Travel Writing Awards Entry


Why did I agree to this? Karen Quinn wondered to herself. I’ll get to visit two

beautiful cities but is that really worth almost a month away

from home?

  She sighed and told herself it would be fun. It was just her nerves kicking in. Karen

listened into the conversation the two girls beside her were having. They were on the

trip too.

  The two girls were saying how excited they were about the trip.

 “It’s going to be great!” said the woman with the blonde hair.

 “I know, we’ll be visiting some great cities and the photographer will teach us how to

take some amazing photos,” replied the other woman.

 “What cities are we visiting again?” the first woman asked, “Rome and Madrid?”

 “Yeah, they’re the ones,” said the other woman.

 Karen was on was a college trip. She went to an Art College where her Mum taught

and there was a summer trip available to go three cities and a lecture with a

professional photograph.

Karen’s Mum insisted she went.

 “It’ll be a great opportunity for you, so you should definitely go,” she said.

  Her Mum wouldn’t take no for an answer. None of Karen’s friends were going on

the trip. It was too expensive, they had said to her.

  The first city they were visiting was Rome. A city Karen had always wanted to go to

and she was excited about going there. She was just about nervous of who her she’d

be sharing a room with.

 “So what’s your name?” asked the blonde girl.

 “I’m Karen,” she said, “You?”

 “I’m Michelle and this is Louise, we’re sisters” she said.

 “Cool!” Karen said.

 “Are you excited?” Louise asked

 “I’m a bit nervous because I don’t know anyone here. My Mum’s Mrs Quinn and she

insisted I came,” Karen said.

  “I know Mrs Quinn!” said Michelle, “She did a lecture about drawing people and


 “Shame that you don’t know anyone,” said Louise sympathetically, “Still, you know

us now.”

 Karen was feeling a lot better now. At least I know someone.

 A couple of hours later the plane landed and Mr Umbridge, who was in charge of the

trip gathered up everyone.

 “Now, you all know the rules. You are representing the college bla de bla bla. I’m

sure you’ve had it all through school and collage. So just behave and don’t do

anything I’d not do,” he said.

 Someone wolf whistled and another person cheered. All the pupils liked Mr

Umbridge, he was funny.

  “Not everyone here knows everybody so to allow to a chance to meet and spend time

with new people, myself and the other staff on the trip have chosen, at random, who

will be sharing rooms for the duration of the two weeks in Rome, and the next two

weeks in Madrid” he said.

  Mr Umbridge started reading out who people were sharing with and what room

number they were to go to. Karen was to share a room with Michelle, and two other

girls called Alex and Zoë.

  Later that night Karen was in her room with all the other girls sharing with her. The

hotel was lovely as was their room. They had met the photography tutor and he told

them once he gave them a lecture the next day, the rest of the trip was theirs to do

what they wanted. The photos they took over the trip could be put in their portfolio.

Karen had talked to everyone in her room. They were all really nice girls.

  At the lecture the next day the photographer, Dave, showed them some really cool

stuff that Karen was definitely going try that trip. Later that day Mr Umbridge and all

the other staff took them to Pantheon!

 “This is amazing!” she said to Michelle as the bus was approaching the place.

    “I know, it’s beautiful,” Michelle replied, “I’ve always wanted t come here but I

never thought I would!”

 “Me neither,” Karen said.

  Before they all went in everyone was taking pictures of the entrance, including

Karen. This is the life, she thought. Karen got some amazing photographs. She loved

the pillars, it was beautiful. Inside was even better; the circle ceilings that she’d seen

in pictures were much more gorgeous in real life.

  Karen’s time in Rome seemed to fly. They visited some awesome landmarks

including the Circus Maximus, Palazzo Farnese, Domus Aurea and Karen’s favourite,

The Colosseum. It was like nothing Karen had seen before. The photos she took of

turned out great and she couldn’t wait to show her parents and her friends. 

  Karen found herself -with what only seemed minutes but was really two weeks- back

on a plane to another country, Spain, heading for the capital, Madrid. This time she

was sitting with Zoë and Alex. The plane journey was ten times better than the last

one but the turbulence was really bad.

  At midnight, the plane landed in Madrid. The weather was cool, but still very warm,

it was lovely. After the luggage was sorted they left for the hotel and when the arrived

they got a pleasant surprise. The hotel was gorgeous! The outdoor pool was amazing

too. Mr Umbridge said they’d be able to “chill out” there if they wanted.

   “You missing everyone back home?” Alex asked her one night about a week into

their time at Madrid.

 “Yeah, my friends and my Mum,” she said, “How about you?”

 “My parents mostly, all my friends are here,” she replied.

 “I can’t wait to get home but I’ll be sad when the trip’s over, it’s been so different

from anything I’ve ever done,” Karen said.

  The group toured all around Madrid. Karen was glad she decided to come and she

had made some great friends.
  On the plane back home she decided she was going to travel the world. In years to

come, Karen did travel the world, spending from a few days to six months in different

countries, but that’s another story.