Coming to England has been such an eye-opening and wonderful experience. The places we visited are far more influential in person than simply reading about them in a textbook. Now that I have seen things like naves, arrow loops, and Roman mosaics, I can now easily picture these things, and make connections to the places I have been to. While visiting absolutely stunning castles and cathedrals was awe-inspiring in itself, I came to appreciate something less obvious on the trip. Whenever we needed to take a long train or bus ride, I always loved watching the landscape out the window. We often passed gorgeous rolling green hills with sheep or horses peacefully grazing, which will forever be the image that comes to mind when I think of England. I also loved that on this trip we got to do more than just tourist sites and truly experience the raw English culture. Another one of my favorite experiences on this trip was simply talking with not only the locals, but also with other tourists and comparing adventures. I've met people from New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Brazil, France, and Germany, all of whom had fantastic stories to share. I think one of the most valuable lessons I've learned from this trip is to be willing to talk to anyone. I've learned so much about English culture, where the best pubs and restaurants are, and the best local sites to visit all from the local people. Coming to England and Wales was definitely a culture shock, but it was equally historically engaging. We got to be in and touch the very castles that real kings built, where real knights once stood, and shot long bows through arrow loops, where the rich and poor once came to worship in grand cathedrals, and finally where Romans had once bathed in elaborate baths and spas.
Overall, I have made so many lasting friendships, learned about Welsh and English history, and experienced so many cultural differences that I'm sure I will never forget any of them. This has been an experience of a lifetime and I will treasure all of my memories (and photos) forever. Leaving this gorgeous country will certainly be bitter-sweet. I'm ready to be home in my own bed, with more clothing options, with normal flushing toilets, and American bacon. However, I'm certainly going to miss the sense of adventure I experience everyday while I've been here, the interesting people I meet everyday, and unimaginable amount of history that surrounds me everyday. Well England, it's been fun, one eight hour flight before I'm back to real life. Cheerio!!!