Carter finished her London based study on the scientific revolution and is off traveling on her own. She made a power point presentation to me and Russ in March asking if she could take this extend vacation. It was well thought out, researched and illustrated. We bought in, but at the 90% level. We agreed she could go, stay in hostels, travel alone, but she had to pay for the whole thing herself.

She had two months off before her study in London and she worked hard at multiple jobs, but earned more than enough for her trip. I think she is enjoying it more knowing that she did this all on her own. I’m just glad that now kids have phones, and post things on social media so I can keep up with her while she is away.

My first “alone” trip was right after I had graduated from high school. My parents had moved to London, but were renovating a house so my family lived at the Selsdon Park Hotel in Surrey. I had to share a very small room with my two younger sisters. It was not ideal, so I told my parents I was going to go off traveling. They were happy to be down one child.

My boarding school friend Jennie Hetzler’s older sister had a college friend, Sally Barnes, who was coming to the UK to travel and we met up in London one day decided to go to Scotland together the next day for a month. No planning. No internet. Just a Brit rail pass and a Let’s Go England and Scotland book.

Carter was able to make reservations at her hostels. Sally and I would get off a train someplace and using the book as our guide would run to the hostel with our back packs to try and secure beds for the night before all the other travelers on the train took them. Once there was no space in the hostel so we ran to a close by B&B and got a room. It cost a little more, but it was a nice change.

Carter has filled her days with visiting every palace, church, museum and attraction that she had read about, traveling via tram, bus, boat and scooter. We would wander around trying to figure out if a bus was going the right direction and pray that we got off at the closest stop to a castle we wanted to visit. Often we walked some ways in the opposite direction before we figured out our mistake.

We had to take our back packs with us almost everywhere because there was no way to lock your belonging up in the hostel if we were staying there multiple nights. We also had to bring our own hostel sleeping bags, which were sheets sown into a bag shape. Carter has a locker and a lock to leave her stuff when she goes out and the hostel provides nice sheets and a duvet.

When I went, my parents had no idea where I was for weeks. I think I called them once from the road, but they couldn’t find me if they needed to. Carter and I have had wonderful FaceTime conversations, one because she is able to and two because she doesn’t like to talk to strangers like I do so sometimes she just wants to talk to some one. It was really big that she asked someone to take her photo in front of this church.

Student travel has really improved, but one thing remains the same, it is one of those things that stretches you. The younger you are that you learn to navigate the world on your own, the better off you will be. I am thrilled that Carter proposed this trip for herself. As I remember my trip 40 years ago like it was yesterday, she will remember hers and know that she can do almost anything on her own.

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