When I first decided to write about my past travels, I thought that it would be quite interesting. I have traveled all over the world, from Germany to Egypt and Russia to Turkey. So it's a little odd that my favorite vacation place took place in the United States: Savannah, Georgia. For my 16th birthday, I asked my parents if we could go on a trip down South. Seeing as how I have been around the world and yet have only traveled to a few states in the U.S., I thought it would be neat to see what there is to offer in my own backyard. So after some persuasion on my half, my parents and I ended up on a plane to Atlanta, Georgia this past Labor Day weekend, a few days after I turned 16. I wasn't sure what to expect in the South, considering that my dad went to college in South Carolina and said that I would not like it down there. However, after staying in Georgia for only three days, I knew the South was where I belonged. For some reason, when my plane landed and we drove from Atlanta to Savannah, I felt like I had come home. I had heard of "Southern hospitality," but I had never experienced it until arriving in Georgia. As I stepped into the warm Southern air, I took a deep breath and looked around. I could faintly smell something sweet, which I later found was pecan pralines, mixed with the fresh smell of Carolina jasmine. I could see rows of Spanish moss trees swaying in the breeze like fresh laundry hung outside in the summer. I could hear faint talk and laughter coming from a restaurant down the street, even at midnight. I smiled as we went inside of our hotel and fell asleep. When I woke up the next morning, I walked outside and a beautiful, gliding monarch butterfly landed on my shoulder. An on-looking lady said to me, "Y'all know what that means? Today is your lucky day!" Little did I know how right she would be. The best way I can describe my stay in Georgia is in one word: magical. I had lunch at a typical Southern boarding house, Mrs. Wilke's Dining Room, where every inch of the table was covered with bowl after bowl of delicious Southern cuisine. I walked through the quaint squares of Savannah and saw the spot where one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump, was filmed (it's at Chippewa Square, by the way). I sampled fresh pecan pralines at Savannah's Candy Kitchen that were so warm, gooey, and delicious, I felt like dancing. To top it all off, my family and I travelled to Tybee Island, just outside Savannah, after dinner. As I watched the sun go down with my toes in the gentle waves, I knew that this was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
I'm not sure if it was the lucky butterfly or fate that brought me down South. But I do know that it is unlike any place I've been before. I hope to go to college somewhere down South, and I am literally counting down the days until I can travel to Georgia to look at colleges this summer. After my experience, I have learned that you do not have to travel all around the world to have an amazing vacation. I stayed in the United States and yet those three days I spent there have changed my life and future.
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