My traveling days date back from when at the age of nine my mother and I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico from our hometown of Boston. Money was tight and my mom was a bit of a "free spirit" so our usual method of transportation between the two places was the thumb. I was the only 4th grader I knew who had criss-crossed the highways of America, riding high in the cab of an 18-wheeler. I was even given a cb call sign by one of the truckers, 'morning glory,' in honor of my blue eyes. Times have certainly changed since then, for me, my mom and the kind of America where one could travel on nothing more than the generosity of strangers. However, those early days have served me well; instilling in me a natural wanderlust, and nostalgia for the big truck stops of the West.
Living the Dream
My first experience traveling internationaly was a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. To say I was completely smitten would be a gross understatement. The time I spent there was a transformational experience, profoundly impacting the direction of my life, not to mention being a pleasant change from the Syracuse winter. My plan once I graduated was to go back to Italy and try and find a job. Of course, as many best laid plans go, life kept getting in the way... fear of not finding work, not wanting to go alone, school debt, etc.. Finally, six years after graduating I decided that I had to go, it was either that, or forget about my dream once and for all. And so, I quit my job, packed my bags and went. I spent a year in Florence, and when I returned to the States it was with a greater respect for my own capabilities, tales of fantastic adventures, and life-long friends.