Day 1 Where In The World Is Carra Riley?

It’s 4 a.m. in the morning…..…la.. Elton John sings on in my mind.  My husband Tom and I are in the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina in Charlotte Douglas International Airport .

Carra writing first blog post for SAS

The reality of the journey of a lifetime became crystal clear as we took off from Phoenix, Arizona just after midnight, January 9, 2011. We are on our way to Nassau, Bahamas to embark on the MV Explorer with the Spring 2011 Semester At Sea voyage. As we taxied down the runway and the lift of the engines took us high above the desert development in the dark of the night, the vision of our world and our expectations of this life changing adventure began to form in my thoughts.

I could see the engineered design of the city planning with the sparkling red and white lights outlining the checker board  streets of the Scottsdale,  Avondale, Tempe and surrounding Phoenix areas.  I wanted to keep that vision in my mind as we begin to connect with cities around the world.  How different it will be flying into other parts of the world and seeing how the cities and villages come together.

As we rose higher in altitude we emerged into the cloud cover and a gentle fog enveloped the plane.  Was this like my consciousness becoming distorted and waiting for the light to shine through and melt the fog?  I was thinking that was the message I was receiving.  Taking off from my concept of civilization going out into the big wide world and learning from other cultures about life and the importance of all the details we experience in our daily lives.

It was easy to drift off into my thoughts at 1 a.m. just thinking about the messages I would receive if my thoughts were open to learning.  I thought about the day, how things evolved and what I would share.  Back to the beginning ….  deciding to take the trip is where I needed  to start as the sense of relief in all of the preparation was now feeling good.  The preparation has been a marathon since mid September when we decided to implement the plan to take a voyage around the world.  Right here I want to take the time to thank my friend and editor, Karen Connell who introduced us to the Semester At Sea program in 1979 when I met her.  In September Karen sent me an e-mail with the information on this voyage with the 2 for 1 value price which is what pushed us over the edge to undertake this trip on such short notice.  Thank you Karen we know this will be a life changing undertaking!  Our connection and the preparation is another great post in itself and will leave that till later.

The emotional changes I have gone through during the preparation to take off have been varied.   Anxiety, fear, excitement are all things out in the “Cosmic Cow Pie”  I have felt because of the unknown. An adventure of this magnitude is way out of the “comfort zone”  but at the same time exhilarating.   The food, water, culture, weather, confinement  all add to the unknown expectations of the experience.  We are expecting only good and know that we will learn every step of the way.  We shared our thoughts below on the what we THINK we will experience and it will be fun to see what we have to say at the end of the journey.

Fun facts in how to “Managing The Mess” and applying the 10 second rule have already been implemented on our adventure and I will expound on those later.  The time is ticking by and we need to catch the plane to Nassau.  I have uploaded the photos of today to the flickr account and today’s  video so “Cosmic Cow Pie…Connecting The Dots Around The World” is on track and we are so appreciative that you are following along with us!

Remember to register to Play the game:  Where in the world is Carra Riley? in the forum area.  The game to win a trip to one of the Seven Wonders of the World starts January 12, 2011 so get ready to play and share with your comments!

About Carra Riley

Fun loving classic writer who is a life long learner. Helping people connect the dots as a consultant for small business and real estate along with custom workshops and seminars.


  1. I hope you have a great time! I would not be so clear thinking to write such a great post at 4 a.m.

    • Shane, Thank you so much! It is funny.. if I am up, I am up.. get tired sometimes when 4 a.m. is the end of my day.. but had a nap.. and wanted to set the tone for being on top of my adventure and keeping up so I don’t get behind.. ready for all the lessons life has to share with me.. working on a great one now! The Omelet lady sharing her community.. it takes a Village!

  2. Contemplating concrete messages while experiencing mixed emotions of sailing into the unknown is a conscious balance to keep all of our insightful senses awake. I am most certain we who sit on shore will share the waves and winds with you. We are ALL aboard!

    • Miss Tric, you have such a way with words! I am back connected for 24 hours.. then off into the wild blue ocean! Working on some great insight on real COSMIC Cow Pies.. wait till you see them! The Dots ARE Connecting around the world already!

  3. Carra:

    Please say “hi” to the ocean for me! I haven’t seen one since April Fools Day 2005 when we went to Greyhound Rock Beach near San Jose, CA. I have never seen the Atlantic ocean and I must challenge myself, while you’re on this journey, to get us to the beach at some point! When the tax refund comes in, we WILL drive to the ocean!

    Thinking about acting glocally, I’m reminded of a song by Sara Groves “Why It Matters”:

    “Show me the love that never fails
    The compassion and attention
    Midst confusion and dissention
    Like small ramparts for the soul
    How it matters

    Like a single cup of water
    How it matters”

    The thought of having the opportunity to spread that LOVE worldwide is SO exciting! I pray that HE/SHE fills you with it, to overflowing, and you and Tom can spread it abroad, each and every day!

    Can’t wait to hear how the sun, sand and water is!
    Much love,

    • Ruth,
      Beautiful thoughts by Sara Groves and from you with your love around the world!This is great to hear you are going to get to the Atlantic.. I am a water person.. just love all kinds of water. Thanks Ruth!