After returning from a spring break TRiP that took him through the Caribbean waters, Eric Bovee shared his story with me. Eric describes his personal journey from nervousness to amazement as he kayaked from island to island in search of beauty and serenity. In this interview, he delves into what the TRiP entailed, his triumphs along the way and what he has taken away from the adventure.
Taylor: Can you tell me a little bit about your TRiP?
Eric: The TRiP to the Bahamas consisted of flying to the Bahamas and staying in the Peace and Plenty Resort for one night, and then departing the next morning to go kayaking. We first kayaked off the main island of Exuma. We kayaked into rough waters, which lead us to stopping at this uninhabited island where we camped for one night. I slept out in the open with no tent! After this, we kayaked from island to island throughout the week in crystal clear waters. We encountered different flora and fauna [native plants and animals] from island to island, which included stingrays, Nassau Groupers and iguanas. We even saw an abandoned mansion on one of the islands we slept on. We challenged ourselves by kayaking longer distances everyday. We then went back to the Peace and Plenty and experienced Bahamian culture at Culture Fest and flew back home.
T: Were there any unexpected moments that you had?
E: On the first night, I slept out in the open with just my sleeping bag. I never expected the night sky to be so beautiful. I was able to see more stars in the sky than I have ever had. You were almost able to see the bands of the Milky Way.
T: What would you say was the most rewarding part of the TRiP?
E: The most rewarding part was when we were kayaking to Rat Cay, it was our longest day of kayaking and the conditions weren’t the best. The waves were massive and the current was strong. The moment that we went through the last passage, which was the deepest and strongest, we landed on the beach of Rat Cay.
T: What was one struggle you had? Did you overcome it?
E: One struggle that I had to overcome was opening up to new people. I usually do not open up to people I’ve just met, but during this TRiP, Jackie and Ed gave great opportunities for us on the TRiP to interact and make connections.
T: What were your feelings on the first day compared to the last day?
E: My feelings on the first day were nervousness about kayaking and camping for such a long duration. I have never done such a trip in my life, and I was not sure what would happen to me during the week. My feelings on the last day were that I felt very connected to nature. I felt as if I was a part of the environment. I felt as if I was in the Bahamas all of my life.
T: What is the biggest takeaway you got from the TRiP?
E: The biggest takeaway for this TRiP is that nature is so beautiful and the connection with the ocean is so powerful. From the crystal clear water to the different shades of aquamarine to turquoise shades of blue to encountering massive stingrays and fish of all different colors, it just shows the beauty in the ocean. After this TRiP, I will never see the ocean the same again.
T: What will be your next adventure?
E: Hopefully, my next adventure will consist of another University of Florida TRiP. If that is not the case, my next adventure will most likely be consisting of traveling to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska to see the beauty of nature and the ocean in a different climate.
TRiPs help connect you with nature and other students. RecSports and CORE believe focusing on these types of relationships is essential for students’ overall mental health. Check out our semesterly TRiP schedule here to discover all the opportunities waiting for you!