When it comes to prioritizing travel in my life, I find that it always comes out on top. It’s easy to get bogged down in the often mundane aspects of life. Replacing that old, broken-down washer and dryer or catching up on piles of unfinished paperwork that never seem to grow any smaller becomes an unfortunate obstacle. So how do I make sure travel always wins?
I immerse myself in it. I surround myself in the many life-changing moments that have come as a direct result of my desire to hit the road.
Travel is not just a luxury to me. It is an absolute necessity.
As a kid (and even to this day), my family enjoyed taking summer vacations across the U.S. and into Canada. When I use the word “enjoy,” I use it loosely and nearly laugh out loud as I type this. Our trips are not always that enjoyable.
Being crammed into a Toyota Camry with two parents, three siblings, and a dog is not all that enjoyable. Confined to that close of quarters with people who are all too comfortable with getting uppity and fussing doesn’t really seem like a vacation at all, especially when the drive lasts for days across the middle of the country.
But isn’t that what travel is really about? Getting comfortable being uncomfortable?
Travel isn’t always about finding that “greener side of the fence,” even though that often does come along as a natural bi-product. It’s meant to challenge us. To challenge our way of thinking. To make us step outside of the comfort we have made for ourselves back at home. To work with people in unforeseen situations.
It’s about growth, and that’s never easy. It’s always a little uncomfortable to change skins.
My family’s summer “vacations” were the springboard to a life of travel. As I navigated my way through high school and college, I began taking bolder trips. I ventured with friends to Florida for the Disney experience, to Georgia to witness the Masters at Augusta National, to Nicaragua where I volunteered and completed coursework as an English major, and upon graduation to Glacier National Park, Montana, where I helped run a camp store for a summer.
In the past eight years, I have traveled to:
Canada, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Italy, Vatican City, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Colombia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal, and across most of the United States.
Often, I have returned to many of the same places to see them a second time and from a more informed viewpoint.
In the future, I fully intend to not only continue traveling myself to new places, but also in taking others to share my passion with them. As a high school teacher, I have been given that opportunity in the form of leading study abroad trips in the summers for our English Department.
I hope this blog can serve as a memoir of sorts. One that can fulfill a number of purposes for different audiences. I want it to be:
1) A memoir of my travel bits of wisdom and experiences.
2) A resource for other teachers who are looking for tips and advice when taking students abroad.
3) A resource for students when they are first learning to travel and afterwards.
4) A place for family and friends to keep up and see a bit of what I am seeing.
Please feel free to comment on any of my posts and to add to this resource! Thanks for following and enjoy the journey!