The summer of 2010 contained an adventure that words alone cannot describe. One trip managed to make me feel wonder, joy, rage, hope, loneliness, and every emotion in between. This trip was just long enough to make me feel like I lived in a hotel and short enough for me to remember what it was like to sleep in my own bed. I’ll start at the beginning, though, so as not to leave anything out.
My name is Abby Kopp, and I was born and raised in Bismarck, North Dakota. Last year, I signed up to go on a band tour to the east coast. Two busses left the school parking lot (one hour late) at 8 o’ clock p.m.. For the next 32 hours, my three best friends and I attempted to sleep through endless rest stops, bus driver changes, and malfunctioning Tom-toms. Our eating habits consisted of breakfast at 5 a.m. and supper only when we could find a drive through that allowed 50 students to trample through it on foot. Cheers erupted as we pulled into Boston, and so began a wonderful adventure.
Quincy Market was a place I could have only imagined in my dreams. Cobblestones lined the street, and shops and boutiques were flooded with interesting books and jewelry designed to entrance a tourist like me. It was heaven. Two days and one performance later we packed onto the busses again to start towards the destination we were all looking forward to: New York.
Lights, skyscrapers, and a putrid stench greeted us when we went to Times Square our first night. Given a curfew and a map, we set off in our designated groups to explore a place that was Bismarck’s polar opposite. I haggled with an old man to get a fake Coach purse, and quickly learned that New York is not a place to jaywalk. My friends and I got stuck in a bank, shopped for the most expensive sunglasses, and got lost looking for our bus. New York was full of so many different people and sights that it overwhelmed me. By our fifth day in New York, I was as homesick as I could be. I longed to see North Dakota’s plains again. Luckily, we were on our way to Philadelphia the next day.
A half-day in Philadelphia was all I needed to lift my spirits. The small town quality it held was incredibly charming. Taking a break, my friends and I sat on a bench. Little did we know, but there were benches like these scattered all over the city. There were people standing by these benches ready to tell us funny, interesting stories about history. I don’t think I’ve ever been more intrigued by the 19th century. We ran from bench to bench until we boarded the bus to go to Washington D.C.
Our stay in D.C. was short and sweet. We had one night to see all of the monuments, and the next day we had two performances. The first was at Mt. Vernon, and the next was for our Congressmen. After one more night in the hotel, we headed back to North Dakota — our heads full of culture, and our pockets full of souvenirs.
In 14 days, I learned a lot about the word, and a lot about myself. I realized the home is where I belong, but that I need to be away so I can experience things beyond my imagination. I’ve been traveling since I was born, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
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