The Top 11 Moods of an American High Schooler in Europe (circa 2003)

More travel news, friends!


I found out this past week that I’ve been selected to lead a group of high school students to France through The Experiment for three weeks this summer. I couldn’t be more excited!

As I was looking for the good ol’ passport, I came across a box of photo albums with one on the top: My own trip to Europe as a high schooler.

Even though A. I was once a teen myself, and B. I have a passionate, smart, emotional 16-year-old sister, I can’t predict what it will be like to travel with a group of 10-12 teenagers for three consecutive weeks. This photo album helped me remember the highs, the middles and the lows of my own trip abroad. I went with my still-best-friend-from-middle-school, Erica, and we were a mess – cargo pants, hoodies, acne and all. Enjoy!

The Top 11 Moods of an American High Schooler in Europe (circa 2003)

While abroad for the first time, I felt…

1. Appreciative of the arts at the Louvre.



Especially when we could be participants. (Erica later became a Medieval Art Historian – maybe this is where it all began?)

2. In awe of the beauty of the Swiss landscape.


3. Like a Swiss model in the rain.


(I have yet to become a Swiss model.)

4. Like a princess escaping a castle.


Disguised in a hoodie.

5. Camera-ready in front of miscellaneous flowers.


Cargo pants in full glory.

6. Camera-fatigued on the streets of Paris.


7. Excited-awkward with the new Austrian host family.


8. Badass at a festival outside Vienna.



9. Really (really) exhausted in Italy…


…except when eating gelato.


10. Silly on a slide to a salt mine.


And most importantly…

11. Empowered to take on the world.


Or at least the Leaning Tower.

So what can I expect? I still don’t know, but I got a good laugh seeing the rainbow of moods I experienced when I went abroad for the first time. 

Categories: Reflection, Travel, Youth

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2 replies »

  1. Wow. Thank you for this blast from the past. My first thought about my former angsty teenage self is: “Damn, girl! Brush your hair! Exercise! Get some flattering clothes! Get some self-confidence and self-awareness while you’re at it!” And then I accept it as a special time in our lives we can look back on both with horror and relief that we’ve since developed into awesome people.

    I wish you the best of luck with those navel-gazing ingrates, ahem…teenagers.

  2. Erica, I think I may be surprised to find that my group is more mature, and likely more groomed, than I (*cough we*) were. Something about my sister’s generation… I can’t picture Jana ever thinking, “I think I’ll pack this hoodie to take to Paris.” And from what I can tell about this program, it’s a smart and cultured bunch. I will let you know!

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