"the trusted voice of teens who travel"
April 14th, 2013
From March 23-30 I traveled with a group called WIT Travel to New Orleans. Two other high schoolers and me planned the trip with the goal of promoting the idea of teenagers everywhere making volunteering part of their travels. Below is my blog from day 7, more will be posted over the course of the week.
The desktop image on my computer is a quotation by Kurt Vonnegut that says, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” I love that quote, but the kind of moments that make me think of it are very rare. They have to be spontaneous, a scrap of time where I abandon all stress and truly immerse myself in the beauty surrounding me.
Today, I actually had multiple moments like that. The first was when we volunteered at KIPP McDonough 15 School for the Creative Arts. While we were in the auditorium filling snack bags, some of the third and fourth grade students had an assembly. We were concentrated on organizing the bags, half-paying attention to the proceedings around us, until the end. Then, suddenly, two teachers started singing and playing guitar to the song “Lean on Me”. A chorus of all of the kids’ voices rose up, and all the WIT members couldn’t help but stop and listen. I’ve heard a lot of childrens’ groups sing before, but nothing can beat the sound of a hundred kids from one of the most musical cities on Earth. It was a really heartwarming, stunning moment that I could have stayed in forever.
Then, later and in a completely different situation, I felt the same way. We had lunch at the Green Goddess, an innovative restaurant located in a small nook of the French Quarter. It’s on what’s either a narrow street or a wide alley which looks like it should belong to a European city. We ate a great meal on the outdoor patio, as the sun came out and warmed us. It felt so slow and relaxed there, and I could have simply sat and watched people pass by us all day.
Instead of doing that, we continued on with our activities. We visited the aquarium and insectarium, then did some work at our hotel. For dinner, we walked to the Palm Court Jazz club, an all-ages restaurant with a live band that plays every night. We had seats with a good view of the band, and I enjoyed a delicious, classic Nola meal of sausage gumbo. When I was finished with my food, I again had that well-fed, content feeling. The sound of New Orleans jazz surrounded me, and I was completely engrossed in the experience.
This whole day, but especially those three wonderful snapshots of it, will be the source of a lot of nostalgia for me in the weeks ahead. As I plunge into school and the craziness of my routine at home, I know I will find myself looking back on those moments and remembering those rare feelings of complete bliss.
To learn more about our trip, visit facebook.com/WIT.Travel or follow WIT_Travel on Instagram and twitter.