In January of 2014, it was my second attempt at academia and I had a short to-do list: take a philosophy course and get out of the country. My best friend (a former student at the same college) had traveled to China and Germany through their study abroad program and there was a trip to Italy coming up in May she had been prodding me to join for a few weeks. My apartment, monthly bills, animals, and lack of savings insubstantial enough to leave me with nothing by the time I returned were good enough reasons to keep me home. Living on the fence between financial responsibility and an opportunity I had dreamed of my entire life was thwarting to say the least. Until one day when I walked into work… Behind the bar was an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a one hundred dollar bill and a note that said “This is to be spent in Italy. You are going.” One of my favorite regulars had left it for me and just like that my decision was made.
I walked into the teacher office suites with my friend at the college I was attending to meet the professor who ran the study abroad program. From what I knew, Creed was a history and philosophy professor who independently researched and organized the airfare, accommodations and itinerary for two week trips abroad for groups of students at the college who were enrolled in a history course about the country they would be visiting. He never outsourced and he or another faculty member personally led the trips.
Sitting at a table, feet kicked up on the seat next to him, coffee in hand, and peering through his tortoise colored glasses at a propped up iPad, “Creeeeed!”. They greeted each other with a hug and I was introduced as “the friend who is going to travel with me!”, which turned out to be the best introduction I’ve had to date. I handed him $1000 in cash to hold my spot and I asked if it would be possible to get into his Ethics class last minute. In one fell swoop, my to-do list was complete.
My experience in Rome was utterly outstanding—so much so that I cannot possibly tell you all about it here. However, if we ever meet please indulge me as travel is one of my favorite things to share.
After traveling more through the college and becoming a work study student whose job it was to work with Creed in organizing the trips abroad, I discovered that Creed and I shared a genuine friendship. We worked well together, respecting each other’s thoughts and developing a unique and rare trust in the other. Thus, the decision to start Educated Wanderer as a partnership was completely organic. We agreed on almost everything. We wanted people to be able to travel affordably beyond their time as a student who pays subsidized travel costs through the college. Even more so, we felt it was becoming more necessary to magnify the inevitable education that travel truly offers the more we realized we are living in a time where people crave authenticity, value experience and memories over products and material items. Travel is the ultimate laboratory for learning about the world and about oneself. We thought if we could facilitate that kind of environment from which one can experience that sort of growth, then what we do is more than meaningful; it is necessary.
To be sure, we still independently organize every detail and personally lead all our trips and we always will. We continue to think of ways to incorporate perspective and philosophical inquiry into each and every travel experience. And more than anything, we have fun. We meet and connect with our travelers, with locals, and with ourselves. It is a true treasure to be able to devote so much time to doing what you love and believe in, that it doesn’t feel like work. We have the best job in the world.