Every Peace Boat voyage is unique as the travel routes vary and participants join from different countries. While the voyages are different, every Peace Boat voyage shares something special as each voyage is life-changing. Hope what I have learnt from completing the 88th Peace Boat voyage will inspire you to embark on a journey of a lifetime!
1. THE WORLD IS YOUR HOME
After circumventing the globe and crossing continents and oceans, I learn that the world is not so big after all. Countries in the same region share not only borders but aspects of history, culture and heritage. Regardless of languages and nationalities, people have similar passion for life, love and even food. I met so many people from all parts of the world whom provided glimpses into their lives and I feel much closer to the land they are from. Now I have a directory of friends around the world whom I can call if I even visit their country in the future. The Peace Boat voyage makes the world your home and you may feel the urge to uncover more homes and embark on another expedition after your Peace Boat voyage has ended!
2. TRY SOMETHING NEW, LEARN SOMETHING NEW
I learn the importance of taking first steps to try something new. From attempting Bollywood dance in India to learning simple Spanish phrases during onboard lessons to scaling Huayna Picchu breathlessly in the high altitude of Machu Picchu, every time I tried something I have never done before, I learn much about other people, culture and ultimately about myself. While I accumulated knowledge as I travelled, I also realised how ignorant I was. I did not know much about the Middle Eastern countries like Dubai and Qatar and Latin American until I attended talks by the Peace Boat guest educators and interacted with the locals. I learn how fulfilling it was to challenge myself and overcome the fear of venturing outside my comfort zone.
3. SLOW DOWN AND SMELL THE ROSES
As we were given a limited time to spend in the different ports, most of us wanted to conquer as many tourist spots as possible. As a ‘kiasu’ Singaporean, I rushed from one place to another to check off the next destination on my travel bucket list. I eventually realised that the greatest enjoyment was not riding on a gondola in Venice but sharing the most sensational tiramisu with my friend in a dimly lit restaurant recommended by a street artist. I learn that what mattered most was not visiting famous sightseeing spots but immersing in the country’s culture with my travel companions. Some of the most memorable moments were sipping wine in the old cobbled streets of Montenegro and lazing on the pristine beaches of Bora Bora with soul mates I have made on Peace Boat. I grew to appreciate the joy of slowing down so I could take in the sight, sound and smell of new destinations and enjoy conversations with friends and even strangers.
4. STAY OFFLINE, STAY PRESENT
While the internet is a powerful tool to facilitate travel research, planning and navigation, I learn the joy of staying offline and not rely on the internet. Sailing through the open sea, without stable WIFI sets the ideal stage for an immersive travel experience. There are countless opportunities to be engaged in the plethora of activities organised by Peace Boat and participants. I had many meaningful conversations with participants from all around the world and most have interesting life stories which led them to Peace Boat. With phenomenal sunrises and sunsets on the horizon with occasional dolphins swimming past the ship to captivate my attention, I never felt more connected to the world and myself as I disconnected from the digital sphere.
5. BE A CONSCIOUS AND RESPONSIBLE TRAVELLER
It is a great entitlement and privilege to travel around the world. As I visited World Heritage sites one after another, I was constantly reminded that I was very lucky and not everyone has the resources to travel. I learn how to travel consciously with an open mind and heart. When travelling in the countries which may not share the social economic and political realities I am used to, I learn that I should be a generous traveller and interact with the locals to understand beyond stereotypes. During my stay in Panama and Peru, I learn that their streets may be rough but as long as you are careful and respectful when you encounter people or activities which you may not be comfortable with, you will discover more about the country. I also learn not to impose my world views on others and reduce my carbon footprints to promote sustainable tourism. It is incredibly liberating to leave behind judgements and prejudices and be enlightened by fresh ideas and perspectives as Peace Boat sailed from one destination to the next.
SUPPORT PEACE BOAT DURING COVID19!
NOW, PEACE BOAT IS FACING AN UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGE.
As an NGO which depends on the income from voyages for all its advocacy, campaigns and projects, the impact of the pandemic has been far too great. Six voyages have had to be cancelled so far. Over the years, Peace Boat has faced many challenges and there were times when it seemed as though the challenges were too great, but their determination to provide a space to build a better world and the support from friends gave Peace Boat the strength to continue. And today, in this deep crisis, they turn to friends around the world for support.
In a digitised post-pandemic world, a safe space for face-to-face contact with others will be even more important to our work for a peaceful and sustainable world.
With your support, Peace Boat will be able to overcome this great challenge and continue to sail for a sustainable future!
Please visit this #SupportPeaceBoat Global Crowdfunding Campaign page to donate and support!