Originally uploaded by SunToad.
During June of 1994, I was lucky enough to be part of a student exchange program to Italy to study the Italian language and environmental practices. The trip was sponsored through St. Thomas university in Miami, and I was one of two kids from outside the Southern U.S. to be chosen for the program.
It was an incredible time in my life where I learned much more about myself and how to start being more of what I termed a "real person", rather than just another college freshman idiot.
Which is not to say that I didn't act like an idiot during that trip to Italy, nor is it to say that I didn't learn anything in class. I made a few good friendships, which, sad to say, faded out over the years in those days before e-mail was as pervasive as it is now. And I made a few mistakes and did some things I'm not terribly proud of, even now, twelve years later.
I was digging through a box today (yeah, uh, don't ask) and came across my rail pass from that summer. This is, as far as memories and souveniers go, one of the best I have ever collected. It brings memories back to me just by being, and when I start to read the station stamps, well, you know how it goes.
I've done a bit of traveling over the past few years and I have collected a few more souveniers, but this, this is one of the ones that I'll tell my kids about someday. This is the kind of souvenier I'll encourage them to collect – not cheap, plastic junk, but real things gained through real experience.
Time to go see what else is in the box.