I've always dreamt of traveling ever since as far back as I can remember. The country that my heart was most set on visiting for my first trip outside of the continent was Italy. I used to say that I was Italian at stomach, and that meant that I was at least a little Italian at heart. However, these plans took a little detour, as my first opportunity to explore the world came in the form of a high school trip through Central Europe.
Looking back, it was such a different time and place. Even though it's only been about 10 years, it feels like it was another world. Digital cameras weren't huge yet, so everyone was using film, hauling around a million canisters that had to be rationed and worrying about whether the x-ray machine in airport security would destroy them. After returning and getting our rolls processed, we would have a mini reunion, each person lugging a couple giant, Ziplock freezer bags with all their photos along with one extra set for people to nab first come first serve. I, having been overstimulated by the constant familiarity yet foreignness of my surroundings - a level of enthusiasm that one can only experience on their first trip abroad - took excessive snaps of silly things, like license plates and just about any everyday object.
Now, for anyone flabbergasted at our camera situation, wait until you hear about the phones. It's hard to imagine going to bed or waking up without the internet at your fingertips, but the coolest phone at the time was the Motorola Razor. Calls had to be made through a cheap phone card that chewed up 5$ just making the connection, allowing you to get a quick, "HiI'mfineGoodbyeee" before the credit would cut, and the idea of getting online was laughable. At night, we would entertain ourselves by playing rounds of Egyptian ratscrew, slapping as hard as we could until our hands were battered and red. While I don't believe that modern smartphones have caused as much social disconnection as certain generations love to exclaim, I am glad that for this trip at this age, the lack of technology forced us to constantly interact with one another, even if it was sometimes too much. In hindsight, knowing that time and money and life make it harder and harder to travel with your friends, I'll always be grateful that we had this opportunity.
Cities: Munich, Passau, Prague, Vienna, Budapest
Date: July 2006
Camera: Canon Sure Shot 85 Zoom