I love to teach geography. I want students to recognize the shapes of continents, to imagine how the oceans flow in and out of each other as one ocean. I want my students to love maps and yearn to travel.
Growing up I didn’t travel very far from home. My family took short forays north, to see historical Philly, and south to visit beaches, hugging our near-by east coast. I went to college an hour down the road. I didn’t have a passport until my 47th year.
But there was one year when, toward the end of it I realized I had dipped my feet into three oceans that year. Three oceans.
My husband and I took a road trip to visit the city of Savannah. On the drive home we left the highway, travelled country roads arched over with old oaks draped in Spanish moss, and detoured to Tybee Island off the Georgia coast. We ate our lunch at a picnic table looking over the dock to the water. That was the Atlantic.
We visited Honduras where my daughter was living, flew into Tegucigalpa. We took a small local taxi-boat to the island of Amapala where we ate fried fish on the beach and watched wild cats come out to eat the sting ray carcass stripped, then left behind by fisherman in bright painted boats. That was the Pacific.
We travelled many hours in the air to get to Thailand, where our other daughter lived with her husband and our little grandson. From the big city Bangkok we travelled by van then by speedboat to the island of Ko Samed, to walk the white beaches and wade in clear aqua water (though with plastic trash drifting by our ankles.) That was the Gulf of Thailand, filled with water from the Indian Ocean.
This Covid year I haven’t travelled farther than an hour down the road. I long to travel, to visit family I’ve been missing, to wade in water. But I can be patient if I must. I did have that spectacular year, my year of three oceans.