun to look at later and will help me think about where I am and where I want to go.  The questions are:

  • What are your goals for this trip?
  • How do you expect to change on this trip?
  • What are you most looking forward to?
  • What are you most anxious about?
  • What will you miss about home?
  • What will you miss least about home?
  • What are you feeling right now?
  • What are your hopes for this trip?
I'm not going to post my answers on here now, but perhaps after the trip with comments about how things actually went.  :0)


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Posted by Emily Block | 3 comments

Holidays and Communication

I  hope that everyone had a fantastic Christmas and/or Chanukah and/or Festivus, and/or Kwanzaa.  For me it was a travel themed Chanukah and Christmas (yep, I'm half and half).  I feel much better prepared for the trip with my shiny new travel sized art supplies, Kindle gift card, collapsible water bottle, book light, and new clothes.  Probably most exciting was the sonic screwdriver to get me out of any sticky situations that don't involve wood and the two seasons of Doctor Who from my parents.

This is a sonic screwdriver in case you were wondering.  It's from Doctor Who.  

My pretty purple collapsible water bottle.  Genius for traveling! 

Koi Travel Watercolor set. Also great for traveling.    

     In other news, I found out more about how I will be able to communicate while on the ship.  This link goes over how to send mail as well as time zones I will be in.  I will also have a satellite phone as well (my doctor is letting me borrow his) but that will probably only be used to call doctors in an emergency or my parents.  Even though it's the cheapest option I could find, the rate is still like $1.24 per minute.  (Yikes!)  The best way to communicate for me will probably be via e-mail.  Even though internet use is severely limited, I will have unlimited access to my shipboard e-mail account!  The e-mail address I will be using isn't live yet, but it will be  I would love to hear from you during my trip!


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Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!  Happy Chanukah!   Thanks for reading!  :0)


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Posted by Emily Block | 2 comments

Less than one month!!!!!!

I got a small taste of limited technology use the past two days because my old computer broke.  (RIP Mr. Mackey).  It was slightly annoying but more relaxing than anything.  No computer meant I couldn't waste tons of time on reddit or refreshing the SAS facebook group page.  My productivity went way up.  I hope this bodes well for 108 days with no internet that I've been fearing for months.  Anyway, saying goodbye to my faithful old computer was sad since I've had it for almost six years, but I am relieved that I have a new laptop that won't go kaput in the middle of the ocean.

In case you were wondering my new computer is called Mr. Mackey Jr.

But more importantly, I found out that I was accepted into all of the field programs that I signed up for!  When a field program fills up, the spots are given to people on a lottery system.  Either none of my trips were full or I got lucky because I'm good to go!  :0)  Here is the final list:

The time until SAS gets shorter as does my SAS related to do list.  I sent in my medical history form on Monday and will send a copy of my transcripts in to SAS tomorrow.  I have to go over the embarkation paperwork and the Vicarious Voyage paperwork tomorrow as well.  On Thursday I have what I hope will be my last doctor's appointment before I head off.  I'm going to ask about going to high altitude (Tibet) with dysautonomia/medications and I need to get prescriptions for 110+ days of my meddies.  I'm actually not sure how that process works, but I imagine that there is some protocol in place for situations like this.  I'll have to report back when I find out.  Best of all, I finally get to start thinking about packing.  I'm not quite going to pull out the suitcases yet, but I am starting with my packing strategy.  (Which mainly consists of trying to convince myself that I don't need to bring my whole room with me.)

Less than one month to go!!!!!!!    


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T minus 34 Days and Counting!

     First of all, a little update on my first world problems.  :0)  I finished finals and am almost done with my grad school apps.  I can't wait to click the submit button and get some quality family time in during the holidays.  I've pretty much  been a grumpy hermit locked in my room trying to get everything done, and am really missing out on spending time with them.  Almost there!

My awesome family just for the record. 

      Now onto the real stuff.  I wanted to share this awesome program I get to take part in during the trip called Vicarious Voyage.  Usually SAS sailors get paired up with a classroom to correspond with during the voyage.  I'm doing things a little differently (what's new) and have been paired up with a group for chronically ill kids and young adults instead.  I'm really excited because it's never been done before and I think it will work out really well.  One thing most people don't realize about being sick is that it is way stinking boring.  I would read travel blogs during my bed-bound days and it helped pass the time.  Now I'm hoping to give back.  (No way to make that sound less corny...)  The group I chose was, of course, the Dysautonomia Youth Network of America.  I've been a part of the group since my own dysautonomia diagnosis in 2008 and will really enjoy working with them.  One more excellent thing to be excited about.

