In July 2002, I took my first trip as an adult. I went to Las Vegas with my friend as a college graduation celebration. We were there for a week and had a great time. That is when I realized I was bitten by what many call the “travel bug”. It is a bad thing to be bitten by because once bitten there is no turning back. All you think about, all you want to do, is travel.
The problem for me with having the travel bug was that no matter how many trips I went on, I never felt like it was enough. The more I learned about places, the more I wanted to travel. I knew that as much as I liked to be on vacation, I wanted more. My problem was that I had never lived away from New York City. So many people say that New York City is the greatest place in the world, why would you ever want to leave?
Well, the answer is simple. There is always something new and exciting to experience somewhere else and I wanted to not only experience it but also live it. One of my biggest inspirations came from my favorite book of all time-“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. Yes, a book by Dr. Seuss changed my life. I read this book when I was a lot older than all of you and I must say that you have to read it, if you haven’t yet.
Reading this book helped me see that my dreams of wanting to live and teach in another country were okay. It is okay to dream big and to dream differently from others. We can really be and do whatever we want no matter where we come from. That is the biggest message I would ever want you all to remember.
My goal in all of this, my reason for becoming a teacher has always been that I want to inspire my students to believe that the impossible is very possible. I am living proof of that. Your dream may not be to travel around the world or to teach. That is fine. Whatever your dream is, wherever it takes you, it is yours to make come true. My wish for all of you is to always believe that you can do anything you set your minds to, but remember, you must always work hard in school and respect yourselves and others. .
I will leave you all with two of my favorite quotes from “Oh, the Places you’ll go!”
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
I am excited to see how you all will move mountains and make your mark. Remember, it all starts with a dream. Want it, believe it, work for it and it will be yours.
Being able to share my time in Malta with all of you has made my experience even more special. You helped me pay attention to what is important and to really enjoy my time here. It’s been a journey I was happy to share with all of you and I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I have.
I hope my journey inspires you all to want to see and study in other parts of the world. There are so many great college study abroad programs that let you live in a country or more than one country that maybe you, one day, will get to share your experiences with students your age.
To the RTW staff, Editor, Teachers and Coordinators, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to be part of such a great program. It was an honor to take this journey with you. You helped make it a moment I will always cherish. I think what you are doing is wonderful for the students. Keep moving mountains!