Seeing American movies show Europe/europeans is so weird. They show it as if it’s a completely different dimension, what the fuck do they even think we are?
Where I Began
I grew up in a small town in Indiana, its always been a very small farming community. Growing up, we never really had a lot of money and we didn’t travel a lot even though my mom really wanted to. I had never really given much thought to travel when I was younger but as I got older I got curious about the other places in the world. That small spark of curiosity smoldered in my mind for many years, but it never actually turned to fire until I was about 15 years old on a summer day when my sisters mother in law came to visit from England a year after my sister wedded an Englishman. I had no job at the time, not even a summer one and one day she asked me if I would like to go to England. of course I did have a strong desire to travel, but I imagined that most people who were able to go such a far distance like that were only wealthy people who could afford plane tickets and passports to Europe. I told her that I did indeed want to go, but I would never be able to save the money for such a big journey, but she told me that was all nonsense and I already had everything I needed. she told me “you just worry about buying your passport and plane ticket now, and I’ll make sure you’re well fed and you have a place to sleep”. The offer, of course, was a very generous one I would hate to dismiss, but I had to because I still didn’t believe that I could ever do it, but she told me that I could find some sort of work even though I was only 15 at the time, that way I could get the money to go to England.
Now you may find this very odd, but the next day, I was supposed to be auctioning a goat in the livestock auction at the 4-H fairgrounds. I started by writing down the predicted amount of money I would get that night and then, that would become the money I would spend to get my passport. I also wrote down a summary of money I would need to go to England. I, of course, shared all of these ideas with my sisters mother in law and she liked the way I was thinking. I was saddened that night because I got less than half of the money I had hoped for, and I had lost all hope of this adventure ever succeeding.
Fortune had come to me that Autumn when I got my very first job at a pumpkin farm. It was a very tough season, as it rained almost everyday it seemed. My job was to help a group of people move a lot of pumpkins in a field while it was raining. It had also rained many nights before and the fields were flooded, the water was so high that it reached halfway up to my knees. I had been saving every dollar I could get and I spared nothing for anything else since the summer I spoke to my brother in laws mother. One thing that still impresses me to this day is that I desperately needed a new pair of leather boots to work in, but I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford my trip to England if I got new ones. I do a lot of farm work, so leather boots have always been a priority for me. these boots were so worn that the bottoms were smooth and the upholstery on the leather had torn, leaving huge holes in my boots. I just remember that cold, rainy day when I stepped into the flooded pumpkin patch and the freezing cold water and mud instantly flooded the inside of my shoes and I had to work all day like that. as you may imagine, I was cold and exhausted for the remainder of the day and some days I had to go back to work with a cold from working in the rain on several occasions. my mind was absolutely set on this grand adventure and if I bought anything extra like clothes or new boots for working, that could have been money for a meal or tickets for something fun to do in London, so I would do anything then to save a few dollars.
Later on that same month of working at the farm, I was able to pay for and order my first passport. At the end of the month, I was able to pay for my plane ticket and save some money for food and extra spending in England. For a small while, I worked in a small shop in town for store credit so I would be able to get a suitcase for my travels. in April of 2017, I found myself saying goodbye to my family at the Chicago airport and walking into the security line with my passport and boarding pass in my hand. When I turned around in line, my family was gone and I had realized that for the very first time in my life, I was alone and had nobody here to help me. I managed to find my way through the airport and I asked questions, lots of questions, even if I thought they were dumb ones. I boarded an American Airline flight and sat down next to a sweet lady who had flown many times before, but this was my very first time on a plane and I was nervous. She comforted me and assured me that flying wasn’t all that bad. she even offered to hold my hand during the takeoff.
When I had finally arrived in London after the 8 hour flight, I met my sister who was waiting for me with her husband in the arrivals. I was soon in their car and driving through London. I must admit, I cant remember the first 2 days of my trip since the flight was so exhausting and I was extremely jet lagged from crossing over 5 time zones in one day. Soon, I met my brother in laws mom once again, this time it was in her home and she welcomed me with open arms. We spent a lot of time together and we took the miniature steam train to a very unique place in England called Dungeness where we went to the only pub in sight to share some drinks and food. Dungeness lies on the edge of southern England and meets with the English channel that divides England from France. Before we went into the pub, I walked down to the beach alone to look at the water and the shingles that cover the beach. There was not a single person in sight and I was once again all alone looking out at what seemed to be endless water. I wanted to share this moment with someone, but for the time being I could not. But I do remember feeling, not frightened, but peace. I had struggled for a very long time and worked extremely hard to do what I had just done. I had never been so far away from home in my life. I was away from all the stress back at home. in that moment, I knew that this is what I want, I want to be a traveler and I want to go on adventures like this. I was proud of myself, I had achieved a lifelong dream that I thought was entirely impossible.
The colours of Venice, Italy.