What is your favorite travel memory?
I got to go to Cuba with Argo last spring during the first U.S. Presidential visit since 1928, and it was incredible. On our last full day in Havana I had a free half hour to walk around the old city and started chatting with a street artist who was painting tiny watercolors of the cathedral. I speak pretty decent Spanish, so we got to chatting as I purchased a small painting from him. When he heard I was American he started talking politics, Castro, Che, etc.
It was a perspective on history I'd never before heard, and I felt so grateful to have had the opportunity to see Cuba, the U.S., and the world through his eyes on the precipice of historical change. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
One of the coolest things about SeaMester is that, because our staff team fills diverse roles, staff are always learning right along with the students in areas that aren’t our primary fields of expertise. Throughout my time with the company I’ve learned how to do engine room checks, cook pork roasts for 30 people, identify Mediterranean invertebrate species, and more.
Mastering those hard skills gave me the confidence to tackle more intricate tasks, which further increased my confidence – it’s a cyclic process. What I love most about SeaMester is that staff and students alike are encouraged to grow into more expansive roles with increased levels of responsibility as time rolls by. I’ve definitely come a long way as a result, and am excited to tackle new challenges in the semesters to come.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I think I may have cheated on this question, since I’ve already been on a program! I’m a SeaMester alum from the fall 2008 80-day Ocean Star Caribbean trip, and that experience was a large part of what brought me into the diving and sail training industry (and ultimately back to SeaMester as a staff member).
I wouldn’t change that experience for the world, but if I had to pick from any upcoming trips, I’d choose one of the 90-day Argo voyages from the Caribbean to Tahiti or Australia to South Africa. I’ve never been to the Pacific before, and diving in the Galapagos and the Great Barrier Reef have been on my bucket list for a very long time!
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
The people. I work with some of the most talented, driven, dynamic, flexible, good-humored, admirable people I've ever met, and I feel truly privileged to be counted among their number. When we're shipboard we're a team, and that team spirit, loyalty, and common purpose reaps remarkable rewards.
By the end of the trip the crew of staff and students feels like family: a family of choice in which we all work to build each other up rather than bring each other down. This is especially true of the staff team, which is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
I’m most proud of my coworkers on our toughest days, because that’s when the strength of our team really shines through as we go out of our way to help one another out, energize our student crew, and – above all – keep each other smiling through all of it.