Home at Last!

It was a crazy 21 days abroad with many amazing new experiences. I can’t begin to describe how happy I am to be back with my family and friends as well as being able to sleep in my own bed. Seriously nothing compares to coming back to what you know and love but although I am really happy that I have come home that’s not to say I didn’t absolutely love my Olympic Quest. I feel as though if we hadn’t jumped around every few days to a new country coming home would have been a little different. When I began college at Hamline it was a few short weeks before my dorm room felt more like home than my home did, I feel like this is because I had a solid place to stay, whereas with this trip we jumped around so much that I never was able to get comfortable in my hotel room. If I had been able to spend a few weeks in any of the places that I went through on this journey I believe that it would have shortly become a home to me and would then have been a little harder to leave.

Another thing that I have noticed coming home is that I am extremely tired, nearly exhausted. I was surprised about this because I’d felt as though making the time changes throughout this trip I had recovered from the jet-lag extraordinarily fast. I was mildly proud of that fact but since I returned on Saturday I’ve been getting about 10 hours of sleep and yet am still dragging my feet throughout the day. I am thinking that this may have to do once again with the whole fact that we were jumping around from place to place. I believe that because I was constantly on the move my body realized that I didn’t have to time to really notice the time differences. So it wasn’t so much that I wasn’t noticing the time change it was that my body was building up resilience to it and storing my exhaustion up until it could resurface, which it has now done since I returned.

I have loved traveling on this Olympic Quest and I can’t wait to trek down to Gustavus in order to see all of the new friends that I have made on this journey. I hope that we will be able to keep in touch because so many times when you go on the experience of a lifetime with people so far away it is so hard to keep in touch afterwards. But in the very least you will always have those wonderful memories from the adventures you have all shared. 

A True London Pub

As I sit here writing so early in the morning I cant help but struggle some to get my thoughts organized in my head to sum up this experience. I started out just a short time ago with over 20 people on an adventure of a lifetime seriously. I met up with a good friend of mine that I met way back in high school at an animation camp who is from just outside of London. I wish that I had connected with him when we got here because the places he brought us to we’re absolutely fantastic. I spent a good deal of time catching up with him but also discussing the differences in drinking between our two countries. The main thing we discussed was the attitude towards alcohol and how the 21 year old age limit is in his opinion the stupidest thing ever. But aside from that I do hope to come back in the next year or so because there is something wonderful about this city.

I need to take off so that I don’t miss the bus but I am Minnesota bound! The feeling is of a bitter sweet goodbye because I miss my family but I think I’ll also be missing London. So cheers London its been a blast.

What a Wicked Day in London

I can’t believe that after today I will only have tomorrow left before I head on home. I’ll get real sentimental tomorrow however when we actually do get out of here for the hop across the pond to the land of ten thousand lakes.

Today we spent the greatest day meandering around the heart of London visiting many of the same places that we saw in the bus tour that we went on our first day being in Great Britain. We spent a good amount of time in the Churchill War Rooms looking at the very rooms that Churchill ran WWII from. It was fun to hear all about the history of the place and to truly learn about the great man he was and how he got to that place.

We visited a tribute to Abraham Lincoln where our guide told us a really funny story about an American man who was running from the police. There is a chair behind honest Abe that apparently is technically American soil and when he ran from the police he went to the statue and climbed up on it and sat right down in the chair. The authorities came to the spot and then had to give the American embassy a call to sort things out. Eventually he was handed over to the authorities and charged with whatever crime he was committed of but he at least had a few more days of freedom. Abe is still helping people out apparently!

The other event of the day that sticks out in my mind was seeing Wicked. I will start out by saying that it is one of the single most fascinating musicals that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I have been dragged to numerous plays and musicals in my short time on this earth and non of them have had the same effect on me as Wicked did. The story was fabulous and the subtle humor it me right in the funny bone. I love how this takes a completely different swing in the story creating a character that out of love took the blame and hatred so that she could better help all of the people in the land of oz.

Once again another great day in the wonderful city of London.

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The Pubs of Fleet Street

Every single person aside from the two professors on the trip went with us on the attempted pub marathon. I call it a marathon because we were rather ambitious by putting 7 pubs on the list, you can’t blame us though for wanting to really experience some of London’s finest pubs. The night started off great when we got off the underground (which is slick) and stopped by the St. Paul Cathedral and the millennium bridge. Both were truly majestic when we saw them and the look from the bridge at the cathedral was absolutely stunning.

As we passed by the cathedral we saw a protest going on where people were camped outside the front of the building in tents. I believe they were protesting something very similar to our Occupy Wallstreet movement but I would need to double check that with our guide.

John the tour guide told us that they millennium bridge is locally known as wibbley wobbly bridge because when it opened the bridge literally wibbled and wobbled until the closed it and fixed the issue. This has even greater significant because in the Harry Potter movie “Order of the Phoenix” the bridge was destroyed by the death eaters when in shook until falling into the river below. I am here to let you know that it was put back together by Harry and the gang and is rather sturdy.

