Last reflections on Europe trip

When I finished writing about my trip to Europe this summer it was almost as bittersweet as coming back from the trip itself. I didn?t want it to end.

So when I sat down to begin this column, I couldn?t keep my mind from continuously wandering back to memories of my trip. Writing about my adventures was so easy and fun.

After giving up on the other weak ideas I was trying to make work, I?ve decided I?ll squeak out one more column about my trip to England, France and Italy.

I realized that, while I gave descriptive accounts of my trip in my previous columns, I hadn?t talked much about what I learned, what I felt and what I took away from the trip in general. I didn?t just spend my trip gazing in awe at famous landmark (although I did do a lot of that).

For starters, I gained a broader perspective on the world I live in. I have never felt more foreign than I did when it would take me several minutes just to figure out how many pounds I needed to pay for my souvenirs at a London gift shop or when I?d turn on the TV to an episode of ?The Cosby Show? in Italian.

I found it so incredible that the new cultures I was experiencing were normal life for the people who lived there. Even though I?ve only seen a small fraction of the world now, this trip gave me a better appreciation for the diversity of people and cultures.

I also learned a lot about myself on this trip. I love to travel and I?ve known that for many years now. On this trip, I was reminded why I love it so much. I love seeing a part of God?s creation that I?ve never seen before. I absolutely love learning the history of a place that dates all the way back to ancient times.

Not only do I love experiencing it for myself, I love sharing my experiences with others. Whether it be writing about them, talking about them, showing pictures of them or, ideally, helping others have the opportunity to experience the same places themselves, I definitely don?t want to keep my travels to myself.

I want to be a teacher leader for similar tours someday and I want to make the trips as accessible and affordable as possible for my future students.

One of my favorite parts of this trip was the people. I got to explore Europe with some really great friends. Most of my best memories involve people rather than places.

One of the worst parts about going on vacation is having to come back to ?real life.? As I sit through boring college classes, I wish with everything in me that I could be back eating a baguette beside the Eiffel Tower or riding a bus through the beautiful Italian countryside.

The beautiful thing about memories, though, is that my friends and I can still laugh about the funny parts of our trip and remember how we felt while seeing the amazing sights.

My next column will be about a different topic (although I thought this one would be too) but the lessons I learned and the memories I made on this trip will forever be written in my mind and in my heart.

I?ve loved sharing my travel memories with you through these past few columns but now I want to hear about your travels. Email me your favorite travel stories, whether they?re from a trip across the state or a trip across the ocean. I love hearing about other peoples? travels as much as I love sharing about my own.

On an unrelated note, I?d like to wish the Hillsboro High School cross-country and volleyball girls good luck at state. Go Trojans!

Bailey Kaufman, presently a student at Kansas State University, can be reached at bkaufman01@ksu.edu.