Nichols College News

Baia Takes a Whirlwind Tour to 11 Countries



Most college students don’t plan ahead or think past the end of the semester. But that’s not so with Nichols College junior Ed Baia. Baia has already written his “bucket,” or wish list, of things he wants to accomplish in his lifetime.

A Fall 2010 Semester at Sea gave him an opportunity to cross off eight of his “to dos” as he visited 11 countries in just 109 days and realized his desire to: skydive; bungee jump; cliff jump; ride a camel; ride an ATV (all-terrain vehicle); hike the Great Wall of China; see India’s Taj Mahal; and visit Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The Burlington, Mass., resident departed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on August 26th on the one of the fastest-moving cruise ships, the MV Explorer, complete with spa, sauna, library, computer lab & classrooms, and Wi-Fi internet access. Baia says cheerfully of his cabin located on the bottom of deck 2: “I didn’t have any windows, but it was great for napping!”

Baia’s 12-credit, business-course schedule was tailored for his globe-trotting experience, including Emerging Markets, Global Music, Consumer Psychology and Global Studies. “It was great to have a diverse group of business professors from Columbia University, Ohio State, University of Virginia, and Loyola University, but I still like my Nichols business professors the best!”

And like the savvy Business Communications major he is, Baia recorded his experiences on a blog: He says: “I learned that places I was excited to visit, such as Hawaii, ended up not being my favorite places to visit; whereas places like South Africa, which I knew little-to-nothing about, ended up being incredible experiences.”

Baia’s favorite port was Cape Town, South Africa, where he took a safari to see water buffalo, giraffes, lions, spring boks, cheetahs and rhinos. He visited Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was jailed, skydived, climbed 3,500 feet to the top of Table Mountain, and stuffed himself on South African barbecue. He was honored to meet The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

His visit to Pearl Harbor was a personal tribute to his grandfather who fought in the Pacific and was on the U.S.S. battleship Missouri when the Empire of Japan surrendered at the end of WWII. The Missouri now resides in Pearl Harbor where the attack by the Japanese led to American entry into WWII.

Baia particularly loved completing a Habitat for Humanity service project. “As a result, I am investigating opportunities in Peace Corps or AmeriCorps and want to continue to help others.”

And after climbing for two hours, Baia bungee jumped off a platform 233 meters off the ground in Hong Kong. In addition, he saw a very modern Hiroshima, relaxed on the beaches of Mauritius and watched a bull fight in Seville, Spain. “I want to travel back to China, Vietnam, Morocco, and Ghana,” he says, “but most importantly, I have a desire to see more of this great, big world!"

“I have had the most fulfilling and thrilling experience of my life,” he says. So, it’s not surprising the Baia is adding four more goals to his “bucket” list to replace the eight he’s crossed off. They included:

  1. Visit all 50 U.S. states.
  2. Visit every continent in the world (he needs South American, Australia, and Antarctica).
  3. Swim in every ocean in the world.
  4. Get an M.B.A. (as soon as possible) and maybe, a real estate license.

Baia reflects on his travel: “It’s been four months since I boarded a plane in Boston to get to the MV Explorer and that took me on a trip that changed my life.”