Where and Why

I recently added up all the countries I have been to. I tend to brag to people where I’ve been or where I’m going next. Each place has some interesting back story as to why my family and me went to these places. While I sometimes find people who have outdone me, I am usually the person who wows the group with my stories of the several countries I have visited.

I live in the United States. It’s my country, and I’m proud of it. Before I hit 20 years on this earth, I had already visited 27 states. Some people don’t even leave their own home state their entire lifetime. Which is cool. My family, however, values travel and the lessons you can learn outside your own backyard.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco

Most of the states I visited because I used to clog. Before you ask, no it does not involve wooden shoes or toilets. Think of it as country tap dancing. Anyway, I used to compete nationally with my dance group. One trip lead to Michigan for the Junior Olympics (Yes, you’re reading a blog by someone who has gold, silver, and bronze medals in clogging!). Of course, this was a prime moment to venture across the border into Canada for an afternoon. At the time, I didn’t know the big deal of going into another country. Maybe it isn’t a big deal, since we just ended up eating at McDonald’s. Yet this is the first time I actually traveled to another country.

When I started eighth grade, I knew it was going to be an important year for traveling. See, my sister went on the coolest trip her eighth grade year with a teacher and several students. We like to keep things fair in my family, so I knew this would be my year to travel somewhere like my sister did. I spent my spring break that school year traveling Spain, with a day in Morocco. Not only did I visit two new countries, I added two new continents! I wish I remembered more about this trip. More importantly, I wish my camera hadn’t lost all of my photos.

Last year I traveled three weeks around Ireland. My sister, who had wanted and continued to travel since her eighth grade trip, had moved to Ireland in September 2013. My parents and I planned to visit her. The trip included a weekend in Nice, France plus Monaco and another in London. I don’t believe the four of us could ever forget the experiences we had on this trip. We still talk about it.

Westminster Abbey in London
Carrick-a-rede in Northern Ireland

I’m not as experienced to international travel as some are. Each time I’ve had chaperones or parents or my sister to guide me in suspicious moments or crowded sidewalks. This summer, I’ll have to fend for myself more than before.

I’m studying abroad in Berlin, Germany for five weeks. I am terribly excited, yet I know I’ll have a hard time combating culture differences and homesicknesses. I don’t know the other students going. I most certainly don’t know the language! I have talked to some of the students, and a handful of us have even planned a trip to Poland.

Each place I’ve been to has a story as to why I was there. Hopefully, over the time of me writing you’ll hear the stories experienced within those places. This blog is for that–the past, present, and future stories of where I was and why I was there.