E-mail Update - 2007-12-01

What's Next?...University, Europe, Latin America & maybe China!!

Hey Everyone,

It's hard to think that I have been home for over 4 months from last trip to Japan and the Philippines. Since being back home things have been pretty hectic. As I emailed everyone before, a 20+ foot fall in a cave in the Philippines on July 4, brought me back home on July 24, because I was limited in my travels. The interesting thing is that I was only home about a week before hitting the road again!

My parents have been out West in the US numerous times and really enjoy Colorado. They have always told me how much they wanted to take me to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. When you add that the Rocky Mountains were in my top 3 spots in the USA I wanted to see, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. So on August 4, my parents and I left Wisconsin with their pull behind camper for Colorado (Picture - Bill_Sheri_John_Brock). My parents type of traveling fit well with the limitations imposed by my knee. In the US you can drive right up to the best sites.

The Rocky Mountains, while not the tallest mountains I have seen, are easily the most spectacular (Picture - Rocky_Mountains). The mountain's natural beauty is even further enhanced by the abundant wildlife. On the trip we saw elk, (Picture - Elk - a 12 point bull elk), moose (Picture - Moose), bison, bighorn sheep (Picture - Big_Horn_Sheep), several different types of deer, chipmunks, squirrels, minks, ducks, coyotes & numerous bird species. Also I was afforded the opportunity to do a mountain biking ride for around 35 miles over a 10000 foot summit in Colorado. It was tough but also very rewarding. Cruising down the last third of the ride after reaching the summit was so beautiful & I even saw a moose early on in the ride!

In another great activity, the sky swing, I was also able to check off another activity from the "never done" list. This sky swing (voted "Scariest in the World") that took me out over the Royal Gorge (1300 feet down to the bottom). They pull you up and back 100 feet off the ground then you pull your rip cord which sends you out over the gorge and gives you quite an adrenalin rush.

When I was in the Philippines my camera had been flooder. Well I ordered a new one which was quite an upgrade. The new camera is a Canon PowerShot Pro Series S5 IS 8.0MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom. On the trip I was afforded numerous opportunities to learn how to use it and take some great pictures :) The trip was a lot of fun and the sites were amazing so it helped make up a little bit for having to cut my world trip short.

From the time since arriving home and even while in Colorado I had been working on getting into the local university. My plan was to attend the University of Wisconsin - Platteville (UWP) for a degree in Business Administration with a Finance emphasis and a minor in Spanish. Finance has always been an area that I was very interested in and also something that I thought would allow me to work internationally if I were to find the right job. It took a lot of work and time but eventually I got accepted. I even was able to get into 15 credits worth of the classes needed for my degree in the week before classes started. From my prior studies I was able to transfer in over 30 credits which starts me out as a sophomore, even though some of those credits won't help much towards my degree. I also have gotten a few more classes via the "appeal" process and tested out of the first freshman English class which was nice :)

College has gone well but I have to say I really underestimated how difficult it would be. The biggest problem is this 5 credit biology class (the only 5 credit course I will have to take thankfully) covers so much material and just about everything is new to me. Plus the teacher, while being a good teacher, is a harsh grader and her tests are the hardest I have ever done. The other 3 classes have not been as bad, although there is a lot of work with Spanish. When you add the other activities I have needed to complete being a new student I have had absolutely no personal time since starting school. I have 3 weeks left, 2 weeks of classes and then finals week. I haven't even had time yet to see any friends at home, so sorry to all the people out there I am neglecting in the US! I am really looking forward to Christmas when I have a month off (Dec 22 - Jan 21). I probably have about 3 months of activities planned for this time but being able to see friends, family, plan my summer trip & get some personal things done will be really nice. For all the friends I haven't seen and who want to get together just let me know ;)

I usually give a future plans update since if I don't people always email me back to ask what I am doing. Since being home I have put a lot of time into figuring out my future. I have decided to attend school at UWP until my degrees are completed (3-4 years total time needed). Of course that doesn't mean I am staying home all the time! Here is the tentative plan for the next 3 years:

Now to May 2008 - Attending school at UWP

Late May to August Traveling for fun - Europe (England, Germany...)?

September to December - Attending school at UWP

January to May 2009 - Attend University in Central or South America

Late May to August 2009 - Traveling in Latin American practicing Spanish

September to December 2009 - Attending school at UWP

January '10 to May 2010 - Attend University at UWP or China??

As you can see there will still be quite a bit of time spent abroad either traveling or studying. So here is where I would like to ask for help from the traveling and international friends. If you have any suggestions about the following please email me:

  • Studying abroad experience, items to consider or general advice
    • Specifically Central & South America and China
    • Not interested in include Brazil, Venezuela, Panama or Mexico
  • Any advice you have for studying Spanish abroad at a University
  • Tips for traveling in Europe
    • Where to go and what to do, plus good deals

For all my friends who live in Europe just let me know if you will be around in the summer (May - August 2008) and I will make every attempt to see you (and possibly crash at your place for a few days if that is ok). For all the people I know who are planning to travel to Europe let me know as well. I am going to start making my travel reservations in early January so that I can leave right after school is finished. So if we can plan it out to meet somewhere to catch up that would be sweet :)

I hope everyone enjoyed the update! If I have an email or Facebook message you sent me weeks ago I will try to reply soon. For all the new people on the list (Cayman Island & Philippines friends) sorry I didn't add you sooner! If anyone would like to be removed from this update just let me know :)

Happy Holidays and Happy Birthday to all fellow December kids we are by far the coolest!!

Love & Peace!