Patriotic America - My Family Travels

Quarter Finalist 2009 FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
               What a trip! We hit Gatlinburg, Washington D.C.

               What a trip! We hit Gatlinburg, Washington D.C., New York, Salem, Savannah, Sleepy Hollow, Williamsburg, Jamestown, and York. All of these cities have one thing in common, an enormous historical, social and economic influence on our country today.  And that is why this two-week bus trip is called the “Patriotic America” trip. I took this trip during the summer between my sophomore and junior year. It influenced me in more ways than Coach Stewart (the founder) may have intended.

                All in all, this was the most educational trip I’ve ever taken, but there was so much more to it than that. It was the longest amount of time I had ever spent away from my parents. It gave me a glimpse at how life would be away from home. Yeah, I missed them and I called them every night. But it felt good to be the only one in charge of myself—aside from the chaperones of course. I chose when I went to bed, what I ate, the clothes I wore, and, well, everything else. If I wanted dessert for dinner, I got dessert for dinner. And it was invigorating.
                Okay, let’s put it all into perspective. We visited about 18 cities all in the short time period of fourteen days. That means we went to more than one city in one day. So we obviously didn’t spend much time in one place. We spent two days in Washington D.C., my personal favorite. I begged them to take us to the Holocaust Museum, but they only gave us forty-five minutes to go through it! From what I’ve been told, in order to get the most out of a trip to the Holocaust Museum, an entire day has to be devoted to it—four hours at the least. We practically ran through the building. It wasn’t a good idea—all of those mourning Americans and two teenagers running through the crowd? Frowned upon to say the least.
                Now, imagine those same two girls running five laps around a giant boulder. It’s a funny image, right? I guess, it would be funnier to me if it wasn’t me that was doing the running. Our Ghost Tour guide told us that if we ran around this boulder five times singing “Tomagitchi, Tomagitchi, what are you doing today?” a ghost would appear and tell us what he was doing. Apparently, Tomoagitchi wasn’t doing much that day because he never appeared. Apparently Savannah is known for its sense of humor as well as its ghost population.
                Fourteen days on a bus, moving from one city to the other. Going to sleep at two in the morning and waking up at six. Walking miles at a time surrounded by new friends. Following a little oriental woman through Chinatown looking for a bargain. It was the best two weeks of my life, the best trip I’ve ever taken, my first step into independence.

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