Grant winner seeks to explore world history

Published on 5/9/2022 11:04:21 AM
By Alice Liang '24

As a passionate history major, Texas A&M University freshman Will Lourcey has a unique relationship with traveling. From reading the plaques posted at historical sites to trekking the beaten path of a city, Lourcey sees traveling as a means to learn about the past.

lourcey-photo-3.jpg“Travel is a way for me to be in a location where something amazing happened centuries ago, and it’s very connected with my passion for history. Whether it's visiting battlefields, tourist areas, ruins, or a museum, I really like being in a place and experiencing things,” Lourcey said.

Lourcey is the most recent recipient of the Globetrotter Grant, a $2,000 award only available for Texas A&M students. The grant is used to supplement a planned trip to any country outside of the United States.

When developing his Globetrotter Grant proposal, Lourcey was inspired by his love for trains and geography. He is fascinated by railway transportation and plans to immerse himself in Europe’s long history by retracing the main route of the original Orient Express.

“I’ve always loved trains and the romance of railroad travel. When I was little, I would ride the Amtrak in and across New York state,” Lourcey said. “It was just something that always fascinated me, and what better way was there to experience Europe than by rail?”

For 27 days, Lourcey will be exploring major European cities which the train passes through, such as Paris, Munich, Vienna, Budapest. Bucharest and Istanbul. He also wants to stop by smaller towns and villages along the route to see different cultural sites and historic landmarks.

“When I go to Paris, I'll be visiting a turn of the century fencing club that's been around since the 1890s because it was a very popular sport at the time,” Lourcey said. “When I'm in Istanbul, I’ll visit Sirkeci station which is the easternmost end point of the Orient Express. Back in the 1900s, that’s when you’d be on the border between Europe and Asia.

Using antique modes of travel, Lourcey will travel from one end of the European continent to the other via trains and ferries. Through his itinerary, he hopes to learn about the history of the locations and how they relate to the country’s culture.

lourcey-photo-1.jpg“I’ve wanted to travel to Europe since I was in middle school and there are dozens of itineraries at any given time going through my head. This trip is something I’ve always wanted to do, and the realization that I could translate love of history and traveling into a real tangible experience just blew my mind,” Lourcey said.

A recommendation Lourcey has for those with travel plans is to “always learn the history of a place.” Whether it’s reading a guidebook or watching a documentary, he claims that knowing an area’s history enhances the travel experience.

“It’s important to know how the places were built and who owned it at different points in time, especially in Europe because some of these places have changed hands four or five times. Always learn the background and what happened there. If not, you miss out on the historical experience in a lot of places,” Lourcey said.

You can read more about Lourcey’s winning trip proposal here: https://globetrottergrant.org/grant-winners/

About the Globetrotter Grant
The purpose of the Globetrotter Grant is to encourage international understanding through travel. The grant funds are intended to help college students experience landscapes, languages, food and drink, government types, and economic and social policies different from those in the U.S. The Globetrotter Grant is designed for an adventurous individual whose plans are not limited only to study abroad, but self-planned trips outside of a study abroad program or through independent travel of their own. Learn more at https://globetrottergrant.org/