Discovery by Christian Maloney

This port has been the one I was looking forward to the most since I got accepted into Semester at Sea, and it didn’t disappoint.

My first day in Dubrovnik, Croatia was spent in my field class for my Interpersonal Communication class. If I have not mentioned it before, this is hands down my favorite class that I am currently taking. The professor that teaches it is such a cool guy. He really does his best to be really very accommodating to the different lifestyle of shipboard education. For those of you who don’t know, the old town city of Dubrovnik is surrounded by massive walls. The walls were built during a Croatian war and was a defense mechanism. It still stands tall today. Our professor has us start the day by sitting right outside the wall and taking 30 minutes of complete silence. This exercise was meant to bring mindful awareness to the surroundings which we were experiencing. We all put our phones down and sat wherever we felt comfortable and just observed. As you could imagine, as a class of 25 plus students, who have not had any cell service, and who just arrived in a new country this was truly the last thing we wanted to do. At first the silence was hard, but after a while I found a sort of peace in the exercise. I really took the time to look around me at the new city and took in small details I would have never noticed before. After the exercize was complete we walked inside the walls. We spent some time exploring and visiting a couple of churches. The architecture was truly breathtaking. For lunch we stopped at a restaurant that had some of the best pasta I have ever tasted. The pasta was handmade and then topped with s slow roast that was marinated with a red wine sauce. The second it touched my tongue I felt I was back at home. It tasted almost identical to my grandmothers (Katy Dongieux’s) slow cooked roast. If you have not had the opportunity to experience her roast, I suggest you call her up as soon as possible and beg her for a taste.

In the afternoon my friends and I decided to go for a swim where we took our first dip in the crystal clear waters of Croatia.

We spent 5 glorious days in Croatia! Our last day in Croatia was bitter sweet. My friends and I spent the day indulging in as much food as possible, and exploring some more before having to return to the ship. For dinner we sat on the top deck and watched the Cratian sun set over the sea. Onto Morocco we go!

We started our Moroccan adventure in the city of Casablanca. It was not like anything I really pictured what so ever. I don’t want to be negative but I was glad to visit other cities in Morocco such as Marrakech. I liked it much better than Casablanca and while in Marrakech I got to hold a monkey and even had an encounter with a Cobra snake.  My time in Morocco was mostly spent viewing the country through a tour bus and riding camels through the Sahara dessert. I named my camel Abu and I grew very fond of him. I thought that riding camels would really be similar to riding horses but it was not at all. It was SO unconformable. I do not know how people do that all day long. The best part about camping out in the Sahara was when the sun went down and the stars came out. I have never seen so many stars in my life. It was an unforgettable experience!

My experience in Ghana was nothing short of life changing. I spent the majority of my time in a small village called Senase. We had the opportunity to stay in some of the locals houses for the duration of our stay. The children touched my heart in more ways than I can even begin to fathom. We spent the week getting to know the village children and working at the local school. I became very found of one little girl in particular named Benedicta. (She is pictured in the photo with the green wall background.) She had the biggest personality for such a little girl. The most surprising realization I had during my time in Ghana was that it really takes so little to have true happiness. These Senase villagers live a very simple life sometimes without running water, electricity, or even shoes to wear, yet they are the happiest people I have ever met. The United States culture puts such an emphasis on materialistic items and the hunger for those items are never ending. People are always looking for the next best thing and are never satisfied. It takes so little to really have what you need and you turn to the people around you and the smaller things in life for that joy. The lessons learned in Ghana will live with me forever. 

We began our Brazilian adventure in the city of Salvador (which is the old capital city of Brazil). We spent the first day there soaking up the Brazilian sun by the pool at one of the nice hotels in town. That afternoon we jumped on a plane and headed down to Rio de Jenerio. The next day was filled with touring the beautiful city of Rio from the comfort  of a van. Unfortunately it was POURING down rain so this was the best option. Our personal guide, Nelson, became like our second father for the time we spent in Rio. He showed us all around and made sure to keep us safe. On one of the days in Rio we took the cable car up to the sugar loaf mountain. It was beautiful! They had the option to take a helicopter over Rio and over the Christ the Reedemer statue… and when in Rio…. why not? The views were spectacular and I was very excited to scratch helicopter ride off of my bucket list! The last days were spent eating amazing food and indulging in the culture. Our last day in Brazil we were back in Salvador and we just had to go back to the same hotel for that beautiful ocean view. 

I hope you have enjoyed Christian’s colorful and heartwarming commentary of her travel adventures. I am blown away by her feelings and her insight of the varies countries she visited, the people, and their way of life! I am impresses by her wisdom and her perspective as she travels through various countries!

I’m sure it is rewarding to her parents, who gave Christian this opportunity, to know that Christian loves to learn and values a wise professor who introduces her to an exercise of learning to be quiet and mindfully aware of her surroundings in Croatia. A valuable lesson to take with her as she continues to discover other countries and life in general.

Christian is learning so many valuable lesson about life and happiness. Happiness can be as unforgettable as a dessert at dusk or viewing millions of stars at night! It can be a little girl that touched her heart and shows love to her regardless of her skin tone or as she observed the Senase villagers and learned that it takes so little to be happy.

This is the perfect blog to publish on Thanksgiving morning! Thanksgiving is a time for families to be together or to be in touch with each other. Most of all it is a time to just show love and concern to friends and relatives and even to those we will meet for the first time.

I am “grateful” to all of you who are reading my blog. I wish you a “Happy Thanksgiving!” I wish you “happiness” today and everyday!

God bless you and those you love!

4 thoughts on “Discovery by Christian Maloney

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. We will have a special guest today. She is Carley’s roommate who is from Uganda. Until she came to Georgia 1 1/2 years ago her life was just like the one Christian described in Ghana – mud house, outdoor plumbing, no shoes; yet she is filled with gratitude and joy. She realizes what an opportunity she has now to attend college in America on a track scholarship. She is a beautiful wise woman who shows us what is truly important and how blessed we are.
    Loved Christian’s travelog. What a life lesson!



  2. Her essay a real inspiration, on this day as we gather around the table to give thanks, Happiness often elusive in the land of plenty and Christian, your beautiful granddaughter found it in a small village in Ghana and something we can all share, in a moment of silence. Love you Katy, Leah


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