The Essence of Europe and Friendship - My Family Travels

Seventeen days. Seventeen years old. Seventeen reasons why traveling to Europe changed my life.

June 16, 2009 through June 27, 2009 was the greatest 17 days of my life. 3 of my best friends and I along with 2 of the coolest teachers at my high school decided to take a once in a lifetime trip to see Europe. We started in Germany, went to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, and finally, England.

Reason #1: I have a new found respect for my friends. We thought we would drive each other crazy so we brought funny pictures with. We were going to whip them out on crabby days to make us laugh. To my surprise, we never used them. We showed each other them on the last night just for kicks.

Reason #2: I turned 30 strangers into 30 friends. There were 2 groups from Texas and 2 groups from Illinois on my tour. We were more than just a group by the end of the trip. Several of the people I met I will be attending college with in the fall. It will be fun to answer “How did you two meet?” with “In Europe.”

Reason #3: I am inspired. There are so many more places I want to visit before it’s all over.

Reason #4: I feel enlightened. I am so much more culturally aware now. I know the history of the things I see on t.v. not just where they are located. It’s a bit empowering.

Reason #5: I tried new things. I ate food I didn’t think I would eat and I joined in on things I never thought I would do. I am honestly more confident as a result.

Reason #6: I laughed. A lot.

Reason #7: I kept a journal. I have re-read my journal since being back and I’m glad I wrote everything down because the little things are hard to remember.

Reason #8: I no longer need sleep, well, not as much. I’ve realized that I can indeed function before 10 a.m.

Reason #9: I sprinted uphill. I hate running. I was positive that I would never be able to run anywhere, until we were 15 minutes late to dinner in London.

Reason #10: I conquered the underground. We spent an entire day around London minus our chaperones and we found Abbey Road. The trick is to be smarter than the trains and to ask for directions several times.

Reason #11: I was intimidating. When a man started touching my foot on the underground (Don’t ask me why!), I scared him off without saying anything. The death stare saves lives.

Reason #12: I took video. Everyone thinks to take pictures but almost no one thinks to take video. I take video of everything now and it makes a huge difference.

Reason #13: I got off facebook and did something. Of course we found internet but I didn’t miss my profile at all. I didn’t care what other people were doing. I was having the time of my life.

Reason #14: My teachers are crazy. Any other teachers and I would have hated the trip. I like them more in school too.

Reason #15: I slept on a plane. The last time I slept on a plane I was 5. It just never happened after that. Until Europe.

Reason #16: I re-wore my clothes. I wore almost everything twice, if only to bed.

Reason #17: I would go back. You know you did something right when you would turn around and do it again.


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1 Reply to “The Essence of Europe and Friendship”

  • It’s so awesome that you got a chance to see so many sides of Europe. I went on a three week exchange two years ago to Germany and like you said, it was very enlightening and empowering! I agree with many of the things you mentioned and I truly hope you get to visit Europe again. I plan to go back for another exchange my sophomore year in college. By the way, the pics and video were great!

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