It was the day we had been waiting for so long. The day to say goodbye to our families and the start of our new life on the Thor Heyerdahl. After a short night, where we could choose between spending the last night on board or with our parents in a hotel, we all came together again. Full of excitement, we briefly planned the leaving maneuver with the captain’s help. One hour later, the goodbye ceremony officially started. During the last week we had prepared different songs, which our new KUS choir presented between the speeches that were given by different people. Not only Detlef and the crew, but also the Alumnikus members gave us helpful words on our way. “Trust yourself. And be brave!”, said one of the former KUSis. Meaning that one lesson would be getting to know our borders, but also getting over them, by trusting ourselves. Especially Ruth talked about the safety on board and assured our parents that we would all come home in healthy condition. To prove that, we did a short emergency training. The bells rang seven times short, one time long: The official emergency signal. Quickly, we ran into our cabins and got our life vests from above our bunks. On deck we got into our watches and checked if anybody was missing. Although it was only an exercise we were happy because it showed that we were really quick.
After that it was time to hug our parents, friends and siblings for the last time until our return in April 2019. It was a weird feeling knowing that we would not be able see each other in the upcoming six months. The air was filled with lots of love, salty tears and unspoken doubts. With all sails set we slowly left our normal life behind us, sailing towards the shining sun. We all waved goodbye to the people getting smaller on the pier. Soon, as we all have completed our watching exercises everyone started to realize that the Thor Heyerdahl would be our new home from now on. The first dinner on board was a big moment for all of us. We were so excited about the next month, that we could not concentrate about the delicious food the former KUSis made for us. Still looking forward, we tiredly went into our bunks. And with the thought of the wide ocean we went to sleep.
Although the goodbye ceremony had made many of us unsure and sad about the next months, the excitement was bigger. Half a year full of adventure, community and friendship are waiting for us. Because saying farewell means an end for our time at home together with our families, but also the beginning of a new phase in our lives on the Thor Heyerdahl!