Abby Vieira passed away on August 22, 2021. Abby and her entire family have long supported Semester at Sea, providing students, who would not have been able to do so otherwise, the opportunity to sail with Semester at Sea. Please consider making a gift to the Vieira Family Scholarship Fund in honor of our dear shipmate, Abby.
“I could live in the middle of the ocean forever. It is my happy place. You know how there are places where your body just feels right without even thinking about it? For me it’s the middle of the ocean when I think to myself: ‘I’m home.’ I didn’t know if I could go on this voyage due to all the cancer treatments I have had in the last year. I was given medical clearance just two weeks before we embarked. Living in the medical world has been a full time job, so it has been such a gift to get away from that and be able to breathe again! This voyage has put me back together again, and this community has been salve to my soul.
To be in the middle of the ocean where there’s nothing but horizon and sky and clouds and sunsets and stars—it’s so vast that it does something to you. It can make you feel like a tiny speck, but it also gives you this reverence for what you’re looking at. You can’t not be affected by leaning on the railing looking out. Our planet in the universe. How could you not be affected by that? Most people have no idea what it feels like to circumnavigate the world one nautical mile at a time. People just can’t fathom what we’re doing and even a lot of people who are doing it can’t fathom what we’re doing.
So when I’m looking out on the horizon, I think about how grateful I am, how lucky I am, how much joy and love I have in my life. It gives me such an appreciation for the world outside my world, the world outside any of our worlds, and it gives me this incredible feeling of calm, like everything is going to be alright. You can only live life in forward motion, and that’s a very freeing thing. Before I came on this voyage, my doctor said ‘you should not go on this voyage. In a perfect world you should not be going.’ And he ended by saying: ‘But you know what Abby? It’s not a perfect world.’”
-Abby Crumpacker Vieira, wife to Executive Dean Dr. Bob Vieira sailing on her seventh Semester at Sea voyage