Dream Trip 2014: Europe

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This summer (2014) I will be traveling for a college class to various countries in Europe. I am beyond excited!!! I have wanted to travel since I knew there was life outside of my own backyard. I’ve especially dreamed of visiting my ancestors’ countries of origin.

Last year a professor from our Political Science Department visited our honors World History class and ended his guest lecture with information about an opportunity of a lifetime. Every year they take a group of students to Europe. Half of the group takes a northern route in their travels and the rest goes south. As he stood at the front of the class and explained the northern trip I was absolutely starstruck. He mentioned countries I had only dreamed of visiting, and definitely never thought I would see before I turned thirty. I took the pamphlets from his speech home, called my dad, and cried from how unbelievable this opportunity seemed.

Last semester the professor sent out a reminder for anyone who wished to apply for this trip. My heart lifted once again with the prospects of traveling the world. I emailed him back, had my interview, and waited to see if I would be accept.

I waited weeks, thinking that my chances were slim. I’m not a Political Science major, my knowledge of world politics and lackluster, and I’m only a sophomore. But, I have the passion. I have the drive. I want this trip more than anything.

Then I received an email.

I had gotten in.

I screamed! No one was home in my dorm so I ran around like a mania shouting to the empty room that my chance to see the world had finally arrived. I called my parents and incoherently babbled about how I had made it and how excited I was.

I will be traveling to Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, Scotland, Ireland, and Sweden over a 24 day period. I am excited for every single country on this list. I’ve always been interested in different cultures and people. This will be the trip of the century!

There are a few setbacks though. I tend to worry about everything. I get anxiety over the smallest things, especially if I can’t plan every second of my day. I need to be in control and new experiences are often terrifying for me. So, there are a few things I am worried about.

I’m afraid of airports. I’ve never flown before and there are so many rules and regulations that I’m absolutely apprehensive about doing something incorrectly or losing my luggage. I’m also afraid of flying in the plane itself. Like I said, I need to be in control. Letting my life in someone else’s hands is beyond scary for me.

I also have a lot of questions running through my mind:

–What should I pack?

–What if I get lost?

–Will I be able to learn enough about politics to blend in with the group?

–What if I don’t know anyone on the trip?

–Will language be an issue?

–What clothing will I need?

–How will I get over my fears and enjoy this trip I’ve always dreamed of?

I have to take it a step at a time and learn to settle down.

In the meantime I will be doing a lot of research to prepare myself. If you have any travel tips, stories from your own trips abroad, or have any information that might quell my fears I ask that you not hesitate to share them with me. I’m all ears!

Thanks : )

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