September 5, 2009

Back at Sonoma


It has been a couple of weeks now since I have returned from the 99th voyage of Semester at Sea. Since arriving back at Sonoma, being home has a fresh meaning with a different edge. My seeing the world from a variety of other less resource-intensive cultures has added a bitter harshness to my view of the often wasteful, self-centered ways of this country. Feeling so comfortable in the urban fabric of the less-auto-dominated European cities, seeing Spain's pioneering work in wind and solar thermal development, or using the intermodal transportation systems of Istanbul can make coming home feel uncomfortably foreign and our country feel strangely behind the times.

And then there is another story about being back home. Being away gave me an awakened appreciation of what we have in the States as well as in our home towns. Basic civil liberties, access to information, and clean water at the tap, for example, are now more fully appreciated. I missed the summer in Sonoma, but being so far away from here helped remind me again of the beauty of this place as well as how wonderful it is to be welcomed home by your old friends and a familiar community.

A voyage with Semester at Sea is certainly a life altering experience. It will change your view of where you really live, who you really are, and what really matters in life. While the rawness of the voyage experience is beginning to wear off as the days pass, even two weeks after leaving the ship, when all is silent, I can hear far in the distance a blast of her horn that seems to originate from somewhere deep in my chest.

Shortly after our return I was interviewed on PBS radio.

Posted by rohwedde at September 5, 2009 1:57 PM