Monday, August 20, 2012

Going on a Cruise!

From Dec 7th, 2012 - Jan 2nd, 2013 I'll be going on the first cruise of my life!

A few months ago, one of my students from the Visual Arts Center read my blog in which I mentioned that I was planning to teach at the Outer Banks this summer and was looking forward to teaching in other places should the opportunity arise.  I received a cryptic email from her saying "Be careful what you ask for ; )" and telling me to expect an email from a friend of hers.  When I asked her what the heck she was talking about, she told me I'd just have to wait and find out!

Several days later I received an email from a woman asking me if I'd be interested in applying for the position of Artist-in-Residence with the Semester at Sea program through the University of Virginia.  I'd heard of the program, but knew absolutely nothing about it so I called right away to find out.  Everything Elaine told me sounded exciting and just kept getting better, so I decided to apply.  Six weeks later, I got another email offering me the position.  I have been exceedingly excited ever since.  Here's the scoop:

Dec 6 I'll fly down to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to get on board the MV Explorer for a 25 day cruise and has the following itinerary:

Origins & Empires begins in Nassau, Bahamas on December 8 and travels to ports-of-call that include Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Callao, Peru; Manta, Ecuador; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Corinto, Nicaragua; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico before finally docking in San Diego, California on January 2. 
There will be an opportunity to travel to Manchu Picu and the Galapagos as well!

UVA offers cruises for college students during the semester, then, between semesters, it offers what it calls Enrichment Cruises for adults and families.  The median age is 54.  The classes offered are not for credit - just for enrichment. The cruise isn't like a Carnival Cruise Line voyage.  Rather than focusing on eating and entertainment, Semester at Sea cruises focus on learning opportunities - perfect for a nerd like me who tends to be a bit shy in social situations - I'll be able to take all kinds of cool classes and have that in common with people I meet.

On the days that we're at sea for the whole day, 10 days total, I'll teach two art classes/day to anyone on board who is interesting in attending.  There will be myriad choices of classes to take each day, and the people teaching it are impressive.  For example, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be one of the professors on board.  Here's the link to the others.  We'll be able to learn all about the history, culture, geography, and politics of each country we'll be visiting before going there.  What a great way to travel!  One of the programs I'm most excited about is called Stories at Sea.  There will be three authors and a publisher who will give us the opportunity to write our own stories while we're on board.  I'm definitely going to sign up for that one! 

I can't decide if I'm more excited about the places we'll be seeing or the classes that will be being offered!  Both are such awesome opportunities!  I'm also very excited about what I'll be teaching.  I've been spending the last 2 months preparing.

My classes will be under the moniker Visual Journaling.  In one class I'll be talking about Visual Journaling to introduce the concept and will show lots of great examples of what a person might do.  Then I'll be teaching a session on vacation photography to help people get the best pictures possible while they're visiting such amazing places.  I'll also be teaching "real" art classes - several sessions of drawing and one of watercolor - to give people some skills to use when filling their visual journals.  I'll also teach Zendoodles for the fun and pleasure of it.  I'm excited about the offerings and have been having a great time preparing the lectures/slide shows/lessons.  Each class is only an hour long and may have as many as 35 people in it, so I have to plan carefully to make sure they meet the needs of so many people in such a brief time.

I feel so happy and excited to have the chance to travel again - my kids travel all the time, but I had sort of resigned myself to the idea that my travel time might be more or less over.  This cruise opens the world back up to me, and I can't wait to hop into it with glee!  I'm so grateful to my friend Jane who warned me to "be careful what I ask for"!  I'm going to get busy asking for more miracles each day!

If you were on such a cruise, what sort of art would you enjoy learning?

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