     Just really quick before I sign off to finish those grad school apps, I wanted to let you know that you can subscribe to my blog via e-mail!  (You don't have to be a blogger member to get updates.)  There is a box on the right hand side under the blog's archive where you can sign up.   

Here is an obnoxiously large arrow for your convenience.  


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First World Problems


Oh my goodness the stress!  (Hence the 4:45am insomnia post.)  That to-do list of mine just keeps getting longer and yet time until departure keeps getting shorter. 

 Don't get me wrong, I absolutely can't wait for this thing to start, but I wish I had more time to do everything I need to do first!  Just the SAS preparation stuff alone actually isn't that much.  I pretty much just have to send in a few more forms, find home stay gifts, finish up various projects, and start to think about packing.  Not too bad if you don't count the hours I want to spend obsessing about the trip.  However I also have finals this week, holiday shopping, daily life stuff (library, errands, cleaning, etc.) and am spur the moment applying to graduate school.  That's a lot for a girl who is used to being able to do only one thing every day.   Of course everything I just mentioned would be under the category of first world problems.  :0)

For more first world problems Click Here

  In other news, I am officially 100% signed up for field programs!  There was definitely a bit of sticker shock once all of the costs were tallied up, but it was actually about two thousand dollars less than I anticipated.  (YAY!) Also, the prices really aren't that bad for each individual trip.  It isn't like a regular cruise where the lowest priced option is several hundred dollars.  Since SAS is a non-profit, the prices are incredibly reasonable, even under $10 sometimes.  (Most day trips are between $40 and $150.)  Traveling independently would probably still be cheaper because you could put together budget transportation and accommodations, but I like the security of traveling with SAS and having everything planned out ahead of time.  

  I saved the best for last in this post.  The current SAS voyage put together this awesome video that entertains as well as gives a tour of the ship.  Definitely worth watching!  I really hope that our voyage does something epic like this.



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More Preparation

I have reached another milestone in the form of getting all of my medical things out of the way. I had my pre-trip physical last week, got my medical release form all filled out, and recived my perscription for my 90 Malarone pills to ward off the evil bugger malaria.

My interpretation of what evil malaria looks like.

 I also got approval to have the yellow fever vaccine even thought it is a live virus. I had the vaccine on Monday and unfortunately was sick within three hours. It appears to only be an immune system reaction with a low fever, chills, body aches, and fatigue. I've spend much of the last few days sleeping and had to miss a concert yesteday and class today. :0( It is all worth it of course, but right now I feel really crummy.

The past few days have also been very productive on the field programs and class schedule front.  I talked to Debbie from the field programs office (seriously one of the nicest people I've ever talked to) and she helped me figure out the accessibility of the field programs I'm interested in.  I was really happy that we shared the philosophy of using creativity to make things work.   She told me many stories of people in wheelchairs who were able to do things normally not thought to be accessible with help and planning.  I really appreciate this because so many people will label a whole trip inaccessible if there are like two stairs.  Since I walk most of the time, that would actually not be a problem for me.  After chatting with her, I decided that pretty much everything I was thinking of signing up for would be doable with the exception of the trip to Cambodia.  I guess the weather at the time of year we would be there is pretty excruciating.  Even with my cooling vest, it probably wouldn't be the best place for me to be.  I am a little disappointed, but also excited for the time it freed up in Vietnam.
The thing that started my SAS binge today (visiting the facebook group, checking the website, blogging, planning field programs, etc...) was a class opening up that I have really wanted to take.  Some amazingly awesome person dropped International Service Learning and posted the opening on the facebook group.  I guess I was lucky enough to be the first person to see the post so I got the spot! This class is in very high demand and I was sure I wouldnt' be able to take it.  Speaking of classes, here are the ones I'm taking:
The professors had to beat out lots of competition to get the position so I hear that the classes are phenomenal   Each class is different in how they are structured, but it is usually similar to any other campus with tests, papers, and presentations.  The exception, of course, is that at least 20% of our grade is based on our participation in field programs.  The faculty will lead these trips (or approve of other trips) so that class material in integrated with our experience.  For most classes, we will be keeping journals and making presentations based on these programs and individual research.  I'm really excited that the trip will be so academic.  I feel like the program is set up for students to learn the most while having great adventures.

Every single day I  have a moment or two where it hits me that this is really happening.  There is all the stress and focus on getting forms filled out and planning every detail (not to mention regular school work and applying to grad school), but then there are these moments when I stop and realize how amazing this is going to be.  I feel so fortunate that I am able to do this from both a financial and health standpoint.  It seems too good to be true, and yet, in two months I will be on the boat!


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