Trip Start Jun 14, 2008
Trip End Aug 22, 2008

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Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Sunday, June 15, 2008

6/15/08 - One day in and I already have absolutely zero regrets. 
First of all, would you like to know why I'm taking this trip?  I'm taking advantage of this opportunity because I spent an entire weekend contemplating with a list of plusses and minuses, and at the end of it all, there was not a single item that I could come up with for the negative column (as long as the Celtics win in LA so that I don't have to live with the fact that I could have gone to game 6 and 7 of the NBA finals). 
1-      My employment at the marketing research firm will continue right after I return, and this is a two month break from the daily grind of the weekdays (a mini-retirement if you will).
2-      I can afford it and the loan I acquired through my mother's work is interest free.
3-      It's an opportunity to visit the remainder of Western Europe that I haven't yet traveled to.
4-      Two of my good friends from the first voyage are coming along with me (Pat & Bobby), one as my roommate.
5-      I consider this travel blog a great way to keep in touch with friends and family back home, therefore I'm sure I can pick up right where I left off when I return to the states at the end of August.
6-      Oh, and the ratio on this ship is 74% female to 26% male.... maybe this should be reason number one.
After a solid week of seeing pretty much every group of friends from home, I set off to the airport entirely too early on Friday morning, so early that I sat in front of my gate for three hours and had to be woken up by a stewardess so that I didn't miss my flight.  It was a quick shot off to Halifax, Nova Scotia on a rickety Air Canada windup plane (no seatback DVDs unfortunately), or at least it would have been if it hadn't been for an hour delay after we taxi'd back from the runway due to an "engine malfunction" where they wouldn't tell us what was wrong.  Then again, they gave me extra peanuts for my discomfort.....and I like peanuts.
An hour later I touched down in Nova Scotia, avoided the starry eyed American's that I overheard talking about Semester at Sea and threw on my headphones and watched an episode of "Long Way Round" documentary about traveling the world by motorcycle while waiting for Bobby to get off of his flight.  I suppose there's a part of me that will always be antisocial by choice at times.  We stayed at a local hotel and took advantage of every amenity that they had for two days, whether it was free internet, the tour to Peggy's cove (a beautiful town on a cliff-face with a manually operated lighthouse), the pool and the fitness center, an all day reggae festival, and most importantly the nearby nightlife.  Halifax is like a mini-version of Boston, in that a large majority of its residents are college students and therefore the area caters to them with lots of bars, restaurants, and daily shows.  We met up with some SAS'ers (semester at sea students from here on out) and some local Canadians (hey GOGI!) and crawled from bar to bar for the two nights we were here.  If you're wondering, yes, many locals do in fact have "the accent" and say "eh" after everything. 
On Sunday it was finally time to take the long (3 block) walk to the ship.  After some initial confusion by the staff that a 24-year-old can be a lifelong learner which is a title usually reserved for senior citizens, I cut every student in line and boarded the ship for the first time in nearly two years.  Unfortunately, Bobby and I are not lodging in a suite, but we're on the 2nd deck with participants in a program for grad students called "Teachers at Sea."  I initially was disappointed, but there's a lot of scenery sort of speak, so no complaints on my end.  Overall my first day on board the ship was entirely pleasurable, meeting people from all walks of life, still feeling that I can go around and walk up to anyone that I'd choose and talk as if we've been friends for ages.  It's a completely open playing field, since no cliques have been formed and it's essentially hippy-ville, population: 600 college students.  It's an 8 day stretch on the open water until we reach Norway, where current plans peg me at going paragliding, sea kayaking, and white water rafting.  Luckily there's a spa and a sundeck to get me through these "tough" days.  If you ever need to reach me, I have free email access at, though it's only made available periodically. 
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We Want YOUR Life !!!!!
Marco????? Polo!!!!!!
Marco????? Polo!!!!!!

Where In the WORLD is that Norton now?????

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