A Trail Name from Heaven
Every time after I return from a trip I find myself in limbo trying to "get back into the swing of things". Now, in the beginning of 2021, I have been at my full-time position (more like over-time position as I didn't leave the office until 2:00 a.m. last night) for now about a year and a half. In that time, I have travelled through and visited in 20+ states, traveled to Key West twice, became a certified Scuba Diver with PADI, Visited Grand Cayman Islands (I think this is country #18 but that depends on who you talk to), traveled with my Korean Friend to Cozumel Mexico (second time here), knocked off my 49th state namely Alaska, and changed my permanent address three times. To some people this may sound like hell, but to me I wouldn't rather have it any other way.
It's now been two years and two weeks since my best friend past away and I finally feel like I can try to re-enter into the dream that he once shared with me. Denis Preka was a brilliant Italian-born free spirit who roamed this Earth and brightened the lives of everyone he met whether it was a classroom or in an elevator, you would find that his life still is impacting you today. Denis found his love for traveling when he received his passport... to him it was the key to the world. Unfortenautely, before either of us could graduate and pursue his company Amerigo Travel full fledged together, he went on a flight into the heavens that wasn't scheduled to return.
It's hard losing someone like that when you have such big dreams to accomplish together. I remember a few years back right before I left for Australia and he called me over to his house and he said we had to meet before I left. He wanted to shoot a commercial for Detroit and show them what the world was really like. We spent the day going around Detroit with him in front of the camera naming out colleges and universities we were involved with and setting packages for. He asked me to just have fun out there and all he asked was to use the name of Amerigo Travel and explore the world. In Australia I ended up getting a free island tour and created awesome memories. A year later, I would be sitting in a late night Narrative & Health Care english course when I received a text from a concerned friend asking if Denis was okay. I didn't see it till class ended and that's when I heard the news.
Part of me is held back not wanting to pursue the travel business because of how painful it is sometimes for me. I feel like I let him down after he passed because I couldn't hold the torch up for America Travel. The best thing Denis ever gave me was my trail name. A trail name can only be given to you by someone else, you don't get to pick it. In the week leading up to before I left Denis coined me as "The Miracle Traveler" likely in reference to a time I traveled through 5 countries without my wallet or some other crazy story like that, and would occasionally introduce me as such.
Later that summer when we were living together in Ann Arbor, we worked on The Miracle Traveler project and we would work on his Professor Finesser account which was his personal project of becoming a university professor on day for psychology. The name always stuck around pretty soon I made it official with an Instagram account and later got help from Addison Viener (a friend of the one Denis met in the above mentioned elevator story) with the official Miracle Traveler Foundation logo.
Amerigo Travel ended up selling two fully tailored itineraries in the life-span of the company, I just wish Denis could have been there when it happened. In the months after his death, I had one lead come in through a mutual friend of Denis and mine for a Squad Travel trip to the Scandinavian Peninsula for 14-days with airfare, train, and accommodation all included for a price just too good to disclose here. The trip went almost as smooth as one can go on as short of notice as they give me but when I got to hear the reviews it all made it worth it and I know Denis would have been proud. I had one other package I sold from a lead that I got when I was driving Lyft that same summer.
After I moved away from Detroit I had an incredibly hard time finding the will to continue Amerigo Travel without the founder. I hope this message stands as my good will and intent for the legacy Denis left behind but I can not find the strengths to attempt carrying the legacy he created. I find it best for me to carry out his spirit through the trail name he bestowed upon me and with the fire in me he helped kindle. I can only wish to spread half as much joy to the world as Denis Preka brought to me and everyone around him.
May God Bless you Denis and keep you in his arms forever.
Love yours truly,
The Miracle Traveler