For the first time in about nine months, I went back to the front of the classroom. No, I didn’t revert to my old middle school principal self, but Ann and I did spend a day working with all of the ninth grade Language Arts students at our town’s high school. It was an interesting experience signing in as a visitor when I’d had a key to the place just a few months ago.

Signing in, Crete High School, Crete Nebraska

Steve signs into the school, this time as a visitor.

A local teacher, Rachel Haider, contacted us about a month ago and asked if we’d be willing to be guest presenters as part of the freshmen class’ unit on journeys. Students are working toward a final unit essay question that asks when the journey is more important than the destination.

Crete High School question, Crete, Nebraska

The question of the day.

She felt that because we’ve taken a good number of trips we’d bring a unique perspective to the class. The fact that the students knew us might help make it a bit more real for them. We were happy to help.

We met with Ms. Haider, and the other 9th grade Language Arts teacher, Trent Framke. We decided that we’d choose some blog posts and students would pre-read at least one of them, write a 6-10 sentence summary of it, and then answer some questions like, “What was more important, the journey or the destination? Why?” “What did the Tegets learn on this journey?” and “What advice for your life can you draw from this blog post?” We’d then have this as a basis for our class discussions.

Completed Assignment, Crete High School, Crete, Nebraska

A student’s completed assignment for our class discussion.

In case you’re curious, we chose six posts: “Five Things we learned judging the National Indian Taco Championships in Pawhuska,” “Music for the soul,” “A great pit stop for midwest travelers,” “Following our hearts to St. Kitts,” “Nebraska’s Nicest #1 — Innkeeper Jeanne Goetzinger,” and “Leaving I-80 for a better view.” We picked these because we felt they had a nice mix of local, state, national and international travel. We also hoped that every student might find something of interest somewhere in that mix of topics. Finally, we hoped that each post was unique enough that answers to the teachers’ questions wouldn’t necessarily be the same.

Crete High School class, Crete, Nebraska

Steve and Ann pose for a picture with students who are mastering the English language.

Well, let me just say that I’d forgotten how long a school day can be when you are presenting and re-presenting material seven times with three minutes of break sprinting to the bathroom in between. Still, we had a wonderful day connecting with students, hearing their take on our articles, and answering their questions about our travels as well as journeys in general. And let me just say that I was impressed by the effort I saw from some of my former students on this assignment.

Crete High School commons, Crete, Nebraska

The commons of Crete High School.

At the end of the day, we knew that we’d made a difference when one student found us in the hall and said that he hoped to travel one day. And we knew that students understood the importance of travel when they told us of the lessons they’d gleaned from our articles, lessons like, “you can find a little happiness anywhere,” and, “It’s important to get to know new people in your life because they can take you somewhere beautiful.”

  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.
  • We'd never heard of cannonball rocks before we drove past them at North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and asked each other, "did you see that?" We'd never seen anything quite like these natural "concretions" created when water leaked into pockets of minerals in the ground. Now, as a hill erodes, these formations are exposed.⁣
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Seeing these rocks was such a cool experience because it reminded us of why we travel. We never know when we'll find something new, something that we never knew existed. We got along fine not knowing about cannonball rocks, yet now that we've seen them, our lives are a little richer. ⁣
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The world is a pretty cool place. Check it out.⁣
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@ndlegendary

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