Essay: emma friary
You Have Arrived at Your Destination
I did not think that I wanted to travel.
My father had been offered an opportunity to work abroad in London for the better part of a year. He was frequently away and somehow convinced his work that his family should be able to come over for the entirety of the summer after my high school graduation. I did not want to be abroad for my last official summer at home. I wanted to be able to go out with my friends, work to save money for college, continue living my life with no interruptions. Instead, I found myself halfway across the world, being forced into a two bedroom apartment, my three younger sisters and I sharing a bedroom.
I ended up loving the experience more than I can put into words. I would wake up in the morning and think, “What’s next?” There was no greater sense of freedom than knowing that I had nowhere to be but in the present moment. Some of my fondest memories are simply walking through Kensington Gardens with a book in my hand, reading below the trees. I bought a leather bag from the 70’s off an old hippie in Notting Hill and ate best Chinese food of my life in Soho. My mom made us sit outside Kensington Palace for Prince George’s first birthday and we caught a glimpse of the queen going by in a green Rolls Royce. I saw a bunch of guys my age walking around with bottles of wine and passing a pineapple back and forth, drinking. To this day, I have no idea what kind of drinking game they were playing but I know that I have always wanted to play it. One day, my family and I all took the train to Windsor castle and wandered around, looking up at the decorated ceilings and exploring the grounds that seemed to be never ending.
The experience of going abroad led to a life of wanting to travel. My best friend had been around Europe and Asia and she texted me one day, “Still want to go to Iceland?” It was a place that we had talked about once. I said, “Yes.” I ended up booking my flight in the parking lot of the bank after walking out. Just five minutes put in motion the plan to travel back to Europe. Once there, we threw ourselves into going to as many places as possible, visiting waterfalls, beaches, the Blue Lagoon, getting lost in the city at night, lava caving, and memorably crashing into an iceberg on our little boat. I wouldn’t have traded my travel experiences for anything.
Traveling is not always glamorous. It involves waiting at airports, experiencing delays, getting lost, and getting sick (I ended up in the hospital in London twice, the same place where, two years later, Princess Charlotte would be born). A life full of traveling means picking out the things that are important to you since everything you need is supposed to fit into a backpack.
There was no kind of arrival at the mindset “I want to spend my life traveling” but I arrived at it nonetheless. I couldn’t imagine anything better than being able to go anywhere in the world. As I learned on this trip, all that I needed was a book, some wine, and a pineapple to play catch.
about the writer: emma friary
Emma Friary is an undergraduate at FSU planning on pursuing her Masters through the school. She draws inspiration from her travels and experiences as well as her favorite novels. Emma’s goal is to publish a book and travel back to Europe in the next year.