The One About the Journey

Every family is not without their traditions. Each holiday, my cousins gather together (no, we are not at all mischievous), stuff our faces with savory delights…and watch aged (no, classic) Mary Kate and Ashley movies. This tradition not only allows us to reminisce about holidays past, but reinforces how much we have grown over the course of our lives.

So why do I mention this unique and, frankly, strange tradition? Luck should have it that this year’s MKA movie selection was a flick entitled, Getting There. For those of you who are not aware of the plot line, Getting There is based on the girls’ difficult adventure to go see the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  In a nutshell: their car gets stolen, hearts are broken, and they get stranded in a lot of random places. They eventually end up at their destination and enjoy what time is left for the games. At the end of the movie, Mary Kate utters the underlying moral of the film, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”

As soon as she spoke those words, in that teeny-bop drawl of hers, I instantly thought about the journey I am to begin on January 1st. As part of the Holocaust Journey class, I will be joining 29 fellow students and 2 professors to venture across Europe to learn about the horrific and important intricacies of this solemn time period. We will be visiting a total of four countries: The Netherlands, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Some of our stops will include the Anne Frank House, the Jewish National Museum, Sachsenhausen, Auschwitz, Treblinka, the Jewish Ghetto in Prague, the Nuremberg Courthouse and many other locations.

Many have asked me why I wanted to be a part of such a “downer” trip. Yes, the content is almost unbearable to comprehend, but there is so much more to this journey than the destinations. I have been blessed with an incredible life, one that provides me with a college education, 21st century luxuries, and a loving family that protects me every day. My sense of loss is minimal at best, and I have never been put into a situation where my basic human instincts intervene. I know that I live in a world where this is not the case in every person’s life. Just this past month, America was shocked when shots were fired at rescue crews and innocent children were killed in their own classrooms. Senseless horror is still a reality in our lives, so isn’t it important to make an effort to learn and think forward?  I believe that it is important to analyze the past, recognize the present, and use our knowledge to better the future. If we all could accomplish this feat, who knows what our world could become?

I am not a writer by any means. In fact, some of you can personally vouch that I tend to get grumpy when I am forced to write. However, I am taking on this blog as a challenge to share my experiences at as many as these sites as I can. I hope that we can all not only learn from the significance of these destinations, but develop throughout the journey.

And now, to pack. Auf wiedersehn!

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1 thought on “The One About the Journey

  1. Kelly,

    I wish for you safe travels as you undertake this journey. When I was 13, I went on a three-week Wittenberg Heritage tour that included a stop at Buchenwald. Though a difficult day, it has stayed with me since and I know your trip will be filled with many such memories.

    I’m sorry you won’t be stopping in England-Sarah is in Wolverhampton serving a year with the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission and would be so happy to see you!

    Peace be with all of you in the coming weeks,

    Lisa Watson

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