From the science behind fermentation in Napa to the history of a boutique hotel in Quebec, The Suitcase Scholar proves that all travel is educational.
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
Alfred Lord Tennyson–Ulysses
Hi–I’m Tracy Antonioli, and I’m The Suitcase Scholar!
Way back in high school, when I decided that I loved Tennyson and that, even more, I loved Tennyson’s poem Ulysses, I should have realized two fairly obvious things. First–I’m a huge geek. And second–I’m a traveler.
I figured the geek thing out pretty quickly; it took me a bit longer to figure out the traveler thing. You see, for many years I didn’t even realize I was traveling. I just thought I was driving around. For all of college, my trunk contained a tent, a propane heater, and a sleeping bag. I spent every possible moment elsewhere, even going so far as to only date men who lived out of state (not on purpose, I swear).
Yeah–I guess that should have been another big clue.
It took me until I turned thirty–and subsequently went on what I affectionately call The Trip from Hell (yes, that’s me being nice)–to realize and admit my travel addiction. I spent a month in Europe, had a fabulously awful time, and returned home to immediately plan my next trip.
You see, it’s all well and good to think you love something when everything is sunshine and roses. Try loving that same thing when everything falls apart. If you still feel that flutter in your chest even then, well, it’s definitely love.
Or an addiction. Poh-tay-to, poh-tah-to.
Since The Trip from Hell, I’ve traveled as much as is possible on a teacher’s schedule*. And then I took a whole year off to travel on my own schedule. And then, most recently, I transitioned from classroom teacher and into a new career; an education-related role requiring 100% travel. I now travel the country as an independent consultant for a large educational media company offering professional development to teachers, helping them use media and technology in the classroom. It is the perfect occupation for an admitted travel geek.
I prefer nature to cities, but I love cities as well. I like to travel solo, but I always welcome friends, new and old, along for the ride. I can not think of a single destination I’d not want to explore, given a two day lead time (or less), a guide book, and a camera around my neck. You know how most people feel about having their coffee in the morning? Yeah–that’s how I feel about having a flight confirmation number or road trip itinerary printed out and pinned to the cork board in my office.
I need it.
Who Should Read This Blog?
You should! If you found your way here by researching an upcoming trip, I’m here for you! As a teacher, I spend my day answering questions. And nothing brings up more questions than the planning of a trip. It is my goal to answer as many of those questions as possible. Want to know the best restaurant in Montreal? I’ll go there and write about it for you. Want to know how to get from St. George to Tobacco Bay Beach? I’ll create a photo-rich post that will get you there.
You should also bookmark The Suitcase Scholar if you are:
–A person who likes to laugh. I try to infuse a bit of humor into all of my posts; even when I’m talking about something like the Library of Congress’s collection of pre-colonial maps. (Seriously)
–A person who likes to eat. I have not taken one single bite of food on any of my trips in the last two years or so without first snapping a photo. A typically travel-meal-with-Tracy looks something like this: Server places food on table. Tracy arranges fork artfully. Tracy snaps several photos in rapid succession, possibly moving the plate a bit from side to side to get the best light on the dish. Tracy takes a bite. Tracy puts the fork down to take notes on her iPhone. Repeat the last two steps for the duration of the meal.
–A person who likes to save money. I don’t think of myself as a budget traveler; you won’t likely find me in a campsite and you’ll probably never find me in a hostel. But I’m also not a luxury traveler, either. I’d prefer to call myself a ‘value traveler’–that is, I’m always looking to get the most bang from my travel buck. I look for hotels that are the perfect mix of price, location, and comfort, restaurants that offer up gourmet fare for less than a mid-sized car payment, and fun things to do in cities and towns that are free-to-low-cost.
–A person who loves cities. I will never turn down the opportunity to get to know a new city–even after the great Paris debacle of 2010. I love museums and restaurants, but would be just as happy to walk around a new city and point my camera at things.
–A person who loves nature. Those little–or sometimes large–green spaces on the map intrigue me. I’ve explored city parks from New Orleans to Amsterdam, and have hit the trail in national parks from Nova Scotia to California.
–A person who likes to learn. When I travel, I seek out educational opportunities whenever possible. Thus, you will find posts about photography tours, culinary and cultural tours, historical sites, and a whole host of other educational destinations featured on The Suitcase Scholar. And, on here as in the classroom, I encourage you to raise your hand and ask questions freely. Of course, by ‘raise your hand’ I mean ‘write a comment’. I will always answer as best I can.
Where Can I Find More?
Thanks for asking! (Ok, I realize you didn’t actually ask. But perhaps you were thinking it. In which case–thanks!) If you’d like to stay up-to-date on everything happening here on The Suitcase Scholar, please ‘like’ me on Facebook (facebook.com/suitcasescholar), follow me on Twitter (@tracyantonioli), and/or subscribe to the RSS feed over there in the side bar.
You can also email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to all emails in an insanely-timely fashion (my iPhone only leaves my hand so I can put both hands on my computer keyboard).