Traversing Europe At A Young Age

Most Intimidating And Rewarding Experience Was Traversing Europe At A Young Age

As apart of my mother’s job, she can earn trips. The first trip I remember going on, was to Disney World in Orland, Florida. I was eight years old at the time and was fascinated with everything around me. My parents had a leash tied around my waste so that the temptation to wander was limited.

Disney World in Orland, Florida

The next trip I remember was Steamboat, Colorado in March. Our family went skiing for the first time and the experience was enjoyable to say the least. Although, it came with its own consequences. The sun ricocheted off the snow all day long and my face took a beating. After that day’s excursions, blisters painted my face red. This was the worst sunburn I have ever received. This catastrophic injury forced me to ease off the slopes and relax in the comfort of bed.

My most intimidating and rewarding experience was traversing Europe at a young age without the assistance from my parents. I was 12 years old! I applied to be part of the program and had to attend several classes. I learned about the cultures and dangers I would experience while visiting these foreign countries.

Traversing Europe At A Young Age_2

While I was taking the classes, I also had to raise $7,500 to be able to go on this trip. I sold wreaths in the winter, and roses during Valentines to raise the money. I achieved my goal and when I left in June, it didn’t feel real. This was a 21 day trip to France, Italy, and Greece. My eyes were opened wider than I ever could have imagined. The different cultures, food, language, home size, home life, family structure and behavior was all very different than living in America.

I had this opportunity as a young lad and I will never take it for granted. I learned to keep myself tidy and keep track of my own personal belongings at a young age. From washing my clothes, to packing my suitcase after every hotel. The comradery between myself and other North Dakota teenagers made the trip all that much better. Experiences different cultures and food and customs with other kids my age from the same state made it all that more fun.

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Learning together instead of with random people made it easier to converse with each other. My favorite part of the trip was the homestay. For 6 days, each person was assigned to different Italian families. My family’s father was a gondola driver in Venice, Italy. The son’s name was Alejandro and was the same age as me. There was a language barrier, because the only person who spoke English was the father. While the father went off to work every day, Alejandro and I went swimming, played tennis, basketball, and Mario Kart.

My favorite part of the homestay was eating gelato at night and watching the street life from the sidewalk. The different modes of transportation also caught my attention. We flew from America to France. When we were done with France, we took a train to Italy. While in Italy, we took bikes, gondolas, boats, and walked. From there, we took a ferry boat from Italy to Greece.

The amount of beggars also surprised me. I live in a small town North Dakota and have never experienced anyone loitering on the sidewalk asking for money. Everywhere we went there was somebody begging for food, money, or clothing. One of our instructors warned us to be careful, because some of them are faking it.

Traversing Europe At A Young Age

He even proved it by taking the money bowl of someone who “couldn’t walk” and they got up and chased him. The hospitality, different foods, and cultures was a real eye opener for me. Coming back from the trip, my new favorite food was escargot. Escargot is snails in a soup broth. I didn’t know what it was, I tried it anyway, and then I was told I was eating snails.

Through my experiences of traveling and the opportunities presented to me to travel the world, I have learned how others live and how fortunate we are to live in the United States of America. After that great adventure I have continued to expand my horizons and see the world. Traveling tips I can share is to pack light, take only what you need, minimize the valuables you take and keep them close, be aware of your surroundings, have a plan and enjoy what the world has to offer you.

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