VOX staffer, Rebecca takes us along her travel adventure this summer. This is the first in a series. Rebecca, 16, hopes to inspire teen readers around Atlanta to travel the world and take in all of its wonders.
On Friday, May 27, at precisely 5:30 p.m., my family embarked on a three-week odyssey. I chose the word “odyssey” (besides the fact that our car is a Honda Odyssey) because it would be an understatement to call this trip just a vacation, for all of our end-of-school year family trips are more like epic journeys, and I am above excited to bring all of you with me.
Our first destination was our country’s capital, Washington D.C. After a long, two-day car ride filled with phrases such as “are we there yet?” and “I need to go pee!” the five of us finally arrived to a very hot and humid city. It felt as though we had driven south from Atlanta instead of north, but we were very lucky because all of us packed shorts.
I had been to Washington D.C once before with my eighth grade class. With this prior trip in mind, I was confident I knew where all the monuments were located and in what direction the White House was (since the only thing my brothers were interested in seeing was the “big white house where the president lives”).
To my surprise and disappointment, I remembered absolutely nothing about directions and where to go. It seemed the city had switched its coordinates just to lead me astray. Thank goodness my dad possesses a talent for directions, so my lack of navigation skills was forgiven.
On this hot sunny day in D.C, everyone on the streets was trying to find some indoor amusement to revel in the frosty aura of air conditioning. My family chose the Museum of Natural History. My seven-year old brother was super excited, for he was convinced that there would be live dinosaurs.
We spent many hours looking at the fossils, live tarantulas and butterfly gardens. Later in the day, we strolled around the many monuments around the White House. Grasping at the fence surrounding the White House, my brothers were trying to look through every window to see if they could catch a glimpse of Barack Obama.
The monuments — such as the Lincoln, Jefferson, Korean War and the Washington monuments — were just as spectacular and impressive as in their pictures. The monuments that were on the other side of the National Mall such as the Korean and Vietnam Memorials, serve as a constant reminder that “freedom is not free.”
It felt so exhilarating to be walking along the same grounds where so many events that shaped our country occurred and to be in the city that was named the capital in our Constitution by our founding fathers like Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. It was also nice to spill out a few facts I learned from the rigorous U.S. history classes at school, which occasionally impressed my parents.
We ended our stay by visiting the Capitol building, which overlooks all of the city. I decided to use the picture of the capitol building as the main photo of this blog because I realized that the First Amendment that gave us the right to free speech and press originated in this very building. Without this right, the teens at VOX would not be able to publish such personal, exciting and inspiring stories. They would not be able to express their opinions on the world and society and try to change the world for the better by publishing captivating pieces. My stay in Washington D.C. has been both intriguing and thrilling.
I cannot wait to bring you to my next destination. My hint for you is that the name of the city is often associated with a delicious fruit that can be picked in the fall. Stay tuned!