Have Love Will Travel
Saint Augustine once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” I’ve been both a reader and a traveler from a young age. From the first time my mother took me on a flight to Connecticut when I was three years old, I knew I would be a lifelong traveler. Okay, maybe not from the time of that first trip. As we finally walked down jet bridge after hours of waiting in Charlotte Douglas International Airport, I realized this whole traveling thing might not be everything I had thought it would be. With my ultra-fashionable Winnie the Pooh backpack squished underneath me, I decided to sit my obstinate, little three-year-old bottom down in the middle of the jet bridge and refused to get on the plane. Luckily, my mother did not accept my desperate plea and she carried me onto the plane anyway. After getting over my initial fear on that first trip, I have loved traveling ever since.
Because of this love that began with a forced airplane ride to Connecticut, I knew I wanted to study abroad in college. The opportunity to live in another country, learn about another culture, and received college credit seemed too good to pass up. However, if you are trying to graduate in three years, complete an experience-based education program, and get married once you graduate, a study abroad program is probably not for you. I was crushed when I discovered that I simply didn’t have the time and resources to complete a study abroad program. I didn’t even have time to take a study abroad class, where you learn about a certain aspect of a country’s culture then visit that country for a week. I simply couldn’t squeeze it in with my on-campus jobs, time spent in the classroom, and general life craziness. I would simply have to stay put at home and work during the summer before returning to college in the fall to finish my senior year. I suppose I would have to ignore Saint Augustine’s advice and remain on one page of the world for a while. I figured I could take my time and memorize that one page while I was stuck there.
Then a professor at Anderson University told me about Bookbag Tours. He said that I might not be able to take a study abroad class, but that I could go on a week-long trip over the summer where I spent time in an international classroom and got to engage in some sightseeing. I could not believe the opportunity. The deadline to sign up for the inaugural Bookbag Tours trip had passed, but Ken George (the man who started it all) was willing to let me come anyway. That is how on June 18, 2017, I found myself with an unknown and interesting cast of characters embarking on a new international expedition. We shared long layovers, awful airplane food, fatiguing flights, amazing adventures, crazy classrooms, delicious dining, and a whole host of other incredible instances. I will write more blog posts about these specific journeys and adventures on the mean streets of London, but for now I’d simply like to end with a reflection and a question. Bookbag Tours allowed me to read a whole new chapter of the world’s book when I thought I wouldn’t be able to travel anywhere any time soon; where do you want to go to broaden your one-page view?