Well Traveled? | My Family Travels
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For many years I believed I was well traveled and I understood much of the world. Now, I laugh at my previous assumption. I realize diverse cultures make up our world, treasures to be experienced through travel. I have experienced several states and another continent.

The summer before my sophomore year, I was accepted for a mission trip to the United Kingdom. I spent that entire year fundraising and reminding those around me that I would, in fact, be safe. That following summer I stuffed my bags, hugged necks and trekked off for Cardiff, Wales.

Cardiff was stunning. I snapped picture after picture on our speeding two-decker bus. We walked around the city, shivering because weather in Dallas, Texas had nothing in common with the chilly, cloudy climate of Wales. The buildings in Cardiff towered in comparison to the single story buildings I was use to.  Even the retail shops and McDonalds were squished into two-story spaces. People walked everywhere. Coming from small-town Oklahoma, it was amazing to see no trucks at all. I loved this bustling city and the slower bustle of the people.

We spent part of our week in Cardiff at Victoria Park getting to know the people. There were families, children and dog-walkers at the park every day! I talked with a group of girls several times who taught many things. I learned that Wales isn’t in England, but its own country. The differences in speech were always apparent, especially the different words we would use for the same thing. To my complete dismay, I also learned you cannot find “cheetos” in Wales. This was disturbing.

The most diverse experiences we had were with food. Our group ate at a pastry shop called Greggs. There was always a long line, but the food was worth the wait. It had the best meaty pastries I think I’ll ever experience and they came out fresh and steaming.  The first day we ate at a pub, where food was ordered, paid for and picked up from the bar. People would be drinking early in the morning but they drank alcohol like a soda, not in an irresponsible way. We also tried a Turkish food called “Donnor Kabab” . Mine was beef and was shaved off a huge slab spinning on a wheel. The other option was lamb but from the others faces I believe I made the right choice. I did not have as good of an experience with the coffee. Several times I tried a cup of Starbucks latte and quickly threw it out. I learned the espresso is much stronger overseas.

I have lived in several different states and yes, they all had unique qualities, but nothing compares to the culture I experienced in Wales. There is something completely magnificent about going overseas. It’s different than Disneyland, Yellowstone or Route 66. The people, the culture, and the scenery all make for an indescribable experience. You just can’t say you’ve really traveled until you’ve been to another continent.

            My single regret was that it had to end so soon. I saw great cities and met amazing people. That is the thing about travel, however, there always comes a time when you must travel home. I hope to go to other places such as; Japan, Jerusalem, and Italy. I know that as I travel, I will see and experience cultures and civilizations that help me broaden my view of the world and myself.  One thing I am sure of, I will never again believe I have reached the status of “well traveled and knowledgeable of the world”.

 

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