Stressed But Blessed: London and Paris 2014 - My Family Travels
Doing a Split at the Notre Dame Cathedral

“No, I’m not too old to be a Girl Scout,” I told the man sitting next to me on the plane. I get tired of saying that. Before you ask, we do more than sell cookies, too. Way more in fact. At that moment I was jet set on a nine-day London and Paris Destinations trip with forty-seven of my sister scouts. Yes, you heard me, forty-seven girls!! You have no idea how long it took to go to the bathroom.

If asked to describe this trip in one word it would be “stressful.” As much as I would love to garishly fill this essay with beautiful imagery and tear-jerking metaphors of how the Eiffel Tower embodies human existence, I cannot (although my English teachers would be proud).

The Eiffel Tower was beautiful as was Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Versailles but it was hard to focus on such magnificence with certain distractions that come with traveling and tour groups.  I was constantly monitoring my bag in case of pickpockets, looking at my phone to see how late we were to our next site, and running to said site with my feet burning because of the prior day’s trek. I also had a sour apple roommate that suffers from tragic eye trauma when the lights are turned on in the morning. When she realized that screaming at her roommate didn’t get the result she desired, tensions were high the rest of the day.

So much was packed into one day that one forgot what she had for breakfast. Some people, I believe, were aware of this and solved it by photographing their food claiming that they were just documenting their trip.

We first went to London, a lovely city that disappointed me initially because it seemed like a mix of Philadelphia and New York City. After a few days of sightseeing (London Eye, Globe Theatre, changing of the guards) I was completely turned around. I truly want to revisit there with my mom for a much slower-paced trip.

France was very different. I adjusted to our rigorous schedule and that roommate of mine switched to another room.

Paris looked like a movie set. The architecture is nothing like anything I’ve seen in America. Walking from the Louvre to the Notre Dame Cathedral along the Seine River was one of the most romantic walks I’ve even taken. I turned to my buddy, Izzy, (go buddy system) and was so enthralled with romance, I told her I loved her.

It was that moment when she was laughing that I relaxed. The stress melted away from my body and I was free. The line for the Cathedral didn’t bug me, the heat didn’t bug me, and the idea that there may be pickpockets in a church didn’t bug me.  In the line I laughed with my friends and took silly pictures in front of the cathedral including one of me doing an ever-so-close split. Maybe one day, once I achieved my split, I’ll go back and recreate that picture.

The rest of the trip was smooth sailing. We ate Nutella crepes that were “to die for” and went to Disneyland Paris which was a whole experience on its own. People told me that after I went on this trip I’d want to travel more. And they’re right. But next time I’ll do it right. I’ll try my best to stay in a state of serenity to let the world show me what it has to offer.

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