So over the last month I have posted about the daily activities of my journey from Mikolow, Poland to Markelo, the Netherland’s and all the adventures that happened in between. I have now been home for a week and yes I know my posts were a little off but that isn’t important. I feel as though I need closure for the trip, one last post that defines all that was learned and experienced over those 19 days in one place.
This trip has been a trip of a life time that has given me lasting memories and new friends, nothing that I will soon forget. The Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour, this is the tour I am a part of, and I am honoured to have had the chance to take part in something so crucial to my understanding of history. I was able to see both sides of WW2 and mourn those lost and build a new compassion for those who are on the battlefield. I know my role is small, because it is not about me, but rather the people who I will talk about. Frank Graham, Bert Reynolds, Brent Graham and Erik Paskcamp are all living examples of the sacrifices made to keep peace, and those are examples to live by.
It was an intense experience where I got to face my worst fears and gain new understanding and compassion as well as a passion for what we are doing and why, as we made our way across Europe I will remember the different experiences that people faced, the lack of choice and freedom. There were a lot of times on this trip where I thought to myself “this. this is why were are doing this” and it took those realizations to push forward and tell the stories that were learned on the trip as more than stories but lessons. It makes me appreciate my freedom and want to share my voice on these things and show others
It is a hard job but someone has to do it and after meeting Frank Graham I have been inspired and honoured to go under his name around Europe and share both his stories, as well as other veterans and survivors. Their stories won’t end with them, they will spread and gain voice as we return home we will spread them and make sure the atrocities of war will not occur again. I am no longer scared of these things because through understanding comes knowledge and with knowledge we have power. Power to be free and power to create change. And that’s what I plan to do.
I also feel the need to speak directly about the trip as a whole, the experience of doing this with 49 other kids. I have been so lucky to meet the people on this trip, they are some of the nicest people that I was lucky to spend time with.
Being in a group of 50 people for 3 weeks really screws with you, you share rooms, meals, clothing and stories and after those three weeks are up you are expected to return home. But I am not like that. I can’t just leave what I have just found, who would have known I would have made such amazing friends here?
(yes thats a snapchat)
I guess it expected after being in such close quarters and seeing all of these things together would bring us closer. No words can describe my experience here, it has only been one week since my trip and I can’t help but talk about these people like I seen them yesterday.
Perhaps eventually these memories will fade and new ones will replace the old and friends will become strangers. But I am hoping that I have created a lasting impression on these people that won’t fade, that will last until we can meet again. But I know one thing for sure, I will go back.
I don’t know if any of you will ever read this but if you do, you are people who have become dear to me and despite my sarcastic attitude I care about all of you. Until we meet again.