Europe

  • When my mother announced the family would be traveling to Iceland for Christmas my stomach dropped. A California girl, the mere thought of Iceland(!) during wintertime (!) made my toes curl, but there was no getting out of it.  My family exclaimed, “It will be fun!” and “We’ll have a white...

  • Travel is the insane desire to become lost. Lost in a culture, a language, lost in ourselves. And when I decided to study abroad for a year, I was completely unaware of how my world would change, of how the experience was as much about understanding humanity, as it was discovering France. When...

  • As a kid with an incredibly active imagination, I loved acting out the stories that my Mom read to me or what I saw in movies. I taped flashlights to my arms to shoot lasers like Buzz Lightyear, and built blanket fortresses to defend my stuffed animal subjects from marauding trolls. Sadly, it has...

  • I believe that the point of traveling is to escape a person's normal lifestyle, to break the habits of everyday lives. I grew up in a family of travel; we are always looking for new places to go in addition to visiting our favorite previous destinations. Last summer, we went to Paris. My parents...

  • Going into this trip, I was more excited to see cute red headed Irish boys than I was to see the Cliffs of Moher.  I was more excited for the puns I would put as my captions on Instagram than I was for the delicious Irish food.  What I didn’t expect was to fall completely in love with the...

  • The smoggies is what they were called. Or at least that’s what my grandparents, who on a humanitarian trip with a local church, had told me they were called. Made up largely of third and fourth generation Irish immigrants, though not by any means limited to a single demographic (the area seemed to...

  • The boat that had taken us through the waterways of St. Petersburg docked at the entrance to Peterhof, signalling that at last we had arrived at the mystical palace and its famed gardens. Although our brief canal tour had taken us past charming villas in pastel colours and had showcased Russia’s...

  • As I looked out the car window, we passed a short concrete hut-like building. And then we passed another, and in the next village, another one. I asked my mom what these strange buildings were. I had never seen anything like them before. She replied, "bomb shelters." As we drove through a small...

  • When we entered the Cibeles Palace in Madrid Sunday morning, trailed by a few early spring gusts, it was virtually empty, besides employees and a few Madrilenians tucked in corners of the offered reading spaces of the Palace. After wandering for a little while, my family and I stumbled upon a...

  • Her hand rested comfortably on my shoulder as we watched planes take off into the inky sky like birds in a sporadic flock. "Before you know it, you'll be on the other side of the ocean," my mother whispered into my ear as she embraced me one last time before departure. I groaned at the thought of...

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