The Fleet Street Pubs were pretty classy places and I was a bit surprised to find them to be pretty empty. I guess coming to them on a Wednesday evening isn’t the most popular of times. I know that I felt very underdressed in my jeans and t-shirt but the atmospheres were generally very warm and friendly. We did not make it to all of the pubs in part because the groups got separated and my group spent some time searching for them which made me really miss being able to text/call peoples mobiles. I tried what I thought was Dooms Day which went down really smooth with a lot of flavor that unfortunately left an odd aftertaste in my mouth. I then got a beer based off of how goofy the name was… The Mad Goose however is one that I will avoid from here on out due to the extremely bitter taste to it. The Black Gold Stout was probably my favorite beer due to the fact that it was very smooth and very flavorful with a coffee like initial burst of tastiness.

Another great evening to add to the growing list from this trip.

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Shakespeare’s Humble Abode

The Olympic quest took a jaunt up to Stratford on Avon which is the very place that Shakespeare called home. While his home was very cool and interesting to see along with his wife Ann Hathaway residence I was personally more interested in Stratford itself. It was extremely interesting for me to see the towns from numerous books almost jump out of my imagination and present itself as this wonderful little place.

I do say little because that was how it felt, as though we were in a small cozy village where everyone knew everyone else. That was until our guide Jon informed us that the city was home to 25,000 people. I could not believe how the atmosphere really was able to fool me into believing that there were such small amount of people when I was completely wrong.

We’ll be going through to tube this evening to take a gander at the st. Paul cathedral as well as the millennium bridge that was in the order of the phoenix. After that jaunt we’ll be checking out the pubs on fleet street. Should be quite the adventure!

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Long Flights, Dull Layovers, and Turbulence

From the very first time we stepped on the plane back in the Chicago terminal we haven’t really gotten comfortable in any location outside of our homes in Minnesota but out of all the days we have traveled none have been as long or uncomfortable as the trip from Hong Kong. With a total of 20 hours on a plane and 26 with our layover in Jordan you can imagine our excitement for finally be rid of these planes.

It has been quite the movie marathon however and I seriously wonder how people could stand being on these flights without watching them. I love to read but with such a huge amount of time spent in one position I have a really hard time not focusing on the outcries coming from my buttocks and on the plot of the book. One this that has been a great surprise has been the food that they have served us. Chicken with noodles, shrimp, pork, meatballs, crescent rolls, salads, and even more stuff. I always thought I had heard that airplane food was awful and while this guy isn’t a picky eater I generally have enjoyed each and every meal we have been served.

Today I was incredulous when I heard that we would be traveling from Hong Kong to Bangkok making a 2 1/2 hour detour from Jordan. I guess that meant that we would haves a shorter time sitting around in the airport be man was I struggling with the lack of leg room. In Bangkok we were not allowed to leave the plane so all 14 hours were spent crammed in between two people who did not have much respect for elbow room.

I wish that when we had arrived in Jordan that they would have allowed us to take a step outside I think that I would have literally run a lap or two of the airport (it was tiny but still) just so that my legs could get a little bit of work in. I did take note of a few things i found interesting about the way things were done at this airport. First of all was that when I ordered my KFC they did not first let me have the pop and then wait for the food they flipped it and instead went food first drink later. I have been pondering the thought process behind this way of doing things and due to the small size of the cup I thInk it makes sense,

The other thing is unfortunately related to KFC as well but the wrappers and everything were bussed for us by an employee. I felt a little bit awkward because of the facts that I am used to doing this all by myself and having someone wait on me with fast food seemed so unnecessary.

The final thing I am going to talk about is that in the airport each section of gates has their own set of security scanners and metal detectors. This is very different from each airport that I have been to previously where everyone goes through the pretty singular area of security and then are not required to go through any more. Another thing is with the gender roles in the different countries, they had a completely different area screened off specifically for women to travel through at each security checkpoint.

While I am excited to get to London I think that I am actually even more excited to see my hotel bed and falling right on top of the covers to sleep. The moment of greatness will come when I awake fully (or as close as possible) to see London sprawling out before me and my classmates.

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China and the Next Adventure

Wow it has been a terrible time trying to get on here to post with the firewall of china blocking pretty much any type of social site on the web. But here I am at last! it has been a fabulous time traveling the world and here are a few pictures (below) that give you a good idea of what I have seen and done thus far. We have quite the day of traveling ahead as we will be taking a new plane from Jordan to the U.K. I’ll be back on in a few days to discuss the few things that I have noticed that relate to what I’m doing with marketing and the international business world.

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Becoming a World Traveler

This January I am going on an olympic quest with a group of 25 other students. We leave today actually… I must say that I am rather nervous for the experience as this is the first time I will truly be out of the country. But I am still very excited for the adventures ahead and the memories that we will all make. I will be attempting to update this blog daily about the wonders I have seen and the experiences that I have enjoyed, If however I do not have that capability please follow the class blog found HERE to learn for the perspective of each student what is going on in our lives. I got some fancy gadgets so I hope that along with my thoughts you’ll actually get to see some pictures as well!

Like I said, the adventure starts today, with a 13 hour flight I’ll be in China before you know it and then it will be London 14 days after that. I am ready, I am excited,

and so we go.