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“It was the moment I ceased dreaming and began living the dream”
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“It was the moment I ceased dreaming and began living the dream”

The year 2011 represented an incredibly humbling experience where failures outnumbered success for Joshua Hamlet, 24, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad & Tobago. In spite of that, he says Semester at Sea became his journey of belief, and of understanding the quiet whisper of courage in an orchestra of doubt.

I want to share my experiences from Semester at Sea. Ironically, the most influential aspect was not about the ship itself.

Arriving in Costa Rica was the most influential moment of my Semester at Sea (SAS) experience because it was the moment I ceased dreaming and began living the dream with all the challenges it encompasses.

I spent two years preparing for the voyage on the MV Explorer.  I have never travelled outside of the Caribbean, nor even dreamed of visiting other nations on my own. The week before the journey started, dormant fears surfaced. These fears surrounded friendship, security, safety, financial worries, linguistic limitation and even how I’d be accepted on the vessel.

There is something unique to be said about the inability to sleep but the persistence of dreams. The year 2011 represented an incredibly humbling experience where failures outnumbered success, doubt buffeted my spirit and it became painful to watch myself in the mirror.

Panama from the MV Explorer

I distinctly remember the gut-wrenching feeling when my SAS was delayed; of seeing the online itinerary and not being included in the experience.

It was not a feeling of failure, but of the futility of being so close yet incredibly far! Semester at Sea from that moment became my journey of belief, and of understanding the quiet whisper of courage in an orchestra of doubt.

It is my belief that failure entrenches individuals in an existence of unfulfilled desires that cloud the potential of their future. My life can be divided into two circumstances:  dreaming, and living that dream. These circumstances demand different behaviours and expectations as it carries various dynamics. Past failures perpetually kept me in the first circumstance of watching others fulfil my dreams. I constantly questioned my own faults. It is a given that life is not fair, however the toughest emotional battle occurs when faced with that reality. I am sure that my story may not the most difficult, but I have endured the unseen tears of my trials soaking the soil of my destiny while seeds of desire fail to germinate. Coming from a lifestyle of lack and want where dreams are your only possessions, the world loses colour when you are unable to even have those.

Reaching Costa Rica represented that moment where I finally took the challenge and regained my dream. My stomach swelled with desire as I inhaled the Costa Rican air and exhaled the moment where dreams exist. I can remember the smiles of the other SAS students who travelled from Miami on that flight, but their faces fade in comparison to touching my dream. I learned an incredible amount from this priceless journey, but that moment became the realization that I can face the challenges of life.

The MV Explorer itself is a great ship; it’s an even greater metaphor for my life. It demonstrated to me that one must venture out to meet their journey. It taught me that the journey will involve life-changing moments, friendships and possibilities for development. Only foreign circumstances remove the veil of differences and uncover the underlying truth that each person is on a journey that deserves support when it crosses your path.

While the future is unsure, I hope that my future has more “Costa Rica” moments.

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About me:

In life my goal is to inspire and motivate. My passion lies in youth mobilization with particular focus on politics. I am a spontaneous person and yearn for new experiences. My articles reflect my academic orientation as well as experiences that define my life. The goal is honesty, to applaud where needed and scold where required. I recently graduated.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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