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  • Writer's pictureLara Draxler

Travel story-part 3 (ages 20-25)

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

So this is where things start to get really interesting. I arrived at the end of my college career at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN. I was no longer the shy, introverted homebody. I was a young lady armed with an almost complete degree in European history and English literature who was ready to spread her wings and see the world. I read a ton of guide books, watched endless Rick Steves in Europe DVD's that I got from the library, and held a yard sale to purchase my $600 round trip ticket to London. Ah, them were the days.

I applied for the fall semester of my senior year abroad. Our school had a long-standing relationship with a Chicago based program called International Enrichment that provided us with the most wonderful three month experience. I attribute much of who I am today to that time abroad. I had NEVER experienced such culture, history, amazing shopping, choices, freedom, vastness etc. It thoroughly agreed with me.

My parents came over to visit on my fall break and could not believe their timid youngest who hated to drive on the interstate at that time could completely navigate herself around the London Tube system. I loved learning about new people, foods, languages, cultures, clothing etc. That semester was all I had ever dreamed of. I look back with such fondness. I can honestly say I needed it to really grow up. It also paved the way to all sorts of later travel experiences.

So, as for the rest of this's the quick version :)

Quick version: *I studied abroad in London for a semester my senior year of college. I did an internship at Leighton House museum (the home of a master Victorian artist) and took wonderful, fascinating classes about Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and British Life and Culture. *While I studied abroad in '06, I visited Scotland, Wales, Portugal, France, and Ireland. *I went on two different summer experiences in Athens, Greece where I was a camp counselor. FELL in LOVE with GREECE! It is on my top 5 all time favorite places I have traveled EVER! (I know, lots of caps there, but Greece was such a treat and the people are the most wonderfully kind folks) *I returned to the US not quite ready to go to grad school and really "settle down." So, I applied to work for a minority language nonprofit and lived in Wales for almost two years. I could write NOVELS on that experience and alluded to it the other day on St. David's Day, but it was pivotal in my "growing up." *While I lived in Wales, I traveled to Ireland, Germany, England, Holland, and Greece. Oh my gosh, those were the days. I made the most of my singledom and really lived it up. *In 2009, I returned to the US finally ready for grad school and "adulthood "

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