The primary goal of this website is to interest you, help you evaluate, and perhaps inform you, as well as add something valuable to your interest in the world, via my travels. Or, perhaps I should say, travails. You get to decide.
I believe strongly in the delightful value of traveling to see other places, with those “strange sounding names,” but I will also present some warnings/difficulties/possible disappointments. (I didn’t get to Petra, but I did get to the pyramids; I didn’t get to Angkor Wat or Vat, but I did climb Machu Picchu; I didn’t get to Singapore, but I did walk a bit of the Great Wall of China.)
The preparation for travel on my own was predicated on the experiences I had traveling with student groups. Most of our students don’t study the cultural basis for most countries they visit; it was up to me to try to fill in the gaps. Many of the “gaps” I saw, in the tour bus driver’s mirror, were the gaping mouths of students snoozing as we drove past historic monuments to a nation’s heroes, or past battlefields. But they came eagerly awake when we drove past Harrod’s in London—perhaps the world’s most famous store, with slightly infamous owners.
One cultural “situation.” We were in Rome; I had 9 high school students with me. One gorgeous girl wanted to go outside right after we’d checked in to our hotel—a former convent for nuns. The girl was wearing too-short shorts. I told her she’d need to change. She objected and stormed out of the lobby. Within 3 minutes, she returned, blushing and nearly in tears. (Yes–you’re right; she’d been pinched—several times—by some hot-blooded Italian boys.) I never had that problem again.
Another cultural “situation.” In many countries, youthful drinking is just part of life. This was in Mexico, and one of the members of my Global Volunteer team had been drinking. He climbed to the top of the hotel and wanted to fly. Another team leader, male, yanked him off the roof before he splatted on the ground below. (Global Volunteers is a terrific Minnesota group that offers people of all ages the chance to “do a good deed or two” by teaching or training individuals in other countries. The oldest volunteer I met was 83; the youngest was 15.)
One caveat here: if you become a “counselor” leading part of a student group, here’s a warning tip. When we were in Rome, two of “my own” teachers kept asking me to “keep an eye on” their group, which was about 15 high school students. (They had so many students because there were two of them; not one.) Of course, I said, “sure.” So now I had my own group and their 15; after twice agreeing to that, I told them “no” the next time. Even an octopus couldn’t keep an “eye” on that many antsy students!
But keep an “eye” on this website—I’ll try to stick to interesting topics.