Thursday, April 2, 2015


Growing up, the only vacations I ever remember taking were trips to Chicago to visit with relatives.  My dad was often in poor health, so family vacations weren't really an option.  My dad had been an artist in Chicago years before I was born and he often talked about wanting to go to see the works of the great artists in Europe. Having inherited my dad's love of history and art, I made up my mind as a child that I would go and see all those historical places and artwork when I grew up.  As often happens, those dreams got pushed to the background as I entered the adult world and I swapped them for more realistic goals.

My first year of teaching, I had the pleasure of being introduced to a couple who seemed to have been everywhere and done everything.  After an evening full of amusing travel stories I made the comment, "I sure would like to be able to travel and have some interesting stories to share".  Much to my surprise, the young couple both responded that they really hated when people said things like that.  They said everything was a choice and if I really wanted to travel, I would make the choice to do so.  I was really taken aback.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had been making assumptions that I couldn't do it.  That week, I contacted a travel agent (they still had those back then:) and priced out a trip to Italy for spring break.  After a lot of research, I ended up getting very reasonable rates for both air and places I stayed.  At the time I was coaching wresting at the high school and I made up my mind to save every penny I earned and put it toward the trip.  After that first trip, I had the bug.  I continued to save up my coaching money, taught summer school, and worked as a DJ/Karaoke host on weekends each year in order to keep up my traveling habit. My trips have ranged from hotels to converted army barracks and from guided tours to do it yourself backpack trails.  Now, 25 countries later and many visits throughout the US, I have made lots of memories and have many stories to share.

I don't share this story to show that I'm well traveled, I share it to show how that simple statement of someone saying to me, "Don't wish it, do it" had such a profound impact on me.  Recently, my wife and I had to choose between updating our kitchen or going on a trip.  After a short discussion, we decided we could survive with outdated appliances and started packing our bags:) As educators, we are the role models and examples for our students.  If we share our experiences with our students, we might inspire them to make experiences of their own.  But more importantly, we need to challenge them to stop wishing and start doing.  As a first year teacher, I really didn't have the finances to start traveling.  I had to save and work and plan to make it a possibility. I had to change my mindset to think of traveling as a realistic possibility.  Don't be that person that says I wish I could, be the person that makes things happen and pass that challenge along to your students!

photos: J. Wennstrom


"Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." - Benjamin Disraeli
"It is better to travel well than to arrive." - Buddha
"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." - Saint Augustine


Monday, April 13: School Resumes
Tuesday, April 14: Window opens for Administration Perception Surveys
Thursday, April 16: 8:00 am Staff Meeting
                                 1:30 pm Elementary Principals Meeting

Monday, April 20: Window closes for Administration Perception Surveys
Tuesday, April 21: 8:05 am PBS Committee
Wednesday, April 22: 8:15 Parent Phone Conference (Nadon)
Thursday, April 23: 8:00 am Staff Meeting
                                4th Grade "Class Picture" with Lifetouch
Friday, April 24: 2:30 pm Volunteer Tea (tentative)


  1. One of my focus points this year is to ignite others. I want to spark a fire in stuents, friends, colleagues, and family - to take action. To reach out, and up, and in. It sounds like this couple did the same for you several years ago, and their words were transformational. This post reminds me of the danger of setting limits to my dreams, and reminds me that there are still areas of my life that I have capped with internally low expectations. Thanks for sparking me forward!

  2. I usually hear this when people talk about exercise or diet, especially wen I was a personal trainer. We will make time for what's important, and we'll put our money where we deem important. Kudos to you for making your dreams happen!