Posts Tagged 'travel'

Buffs in Kilts: Up, Up, and Away!

The first step in any trip is getting to your destination. This can take as little as an hour, or up to a whole day. Unfortunately, the trip to Scotland was one that would take a whole day.

We all met at the airport before sunrise on Sunday morning because our flight left at 6:30am. It was the first leg of our journey, and gave us the greatest challenge of the day since the woman checking our passports didn’t quite know what she was doing (perhaps she hadn’t slept at all the night before either). Although we showed up two hours early, it was a slight rush to get everyone though security and to the plane on time. Thankfully all 26 of us made it through and were ready to get on the first of three flights!

The first plane that we flew on was the smallest I had ever ridden on, with only fifty seats total on the flight. A lot of people chose this time to sleep (a good idea since many had, like me, pulled an all-nighter). I was still too excited about the trip to force myself to go to sleep, so I choose to read on the plane instead. I took out a Scottish romance novel (that had been given to me as a gag gift for the trip) and read to set the mood and feel of Scotland.

We landed in Houston, Texas after a short flight. We had a lot of time to kill in the airport before our next flight took off and all needed a way to entertain ourselves. That is when the UNO cards came out and we had a couple of epic games there right in front of our gate. Sadly I didn’t win any of the rounds, but it was a great way to pass the time with fellow classmates and our own faculty members. It kept us busy until we boarded the next flight for the second stage of our journey.

Finally we arrived in Newark, New Jersey. That was the furthest east I had ever been in my life! (Though that would change in just a few hours as we flew across the Atlantic Ocean.) The Newark airport was nice, but we were all reaching the end of excitement rush from earlier in the morning. After a nice walk around the airport, and a little yoga to stretch our tired bodies, we were able to sit and wait a few hours for our next plane. Finally we were on the last plane and on our way over the Atlantic towards Scotland!

By this time it was 9:00 at night, and we all laid back in our seats to try and get a little shut eye before landing in Scotland. It wasn’t easy to sleep on the plane, and many of us were reaching that moment of sleep deprivation where everything becomes funny. The traveling was the most tiring part, but it all became worth it once the plane landed in Scotland. We had finally made it!

 

Next Time:  Shenanigans in Scotland

Buffs in Kilts: Introduction

I recently returned from a travel abroad experience in Scotland and England. The ten days I spent overseas were truly inspiring and life-changing time. It is an experience that all students should try and obtain. I was able to go thanks to WTAMU and the Honor’s Program. Each semester the Honor’s Program offers seminar classes (required if you are an Honor’s Student) and often one of these classes involves travel either to a location inside or outside of the United States. Thanks to the University and Donors of the Honor’s Program, the trips are affordable to students who may otherwise not be able to afford.

It was always my dream to travel to England, but I never thought it would become a reality until now.  It was a jam-packed trip, with a different activity happening at every second. Friendships were made and deepened, culture was explored, streets were explored, and feet got sore on this trip. Every bit of it was worth it. I will spend the next few week talking about the trip, so look forward to more!

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Before I started college at WTAMU I always had dreams of traveling the world, but knew that I may never have the opportunity due to time and, more importantly, the cost. Even when starting at WTAMU I had heard about the study abroad office and opportunities, but still believed that it would never happen for me.

 Until now.

This semester I have signed up for an honor’s seminar class that has a travel component to Scotland. For me it is really a dream come true, a dream that I never really believed would come true for me. This trip is a short, two week visit to Scotland with the class and professor. I’ve learned that the best time to travel really is in college because that is when the time and the cost are best. Most college students don’t have a family (husband or kid) that they need to worry about leaving behind, and there are many scholarships to help cover the cost. It will cost a lot less to travel with a class, than trying to travel on your own after college. Another way to really enjoy a foreign country is to spend a semester studying in the country. (and guess what, WT helps with that too!)

Don’t pass on this dream, just because you think it could never happen to you. Inform yourself, and look out for opportunities!

http://www.wtamu.edu/academics/study-abroad.aspx 

 

back to the real world…

Spring break is OVER!  Tomorrow it’s back to life as usual, with classes, tests, assignments…  Granted, I had a pretty quiet week this past week, but it was a welcome respite from school all the same.  Whoever invented spring break was genius, pure genius.

