Teaching Traveling: Welcome to Caitlin Ahern, a fellow Massachusetts educator, who’s here to discuss how important vacation travel is to rejuvenating teachers. Caitlin, tell us about your background.
Caitlin: I have been a teacher in Massachusetts for seven years, first in an urban charter school, and for the last two years in a suburban public elementary school. The day I left for the airport for my most recent trip, though, I accepted a position as the professional learning coordinator for the district, putting together professional development courses and opportunities for teachers and staff K-12. I also write about teaching and learning on my blog, Teacher Cait.
Growing up in Buffalo, NY, my family took road trips to visit family across the US. We never did Disney World, and we certainly never went on a cruise or took a trip to Europe. We would load up the car and drive to a campground in Michigan for a week with the cousins. As an adult, I still spend most of my vacation time traveling to visit family, so international travel is a big deal for me!
TT: Such an interesting background. Tell us more about your recent travels.
C: My husband and I have had a few opportunities to travel, and when the opportunity arises, we look for destinations that are perhaps a little more off-the-beaten-path, and (therefore) more affordable. Four years ago, we honeymooned in Belize, which absolutely fit that criteria; when we started planning our most recent trip to Europe, we tried to find a destination that was maybe a little less “normal.”
We started thinking about our trip two years in advance — it was announced that my father-in-law would be receiving an award at a professional conference for his work in landscape architecture. The conference would be in the summer of 2016 in Budapest, Hungary, and his dream was to have the entire family attend. So we had a long time to plan — and save — for this trip.
As the conference date got closer, the plans solidified; the entire family WOULD make the trip! So it was planned that we’d spend a weekend together in Budapest, and then rent a house on Lake Balaton in Hungary, about two hours outside of Budapest, for a few more days together as a family. From there, my husband and I decided to extend the vacation another week to travel through Croatia together. We rented AirBnB apartments in Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik, and traveled via train and bus from city to city.
The two weeks we were traveling were phenomenal. We managed to have 14 days of hot, sunny weather! We explored castles, ruins, cities, and islands; we saw a part of the world we had never really considered visiting before. We ate amazing food (especially seafood!), and had time to relax and reconnect away from our hectic jobs. Coming home was certainly bittersweet; we missed our home and cats, but were loving the freedom of traveling!