“I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, after dark, and as I traveled to my hotel, I knew the scenery was gorgeous. I couldn’t see it, but I could sense it. Varying shades of darkness revealed when I was riding alongside a mountain or near the ocean. Bursts of scents signified when we passed wild flowers or were getting closer to the water. Even in darkness, Costa Rica is an intriguingly beautiful place. When I woke up the next morning, I could see the gorgeous mountains, the emerald trees and the sun’s reflection swaying on the ocean. A simple car ride provided postcard-perfect views. Costa Rica was a visual breath of fresh air, and that’s exactly what I needed.”
These are the words of Myla Edmond, BBA ’00, who is sailing with the Institute for Shipboard Education, Semester At Sea, as its alumni and development coordinator. You could say she embarked on “the voyage of a lifetime” except that Edmond has done this before; she sailed with Semester at Sea while a student at WMU. Now, twelve years later Edmond’s voyage is giving her the unique opportunity to revisit an experience that left an indelible impression on her as a student.
The itinerary for Edmond’s voyage is extensive. The group sailed from Montréal, Canada, to Casablanca, Morocco, and has docked in Tema, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Port Louis, Mauritius; Penang, Malaysia; Chennai, India; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Hong Kong; Shanghai, China; Kobe, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; Hilo, Hawaii; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and Roatan, Honduras.
Whether exploring some of the most significant historical sites in the world, imbibing startling scenery or enjoying a simple pleasure, such as a coconut purchased from a street vendor in Vietnam, this trip has been both a feast for the senses and a feast for the heart and mind for Edmond.
When asked about the most memorable experiences from her journey, Edmond highlights two experiences that had a major impact on her. “On our last night in South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu came onboard for a special reception and spoke with the shipboard community,” she says. “He’s a small man in stature, but his presence and impact was grand. He talked about the importance that each of us holds upon one another. His lessons were wonderful but seeing so many young people so captivated by his words was even more inspiring and encouraging.”
Edmond also recalls another high-impact moment at the port in India, “It is an extremely busy, industrial port. As such, the ground directly outside of the ship was often very dirty. As I waited to go up the gangway one night, it started to drizzle. I looked at the ground at the black soot and thought about how filthy my shoes were getting. Moments later, I watched a group of students from a local school walk up the gangway. I was immediately ashamed for internally complaining about the filth on my shoes. Four of the students who were excitedly walking up to tour the ship had no shoes.”
What has Edmond learned from coming full circle and completing this voyage? “I’ve learned that being independent does not have to conflict with interdependence,” she states. “I have learned that our differences are superficial. At our core, we are all driven by the same desire to be loved and to improve the lives of our families and our community. And, I’ve learned that the world is stunningly beautiful, massive, interesting, diverse, colorful and dynamic. The more I see of it; the more I want to see of it.”
Read more about Edmond’s travels in her own words by visiting her blog.
The Traveling Flag
This was the maiden voyage for the Haworth College of Business traveling flag. Edmond has been recording where the flag has traveled during her Semester at Sea and will be sending it back to the College so that it can travel with another WMU Haworth College of Business alum. If you are interested in taking the flag with you on a trip and sending the College a photo from your travels, please write us at HCOB-Communications@wmich.edu.
Attention Companies: A larger traveling WMU flag is available to you for photos of your WMU alumni at your place of business. Go Business Broncos!