Bylgja, daughter of Ӕgir and Rán, the Nordic God of the Sea and Goddess of Drowned Souls, respectively. Ӕgir and Rán had nine daughters, each named for a different aspect of the ocean’s waves. Bylgja is the billowing wave, a surging swelling wave, the word bylgja (“bill-ghee-ya”) actually the origin of the word “billow.”

With thoughts of our Nordic protectors, whom we are adopting as WWU embraces the Viking mascot, to bring us luck and strength, we depart from this continent (from San Diego), our sights set on Asia and Africa. I travel with my 12-year-old son Blake, and Mara Schradle, former student and educator herself, miraculously available to help Blake with his studies and soccer regimen for a few months. My husband Jeff cannot telecommute from the ship, so he will join us intermittently.

We cannot fully imagine the cultures we will visit, the people we will meet, the wildlife we will see! Excitement surges through us as we embark on this trip.