A lifelong adventure

Best friends travel Europe together.

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The sun shone through the architecture of Paris as seniors Lauren Tran and Emily Stewart explored the streets of the foreign city. Stewart’s bubblegum pink sunglasses reflected the Eiffel Tower as she gazed upon the towering landmark of the Parisian skyline. The duo strolled across town, with their phones in hand, ready capture the memories from their month-long vacation. After a day of eating authentic French food and coming across adventures on every corner of the city, the girls decided to watch soccer or fútbol as Europeans call it, World Cup in a restaurant. A few hours later, the warm weather was replaced by heavy rain pouring down on the busy French streets as locals’ faces showed the excitement of their World Cup victory. Horns blared, adding to the commotion of the night. Running past the screaming fútbol fans, Tran and Stewart finally made it back to their car, soaking wet but with their hearts full.  


From scampering around the playground of Bridlewood Elementary to exploring the streets of Carcassonne, France, Tran and Stewart have been inseparable for over a decade.  

The path to friendship for the two girls was sparked by something that is quite the opposite: competition. Both of them fighting for the attention of a mutual friend, they had no choice but to speak to each other when she was absent. It was during their daily walks around their elementary school’s playground that they had unintentionally become each other’s person.

“I think it’s because we had so much to say,” Tran said. “We just clicked.”

Over the years, not only have the girls grown close, but their families have become comfortable with each other as well. When Stewart and Tran approached their parents with the idea of traveling alone to Europe, they had enough confidence in them to allow them to go.

Both of Stewart’s parents grew up in Scotland so taking 10-hour flights is a common occurrence in her family. Her two sets of grandparents still live in Europe, so the girls had open arms waiting for them on the other side of the world. One of the most important aspects of this trip for Stewart was to show Tran where she comes from and let her experience the country’s beauty and history for herself.

“Going to Scotland was definitely to introduce [Lauren] to my family’s heritage. It was a bit of both— introducing her to things that I like and also having an adventure together,” Stewart said.

Waving their final goodbyes to their parents at the airport check-in, it hit them that they were on their own, flying away from everything that was familiar. Drained from the flight, Tran and Stewart worked their way through the long customs and immigration lines, anxious to get a glimpse of Glasgow waiting outside. The whole airport frenzy was overwhelming for the teens, but they had each other’s back to lean on when things got a little stressful.

Upon arriving at Stewart’s Scottish grandparents’ house, the girls were greeted warmly. Everything was familiar to Stewart, from her family to the house to the city, but she was eager to see how it all looked through her friend’s eyes. Hoping that the interactions weren’t going to be awkward, Stewart was relieved to see that her best friend fit right in with her family. Tran was also nervous to step into new territory but ultimately found a second family living across the world.

After a month of being immersed in the fashion and culture of Paris, having picnics during golden hour, and experiencing the beauty of Scottish Castles, which Stewart described as “Harry Potter-like,” the girls had taken their friendship beyond what it had been before.

“You hang out with your best friend at home and you do the same things like watching movies, but when you go out to a completely different place and you’re seeing the world, it’s just so fun laughing and exploring with someone,” Tran said.  

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