Ten years ago today I was flying home from my first trip ever overseas. I'd just spent 12 glorious days in London with a group of my peers who were participating in cultural immersion course for college credit. (The group was made up of six high school seniors, one high school junior, one adult learner, one retired school teacher, and two chaperones.) We enjoyed a delicious itinerary crammed full of British culture including, visits to the St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London, the V&A, four (count 'em - four!) theatre performances, a bus trip to Windsor, train rides to Canterbury and Salisbury (plus bus to Stonehenge), and more. I'm simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated now just thinking about it.
It was such an important trip for me that helped define the next five years of my life. Without this experience, I doubt I would have spent a (very important in so many ways) semester in Ireland or spent a winter working in London after graduating from college. Although I haven't been abroad since returning home from working in London in spring 2008, and even though my passport actually expired this past December (sooooo bad - must renew sometime this year, must renew sometime this year) I still identify as a traveler. Hopefully some time soon, money and schedules will make it possible for another trip overseas.
During this trip, we were each working on a special project for our course work. My project focused on English costume/dress from the Norman Invasion -
the coronation of Elizabeth II - aka, the focus of the trip for me was
to look at all the pretty dresses. Oh to be at Kensington Palace or the V&A again, notebook in hand, furiously scribbling notes about design features. Such happy memories.
Travel's a pretty amazing thing. It brings out our best and bravest and also exposes our worst (especially in the face of being: tired, cranky, hungry, etc. We keep the lessons we learn from our travels our entire life and our wanders help us become thoughtful and informed participants in society. As Edna St. Vincent Millay so wisely wrote, "And sure this isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going."