I will be posting a series of journal entries in the next few weeks from my 104-day trip around the world that took place a year ago. I was lucky enough to visit 12 countries (in order): Bahamas, Dominica, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and Taiwan. As my journey progressed, my perceptions of the world and myself changed immensely, thus I am naming this blog series “Perceptions.” So what is a worldview? And where do we get our perceptions? A worldview is the cognitive orientation of an individual, which consists of the individual’s knowledge and point-of-view. There are two parts to our perception. We perceive one part as “us,” and the other part as the “world around us.” As the “world around me” expanded exponentially through my travels, the other part of my perception, “me,” was stripped to a raw unfamiliar yet brilliant form.
Our conception of reality is comprised of the body, the soul, and our immediate and distant surroundings. In reality, however, this whole perception exists within us, within our desire. Moreover, what we desire shapes how we view the world and ourselves. Please follow me as I document this transformation through writing, videos and pictures in a “year-ago-today” format. You don’t have to be an explorer or have even traveled outside of the state to understand and learn from this series. Regardless of your current perceptions, I hope my journey can broaden your worldview while inspiring you to be more curious and have an open mind! I look forward to hearing from you as I begin posting. In the meantime, here’s my application essay, a good way to illustrate how and what I was thinking before it all started:
“The Semester at Sea voyage will truly allow me to further develop a more complete global perspective. My current view is built exclusively on the observations and travels I’ve made in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. Growing up in a small mountain community kept me rather sheltered from the outside word for eighteen years. With every new journey, I become evermore addicted to travel, and it has always been my dream to travel the world. What a better way to do it than SAS? With ports located in eleven countries all around the globe, the knowledge and awareness I would gain is far beyond any amount of reading, watching videos, or researching could accomplish. In a world that is rapidly changing and confronted daily with new problems, a basic understanding of countries, cultures, and people around the planet will offer accurate and more efficient solutions. This kind of understanding only births from first-person experience, which is why I am so excited about Semester at Sea.
I am especially interested in spending time in Takoradi, Ghana. I believe it will greatly expand my awareness of poverty and certain civic issues through cultural relativism, rather then through an ethnocentric mindset. I read that a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day, but being able to witness this fact through my own eyes will allow me to genuinely grasp it. Traveling eastward through India, China, and Japan will expose me to cultures, traditions, and policies that I know very little about. This is essential knowledge to a marketing/finance student like myself as the East is a driving force in the modern business world and a hotspot for American outsourcing. I also believe life on the ship will enlighten my perspective of how vast our seas and earth are. I’m sure that my global perspective will be enhanced in many ways beyond my wildest imagination.”
If you’ve been enjoying following me at the TahoeMatt Blog, you will love what this series has to offer. Look for new posts in the “Perceptions” lineup to appear weekly. Current posts below. Enjoy!