The Grand Tour was a grand experience. Frankly, I still cannot believe I was able to visit so many of history’s greatest sites. From Pompeii, to the Vatican, to Buckingham Palace, I was able to acquire a lifetime of memories.

I learned that sometimes it is necessary to go out of your comfort zone and try new things. Not everywhere in the world has sweet tea, Fox News, or Sportscenter and on the Grand Tour it is important to branch out a little in order to improve your life. In the past, I never would have visited an art gallery. I did not see the importance of it. I was one of those Americans who was fine with just watching football and living my life in my own world; however, when standing inside the National Gallery in London, it finally hit me after almost fifteen days on the trip that how can I ever learn more, if I do not reach out to what I know little about? It was time to start respecting what I thought I did not care about in order to improve my life for the future.

See, I love America. I am political science major, my father served in the military, and I have a picture of both Ronald Reagan and George Washington hanging above my bed. I never thought I would love anywhere else. In the past I had always thought that America was perfect, even though I knew it was not. Visiting the different cultures across Europe gave me a new idea of the world. It opened my eyes to things I had never seen before. It allowed me to start thinking about the world in a new manner, including my own country. It gave me a new sense of respect for people who are not just like me.


The Grand Tour was more than grand. I think they should rename it to fully encompass what it brought my life, but I am not an English major so I will not try and think of an adjective to describe it better. For now, I will just leave you with a final thought from our good friend Mark Twain,


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”