Elizabeth Sherman in Spain

Well, after a few months of Mr. Kem hassling me to write something for his fancy new travel page on the LCHS website, I finally feel like I know what I want to say.

The simplest way to put this is that my trip to Spain with EF Tours changed my life. It gave me a new outlook and perspective, set my priorities and formed new goals. But there is so much more to the story than just that, and I wouldn’t be doing the experience justice if I didn’t share it.

Here’s a brief summary of what happened.

I went to Italy with Mr. Kem on Liberty’s first ever trip abroad (an experience I could write a whole other letter about), and found out about EF. I “liked” them on Facebook. Fast forward 8 months, and a little ad popped up on the side of Facebook telling me to make a video for the chance of a free trip. So of course I’m going to look into that. Essentially, they were looking for a cast to make a promo video. Obviously a school tour company needs kids to be in videos, but instead of hiring actors, they have kids audition through videos. So I found out this free trip would be a video shoot – not just a vacation (although the entire thing, aside from souvenirs and some meals, was completely free).

I figured the applicant pool was pretty large, so I didn’t have a lot of optimism, but it was an excuse to film my friends and I doing and saying ridiculous things. Honestly, I kind of made my video as a joke. I included a clip of Mr. Schaffer saying “Elizabeth needs this trip because it’s the only thing that will keep her out of prison.” Apparently that got their attention, because I was contacted for a Skype interview. Aside from me being sick at the time, that went pretty well and two weeks later I got the email that I was going to Europe for free in June.

I flew from DIA to Boston and met the film crew and the rest of the cast. It was all very intimidating, as there were two giant cameras, a go-pro, and a boom mic following us around (needless to say we were yelled at by security), all as we were meeting the people we’d spend the next two weeks with.

I could write about what we did each day, or go into detail about how the film and audio crew worked. But in the interest of keeping this document to a reasonable length, instead I’ll simply talk about the big picture.

A few things happened while I was in Spain. Three, actually, to be specific – but three things that have, in four short months, shaped my future, my beliefs, and, simply, me. So I had just graduated from LCHS when I left for this trip. I was enrolled for the fall at Baylor University (Sic ‘Em, Bears), and had a vague idea that I wanted to major in Political Science, or something of that nature. At the same time, I felt that I was WAY too young to be going off to school and felt completely unprepared. I actually felt that way up until move in, so if you’re feeling like you’re not ready to go off to a University, don’t worry because everyone has that feeling. End of sidebar. So I’m going to Spain with all these strangers on a VIDEO SHOOT of all things. I’m not an actress; I never did theatre; it was all very new to me. We were mic-ed daily – little hidden wires literally taped to our skin under clothes all connecting to a box hidden somewhere underneath a jacket or shirt that sometimes overheated and burned us. I make it sound awful, but in fact it was terribly fun. As I mentioned before, two film-quality cameras, one taking stills, a boom mic, and other random equipment followed us everywhere. It didn’t take long for me to be absolutely fascinated by the process. And this little seed of interested has been growing in me ever since then. I literally just talked to my advisor and now plan to Minor in Film and Digital Media (my main passion is still Poli-Sci). I could NOT be more excited about this.

I realize that this is all rather long winded, so thanks for sticking with me thus far.

The other major thing that I realized on this trip was the importance of travel. And this coincides with my third point. I met people on this trip that I now talk to on a daily basis and are, without a doubt, some of the best friends I have ever had. The experience was something indescribable – being immersed in a different culture, being lost in a tangle of narrow streets, speaking broken Spanish but trying to interact with the locals all the same. When you step back and look at the history around you and beauty of everything, life begins to take your breath away. Spain made me realize that travel isn’t something optional for me. It made me see that a lot of people live saying “One day I want to do this” or “When I have enough money I’d like to do that” or “When this happens I can do it.” I realized in Spain that I can’t get LIFE get in the way of LIVING. I learned so much about myself and the world in a few short days that I know it’s not even optional to live by “one days” and “what ifs.”

As cheesy as it may sound, I owe a lot to EF and to Spain. It taught me so much about life and myself – where I want my future to go and what I want it to look like.

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