The summer before I started my first year of college I took a couple of trips. All within the United States. First I went to Florida with my best friend and her father. Then I went to Oregon for my birthday/high school graduation gift from my Aunt. That Oregon trip was and still is one of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken. We spent two weeks traveling down the Oregon coast. That is when I fell in love with the Pacific North West. I had gotten a small taste of exploring and traveling that summer. Sure I had spent plenty of time at Walt Disney World in my youth but I hadn’t traveled much out of Mississippi.
My freshman year of college was interesting. I was thrust into adulthood with no idea of what I wanted to do or who I was. I signed up for my classes and attended Band Camp ( yes I am a nerd). It was in one of my classes that I found my passion. Though I didn’t realize it when I started out in that class. It was my World Civilizations I class that shifted my perspective on what I wanted out of life. My teacher Mr. Sullivan was an older man, balding with glasses. A bit of a hippie really. Not the coolest looking dude. But, he was the most interesting teacher I had ever met or had the privilege of being taught by.
His lectures consisted of giving us massive packets of information, then we would watch videos on the information in said packets. His philosophy was that if you read the packets and paid attention in class you should pass with no trouble. Mr. Sullivan would occasionally stop the video and talk about what was being shown. But, what made his lectures interesting is he used pictures from his own travels. You see Mr. Sullivan had backpacked through Europe. Before that was a mainstream thing to do. He always said if you really want to get to know a place that’s how you should travel.
He was/is a very honest man, the type to tell you the truth. No sugar coating anything. When it came time to take World Civilizations II I knew I HAD to have him as my teacher. I learned more in his class than any of my other classes honestly. He would weave in themes of other subjects in his lectures and videos. He had us read books to expand our way of thinking. Not just another “required” book.
I sat through every class completely mesmerized by all he had seen and done in his travels. All he knew of the world from first hand knowledge. Since taking his classes I have developed the philosophy it’s not simply good enough to read about places. I have to get out and see them, touch them if I can.
Unfortunately I did not finish my college education. But, Mr. Sullivan continued to teach until a few years ago. Even though he has now “retired” he still works and researches. His health isn’t what it used to be but he still continues to inspire me to this day. He is someone I will never forget as long as I live. I am thankful I am one of the thousands who have taken his classes over the years. Mr. Sullivan is one of the most interesting people I have ever known and I can’t thank him enough for helping me to realize what my passion is.
Who inspired or inspires you to chase your wildest dreams? Leave a comment and let me know!