Every since I was very young, I had always dreamed of traveling all over the world. I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and I have mostly stayed in the same place my entire life. Orlando is an interesting city because even though it is a large city with all the typical things that large city’s have, it was not built for the people who live there. It was built for people to have their vacations there. Disney World was built and began to thrive immediately so then came Universal Studios, Lego World, Gator World and a whole slew of smaller theme parks. Orlando is only about an hour from the beach so that is another major attraction for family holidays. This is all to say that I spent most of my childhood and teenage years just waiting to get out and see what culture and history I could find in the world that I felt I could not find in Orlando.
My first international trip outside of North America was when I was 21 years old. I saved all the money I made from my part-time job and I signed up for a planned group trip to Europe. It was the beginning of May and the beginning of summer break from college. I was more excited than I could explain to my parents and when I first stepped outside of my hotel in Amsterdam, I knew my expectations would not be let down. I still remember walking along the old canals, seeing the historic buildings surrounding me and smelling the fresh flowers in the air. I had an amazing experience during that two week trip where I went on to visit five other European countries that I had only read about in my books and I look back at that memory knowing those were two weeks that would shape my life.