CIS Abroad Blog

Final Day: LIVE from Italy – Reconnecting with Students & Travel

Travel with Scott Tayloe, Chief Strategy Officer, CIS Abroad, as he travels to welcome our students to Italy, January 12th – 22nd, 2022. 

The Final Countdown

The final day has come. I texted a colleague to say I’d just taken my COVID test and with a negative diagnosis came a one-way ticket back home. “Wow, that went fast!”, she said. She was right. I had been planning the logistics for this trip for awhile and in a blink of an eye, it was coming to an end. The excitement didn’t negate the internal stress that would come with getting back out here. Ten days away from my family after spending the last two years at home seemed like it would feel like a lifetime.

Although I wouldn’t trade anything for my time at home, part of me has felt a bit stuck. Travel is a part of me. It’s what I do for a living and what makes me the Dad I am. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a piece of me has been missing.

Has Pilot License… Also Afraid of Heights?

You know being stuck is not a new thing for me. I’ve actually had many moments in life where I found myself in some fairly unfortunate sticky situations. There was the old caged elevator in Paris that broke on me somewhere between floors 3 and 4. I was stuck for what felt like a lifetime. When the hotel attendant came running up the stairs to help I think I swore I’d never take another elevator again. The sheer look of panic on his face was very unsettling, as was the crowbar he insisted on using to get me out.

Then there was London. It would appear that in some cities if you go too far on the train line your ticket will not let you fully exit the station. I found this out the hard way. After the first set of doors opened, me and my suitcase quickly found that the second set of doors was not going to grant us the same access. Squished between two sets of doors, once again I found myself stuck. That was until the next train came and the crowd of people pushed us through. 

That elevator in Paris did change me. I have to admit, although embarrassing, I am very fearful of elevators. Well not just elevators but in fact, I have a fear of heights. Now for those paying attention, yes this does appear odd when I have my pilots license as mentioned earlier. But it is true, I am deathly scared of heights. But if I let this stop me then I would never have seen the beauty of Peru from atop Machu Picchu, or the cityscapes of Dubai from the Burj Khalifa and the views atop the Swiss Alps I never would’ve experienced in person, but rather just seen on a postcard.

For a moment, please imagine finding out as a group leader scared of heights that you would be taking students up the highest cog railway on a snowy mountainside of the Swiss Alps. It’s like telling someone scared of public speaking that they would be giving a speech at the Presidential Inauguration. I pee’d my pants the entire way up while trying to appear strong to the students.  

Words of Advice: Get Uncomfortable

Throughout this blog I’ve dropped little hints of advice. Things that many of my colleagues would also recommend. Get out of your comfort zone, simply said get uncomfortable. Embrace change and learn to adapt. And as mentioned a moment ago, conquer your fears. You don’t want to miss out. 

And now for my final piece of advice. A rather obvious one but so very important. It’s simply to, keep traveling. While yes travel has changed, that I can not lie about, it is still just as inspiring as it’s always been. Travel brings out the best of us. It has the ability to change us in ways we never knew was possible. If we don’t travel then all of our favorite stories would be dreams. Our biggest life lessons would come via a book and not through an uncomfortable moment abroad. Friendships would never be forged across cultures, connections would be limited to zoom. As an industry we tell our students all the time to be patient, get out there and adapt to change. As professionals we must do the same. 

Not Stuck, Just Grounded

Today I woke up at 3am in Rome. I took 3 elevators to get to the airport terminal. I took 3 planes at the highest heights to get home. As my final flight begins to descend into Florida it hits me. I wasn’t stuck these past 2 years. I was merely experiencing exactly what I needed at this point in my life. Since 2019 I haven’t missed a single baseball game or ballet performance of my kids. Every morning is filled with Lucky Charms and sports talk while packing my son for school, every evening filled with laughter chasing my daughter fresh out of the bathtub around the house. Even when we aren’t traveling it’s always with us. It’s the stories we’ve experienced and the memories that we’ve created that define us and make us who we are when we get back home. 

My name is Scott and I have many titles that I have chosen. Dad, Husband, Chief Strategy Officer at CIS Abroad. But one title that found me and has stuck with me from day one of my professional career, I am an International Educator. For the last 10 days I’ve traveled abroad in Italy. It was hard, it was amazing. It was uncomfortable, it was inspiring. I missed my kids, I found myself. But none of it would’ve happened had I not gotten back out there and just like our students of today, continued to experience all that our world has to offer. 

And with that, touchdown. I’m home.