February 14, 2009

Ten Commandments of Travel

In April Dana's heading to Europe with a group from her high school. About 40 kids (who, according to Dana, are all "getting wicked excited") and a half-dozen adult chaperones will take in Venice, Vienna, Prague and points in between.

I was talking to a few girls who are going on the trip and I said, "What an itinerary -- Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic."

One of them squinted her eyes at me and asked, "Czech Republic? Who's going to the Czech Republic?"

"You are, Sharone, you are! You're going to Prague, where some of the buildings wear funny hats. Prague's the capital of the Czech Republic."

"Wow! I'm going to the Czech Republic..."

The teacher who organizes these annual spring trips -- and who teaches advanced placement history -- will no doubt be glad that Sharone knows the name of the country she's in when she's in Prague. The trip, which requires that the kids do research on their destinations before they travel, is actually a mini-course that nets the travelers two credits on their high school transcripts.

In addition to learning geography, history and culture, the teacher hopes the students will learn something about and from the travel itself, and at a recent trip planning meeting she offered these "Ten Commandments of Travel:"

1. Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou hast them at home for thou hast left home to find things different.

2. Thou shalt not take anything too seriously, for a carefree mind is the beginning of fine traveling.

3. Thou shalt not let others get on thy nerves, for thou art paying good money to enjoy thyself. (I think this commandment should be amended to read, "... for thine parents art paying good money -- which they now have a lot less of than they did when thou signed up for this trip -- to let thee enjoy thyself.")

4. Remember to take only half the clothes thou thinks thou needs, and twice the money.

5. Know at all times where thy passport is, for a person without a passport is a person without a country.

6. Remember that if we had been expected to stay in one place we would have been created with roots.

7. Thou shalt not worry, for he that worrieth hath no pleasure, and few things are truly fatal.

8. When in Rome, be prepared to do somewhat as the Romans do -- same goes for Venice, Vienna and Prague.

9. Thou shalt not judge the people of a country by the one person who hast given thou trouble.

10. Remember thou art a guest in other lands, and he that treateth his host with respect will be honored.