Trip of a lifetime

Empowering students through summer travel experiences

"It took us months of saving every dollar, but we eventually had enough for a plane ticket to Paris and a return flight from Athens" - Mark Rodgers, Travel Writer

As a young man I hadn’t traveled all that much – mostly family vacations. Money was tight and travel seemed like a luxury beyond my means. Mostly I was a reader – my girlfriend at the time used to chide me for always having my nose in a book – she thought of reading as living life secondhand. Thing is, it was reading that lit the fuse that set me off on my first international adventure. I’d become entranced by the writing of Nikos Kazantzakis; his most famous creation was Zorba the Greek, a character with a passionate outlook on life. I embraced Zorba’s philosophy of living to the fullest in the novel, the film and even the soundtrack, which had marvelous music by Greek composer Mikis Theodrakis. At the time I was twenty-one. I’d walked out of college and had taken a job in a factory, working alongside my younger brother, Rich. Maybe it was the soul-numbing work, but we decided we’d set off for the Greek island of Crete, the birthplace of Nikos Kazantzakis and the setting for Zorba’s story. It took us a couple of months of saving every dollar we could, but we eventually had enough for a plane ticket to Paris and a return flight from Athens. After paying for the flights, we both had about $200 left for food and lodging, which we were planning on making stretch for three months (this was 1971). The adventures during this trip are too many to recount here. They include traveling across Europe by train on the Simplon Orient Express, sleeping in an abandoned 15th century monastery on the north shore of Crete, hiking 28 miles in one day with 45 pound packs on our backs and sleeping that night in an open field during a rainstorm; paying our respects at Nikos Kazantzakis’ grave in the town of Heraklion, hiking to a town that was a small dot on the map and having the whole town (28 people) come out to watch us eat a dinner of hard bread and boiled eggs (a priest wanted me to marry one of his daughters). My brother and I made that $200 stretch for the full three months and we came home stronger than when we left. That trip ignited in me a love of travel. I’ve since become a travel writer with assignments to 54 countries and counting. I hope these stories help ignite a journey of your own. – Mark Rogers, travel writer

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    "I may be multiracial and I may be living in the ghetto but what I am going to do with my life is going to be historical."



    "I may be multiracial and I may be living in the ghetto but what I am going to do with my life is going to be historical."


    Alphonso

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    “This trip made me realize that there’s more to the world than the South Bronx.”
    “This trip made me realize that there’s more to the world than the South Bronx.”

    Selina

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    "I am really and forever will be thankful to Trip of a Lifetime for giving me such an exceptional experience this summer that will be forever remembered."

    "I am really and forever will be thankful to Trip of a Lifetime for giving me such an exceptional experience this summer that will be forever remembered."

    Jennifer

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