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Scared of travel? BOCES class geared to those who want to go it alone – Syracuse.com

Smiles from two children playing on a street in Egypt reminded one Syracuse traveler why she goes abroad: to meet the world.

Kathleen Pascarella, an OCM BOCES instructor, has 26 years of travel experience she wants to share with other explorers. Friends have asked her how she handles traveling alone, and she has since put together a six-week class, “Traveling Solo: With your favorite travel companion (you)!” to guide interested people.

“I want to teach these people how to be intrepid and be your own best friend,” Pascarella said. “If you want to go to Italy, I’ll teach you how to go. If you want to go to New York City for the weekend, what’s stopping you?”

Pascarella’s class will discuss travel fears, where to go, what to pack for different countries, the tour groups available or how to navigate without a guide, important documents and legal preparation to ensure safety. Travel experts like representatives from AAA will also speak to students.

Arriving in places including Egypt, Vienna, Bulgaria, France, and Russia, Pascarella acquires a new appreciation for the people she meets on each trip.

In Egypt, she remembers sharing writing materials with two impoverished children. Pens and paper rarely reach these children, she said.

“I gave this brother and sister all the paper and pens I had in my backpack,” she said. “It was like giving them gold.”

But, her experience as a former tour guide and preparation routine before leaving the U.S. has saved her in hazardous situations.

“At Catherine Palace in Russia, I was by myself and I didn’t realize the gates closed at noon,” Pascarella said. “Nobody speaks English and I only knew 10 words in Russian.”

A worker at the palace soon stopped to comfort the distraught woman crying on a bench, she said. He helped her find her tour group and wouldn’t let go of her hand until she returned to her bus.

“When I left him he hugged me and kissed me,” Pascarella said. “I remember his face. This man helped me and we didn’t even need to exchange words.”

Travelers should spend vital time researching country customs and protocols before leaving, she said. Knowing what natives consider offensive or illegal can relieve anxieties about communicating to get around.

“When you travel and see how people live, you see we are all the same,” she said.

She will offer her six-week class Thursdays 6 – 8 p.m. from March 12 – April 16. The class, “Traveling Solo: With your favorite travel companion (you)!” will meet at BOCES’ Liverpool location, Lee G. Peters Career Training Center. The cost is $99.

Scared of travel? BOCES class geared to those who want to go it alone – Syracuse.com

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