I remember when I was applying to the Coast Guard Academy, I had resigned myself to one (false!) idea – it’s the U.S. Coast Guard, so I’m not going to get to travel much farther than the states. Being someone with a huge travel bug (I had been to six other countries by the time I enrolled), you can imagine how discouraging that thought was. Fortunately, I dealt with my misconceptions, reported in, and had my preconceived notions blown completely out of the water. Not only have I had the chance to go international with the Coast Guard, I’ve been to states I had never seen, and taken day trips to cities that used to require weeks of planning!
Back in Nebraska, going to New York City was an exotic vacation spot; somewhere on that strange land they call the “East Coast.” That being said, I’ve now been there seven times, sometimes just for a day! The other popular destination is Boston – while I’ve only been there once, it seems like every other weekend there’s a flock of cadets headed that way! One can also check out Providence and Hartford for a pleasant day trip (not as popular destinations, however, as they’re still within the 75-mile zone in which underclass are prohibited from wearing civilian attire).
That’s all just on weekends during the school year – imagine where we go when we have more time! Over the summer, my classmates and I visited Canada and the Caribbean on the Tall Ship Eagle (including another stop in New York City on my phase – go figure), and some of us went to such places as Guam, Hawaii, Alaska (my first time there!), and Mexico! Over leave periods there are often international trips available. Some cadets save up their monthly paychecks and go on excursions to Cancun, Puerto Rico, Honduras, and other such places during their winter, spring, and summer leave periods. The Command Religious Program offers a trip during spring breaks – last year, they went to Israel, and this year will be going to Ireland. As much as I would love to join them, I haven’t been able to go on those trips because Glee Club does its own events during that time (by the way, if you really want to go places, join Glee – it’s responsible for half of my New York trips, and for taking me to Maine and California also for the first time!). Last year we enjoyed a few days in Florida, but even all that sunshine can’t trump the excitement I feel for this year’s spring voyage – Germany! Even better is the fact that I get to travel with my dad on that trip; turns out everyone can benefit from Coast Guard travel!
So, technically, the Coast Guard is in the Department of Homeland Security… but I’ll tell you what, that homeland is a whole lot more expansive than you might imagine.
More about Abby.