Where am I?

Bridget M. Rohrer, Editorial Assistant
Bridget M. Rohrer, Editorial Assistant

Rushing to airports at the last minute and staying an extra day than planned in a strange city may sound very glamorous. I learned last summer, however, that it is a great deal more than that. There is a lot of energy and effort that gets put into jaunts around the country.

All of my life, I wanted to get away from home and travel the country. There were so many places that had to be more interesting than where I was at that mo­ment. New people and places filled my dreams at night and magazines of such fascinating places filled my days. It was not until I went to college that I was able to travel like I had always dreamed of.

Within 90 days I put over 50,000 miles on my frequent flyer plan and spent only 25 days of my summer at home in humid and rainy Georgia. I visited Houston, Texas; historic Pennsyl­van­ia; New York and bustling Chicago, Ill. It was a variety of places and each held a new experience.

The “cowboy way” was evident in Houston. I was there in February 1994, and listened to country music while or­der­ing Chinese food from waiters with Texas accents. There is no place like Texas. Even with the NASA Bay outside my hotel window, I was glad to leave. My excitement for something new did not last long while in oil country.

U.S. history classes just do not do our country justice. To truly get a feeling of what it was like in the days of Washington and Jefferson, the sites of their work must be visited.

In Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, tourism is the main commodity of the 1990s. While I was there, I saw the Liberty Bell and learned that the second crack in it was put there on purpose. I visited the home of Betsy Ross and saw where she made the first American Flag. Even with all of that history and all of the people from faraway places visiting, just as I was, I was glad to go home and see what was familiar.

I thought New York would be the place for me. It is the backdrop in so many exciting movies and I thought it would be the same in person as it was on screen. What I found instead was little patience and a lot of rude people. It was dirty along the New Jersey border and too fast for someone who enjoys a slower pace of life.

Chicago, home to Wrigley Field on Lake Michigan (which resembles an ocean more than a lake) and full of culture, was all that I expected and more. The taxis were filthy and put lives in danger every time they pulled away from the curb. The scenery was beautiful, the restaurants were delectable and the museums were fascinating. It was a vacation that I had always dreamed of, but I was glad to board the jet that flew me home.

Before I came to college, the farthest east that I had ever been was Phoenix, Ariz. I never had the opportunity to visit places with so much culture and history. From restaurants and accents to music and architecture, the experiences were at times overwhelming.

I learned a very important thing from traveling. As much as I wanted to be on the road and in a different city by dinner time, nothing could take the place of home. I always took that for granted in the past. I was so eager to be away from home that I did not see what home had to offer.

I was raised in California and the beaches here are the best. We have the missions that Father Junipero Serra established when the state was being explored, the history of a Gold Rush and General Vallejo and such metropolitan cities as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

California will always hold a special place in my heart, no matter where I might be. I am glad that I learned this before I was gone, so that I can pass a bit of its magnetism to another tourist who is as eager as I was to learn new facts about the cities in our country. Just because I grew up in California does not mean that I cannot be fascinated by what it has to offer. Traveling to other places made me realize that as much as I wanted to get away, other people wanted to visit.

Bridget M. Rohrer, Editorial Assistant
Bridget M. Rohrer
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