249/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Not only is this a straight forward gratitude post, it’s also a backhanded gratitude post at the same time as I am thanking two groups of people. Without the shortcomings of one group, the appreciation for the other group would not be noticed, let alone written about. I have been fortunate over the years to travel on trips within my role as a teacher – be it short ones on a ski trip for a day or a weekend camping trips or coaching/sponsoring for a couple of days to two week long journeys to Europe or Japan. The students aside, the trips are all about the co-workers who accompany you on the trip. Unless you are organizer (which I’ve rarely been), you have little choice or say in who is going so the very trip’s enjoyment is based on the dynamics as a result of the staff mix. I have been to Japan once with three different schools and thus three different adult chaperones and it was a nightmare. All I did with one of the teachers was argue as I was more laissez-faire in my approach to things and she was by the book, accounting for everything, not veering off the beaten path. I based extending curfews on student behaviour – she based curfew on the fact that she goes to bed at 10pm!! There was no leeway on her part so we clashed. I felt bad for the third chaperone as he knew we did not like each other. She thought that I would end up getting kids lost or abducted but I had the last laugh when two of her male students decided to take the bullet train during the night to meet up with some Japanese girls they met earlier in Tokyo (we are in Osaka now!!) and missed the return trip. I knew they were safe but the childish me was like “ha ha ha”! Because of that travel companion, I have appreciated traveling with others where our personalities just mesh and there is give and take and a lot of flexibility. I have had this on a trip to Europe with three other sponsors, on trips to Kelowna (or was it Kamloops) for field hockey tournaments, room sharing in Whistler and the list goes on. You really don’t appreciate good travel companions/chaperones until you have traveled with a nightmare! Thank you to both types of sponsors as now I choose wisely if I want to go on a trip – be it a day or two weeks – based on who else is going to be going. Bon Voyage!