Travel Fellowship Home


Our Living World is Dying

Stacey Worman, 2006-2007 Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellow



The Fellowship

Former Fellows' Websites

About My Project


Online Journal

Photo Gallery

Learn More

Get Involved

Thank You's

Contact Information

Online Journal


Date: August 8, 2006

To: Undisclosed Recipients

Re: Back on land, but not for long . . .


If you ever find yourself feeling cramped and crowded in this world full of 6.6 billion people, heading out to sea would be one surefire remedy for your disposition. After living aboard a ship for the past six weeks, I now fully understand why they call the ocean "the world's last true wilderness".

For the past six weeks, I've been cut off from one world and immersed in another. On many different occasions -- as hard as I tried -- it was nearly impossible for me to even imagine that an entire world actually existed outside of my immediate reality consisting of the Heraclitus, the ocean, and the other 11 people onboard. In the past six weeks, I've glimpsed into a part of our planet which I had previously only known in a very abstract sense. A part of our planet which is more than just a part of our planet . . . .but is the largest part of our planet . . . .a whopping 70% of it. And yes -- I too had known that simple little fact since about the second grade . . . but it's impossible to really wrap your head around what that actually means if you've only ever stood on the shore. And after six weeks of living on the sea....after six weeks of seeing only distant islands on the horizon . . . .I still can't wrap my head around it . . . .It still boggles my mind and probably always will.

My encounter with the ocean world has been brief and I know I have not even scratched its surface (one could barely do it in an entire lifetime) . . . .but in the six weeks that have passed since I last was in contact with you all, I have taken one very parching sip of it. And with everything I've experienced thus far, I can sincerely say that the ocean is a very vast and very intriguing place.

While at sea, we had an unexpected change of plans and so I happen to be back in touch sooner than originally anticipated. We currently find ourselves passing through Cairns in order to take care of some business, replenish our dwindling food supplies, and to pick up Gaie Alling (PCRF's president and co-founder) and Laser VanThillo (PCRF's Chief Operations Officer), who will be joining us for our final three weeks on the Great Barrier Reef. I'm very excited about the opportunity to meet them; they both were among the eight scientists (biospherians) who lived inside of Biosphere 2 for two years from 1991-1993!

On a separate note....

It has been great to get everyone's warm and fuzzy emails in my inbox. Your stories bring me smiles and often laughs that get me crazy looks when I'm sitting in an internet café. And as great and exciting as the world has been already, I will never forget about my world back home which I care deeply about. So please, please continue to keep me updated on all of your lives and I will get back to you as quickly as I can!

I know you are all curious about the adventures that I have been having. And truth be told, I am currently not ready to deeply reflect and put into words a lot of what this experience has been. And this is because, right now, I'm here living a very real life and it is quite intense. And if I were to begin talking about what being here is like, it would divert a huge amount of my time, attention, and energy away from the group I have been living with . . . And so all the details will be coming soon.

But I thought that this would be a good opportunity for me to at least touch base with you all, to post some pictures, to let you all know that I am doing really well, and to give you a few little tid-bits of the story!


  • We completed a science study on the coral reefs at Lizard Island. It was a collaborative effort and everyone helped in collecting the data and analyzing the results. (Lizard Island is a tourist destination, home to an exclusive resort and a national park. And I was able to get one 4 minute phone call back home to my parents!)
  • We've been scuba-diving nearly every single day, usually multiple times. Not a dive passes without seeing many sharks. I have explored the Great Barrier Reef in a way that others can only dream of. It is appropriately named and is everything a coral reef ecosystem should be. It will be very interesting to contrast it against others when I start moving about.
  • We've had magical encounters with Minke Whales and I've swam with them on more occasions than I can count with the fingers on both of my hands. We heard the humpback's song and saw two breaching on our voyage back to Cairns two days ago.
  • Everyday (except days when it is not possible because we are on voyage) I have been in the ocean at least once. If not for a dive or a snorkel, for a quick dunk simply because it is right there . . . .so why not?
  • It was my birthday on August 4th! I had special turtle shaped bread for breakfast, two crew members wrote me a song, and I got to go on my very first night dive! I'm now 22 years old.....I have passed my prime and it's all downhill from here.
  • It's very common to hear me yell "Two, Six Heave" and "Roger". (Apparently I picked up a hint of a southern accent after four years in Nashville! I don't hear it, but ok).
  • I've learned to produce meals for 12 people in a galley that is swaying back and forth, with pots and pans that tend to fly if you aren't careful.
  • We have a weekly schedule of communal activities, including an acting class on Saturdays, meditations on Tuesday/Friday mornings, formal dinners, group discussions centered on selected readings, and much much more!
  • The crew didn't quite know what to think of me when I introduced them to Brenda. (They furthermore were surprised that I didn't declare her at customs. That had never crossed my mind, but I think I will from now on). But she is now a part of our crew and we hide her around the ship . . . .someone lucky finds her when/where they least expect it.

I'd also like to thank everyone who green lighted The Canary is Dead. Once a week the expedition leader has been able to retrieve her email via a satellite phone! We were receiving weekly updates about its movement up the charts and it was so exciting when we found out that it had made it to #1! So thanks for all of your help, it will now be aired on Current TV!!! Yay!

Like I said early, we are going back out for the next three weeks as soon as everything is in order for us to lift anchor. And so I likely won't be back in touch until the beginning of September. Wherever you all find yourselves currently . . . as the summer is nearing its end . . . .I wish you all my best.

Until next time; Take care and so will I,




June 24, 2006, Our maiden voyage(s)....

June 19, 2006, Not another mass email....