Notes from Abroad

Hey UVM, not all of us get internships over the summer. While most were scrambling for jobs at home or kicking around Burlington, junior Zach Holz had the oppurtunity to broaden his horizons on a 2-month trip across Europe. The following are excerpts from his travels….

Expectation. I had been propelling myself towards my lifelong goal of the “Grand Tour” for years, and I now was actually able to realize it. This was my chance to experience what I had only had the briefest taste of in my previous excursions. I had been to Europe twice before, three weeks in England the first time, two weeks in Austria and Hungary the second time.

On this trip, however, I was to be on my own for most of it, and to tell the truth, I didn’t know if I could really handle it. I had never traveled seriously on my own, my other trips had been with my family or with my orchestra tour. But this summer was to be my own.

Before I left life had been intriguing and beguiling. But as the date approached for my flight from the states, my current intrigues lessened in their ability to hold me and the future prospects loomed larger. I was finally going. Here is an excerpt from my travel journal.

“Feelings? Excitement, of course. The journey of a lifetime is about to start; all I have to do is experience it. All arrangements are made. I have lodging accounted for every night on the itinerary. Thank god for the Lorazapan and Nyquil we have to knock us out or else I wouldn’t be able to sleep over the racket those damn butterflies in my stomach are making. Only a few more hours on American soil, then we go to a place that has culture beyond Wall-Mart and McDonalds, where there was western culture and capitalistic exploitation hundreds of years before it was known this continent even existed.”

The plane was an experience in modifying my own biorhythms. With the drugs I had taken, I was able to conquer one of the traveler’s worst enemies: jet lag. It was my goal to arrive on European soil completely refreshed. British Airlines had treated me well. Our security check had flaunted all American post 9-11 insecurities. We were breezed through our FAA checkers and greeted with a mini-bar bottle of wine. I was 19, but in the air, I was completely legal, and completely wasted. With all the pharmaceuticals, all I was prepared to do was pass out. And I did.

My connection landed at Heathrow. The caviar stores at Heathrow impressed me and repulsed me at the same time; $1500 an ounce was far too much, even for an experienced stoner. Oddly enough, England looked exactly like an upscale Pittsburg, with its airport mall and duty free shoppers. Economics works everywhere.