Author: Jennifer Corrigan
A couple years ago, I attended my high school's bi-annual music trip. All students who participate in band or chorus are eligible to attend, so there were quite a few students who went alone on the trip, whether I liked it or not. The destination for that year was Florida, a place all tourists seem to visit, including us. Luckily, we had charter buses booked for us, which was fortunate, as we even had to sleep on those buses on our way down south. I enjoyed staring out the window, watching the scenery going by. Surprisingly, the views changed from state to state, and the foliage became greener and more vivid as we moved south. It was an eye-opening experience, seeing how different everything looked, even just buildings. Down south, they have Waffle Houses and Cracker Barrels, two restaurants I had never even heard of. I realized how easily people take things for granted, like the palm trees. People in Florida didn't seem to think twice about walking underneath a large tree of palm fronds, but us Iowans took pictures. It was an interesting look into how cultures can change even a few hundred miles from home.
One of my favorite experiences of that trip was going to Sea World. I am an avid animal lover, so I enjoyed meandering around the expansive park for hours, sipping on an over-priced slushy and looking at the animals. The animals there, like the dolphins and the manatees, seemed so exotic, so astoundingly beautiful. Their skin looked so smooth and cool that I really wanted to reach in an touch it.
Seeing the ocean was a dream I have had since I was little. The ocean is like a body all its own, with it's own heartbeat. It even looks like it's breathing when it rises and falls with the tide. It was well past the warm part of the evening when we arrived, because we were late leaving the space museum, but I leaped into the water anyway. It was freezing and miserable, but I couldn't just sit on the beach. When else would I get the chance to swim in the ocean? It's surprising how salty the water is, how gritty the sand is.
Although it wasn't exactly the ideal trip, and we didn't travel that far from home, I took a lot from it. I got to see and experience many different things, and I realized it doesn't matter where one travels as long as he or she learns something new.