Michael Mikulec, The World Traveler
It’s the last class of the day before winter break. Everyone’s counting down the minutes until school ends. The bell finally rings, and students are running down the hallway. For European history teacher Michael Mikulec, his vacation has just begun.
Texas, Maine, France and Spain are only a few of the places that world traveler Mikulec has adventured to. His passion started when he was a kid and summer break had just begun. If he wasn’t off at camp, his family would travel all around the country. “They bestowed the love of travelling for me,” Mikulec said. Now, he has taken on that role and brings a group of students with him to Europe every summer, since 2000. The reactions of his kids when they see Versailles and London in person, along with enjoying the food and culture, is his favorite part of travelling with students. “I thought it was cool to see the stuff that we learned about the previous year, come to life. The tour guide and Mikulec did a really good job keeping us on schedule and making sure that we saw everything,” senior Ava Anderson shared. However, when he isn’t travelling with his students, family or friends; he travels by himself. His first solo trip was during college when he went to Europe. He had joined a tour group for people between the ages of 18 to 35 and recalls the tour as phenomenal.
Choosing between his two hometowns, London and New York he prefers London. Mikulec loves the accents and he’s too familiar with New York since he grew up there. “But London it’s just like every time I’m there I feel like a whole new person,” he said. He also gets to practice his British accent. He also enjoys walking down the streets during November when it’s brisk and feels that he’s in a whole new world.
While traveling Mikulec can usually be found trying all kinds of food. He likes to sit at any cafe, especially an outdoor cafe and sit, people-watch and eat deserts.“In England I tried a lot of Indian food which was really really spicy which shocked me at the time because I think of England as not very spicy foods,” Mikulec said. There’s a Portuguese restaurant in London that is mainly grilled chicken with Purry-Purry sauce, which is hot sauce that includes different levels of heat. He eats at Nando’s three [to] six times during his trip because he enjoys the food and it’s cheap. New York has a restaurant called Balthazar which is a French bistro which has steaks and deserts there. Mikulec also goes to Balthazar every time he’s there even if he doesn’t have a reservation. His order at Balthazar usually consists of the steak with their pomme frites (french fries) and a [“to die for”] chocolate cake desert. This past summer when he brought his family to Alaska, he tried reindeer sausage. “It just tasted like deer,” he said.
When he’s not discovering all the different types of food, the world traveler is walking around and enjoying the city and the people. He loves the atmosphere and the vibes of big cities that Tampa doesn’t have. He’s more of a monument and museum type of traveler. Also, in London he sees shows on the West End or goes exploring the historical pieces that London has to offer. “I try to do a lot of everything, there’s not one thing I do,” he said. Although not really being a daredevil type, the riskiest event that Mikulec could think of was signing up to zip line over the rain forest when going on a tour in the Caribbean. However, a storm came in and they had to cancel the zip line. As for exploring nature, Mikulec gets bored easily when he relaxes, especially at the beach.
Mikulec’s next big trip is going to be during spring break to Europe via England. He’s also looking forward to his vacation in the summer. This summer he’s going to travel to the Baltic Sea area such as St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, and Holstein Kiel. Mikulec’s dream is to do a 180-day cruise all around the world. “That’s my dream once I retire, but that’s kind of a lot of money,” he said.
Mikulec’s Travel Recommendations
- Old Town
- Charles Bridge
- Amalfi Coast in Italy
- Hampton Court Palace
- Windsor Castle
- Two palaces in London or outside of London
- Old City of Prague
- Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
- Isle of Capri