1. Melbourne, Australia 6 years old
I am 6 years old and this is my first international trip. I barely got any sleep on the 14 hour flight because of the old man across the aisle. He creeps me out and I’m too scared to risk falling asleep. When we land in Melbourne, he asks if I had a nice flight. No, I had to sit by you the whole time. We spend most of the trip visiting zoos and aquariums. My brother, never adjusting the time change, falls asleep at dinner every night. Towards the end of the trip, my dad, brother and I spend several mornings going out to breakfast alone while my step mom stays back. We find out later that she’s pregnant with my baby sister.
2. Limerick, Ireland 9 years old
It’s my first trip to Europe. Ireland is very, very green compared to heat stroked Lawrence. We stay in a small house in Limerick. The family who owns the house leaves some toys for us to play with, one of which is a giant stuffed animal Dora that smells strange. My baby sister is only two years old and carries Dora everywhere. I am mildly disturbed.
3. Venice, Italy 11 years old
My dad, step mom, my sister, Mara and I are spending a weekend in Venice after being in Austria for two weeks. I am enchanted by the gondolas and carnival masks everywhere. The air smells like dirty canal water but in a good way. On our first evening there, we ride into the island in a crowded, sweaty ferry. We go for a walk in St. Mark’s square when it starts pouring. We run to seek cover under an archway and wait for the rain to pass. My sister and I are astonished to see two small children swimming in the dirty canal water. Once the rain lets up, we continue exploring the square. An Italian man comes up and hands my sister, step mom, and I each a rose. Then he turns to my dad and motions for money.
Later in our trip, we are walking through the square, when a pigeon poops on my head. I am not a happy camper.
4. London, England 12 years old
Before our trip, I read all the twilight books. I become obsessed with Robert Pattinson. I am convinced that I am going to run into him in a London Starbucks and he will fall in love with me. Needless to say, it didn’t happen.
5. Paris, France 12 years old
I am at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I can see Paris for miles. I eat the best ham and cheese baguette I have ever had. We spent a decent amount of time at the top before heading down the long flights of stairs. My baby sister is now five years old and thinks it’s a race. When I get a head of her, she grabs my leg and pulls me down on a flight of stairs and then runs ahead. I’m slightly traumatized by my near death experience on the Eiffel Tower.
6. Cancun, Mexico, unknown age
It’s my third trip to Mexico. My parents sign up for a day long tour to Chichen Itza and Cozumel. I feel car sick all morning in the van. When we stop for a bathroom break, I find I have Montezuma’s revenge aka explosive diarrhea. Chichen Itza is beautiful and we spend several hours haggling with the vendors for cheap souvenirs. The final stop for the day is to some beautiful natural cave pool. However, there has recently been a lot of rain and the cave on the brochure is closed. Our driver offers to take us to another nearby swimming cave. When we get to this cave, we are more than let down. The water is nowhere close to the crystal clear water of the cave we saw in the brochure. It’s green and murky with copious amounts of bird shit. Why my parents let us swim in it, I have no idea except that we’re are lucky we didn’t get catch E. coli.
7. Innsbruck, Austria 15 years old
This is my second time in Innsbruck, Austria. After experiencing my first heartbreak at the beginning of the summer, I am delighted to be away from home. I breathe in the brisk mountain air and I know it will be a good trip. We are staying in a woman named Sylvia’s apartment for the summer while she’s in Canada. There are books everywhere and a spiral staircase to the bedrooms downstairs. Her friend, Iris, brings us the keys and then offers to take us to breakfast the next day and help show us around. We agree to meet the next morning at the bakery across the street. She takes us into the mad hustle and bustle and efficiently orders in German. As I bite into my chocolate croissant, I know once again that it will be a good trip.