Sorry I haven’t written in a while — like Wes said, it’s been a crazy semester!  I came back from India safe and sound (see a few of my pictures here) and had an amazing time; I’d go back in a heartbeat if I could.  It was so incredibly strange to be a foreigner; I never got used to being stared at everywhere I went, being followed by salesmen and orphans and cows everywhere I went, or finding ruins, palaces, and historical sites everywhere I went.  The food was amazing, the air was smoky, the sights were beautiful (especially the Taj Mahal!), and the people were very curious about us… Whenever we stopped at a tourist site, we took pictures of the attraction, and the Indians took pictures of us.  Tall, light-skinned people — amazing!

 One of my favorite memories of our trip was our impromptu stop at a roadside kite shop outside of Jaipur.  Jaipur is called the kite capital of the world; every year in late January, they host a kite-flying competition, and we encountered several Indians from the U.S. that had traveled to Jaipur simply to watch it.  Looking out of my hotel window every afternoon, I could see colorful paper kites popping up and down throughout the city, like popcorn or confetti dotting the horizon; and almost every tree in the city had at least one kite stuck in its leaves somewhere.  The people at the kite shop were very gracious, friendly, and honest, a welcome change from the pushy hawkers of the metropolis.  We played with the kids before they climbed on their school bus (all bundled up in scarves and hats, because it was a frigid 55 degrees Fahrenheit — oh my), flew kites with the shop owners, laughed with the women…  I got a taste of real India, or what I felt “real” India should be like; not the Westernized, trinket-selling tourist traps of the cities, but the hard-working, poor-yet-happy, everyday Indian citizens at home.

One thing that really surprised me, on the other hand, was the Indians’ pre-conceived notions about me.  I grew up in conservative, almost-rural West Texas, where men still say “ma’am” when addressing me, and opening doors for ladies is second-nature.  In India, however, women are viewed very poorly; oftentimes, their only value is their use as a “commodity” that can give men children, elevated social status, or free household labor.  Even worse is the Indians’ concept of Western women.  I suppose they expect all of us to be like the women they see on Hollywood big screens — loose morals, promiscuous, and manipulative — and many times we were treated accordingly.  We learned to expect this attitude and adjust our behaviors; although different and sometimes awkward, it wasn’t a big deal.  What broke my heart, though, were the cute little boys walking home from school that laughed as they made obscene gestures at us — it was sad to think that they learn such attitudes at such a young age, and that they will probably retain these preconceived concepts of us for as long as they live.  I am now thankful for every respectful word said to me, every door opened with a smile, and every expression of an expectation of my respectability back here at home; like they say, there’s nothing like going away to make you appreciate what you have at home.

That’s enough for now.  I hope you all had a great spring break, and I’ll be back again soon!

-Kelsi

India or bust

So… tomorrow is the big day.  FINALLY.  Fourteen other WT students, faculty members, and I are flying to New Delhi, India!  I’ve never taken a sixteen-hour plane ride — I plan on sleeping a lot. 🙂  After spending the past semester reading about India, it will be amazing to actually experience everything first-hand.  We’ll travel around northern India for two weeks, riding elephants, boating down the Ganges, visiting major temples, mosques, and historical sites, interacting with the people, and side-stepping cows. (ha.) 

I must admit, I’m a little nervous… okay, I’m scared to death.  Even after reading all about India, I still don’t know what to expect — how will people interact with me?  will I be safe?  what is the food like?  and are the monkeys really that dangerous?  Nevertheless, I simply can’t wait to get on that plane tomorrow.  I love new experiences, and I know this trip will blow me away — besides, the suspense is killing me!  If you’d like to keep up with our escapades, see our online journal here.  It will be updated daily by all of us students, relating the day’s events and our reactions to our foreign (perhaps bizarre?) surroundings. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year; in a couple of weeks, I’ll post again with an overview of the trip (and pictures!).  Namaste!

Elephants?

Namaste!

That’s the most important word I learned this past week.  You see, I’m going to India for two weeks this coming January, and “Namaste,” the standard greeting there, is something I’ll be saying a lot.  I’m so excited!  I’ll see the Taj Mahal, boat down the River Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi, ride an elephant up to the Amber Fort…  Continue reading ‘Elephants?’