Jayda and her mom in Europe


Traveling throughout Europe has taught me life skills. I have had the opportunity to cry, laugh, experience frustration, and have adventures. I find it difficult to remind myself that what I have experienced here in Europe is no longer a dream. With Thanksgiving approaching, we are starting to realize how important the people in our lives are to mental and physical health. Regardless of how much fun we are having, there is no denying that as time goes on, we start to miss home.

Since I’ve started my journey here in England, I was given the chance to travel to Paris, France. Not only was it on my bucket list to visit France, but I got to visit the Palace of Versailles and experience going to the top of the Tour de Eiffel Tower with my mother. Seeing her again after weeks of separation made me realize that she has been my comfort blanket growing up. Paris was an impactful trip in both of our lives.

As I watched her walk through the gardens in the Palace of Versailles, the light hit her so perfectly. I could feel her happiness and I could sense her feeling of relief. I saw a different side of my mom I was never able to see before. Taking care of a child with disabilities has been an empowering yet also difficult journey for my mother. Growing up trying to help her and my brother was impactful. Since the day he was born she had to choose between motherhood and having her own life. Coming from a family with a special needs child makes you fully appreciate traveling. Given my little brother Max’s limitations, traveling abroad seemed nearly impossible growing up. Witnessing my mom experiencing life without responsibility is a blessing. This time I was finally able to be a part of her journey.

I am beyond blessed, the memories I was able to create with my Mom over the halftime break are incomparable. This has been a life-changing experience as I adapt to healthy habits, experience culture shock, and even manage jet lag. With less than five weeks left, I plan on visiting a few additional historic places, finishing my course work strong, and having some final fun activities with my friends. Studying abroad has been good to me and I’m so happy I got to share this with her.


Jayda At the Palace of Versailles
Eiffel Tower at Night