Archive | March 2017

Future Travels

For the past few weeks, I have been working on planning my spring break. I’m not totally finished yet, but I am in the final stages of having it all ready to go. During my three weeks off, which is already incredible as it is, I’ll be going to seven different cities within six different countries. For privacy and safety reasons I won’t share exactly where I’m going, but I will say that I finally get to go to my number one bucket list place!

Although I am thrilled to be doing this travelling, there are still some nerves that sneak up. For example, I have never stayed in a hostel before, which we’re doing throughout the trip. Luckily, this kind of travel is becoming more and more common, so handy websites like hostelworld have been really helpful. Another worry involves luggage. I’m definitely an over packer, but this won’t work for this trip, especially using inexpensive airlines with strict luggage rules. My last main fear would probably be getting too stressed about things. The timing may be wrong, people could be scary, and anything could suddenly go wrong. However, with my newly combined experience from my past and present travels, I think I will be able to handle it.

So, with all of this being said, here are some things I’ve learned so far that may help me in my soon to be travels, and can remind me that everything will be fine despite my concerns.

  1. Be flexible. Things change all the time, especially while travelling. Don’t waste time letting it upset you.
  2. Don’t plan too much. Being organized is great and beneficial, but don’t overdo it. Leave time for random exploring. You never know what may catch your attention!
  3. Take lots of pictures (and selfies)! Maybe it’s slightly awkward to always ask people to take a picture of you, but I’d rather be a little embarrassed than miss out on having visual memories forever. You can also get a selfie stick, so you can take your own pictures sometimes. Don’t worry; selfies don’t necessarily make you narcissistic, I promise. Just don’t get too carried away.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings. There’s no need for paranoia, but do pay attention.
  5. Be in the moment. Don’t forget how incredible this opportunity is! Let yourself be awed by the beauty that’s all around you and all the fun you’re having.  As I mentioned in my last post, I have really been working on this lately, and have improved a lot recently. If you are always thinking of something else, you’ll miss what’s right in front of you!

I’m so grateful to be able to travel this much. I can’t believe that by the end of my time here, I will have seen so much more of the world than I ever imagined I would. I am still in shock sometimes that I’m even here. I’ve already learned so much about myself and the world around me by being here, and am eager to bring these lessons back home with me.


Present Travels

I saw London, I saw France, thank goodness I saw no one’s underpants! As part of this study abroad program, we get to go on several field trips. We have already been to so many cool places.

Our first trip was a day in London. It was a little stressful for our first trip, but we made it out alive. It was great to see such a popular city. We saw things like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben. I also found time to get tea at a super cute place, and ordered a yummy vanilla honeybush tea. I also walked along the Thames River in the evening, and saw the city again but with different lighting. It only got prettier as the night continued.

Our next adventure was East Sussex, where we saw Beachy Head and ate at a fantastic pub. I ordered a shepard’s pie and cheesy bread (both delicious!). It was extremely cold that day, but thankfully I was prepared with warm clothes. I’m slowly getting used to this weather, and am learning how to plan for it.

Our first overnight trip was to Bath and Stonehenge. There were lots of other tourists at both places. A lady was singing an opera song I recognized outside, I assume to get tips. I tried the water from the Roman Baths, which was weird, but I’m glad I did it. Stonehenge was really pretty and a calming place to be. It’s crazy to think there are places that are so old and that have such a history.

Most recently, we spent a weekend in Paris. This has definitely been my favorite trip. I adored Paris and was especially blown away by the Eiffel Tower. I climbed to the very top of the tower and got an incredible view of the city. I also went down into the Catacombs. It was creepy, but also interesting. In just one day, I’d been both above and below Paris, which was cool to think about. Our last day was spent at the Palace of Versailles and traveling back to Brighton.

Speaking of Brighton, I’ve also loved being here, though I sometimes forget that it’s part of my travels as well. My favorite thing I’ve done in Brighton so far has been going to the rock beach and pier. I am so excited that the weather will continue to get nicer as well. Hopefully I can start going to the beach on a regular basis!

Sometimes I forget to live in the moment. I think ahead, which can distract me from the present. Here, I have been more focused on trying to do that. So far, I think I’ve improved in this area. I feel like I was especially in the moment in Paris. I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to improve with the more that I travel, and the longer that I’m here. I also believe it will be something that I can take home with me when this experience is over.

Past Travels

Travelling has always been something that has intrigued me. Any time I got to travel was such a happy and exciting experience. Though I am by no means what I’d consider an experienced traveler, I’ve made it around to some places, mostly within the USA.

Growing up, I was extremely involved in my church, and though I’m now away from home at university, I still remain very involved. One of the things I did at church was be part of the different music programs, which has always been a passion of mine. My church has a successful music program, with things like choir, hand bells, musical theater, and more. I was pretty much involved in anything I could be, but one of the most impactful things was choir.

This program involves five different choirs: Cherub (kindergareden-1st), Carol (2nd-3rd), Chorister (4th-6th), Chapel (7th-12th), and Chancel (adults). I started as early as possible, at 5 years old in the Cherub Choir. I instantly loved it. I continued through each choir as I grew up, and was ecstatic to finally be old enough for Chapel Choir.

One of the many great things about Chapel Choir is that as a reward for giving up Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings for choir, we could go on Choir Tour, as long as we had at least 80% attendance. Each year, the choir travels to a different place, both to have a good time and perform concerts along the way. Some of my favorite memories come from these tours. As I was part of this particular choir for as long as I could be (6 years), I got to go on six different tours.

My first tour was Colorado, and one thing we did was go white water rafting in the river. It was extremely cold, but also extremely fun.  The next summer was New York City. This was amazing for me, because at the time I wanted to live in NYC when I grew up. I got to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, and more.

Next came Texas, which was fun because we went to this huge and well-known water park called Schlitterbahn. The year after that was Canada, which was probably my favorite of all. I loved seeing Niagara Falls! After that year we went to New Orleans, and then my last tour was in Washington D.C., which was really special as it is the capital of the USA. We saw tons of important monuments and museums.

Most of my traveling has come from these tours, but I also went to Mexico when I was about ten. I actually stayed for two months as an exchange student with two different host families. It was wonderful, but I was young and it was so long ago that I don’t remember much, unfortunately.

I have also been to California, Missouri, and Arkansas, for family, but these are mainly the places that I have traveled to so far. I can’t wait to see so much more of the world this semester, and to add more places to my list of travels!