Meet Martin: Our June 2014 Teacher Feature

Meet MARTIN - a middle & high school science educator in New York City, NY. We asked Martin to share some stories and tips about his global travels. Here's what he had to share... martinmiPlaces you've visited? I've been to most of the states in the United States. I've also traveled to (and lived in a few other countries) including: Australia, Canada, Mexico, Austria, Turkey, Greece, Poland, Germany, Italy, UK, France, Spain, former Yugoslavia, former Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Nepal, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, & Bolivia. Last Trip? Italy. It was a circular bike tour starting and ending in Milan, so I guess the destination was Milan and then Milan again. It took three weeks and covered 600 miles starting in the north, biking south to Gorgonzola, Parma, a bunch of other food-name cities, the vinegar town of Modena, the meat sauce and university town of Bologna, across the Apennines (admittedly on a train) to Florence, Sienna all the way down to Rome and Naples, a ferry across to Cagliari, Sardinia, biking northwards across that island to Porto Torres, ferrying back across the sea to Genoa, and finally back to Milan. Whew!

A shot of the Himalayas.

Favorite Trip?  My favorite trip was probably when I went to Nepal and hiked the Khumbu region of the Himalayas. It was ten days of pretty hardcore hiking and glacier crossing, barely any showering, and avoiding armed Maoist rebels. I ate a lot of yak meat. We hiked right up to base camp of Everest. In retrospect, there was a lot of altitude sickness and suffering, so I guess it’s ironic that it ended up being one of my favorite trips... but the sensation one gets from wandering through those massive mountains is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before or since... I’ve never felt so small and insignificant in my life. I never knew that a landscape could be so vast and open – chasms so deep and peaks so high. You could see a speck of a person walking along a path on the mountainside five miles away. Time did not seem to exist. It was really surreal. Dream Destination? I would like to fly into Bangkok, buy a motorcycle and ride into Cambodia. I need to go to Angkor Wat. I want to isolate myself in some remote jungle village like General Kurtz. Hang out for a while. Do some weird yoga. How Often & With Whom Do you Travel With? I travel every summer.I used to always travel with friends; but as the years have progressed, many of my friends have families, I have fewer travel partners with the freedom necessary for the kinds of trips I do. I’m usually gone for the entire summer in the target country.

Misiak captures a shot of a young girl in Cuba.

Best Aspect About Traveling as a Teacher? I can’t say there’s anything particularly good about traveling as a teacher. I guess the  amount of time you have off. The hardest part of traveling being a teacher is... You are limited by your budget. Although I find the cheaper countries more interesting anyways, I would also enjoy a week at Cinque Terre or Saint Tropez. That’s not happening on my budget. Also, as already mentioned, sometimes it can be hard to find a travel buddy who has as much time off as you do. So you might have to get used to solo travel. But that’s ok – you start more conversations with fellow travelers when you’re solo. Prized Travel Tips? Yes – read the news and target countries experiencing hard economic times. I’m looking at you Greece & Nicaragua. Also, if you've got the stomach or the recklessness, follow the sounds of gunfire. There are your best deals. Keep your money distributed on your person. Eat vegetarian. Register your arrival with the embassy in case you disappear. Next Adventure? My next “adventure” is probably going to be tame compared to past trips. I’m visiting a friend in Israel next summer. But then again... rockets... ya know? Upon talking to Martin more, he reveals that he is a budding travel photographer. He owns several cameras and several of his favorite photos are captured using expired film and old Russian cameras – the Zenit E and the 19. To see some of his photos, click HERE.