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9 Epiphanies of Around the World, 2009!

Hello! Welcome to the last pre-programmed, 2009 Reflection post before we delve into the thrilling world of Ghana news!

This here is the biggie, isn’t it: Epiphanies, or, as we teach it in Boston Public Schools: “The ‘AHA!’ Moment.”

Indeed, why do we travel but to shake up our lives and force an “Aha!” from our nose to our toes? Sure enough, the first five months of this joyous Around the World journey have been full of revelations.

Here are nine major epiphanies so far, keeping in mind that the journey is less than halfway through, and will surely go on to produce some AHAHAHA! uber-epiphanies as the months go on.

As you read the article, please enjoy the final set of Italy photos: the lovely nighttime lights of Florence… including the one to the right with my brother trying to look as goofy as possible in order to “photo bomb” or sabotage the photo. I still can’t stop cracking up when I look at it! I love that guy.

Now, feel free to click the links for further details and photos as you dive into…

The Nine Epiphanies of Around the World, 2009:

9. Southeast Asia is a backpacker’s dream. If you are pondering where to start your RTW trip, Southeast Asia is the spot: inexpensive, gorgeous, varied, super safe, extremely fun and friendly, warm, and fully equipped with a smooth-as-silk tourist infrastructure.

8. Being alone can be great! Traveling alone, eating alone, thinking alone, walking alone… there should be no shame in it, because deep down, we need it!

7. Women can and should travel alone. It’s great, it’s safe, it helps you feel stronger and smarter, and it’s fun. Do it!

6. I really prefer to live places that are a melting pot (or some say “tossed salad”) of ethnicities, races, classes, and more. We get used to this varied mix growing up in America, so when we end up somewhere super-homogeneous like Japan, it can feel jarring, and like it’s missing something.

America may have its many issues, but there are few places as deliciously mixed as, for example, New York City. How amazing to be able, in NYC, to walk from Chinatown to Little Dominican Republic to Little Russia to Little Italy to Little Somalia to Little Israel in the span of one day!

5. The Internet is… “WOW!”, and the community of travel bloggers is truly a community. Tapping into this technology is so calming and educational, and often feels like a warm hug after a kooked-out day on buses and trains with strangers.

4. I want to be there for my former students as long as they’ll put up with it. Through a fluke of scheduling, I ended up teaching a whole bunch of students as much as four years in a row during my teaching career!

For that and many other reasons, I consider them forever family, and thus will harass them online and, (when I’m back in the U.S.) in person, about homework, careers, decisions, and more.

In turn, they will continue to teach me tons, and to keep me on track through their questions, insights, and snappy comments.

A former colleague has mentioned that he’s trying to launch a stay-in-touch-with-BPS-students-in-college pilot program in Boston, and indeed, such consistency is deeply important and powerful.

3. I am crafting my future life and dreams on this trip, slowly.

Long-Term Love Partner and Future Family: it will come, and for now I’m overflowing with love for the world.

Career: I want to work hard and to effect positive change in the world. I want to write! I want to teach. I want to travel! I want to think outside the box… but also, um, I want to have health insurance and an income.

Strangely, I don’t feel worried that the 2010-2011 school year is looming, meaning that I will have to make some hefty decisions about my life path quite soon. Rather, I feel deeply confident that a great new path will emerge in the next three months in Ghana, or in the subsequent month in Spain, or in the following summer in Boston.

2. Humans are amazing. Left, right, and center, people are surmounting incredible obstacles, helping others when they have no obligation to, and creating brilliance and beauty.

The inspirational story of Nate in Phuket, Thailand, remains the symbol of this human strength and radiance.

1. This Around the World journey is exactly the right thing for me to be doing right now, and it is making me incredibly happy.

I realized last week, while listening to Monks Gregorian chanting in a church on a hill in Florence, Italy with my family: I really, really needed a change of scene from Boston. I was spinning my wheels, falling into lazy or drama-producing habits, and constantly hounded by the idea: “Sure, I could continue like this, but… What else is out there?”

I feel VERY grateful that I was able to save the money over the past six years to finally fly out, and I adamantly urge people who are thinking of such a trip: DO IT!

So how is Ghana??? I’m writing this article from Italy, seven hours before my flight to Accra on January third, and thus I have no idea what the internet situation will be for me as you are reading this on January sixth. We shall see!

Stay tuned, and keep those comments coming!


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Gia DiGiacomo

Thursday 26th of January 2012

Italy looks like another amazing place to visit. I am Italian and love to hear about this country. I look forward to more pictures from Italy.


Thursday 26th of January 2012

Yay! All the Italy articles and photos are here:

John Teehan

Monday 5th of December 2011

In the picture up top your brother doesn't look that goofy.

John Teehan

Monday 5th of December 2011

Why would you want to travel alone? At one point wouldn't it get boring walking around by yourself?


Monday 5th of December 2011

It's actually really interesting, and plus you never have to be alone if you don't want to be. There are so many safe and easy ways to meet friends while traveling! Here's an article about it:

Fiona Phie

Saturday 8th of October 2011

Hi Ms. Marshall! I hope you had a wonderful birthday dinner with whom ever. :) Italy would be a lot of fun. I hope you had fun! I love one of the phrases you said ! " Women can and should travel alone." This shows your independence as woman!

Daniel O'Connell

Thursday 23rd of December 2010

This is really cool! I'm Italian but I've never been to Italy. It's so cool too how you go to so many places around the world. I'd love to go to a place like Italy.

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