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  • Melissa Boo

"Boo-voyage" in Retrospect

Updated: Sep 30

Six years ago today (!), I began my trip around the world.


Each year, this date has come and gone, and I've wished I'd taken the time to document each day of this journey. But I'm not letting it go by this time - 2021's the year I tell-all! I've been looking for a way to get back to writing, and recounting this trip seems like a perfect way to build that habit.


I'd love to recap my journey with you over the next two months and share the lessons I learned about myself, our human condition, and this space-rock home we share.


You can follow along here on the blog, or sign up for email updates to receive these reflections in your inbox. I'm excited to get started with Day 1 - Takeoff!



Day One: Takeoff

September 29th was my travel day flying to Iceland. I’ll always remember waiting to board the plane at JFK and taking a quick moment to share the plans on Instagram. At the time, I knew I was going to Iceland and Ireland with my dad, then India to join a yoga trip - and somehow, at some point, I'd make my way back to NY! This was my first time traveling without a return ticket, and the first time I clearly felt how similar fear and excitement can be.

Balancing that fear-citement is one of my favorite things about solo travel - it helps you practice self-sufficiency and build confidence and self-reliance as you navigate new places, languages, and communities. Away from the distractions of daily life and without the pressure of a to-do list, we can get back in touch with who we are at our core, without the roles we play or obligations we have to others. Travel expands our tolerance for unpredictability by making us think on our feet, creatively problem-solve, and practice being resourceful. (Heck, as I'm writing this after nearly two years of pandemic-life, I could use all these things right now!)


Another small moment from this day that's etched in my memory - silly as it sounds - is the in-flight safety video. I was shocked by how different this little, routine moment was between one country and another. The music was a gentle, soothing melody, and the video was full of people enjoying beautiful natural landscapes. Reflecting back, I think what made this feel so different was the emphasis on beauty, tranquility, and humanity - even in something as rote a required safety video. Immediately I felt calm, peaceful, and ready to experience whatever mystery was to come next on the other side of the ocean…


And, a little teacher-talk...


This trip feels especially special after teaching two classes today about biomes. Traveling has allowed me to experience so many unique environments first-hand - from the icy, volcanic landscapes of Iceland, to the cliffs and fields of Ireland, to tropical Thailand and India. I feel extremely fortunate that the conditions were right where I could do something like this at the time, and wish these kinds of travel opportunities were much easier for everyone. All the gifts that travel has given me, and the reality of barriers to travel, has solidified my commitment to experiential learning.


While most classrooms can't take a field trip to a completely different ecosystem, tools like videos, live virtual tours, specimen samples, and creative projects can bring these places into students' life experiences. We can also draw parallels between the plants, animals, and cultures they encounter in their daily lives, and how these things work in other places. This invites students to consider why things might be similar or different based on the natural environment.


With that said, if there is an opportunity to go to a local natural space or travel somewhere new, I'd 100% say yes!

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