It must have been the flying start he got as a child, a trip we took to visit Nana when she lived in Florida. But he has shown no signs of stopping. And, yes, we did fly out west as a family while the kids were in middle school, for a two week National Parks tour, but the rest of the trips Dan has done solo, or almost.
After his freshman year in high school, he got his first passport and flew to England with former middle school teacher Ann Whitford and a small group of students for one of her annual summer tours. It just whetted his appetite.
Following his junior year, he flew solo to Washington D.C. for a 10-day seminar. And in his senior year we flew to Oklahoma for a campus visit. After that, he was on his own.
During his undergrad years, there was a six-week trip to Jordan for Arabic language study. There was also a trip to France one summer for some French immersion. Both study trips involved some touring while in country, so it wasn’t all work and no play.
But it was work after he graduated from OU, as he flew to France again, this time to stay for a year and teach English at OU’s sister school in Clermont-Ferrand. That was the year we learned how to Skype. And we also flew to France for a vacation with our own personal interpreter.
Back in the USA, Dan settled on grad school at the University of Illinois. One of his summers, he visited Spain for a six-week language course and lived in Grenada.
After graduating with his MA, he was offered a job in Saudi Arabia teaching English. This required a new passport as well as a work visa. The flight to the Mideast was a long one, 15 hours to be exact. During the break between semesters, he flew to Amman, Jordan, to visit a friend and then flew to Athens to see the sights. During a second break, he flew to Paris and took the Chunnel to England to visit another friend there, then flew back to Saudi Arabia to finish his year.
After spending most of July and August here in the US, three weeks of it driving around and across the country visiting friends in Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Washington, he took a new job in a new country for this school year.
Where in the world is Dan? China. Zhoushan, to be precise, which is south of Shanghai, and close to Ningbo. The school: Zhejiang Ocean University. He is actually living on an island. The flight? From Detroit to Shanghai was a mere 15 hours. There he is exactly 12 hours ahead of us here at home. It’s going to be another interesting year.