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We had been planning our trip to London, England for months. My brother and I were traveling with my mom and aunt to see another aunt who lives there during our spring break. However, two days before our trip, our passports still had not arrived. My mom had applied for them months before but processing delays caused ours to be backlogged. Calls to our local congressman helped the process and the passports were to arrive the day before we left. Mine made it, but my brother’s did not. We debated on whether to go as w were all so upset over the ordeal. At the last minute, we decided to go without my brother. As luck would have it, his passport arrived the day after we departed.
We were all so sad about my brother missing the trip, especially me because we had so many plans for the two of us. Many tears were shed on that trip over the big pond. However, we knew this opportunity for a free place to stay might not be there in the future as my aunt was working on a temporary visa. My brother encouraged me to enjoy my time in London and share with him my experiences so he could live it through my eyes. I realized this was an amazing chance to share my travel experiences through e-mails, pictures and a travel journal so he would feel like he was right there along with us.
Having this opportunity to experience the various cultures in London, England was a life-changing experience. Using my aunt’s apartment as home base, we set off on adventures through the city of London. Our stops included the Tower of London, Big Ben, London Bridge, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard, Kensington Palace, as well as enjoying a breathtaking view of the city from the London Eye, to name a few. We maneuvered throughout the city on London’s subway system, the Underground, and saturated ourselves with all of the different dialects and foods and scenes and smells wafting from the shops. Many days we walked for miles over the narrow, cobblestone streets with gaslights flickering and casting shadows as the day would turn to night. We traversed our way through Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly, and Leicester Square. One night we saw the play Mary Poppins, which I thought was quite apropos. We paused for a brief rest on a bench overlooking the Thames River close to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Each night I would e-mail my experiences to my brother and share pictures of the places we had been.
We also took side trips to see the Roman baths at Bath and the ancient stone circles of Stonehenge. We drove through the low and gentle rolling hills of the countryside to these spots so close to the bustling city. Viewing the picturesque scenes of small villages and sheep grazing seemed so surreal to me. I felt like I was in a dream and I would awaken at any moment.
My eyes were opened to the world through that trip. We packed a lot into our week there and came home tired but grateful we were able to see so many amazing sights. And as a final note, my brother was able to use his ticket and travel that same year in the fall to see my aunt and used my notes as a guide. We’ll never forget out trips to England. Even though we didn’t travel together, we feel like we experienced it together through the wonderful world of technology.