valadilenne: (Travel: Big Ben)
I don't consider myself particularly well-traveled, but I guess I've been able to travel more places than some people out there.

We used to make biannual trips to the Motherland, a state 500 miles or 10 hours away--we had a tendency to look at it in terms of how long my brother and I could stand to sit next to each other without engaging in slapfights over chocolate covered granola bars (I should get some of those next time I go to the store).

My first major trip, though, was to Mexico, where I lived for two months and spent time during my 11th birthday. It was a big deal, and crybaby that I was, I did get something out of it: a clear and distinct need to lighten-up-Francis.

After ten years of being driven around the country looking at San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Huntsfield Alabama, and countless other important US sites, I had the chance to really show my grits when I lived for a semester in London.

Ten years of feeling like I was pretty much useless at self-sustaining without parental supervision, and I won the crap out of that trip. Didn't get into fights, didn't have too much drama, made some friends, learned the hell out of Europe, traveled all over the place and wore a hole in my jeans.

My favorite aspect of travel isn't the landmark sites, by the way: it's going into grocery stores in a foreign country and browsing through all the stuff people buy. If you've never done it, it seems kind of banal on paper (or internet), but try it. In England, they have potato chips called Walkers, but the logo is designed to look exactly like the Lay's logo: font and design and all.

We spent time wandering aimlessly in Swiss department stores over Spring Break 2006, and I have to say, putting the art supplies next to curtain rods is an interesting decision, Switzerland. But you go on ahead, do that, because I learned something from you.

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Valadilenne

May 2009

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