Everybody says they like traveling. It’s one of those universally loved ways to spend time. In one way or another, everybody enjoys a change of scenery and getting away from where they usually live. A quote from Californication really stuck with me, the one where Hank’s teacher said something about how depressing it would be to die “Less than 5 miles from where you are born.” I live in a big city, so it’s unlikely to happen, but you get the sentiment. Anyway, my experiences with traveling can be split into four categories: family, school, uni, and post uni.
Traveling with family, of course, is quite boring. I don’t think I’ve ever been abroad with anyone from my family, so this “traveling” is mostly limited to exploring Ukraine. Traveling with family is never fun. Even looking back at it now, the most exciting parts of trips are the ones where you can wander away from your family and explore on your own. Even as a kid, 90% my trips’ highlights include me wandering off and meeting some other kids or families. There’s a few stories I can write about later.
School travels are about anything except actually feeling like you’re abroad. If there’s a better way to pay a lot of money to go abroad and not gain anything from the experience, I haven’t discovered it yet. Playing basketball with my high-school (or middle-school?) team was just paying $1000 to be transported from one gym to another. Whatever two or three hours we go to “explore” were usually wasted on getting fast-food and buying souvenirs for the family. Host families are seldom cool enough to actually take us anywhere, so you end up staying at home.
The only exception I can highlight here is my Model UN trip to Rostok, Germany. This happened in 2006, right during the FIFA World Cup. I was there with some really fun people, and experiencing football in Germany, in a small bar where nobody cares if you’re old enough to drink — it was amazing!
Watching the World Cup on a huge screen. Germany — 4 VS Australia — 0
Other than that, though, I don’t think there have been any school trips abroad that I have actively enjoyed.
I think graduating from high-school is where things really turned around for me in terms of travel. That summer several people from our senior year went to Turkey shortly after graduation. It was a 10 day trip that I really enjoyed. I don’t even think there was that much drinking going on (which is surprising, tbh), but I really enjoyed my time there. I think that trip was a much needed break from the very stressful final year of high-school. It was 10-day graduation party, a “we made it party”, and for many of us it was also an “I guess this is goodbye” party. More on that later too, I guess.
I don’t even know…
This is really turning out to be quite a long post. Part 2 coming next week + I think I will eventually get down to talking about each individual trip a little bit. Too bad I was too stupid to understand that taking pictures while traveling might come in handy.