Issaquah High School graduates embark on trip of a lifetime

October 2, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

The transition between college graduation and the rest of one’s life can be an uncertain time as students enter the job market and walk down the path to true adulthood.

So, three recent Western Washington University graduates with strong Issaquah roots decided that now was as good a time as any to head off on the trip of a lifetime, before a career gets in the way.

Matt Benson, Justin Kay and Andrew Baer have been friends since elementary school and the three have remained close through their time at Pine Lake Middle School, Issaquah High School and finally, Western Washington University.

The 2008 Issaquah grads will travel to Europe on a monthlong excursion, visiting England, France, Germany, Spain, and possibly the Netherlands and Italy.

But the itinerary is very fluid, Benson said, as the group works to travel on a budget.

“We’re basically going to try and visit as many places as we can for as little as we can,” he said.

On the Web

The Issaquah Press will run dispatches from Matt Benson, Justin Kay and Andrew Baer’s trip through Europe throughout the month. Find them at

The group will make use of buses to get around, rather than the more expensive trains, Benson said. They will also take advantage of cheap airline tickets as they explore Europe.

Benson and Kay have visited Europe before, but it will be Baer’s first visit to the continent. The longtime friends hope to make as many memories as possible.

“We’re kind of hoping to see some new things and meet some new people,” Benson said. “I don’t know, just have an experience. I’m not quite sure what to expect, I mean anything could happen, really. I think the experience will kind of play out on its own.”

The trip represents a sort of last adventure for the group before the time comes to settle down and focus on the next chapter of their lives.

“Everyone keeps saying, if you want to do something fun with your life, do it before you get a career, get married, all that stuff,” Benson said. “I told the guys I was going to do something and they all wanted to do something as well. We figured doing a trip like this would be a pretty cool way to kind of start adulthood.”

The friends took off for Europe at the end of September and will return home at the beginning of November.

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