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  • Writer's pictureLara Draxler

My Travel Story-mid 20's

Wow. Things have been so crazy since I last wrote a blog entry that I was trying to remember where I left off in my travel story. So, yes, I came home from Wales and it took me 8 months to figure out my next steps.

Before I left, I had planned on going to grad school and had prepared by taking the GRE (graduate entrance exam). I hadn't actually applied anywhere though. So, I came home and faced the daunting task of "what next." I knew I wanted to study museum studies so that kinda narrowed down my search. I ended up applying/being accepted at Baylor University in Waco, TX *sic 'em bears*. That led me to my next steps. I ended up moving to Waco in August 2010.

The next two years would be very "cup filling." I thrive in educational environments and I loved the adventure that TX presented. Waco was a growing, eccentric place, much more famous now then it was then; however, it was nestled between Austin and Dallas and was just perfect for me at that time. While there, I finished my master's thesis and degree, completed an amazing internship abroad in between my first and second years, found a church that to this day is still my favorite church I've ever attended, made so many memories, friends, experiences, etc. and traveled a lot around Texas and the world!

moving to Waco with my dad and uncle

I could write a lot about all the museum field trips, tea parties, Taco Tuesdays, crazy e-harmony relationships, road trips, etc, but all in all, the two years in Waco were two of the best of my life and certainly needed after going through a lot of hardship during my time abroad. It's crazy to think that back then there was no smart phones, few people had Netflix, my car was brand new, and I wasn't into wine yet. My, how times did change.

grad school friends during a community service day

Since this is a travel blog, I did want to focus a little bit on my time abroad during my first and second years of grad school. I thought it would be cool to go abroad to do a museum internship. No one in the history of the museum studies program at Baylor had attempted this before; but I was able to get an internship at Keats House Museum in London. I interned there for a month with the museum educator. Before I started my internship, I had an amazing two week trip in Wales showing my parents all around North Wales where I had lived. They had not had the chance to visit while I lived there, and it was really special.

When they left, I was off to London for my museum internship. I took the train from Manchester to London and I had never felt so cosmopolitan or scared :S I proceeded to live in B&B's and hotels for the next month, and I kinda felt like a rock star. The only setback I experienced was that my boyfriend at the time broke up with me while I was there. As it turned out, I needed to be rid of him anyway and was prepared to break up with him myself. Guess he just made the first move LOL

The internship was a perfect fit for me. Even though my thesis centered on the Victorian Era, it also focused on house museums. Keats House was the home of the Romantic poet, John Keats. I learned a lot and enjoyed seeing how educational programming worked in an historic house museum. I was an English minor in undergrad, so I was pleased as punch to be in the home of a literary giant. I also traveled around the city, read a lot of novels, researched for my thesis, visited many museums, drank a lot of tea, ate a lot of cakes and scones :), and relished big city life.

For the month of July, I was a student in the Victorian summer school, a program put on by the Victorian Society of America. You may have NO clue that there are such enthusiasts about the Victorians in the world, but I can assure you, this is a pretty large niche in the world of history. I took the course upon recommendation of one of my professors. It was so much fun. We learned a ton, saw so many cool historic sites, homes, etc, and I met so many new friends. I am so thankful to have this experience under my belt. It also REALLY helped me with my thesis completion. Seeing all those cool places in PERSON gave my thesis a whole new flair.

**which by the way if ANYONE has any interest in reading said thesis, it is available online through the Baylor library system! Click here to access....

After I finished the course, my best friend joined me in England and we had the BEST time just enjoying London. I hope we can do that again some day.

Wow. I had no idea that was going to be that long. Probably should've broken that up into 2 chapters! :) But, more to come...when I finished at Baylor and got my first job, things really got interesting...

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