Tag Archives: European Adventure

A Student Ambassador-Returns


Finally the day arrived to pick our student ambassador up from the airport. We were receiving texts that they had departed Europe and landed in Atlanta in route to home. Only a few more hours and we could pick her up at the airport and listen to a few of the sure to be numerous stories on the way home. Unfortunately another flight delay altered these plans a little but only by a few hours this time. Sometimes technology helps as we could keep track of the flight as it continued closer and closer bringing our traveler home safely. The Eiffel Tower in France

This has certainly been a different experience as a parent also. To give up the responsibilities as a parent temporarily and trust other people to keep your child safe was difficult. It also means you have to confidence in your child’s ability to make good and smart decisions. Trust can be a difficult thing when put to the test with your children. There was a realization that, sooner than we will be ready for, this child will be departing our home to begin her own story and these feelings we’re having of her being gone won’t be as temporary. Fortunately her return brought relief and a sense of completeness in our family once again. Better enjoy and appreciate it for a few more years!


Since her return was delayed to late during the night, her stories and experiences will mostly have to wait a day. The next few days were filled with stories of adventures and meeting people from different parts of Europe and a lot of sleep as these student ambassadors were pretty exhausted from weeks of constantly moving. Every day there were a few new stories to be entertained with as memories of this adventure continued to be digested. After a few weeks the significance of this opportunity began to take hold and more of an appreciation for this trip surfaced. The more people she began to share this experience with, the more she began to understand how special it was. The full impact likely won’t be known for several years.

The Netherlands

Her favorite part of this European Adventure was her homestay in France. The piece of this trip I was most nervous about. She loved the people she stayed with and the opportunity to relax and explore portions of France at a more leisurely pace. A return to France is now a high priority on her list of places to go when she can. As our travels are pretty well planned out through 2018 with the Monopoly National Parks board, she’ll have to wait a few years but I’m confident she’ll make it happen.


The worst part of this trip was having to stick to a fairly strict schedule which didn’t allow for staying a little longer at one location and spending less time at places of lower interest that was made more strict due to the two lost days from canceled flights. This student ambassador is use to traveling in smaller groups which allow for more flexibility when sightseeing as opposed to a group of over forty people which restricts that flexibility due to the slower pace at which the group travels and the diversity of interests of that group.


There have been some great stories from each country they visited which included England, France, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland. Hopefully she will share some of these here in the future.


A Student Ambassador–The Postcards

Are Postcards Still Used Today?

For the parents of these student ambassadors all we could do was to try and keep busy so that we didn’t spend all of our time looking at the clock and matching it to their itinerary wondering how their flight was going or if everything went ok at the airport and if they have all joined back up again yet. After many hours of wondering messages began to arrive that they had began their journey in London which brought many emotions for us such as relief, excitement, jealousy, and continuing nervousness about what is yet to come for these young travelers on their European Adventure.

Twenty-five years ago when I went on my European Adventure as a student ambassador there were as many options for communication. I believe the only bit of information my friends and family received was a post card sent early in my trip. I’m not sure what is better – receiving a post card and wondering the rest of the time how things were going or hoping to receive a text each day about what they were doing that day and trying to share in their fortunate experience. Frequent communications helped to calm nerves and fill that desire to share in their adventure but it also was a constant reminder that we should have a certain amount of concern about their well being instead of accepting that no news is good news and continue on about our daily activities.

We are extremely blessed to have our friends at Hobbyjeep.com staying with us. It is great to enjoy their company while helping to draw our attention in different directions. I’m very anxious to hear the stories and see pictures from this European Adventure but the event of most concern is their homestay yet to happen. I remember being nervous about staying with strangers in a foreign country but enjoyed my time in the end. Unfortunately I have a bigger fear of this part of their adventure because my student ambassador is female. It may not be fair but it’s my reality. I think there may be less to be concerned about with a male student ambassador but I could never know this as I don’t have any sons.

In the end I am so proud of what this child has done in preparing for this trip and putting aside her fears and reservations and go with over forty other people that she didn’t know before preparing to be a student ambassador. It will provide a different view of this part of the world and help her to understand the world is not always as scary of a place that it is sometimes made out to be. More importantly, I expect she will learn things about herself that wouldn’t be discovered as quickly another way. These student ambassadors will gain more from this adventure as they continue to go through life than they can know right now.

Talk about gaining life experience!

A Student Ambassador–The Trip Begins

Trip Planning Documents

Its been eight months in the planning but the time has finally arrived for the next group of student ambassadors to begin their journey to discover Europe. During this time of preparation there has been funds to raise, travel documents to submit, packing lists to prepare, and picking up those items before now. Let the adventure begin!

And begin it did. Not the way we were hoping though. Finally it was time to leave for the airport. Everybody was nervous as this new experience was beginning. Parents watching as their child meets with their delegation and passes through security. Delegates leaving their families behind for several weeks uncertain of what to expect in Europe. Siblings both sad to see their brother or sister leave for so long and jealous that they were not the ones going. As this group of student ambassadors walked out of sight for the last time, their families, already missing them, slowly dispersed back to their vehicles and returned home anxious to here any small amount of information about their voyage.

Getting Ready to Leave

Soon the text messages began: “the flight is delayed”, “we should be boarding about an hour and a half late”. Since this flight was already an overnight flight, we decided to head to bed with the mobile phone close by. As the night progressed, more texts came describing a later and later boarding time. Finally the phone rang “Come pick me up. Our flight has been cancelled due to mechanical problems and we can’t get another one for two days!” all said with anger, sadness, and exhaustion. These student ambassadors returned home weeks before they were expecting to uncertain of what to do or think. Only knowing that they would miss part of their trip – London – a very important destination on their itinerary.

After getting some sleep and making phone calls and sending emails, the new flight details came along with an updated itinerary which included most of the landmarks that would be missed due to the change in the departing date. This information brought many sighs of relief and a renewed excitement among the delegation. Now the waiting game begins again, watching the hours slowly tick by, anxiously wanting that trip to the airport to arrive again.

Finally it was time to board the vehicle providing transportation to the airport that was the site of so much angst days ago. Again families joined their child as they re-joined their delegation, passed through security, and reluctantly left the airport. Not again! Here come the texts “the plane is delayed.” THIS CAN’T POSSIBLY HAPPEN AGAIN! Can it? This time it was due to the arrival of President Obama. Once he landed and was safely at his hanger, planes began taking off again and this group of Student Ambassadors was in flight. Although this time is was in three separate groups, one headed for Detroit before going to London and the other two headed for Atlanta first. All eventually met up again in London safely to begin their European adventure.

Air Force One