Prolog to Italy trip
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I was born in Bangor, Maine only two hours from our neighbor to the north, yet my parents never thought to take me across the Canadian border. At six weeks old we moved to Connecticut where I’ve felt stuck for most of my life. Over the course of my childhood, I visited the other states in New England on family vacations and took school trips to New York State. Between my junior and senior years of high school, I was selected as a Connecticut Junior Intern and spent two exciting weeks in Washington, DC exploring our nation’s capital.
Although I’ve supported myself since I was an 18-year-old high school senior, I’ve made every effort to travel as often as possible. Aside from local travels (i.e., those within a two-hour drive), I took an impromptu five-day vacation in Virginia Beach with a couple of friends. We camped and had fun at the beaches by day and bars at night. In the summer of 1995, I took a road trip down to North Carolina for a week (and crossed into South Carolina). I went to New Orleans for spring break in March of 1997, although my official purpose there and reason my college financed the trip was to attend a leadership conference. In January of 1999, I flew to the left coast to visit the San Francisco Bay area. While there, I toured around northern California in my rental car, from Big Trees to Big Ser, from the Pacific to Lake Tahoe (including crossing the street into Nevada), from Moaning Cave to Napa Valley.
Always seeking to expand my horizons further, when I had enough downtime to take a trip in August 2000, but too little cash for a plane ticket, I decided it was finally time to cut the cord and embarked on a six-hour road trek to Montreal for a holiday. Along my way north I stopped at Lake George for an afternoon then spent four amazing nights and five days in Canada devouring the local culture, as I do on all of my journeys away from home. At the end of my stay, I took a roundabout return rout, touring Upstate New York. Two months later, on another excursion financed by Student Activities’ funds, I flew out to Seattle, Washington with a few other students for a three-day weekend.
In January of 2001 I returned to Canada for five days of snowboarding in Mount Tremblant with the ski club. The following month I finally had my first chance to return to the state of my birth, this time for another ASCE function and then enjoyed some snowboarding at Sunday River before heading home.
My ventures to New Orleans, California, and Canada were among the greatest experiences of my life - each out thrilling the last. Finally in March of 2001, I realized an opportunity to cross the pond! Europe and the Mediterranean were the next logical steps in my progression of travel and I was very grateful to be selected and awarded a scholarship to attend an International Studies program. The course (IS-490, Field Study Abroad: Sicily) consisted of eight days of guided tours throughout the island of Sicily and a day and night in Rome and the Vatican.
As a requirement of the course, I had to write a travel journal. In the past, I’d written what I could remember of some travels after sometime later (usually in e-mails to friends or relatives), but I had never keep a running journal at that point. Even though I new all along that I needed to write it, I procrastinated and only took sparse notes. Only after I returned to the states and labored to recount my experiences for my assignment, did I finally appreciate the value of journaling on the go. Since then I have been much more diligent about writing whenever I’m away from home.