London at Last!

After getting off the plane at Heathrow airport in London, I felt absolutely disgusting. I had not showered or brushed my teeth in over 24 hours due to long layovers. Everyone glamorizes traveling, but unless you are rich and famous and have your own private jet, you will feel disgusting (and look disgusting and possibly smell disgusting) after a long flight. I recently came across some tips for surviving long flights that I wish I had known four years ago!

We had very little time to freshen up before we were whisked off to Windsor. And so began the European tour! Windsor Palace was the first castle I had ever seen. I was in awe! Unfortunately, we did not get to tour the castle, but just being there was enough for me!

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The only thing keeping me on my feet and awake at this point was adrenaline and excitement! I had slept for maybe two hours in the past 24 hours. And my hair. Let’s just not talk about my hair…

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One of my first glimpses of Windsor Castle!

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

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While hard to see, the flag flying above Windsor Castle the day we were there signified that the queen was in residence at that time.

While in Windsor, some friends and I decided to have tea at the Crooked House. The name is everything. The house literally was crooked!

The Crooked Tea House where I had my first cup of English tea.

The Crooked Tea House where I had my first cup of English tea.

The tea was delicious, but I had unknowingly made a grievous error. We still had an hour-long bus ride (at the least) to get to our hotel in London. I have a notoriously small bladder, and only about fifteen minutes into the ride, I had realized my mistake. I spent the rest of the bus trip in silent agony, while still trying to take in all the scenery. I was conflicted to say the least. As soon as we reached the hotel, I bolted for the door, chaperones and luggage be damned!

Once the luggage and room situations were sorted out, I finally got to take a shower! I have to admit, that was THE best shower I have ever taken in my life. Period. Almost four years later, it still stands as the best shower ever.

All I wanted to do after dinner was crawl in bed and sleep, but our evil chaperones wanted us to adjust to the time change as quickly as possible, so we were forced to partake in a march across London. I will cover that grueling (yet fascinating!) trek in next week’s post!

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Travel?

Many people have told me: “You need to learn to be content where you.” However, I disagree. While I believe there is definitely virtue in contentment, a thin line stands between contentment and complacency. As Malcolm Forbes states, “When you cease to dream you cease to live.” To me, complete contentment means one has lost or given up their dreams. I believe we should always be striving to learn more and do more with the time we have on earth. While everyone’s dream is different, mine is to travel, to see and learn as much about the world around me as possible. I believe the day I cease to yearn for new places will be the day I cease to dream and truly live.

My passion for traveling began in high school. The summer after my high school graduation I participated in the Illinois Ambassadors of Music European Tour, coordinated by the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville music department. I spent sixteen magical days touring Europe while playing concerts at each major city we toured. It was a truly mind-opening experience. As a girl who grew up surrounded by cornfields, I always knew the world was out there, but never really believed it until the moment I stepped off the plane at Heathrow Airport in London. After those sixteen days, the world became real and palpable to me. I had reached out and touched the Eiffel Tower, I had stood in front of the Mona Lisa, been surrounded by the beauty and majesty of the Alps. I had seen and experienced a whole new world, and I have been yearning to return ever since.

Through this blog, I plan to revisit and reminiscence my trip to Europe almost four years ago, recounting what I learned and how it has helped shape me into the person I am today. I also hope that through my blog, I will inspire others to travel as well. Once I have reached the last day of the trip, we shall see where the blog takes us next!

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Packed and ready to go! It was hard to pack for sixteen days in one suitcase.

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This picture was taken right before we boarded the plane for the long 9-hour overnight flight to London.