Two school years with Class Afloat have come and gone. What a ride!
Asta and Andrew are now processing the experience of a lifetime aboard the Tall Ship Gulden Leeuw.
by Asta Mail Murgatroyd
September 14, 2017
It's hard to put into words what reflecting on an experience of this magnitude is like. Some days, it feels a bit like the last two years of our lives were a dream.
A long, exhausting, mentally complex dream!
When I was a kid, I used to watch a TV show called "Breaker High". It was all about a group of teens (including the adorably awkward Ryan Gosling) who went to school on a cruise ship and sailed country to country while taking classes and experiencing plenty of dramatic social situations.
I remember thinking to myself, "That's going to be my life." It was so easy then to choose life goals. I wanted to swim with sharks and dolphins, and I wanted to live on a boat while seeing the world.
I never thought I'd be playing the dorky teacher role, but hey, I knew what I wanted.
Knowing what I want in life has always been a struggle for me. It took me forever to decide what really ignited my passions and made me want to work. All I knew, for most of my twenties, was that I couldn't do a regular 9-5 job. I had to do something that I truly loved, something that made me get out of bed in the morning and really appreciate my life. It was only when I went back to the memories I had from childhood of my big dreams that I realized what I truly wanted to do in my career.
After a lot of time and energy was spent trying to "find myself", I forced myself to consider what deep down I knew I had always really wanted. That consideration made me want to make a dream as crazy as Class Afloat a reality. I fought through a lot of doubt, apathy and laziness to make it happen, but I am so glad that I did.
Having a life long dream come true is never quite as you expect it to be. There were moments where I was in bliss, the happiest I have ever been, seeing the world and allowing it to see me.
Then, there were other moments. Hard, challenging moments. Moments where I wasn't sure we were going to be all right. Moments where I worried for the safety of the many amazing students on our ship.
Looking back on it now though, the experience feels like a wave. There were ups and downs, peaks and crests- an experience in many ways similar to the ocean itself.
One thing I know now about this experience is that I am so blessed to have found a partner who shares the same crazy dreams. Andrew is truly my hero and someone I look up to daily as a source of inspiration. As shipboard director for the program, his strength and quiet compassion is what got all of us through some very difficult and challenging experiences. I can't tell him enough how proud I am of what he's accomplished.
Andrew and I put our heart and soul into the Class Afloat program. We whole heartedly believe that experiential education is the key to true growth and learning. I think we probably learned as much as the students did about life and education. We learned it not only by being bound to our students in a classroom, but being bound to one another as a community; a moving universe surrounded by water and sky.
I know now more than ever is that life is your best teacher, and experience is your chance to practice being yourself.
I also know that being a teacher is often really the practice of being a student.
I hope to share some of our experiences on Class Afloat in upcoming blog posts. My apologies if the posts are not regular as I am just returning to the blogosphere.
If you're interested in attending, Andrew and I will be hosting a talk on the evening of October 3rd, 2017 about our experiences. It's called "Life on an Angle" and it will take place at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Victoria, BC.
Here's a link to our Facebook event. The event is by donation and proceeds will go towards supporting a student on the sail education program of their choice. Hope to see you there!
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Asta and Andrew explore the ocean learning and teaching as they go!