Journey of Adversity Builds Character

Kate Ginley, Opinion Editor

The day before Father’s Day, I was Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, running around the house and yelling, “I’m going on an adventure!”

Our trip to Europe was nothing if not an adventure.

My family and I were supposed to leave at 6 AM on Fathers’ day but the flight was unexpectedly canceled. We rushed to the airport, trying to get ourselves onto another plane.

The woman behind Delta’s desk proceeded to tell us jokes rather than provide anything useful: “What did the sushi roll say to the bee? Wasabi!”

I was not amused.

After a 30 minute layover in LA, where we rushed through the airport like the McCallaster clan from Home Alone: Lost in New York, we enjoyed a flight with screaming children, high turbulence, and a lovely selection of movies ranging from Penguins of Madagascar to Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Keepin’ it classy, Delta.

When we reached our destination, our fabulous luck continued: My luggage was apparently left in California by the airline. Guess who got to go shopping on Delta’s dime?

With new clothes, , and new sunburns on my pasty Irish skin, I was a new me.

I explored the wonders of Spain, including La Sagrada de Familia, a magnificent church that has been in the works for over a hundred years, as well as a street market where a man tried to con me into buying a coconut. Spain has beautiful architecture, art and of course, the most delicious food. Being so close to the Mediterranean ocean has its perks, especially for seafood and a delicacy called tomato bread.

Yet, the best thing in Spain is the mountain made famous by the hit television show Friends: Mount Tibidabo. Not only does this mountain have an amusement park, it has a terrific church that towers over the city.

Cue some Beatles music, because my next stop was England.

The best thing in England is the Harry Potter studio, which contains the sets and props of Hogwarts. At the end of the tour, there was a model of Hogwarts. My eyes started to water.

On the 4th of July, my family was either the bravest or stupidest Americans of all time.  We decided to visit parliament. Our tour guide admitted that Americans of the revolution were right because the Magna Carta stated: “no taxation without representation.” The woman asked me if the American public school system taught politics, to which I responded that after the Revolution, its all just politics.

She wasn’t impressed.

Later, while the tour guide was explaining about King Henry VII and his eight wives, I added that at my old middle school, we learned about Henry and his wives from the YouTube parody of ABBA’s “Money, Money, Money.” I proceeded to sing “Henry, Henry, Henry, had so many, wives that had to die. Henry, Henry, Henry, had so many, only one survived.”

I was promptly escorted out of the building.

Nevertheless, Saint Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only one page.”

My advice: Don’t stay trapped in the bubble! Break out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to adventure. Who ever developed a great character without facing some adversity?

The thing to remember about life is to actually live it.