DSC_02720Up close with a Chobe Elephant on the Thebe River, Kasane, Botswana, 2009

Travel has always been one of Marc’s passions. From a young age, he has enjoyed seeing new places, immersing himself in different cultures and expanding his understanding of the world in which he lives.

All it takes is a quick glance through the Zawel family photo albums to see the influence. There is a picture of Marc as a 6-year-old eating his first lobster in Bar Harbor, Maine; another of him as a young teenager learning how to horseback ride in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There are pictures of sailing trips in the Caribbean and cruises through Alaska.

Marc’s first independent international travel experience was at age 16, when, as a rebellious teenager, he declared to his parents that he would spend the summer working on a kibbutz in Israel. Needless to say, they were far from thrilled — yet remained supportive. The eye-opening experience led him to spend the following summer traveling through England, France and Italy.

He was hooked.

After college, Marc traveled by bus across the western United States and Canada for two months. In following years, he would celebrate Oktoberfest in Germany, see the windmills of the Netherlands, sample beers in Belgium and practice his Spanish in Argentina.

In 2008, after being admitted to Kenan-Flagler, Marc embarked on his most ambitious travel plans to date: a trip around the world in 80 days. This 21-flight adventure was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that brought him to 14 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia.

In early 2009, Marc took a trip to Eastern Europe, visiting the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary. In March, he hit Argentina and Chile on a trek through Patagonia. In May, he traveled to Southern Africa, overlanding through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. In October, he traversed the North and South Islands of New Zealand. He wrapped up the year driving Western Europe, including Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.

Marc kicked off 2010 with a mid-winter visit to Russia. In March, he tackled the trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Where next? It’s likely already in the works.

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