A Euro Trip With My Sister Gifted Me With The Most Unexpected Keepsake

This summer, my family decided to take a dream vacation cruising down the Rhine River. I expected to come back with a million souvenirs to sort through, tons of pictures to back up on my computer, and memories to last a lifetime. The one thing I didn't expect to come home with was a better relationship with my sister, Sarah. I already consider her to be one of my best friends, but traveling to Europe with my sister brought our bond to the next level.

Besides holidays and little trips here and there, my sis and I aren't able to spend that much time together anymore. She lives in Florida, and I'm based in California. It's pretty difficult getting our schedules to sync up, but this cruise was going to be our first vacation together in years that would be over a week long.

The last time we were in Europe together, we were teenagers and not as close as we are now. Let's just say, we had a few sisterly fights, but I just chalk it up to that good old teenage angst. Now, we're in our 20s and 30s, and this is a getaway I'd recommend to any sisters who are looking for a spectacular bonding experience.

Rachel Chapman

I text my sister almost every single day, and she and I both pride ourselves on being the best gift givers, because we know each other so well. I would have assumed I knew the PB to my J to the fullest prior to this vacation, but boy was I wrong. Spending every single day together, going on adventurous excursions, and sleeping in the same cruise-sized cabin, I discovered some things about my sister I didn't know before.

Even though my sister is still the same person whose room was right down the hall from me growing up, the Sarah in her 30s is slightly different from the Sarah I grew up with. She has a better idea of who she is, and we both were able to communicate a lot better than we did in our teen years.

Rachel Chapman

One of my dreams had always been to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was something I promised myself I would check off my bucket list with someone I love. That happened to be my sister.

Despite the long lines and the intense heat, we made it up to the top. It was an incredible feeling opening up about how important that was for me, and she made sure to make it extra special by being the greatest photographer of all time.

Rachel Chapman

In addition to checking off bucket list excursions, we made new inside jokes we'll treasure for a lifetime. Don't get me wrong — my sister and I already have a ton of inside jokes. (You'd think we'd be tapped out by now, but that's not the case at all.)

Over the course of our vacation, we overheard funny conversations that became favorite quotes for us to repeat throughout the trip. We even went to a painting class in Amsterdam, and shared a good laugh over how my van Gogh masterpiece turned out. These are memories I know will always make us laugh.

Overall, this was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip. It not only gifted me with many great memories and Instagram photos, but also the opportunity to get to know my sister better — and that's a keepsake I'll cherish forever.