This post is mostly for me, to remind me of why I started traveling and what it means to me. My family is not what I would call a traveling bunch. The farthest I think we ever went from Massachusetts growing up was New Hampshire. My sophomore year of high school, that all changed. I had this eccentric (read: awesome) teacher by the name of Mr. Dascoli. Dasc is the kind of teacher that gave no f*cks about anything. He would scream obscenities in his classroom. Smoke in the men’s room. Basically whatever the hell he wanted. But everybody loved him. He was a free spirit.
Dasc didn’t even have text books for his classes. He would type out (on a word processor) pages upon pages of history notes based on what he thought we should be learning. He decided at some point in his career that he was going to start showing kids history. His classroom was wallpapered with posters of historical monuments, famous paintings, and UNESCO World Heritage sites, but that wasn’t good enough. So for 20+ years he would take about 40 kids per year to Italy. If you’re going to teach history, that’s a fine place for it. 2000 was my year. Dasc was taking his history and humanities classes to Southern Italy.
To be clear, this trip was in no way, shape, or form endorsed by the school. They wanted no part of it and all liability was solely on Dasc and whatever teacher he managed to rope into this. We even had to have meetings at the public library and not on school property. On April vacation of 2000, I took my first trip to Italy. To this day, whenever I go there (I’ve been there twice since), I feel like a piece of me remains there.
Here i am in the Roman Forum. Try not to be jealous of my scrunchie, Aristocats T-shirt, and 35mm camera around my neck. I know. It’s tough. I don’t remember a whole lot of the details of the itinerary, but I do remember that we went to Rome, Positano, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, and Sicily.
Here is part of our group in Alcantara Gorge in Sicily. Alcantara Gorge was created around 2400 BC when a volcano, Monte Moio erupted. I do remember how breathtaking the basalt walls of the gorge were and how freezing cold the water was.
Dasc inspired a love of travel in me, and while I haven’t always had a ton of money to go everywhere I’d like to go, I have been back to Italy twice since. I’ve also been to Scotland, England, Brazil, New Zealand, Thailand, and Cambodia since. Thanks, Dasc, for my never-ending thirst for knowledge and experience through travel. May my travel bug never be cured.