What I learned from traveling
I got the opportunity to travel to Europe this summer with my mother, her high school best friend Andrea, and Andrea’s daughter Lily. We set out for a vacation for two weeks, with the end goal of leaving Lily in Paris for a semester abroad.
Traveling with this group of women taught me a lot about who I want to be and what I want to do. I am so incredibly lucky to have had the chance to go with Andrea who knew my mom since she was 15. She told me so many stories about my mom that I never knew. My mom doesn’t have a lot of family so getting to know someone who knew my grandparents felt really special. Lily was the best travel buddy anyone could have, she was always ready for the next adventure and was super flexible with plans. Getting to travel with her made us great friends and I cannot wait until we get to go on our next adventure. Traveling with my mom was something that was so special to me. My mom got diagnosed with Laryngeal cancer my second year at Wayne State. Luckily they caught the tumor in time and was able to treat it. When I first found out she was ill we became very close. After such a serious health scare getting to go on this trip with my mom was so significant. I can’t wait to see more of the world with her.
Before we got to Paris we went to Italy, first flying into Rome. After we spent a few days in Rome, we went to Florence, after Florence we went to Cinque Terre. Then we left Italy and went to France to leave Lily in Paris. We spent the days adventuring and exploring the cities and the nights eating big dinners, drinking wine, and talking.
We walked thousands steps each day. One day we got to 28,000 steps. We got up every day around 8 and didn’t go to bed until 12. It was really unreal to see so much in such a short amount of time.
My favorite thing that we saw was in Rome when we went to the Vatican. In the Vatican there is a huge amount of art that was commissioned by the Catholic church. There was art work from Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Caravaggio. My favorite artist of all times is Michelangelo. Seeing the Sistine Chapel was like a dream. I cried for the first ten minutes that I entered the Chapel. I felt so moved by his work, it was a surreal experience. Seeing the masterpiece of Michelangelo, that took him four years to paint, was the most impactful art that I have ever seen. I had studied Renaissance art for two years at Wayne State. Getting to see it in person was more amazing than I ever imaged. We had a private !+tour through the Vatican, and after we left the Sistine chapel the tour guide told me that after seeing the work of Michelangelo, that I would truly only love three men in my life… God, my father, and Michelangelo. With this new experience of seeing some of the best art in the world I knew that I wanted to learn more about museum curating and find a way to apply my art history minor.
I fell so deeply in love with Rome, once we went to Florence I didn’t think that it could even compare to the experience I had in the Vatican. But the first night we got there we decided to go on a wine tasting. This was something I have never done, even in the US. I didn’t know very much about wine but I was eager to go and see the country side of San Gimignano. The wine tour we went on was with a small group of about 20 people from all over the world. It was some of the best wine and food that I have ever tasted. The family that opened the winery was so welcoming and kind. I am a vegetarian and they made me a special meat free meal. They talked to us for hours and showed us their home. Seeing the country side in Italy was the most relaxed I think I have ever been in my whole life.
After we spent a few more days in Florence we went to Cinque Terre this is a cliff side that is apart of the Italian Riviera. This was a small community of 1563 residents. It is known for the pesto and lemon trees. We spent three days laying in the sun, paddle boarding, and swimming. It was such a unique; it was a really cool place to stay in an Air BnB because most of the tourist just would come for the day, once all the trains stopped running we got to see what the real night life of the village. The best food that I ate was Pesto on Focaccia bread, it was amazing and I think I could eat it every day.
Our next and last stop was in Paris. It was a bit of a hectic travel day to get back to Florence to fly out to Paris. We took a few trains and then flew with all of our luggage, but by this time on our adventure we had gotten pretty good at figuring out the transportation. Once we got to Paris, it was a whole different vibe then Italy. It felt like I was in New York or in LA. It was defiantly a big city feel. There were shops, restaurants, and monuments everywhere. My Favorite thing that we did was a day trip to Claude Monet’s home. It was in the countryside of Paris. His gardens were magical. It felt like we were in his paintings. Monet’s home was simple and pretty small. There was arches of flowers and inside his home t were paintings that covered every wall. I really enjoyed his home and the way he lived. It felt like a completely different place than the city.
After going on this trip I came back with more confidence, a greater love for art, a need to travel more, and a whole new appreciation for my mom. Traveling and experiencing new things truly brought me to think about things in my everyday life in a different way; I saw how much life has to offer, and how much left there is for me to see. Before I went on this trip I had really been struggling with anxiety, I still struggle with it, but It is a lot easier now to remind myself that whatever I am feeling anxious about, it is not going to be the end of the world; it can’t be when I haven’t even seen the whole world. I am so thankful for this experience and I will cherish it forever. I hope to continue to travel and to continue to grow.