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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

International traveling has provided Emma VanTongeren with beautiful views of the world

Emma+is+in+love+with+traveling+the+world+which+includes+the+beautiful+oceans.
Emma is in love with traveling the world which includes the beautiful oceans.

As an avid traveler, senior Emma VanTongeren has been to 13 countries with the aspiration of adding many more to that list. 

“I’ve been to 13 countries,” Emma said. “I know off the top of my head the USA, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Ecuador, Ireland, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Vatican City (if you count that; it’s technically a country, but it’s tiny), and Uganda.

Many people love to travel to gain new experiences and broaden their horizons of understanding the world. Often traveling with either her mom or dad, Emma has traveled to several European countries. She has also gone to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with the school’s science department for an educational exploration. 

Traveling to all these countries has helped Emma further explore the world in new depths and see places that are different from the United States. Whether it’s the food, landscape, or the atmosphere of a country, Emma has loved everywhere she has traveled to, but two have appealed to her the most. 

“[The countries] are all so good for different reasons,” Emma said. “But, if I had to choose, I think I’d choose Ireland as my favorite. The food was really good, and the people were nice. The culture and history were also very interesting.”

Besides Ireland, Emma is fascinated with the beauty of Alaska. Although still in the U.S., Alaska feels like somewhere foreign. The mountains and landscape are completely different from here in Michigan, and Emma is in love with the scenery. 

Traveling to beautiful places is a goal for many people and oftentimes a top bucket list item, and Emma has been able to check many traveling checkboxes. Even though she has been to so many countries and exotic places, Alaska has been the most notable when it comes to beauty.

“Alaska [is the prettiest] by a mile,” Emma said. “I kind of feel like other places are just mountainous. You drive around, and there is a beautiful lookout, but just in one place. Alaska is like that everywhere. You can look out the window anywhere and just be like, ‘Wow, oh my gosh, that is beautiful.'”

I kind of feel like other places are just mountainous, you drive around and there is just a beautiful lookout, but just in one place. Alaska is like that everywhere. You can look out the window anywhere and just be like, ‘Wow, oh my gosh, that is beautiful.’

— Emma VanTongeren

Besides basing what places she has traveled on beauty and overall likability, Emma also thoroughly enjoys the food. Traveling for food can be a purpose or just a perk, but for Emma, it was a highlight of Greece. Greece is known for its delicious food along with its beautiful scenery.

Her traveling companions on her trips are typically her parents, whom she is very grateful for because they make her world travels possible. She is grateful for the exposure to different cultures and places, seeing cool things, and the lifelong memories made with those she loves. It’s important to her to see different places to have new experiences that are beneficial to gaining perspective on how the rest of the world is versus life in the U.S.

“I’m very lucky,” Emma said. “I’m very grateful I get to travel because my family likes to travel a lot. I think it’s really good to get exposure to different cultures and places. It helps give me a different perspective on life. It’s so interesting viewing how other people live and also makes you aware of what other cultures are like.”

Everyone has a dream vacation, and Emma has her mind set on two specific locations. The life and culture of Japan are intriguing to many people, like Emma. There are busy, crowded cities but also peaceful and scenic rural areas that provide an escape from the business of the city.

Emma’s other dream vacation would be to travel to New Zealand, which is known for its stunning landscapes and nature. The island nation is relaxed and provides a beautiful, outdoor adventure.

“I would love to go to Japan or New Zealand. Japan has a cool culture, and it is also very beautiful. New Zealand has gorgeous mountains, and I like to do things like hiking.”

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About the Contributor
Olivia Rainey, Staff Writer
Olivia is a senior entering her first year on The Central Trend. She has always had a love for writing and is looking forward to ending high school on staff. Outside of writing, she loves spending time with her horse Fitz, hanging out with friends, and listening to music. Although she has no musical talent whatsoever, Olivia loves rock n' roll and punk rock and can always be found listening to music. She wishes she had joined the TCT staff earlier, but she's excited and glad that she decided to join for her senior year. Her favorite bands: Blink-182 and The Offspring Her weirdest thing she's written: An essay about toasting bread in junior year Her Starbucks order: A venti Strawberry Crème Frappuccino with extra strawberry purée Her favorite TV show: South Park

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